The Complete Guide to Washing Cloth Nappies, Step-By-Step Advice for Newbies

What are Cloth Nappies?

Cloth nappies are a type of reusable nappy which can be washed and used again and again. They have come a long way since the nappies that your Grandma, your Mum, and maybe even you wore. Cloth nappies are becoming more popular because of the environmental impact of disposable nappies and because they can save parents money in the long run.

Reusable nappies have been around for centuries, with evidence that they were used in Ancient Greece and Rome. Cloth nappies are made from a variety of materials, including cotton, hemp and bamboo. Traditionally, the type of nappies used were squares of absorbent fabric, secured with pins. Modern cloth nappies now include a waterproof layer, making them much more versatile, and keeping clothes, bedding, and car seats dry! Some brands also have adjustable rise snaps which allow the same nappy to fit your baby from birth to toilet training. 

Cloth nappies have come a long way from the traditional Terry flat nappies of the past. This image shows a baby, lying comfortably in their modern cloth nappy. Note the adjustable rise snaps and waterproof outer layer.

How To Store Dirty Cloth Nappies - Dry Pailing

If you’ve decided to use cloth nappies for your baby, you may be wondering how you should store dirty cloth nappies. The answer is: in a dry pail.

A dry pail is any basket or container which allows air to flow through. A laundry basket with holes is a perfect choice. It should be made of a non-porous material that is easy to wipe clean if soiled. A wet bag is ok to use for short periods of time, but doesn’t allow enough air flow for optimal storage. If there is not enough air flow, ammonia can build up in the nappies, resulting in smells and, in severe cases, ammonia burn and damage to the nappies.

The Importance of Pre Washing Cloth Nappies

Pre-washing your cloth nappies is an important step in the cloth nappy washing process. It is not a waste of water or energy, as some people might think. It is actually a really important step that you should not skip if you want to avoid smells and stains on your cloth nappies.

Cloth nappies are, essentially, very dirty washing. Pre-washing simply means doing a short warm wash to remove excess poo and wee prior to the long hot wash. This will make your long hot wash more effective to thoroughly deep-clean your cloth nappies. It is best practice to run a pre-wash of your cloth nappies daily, to ensure sparkly clean nappies.

How To Wash Cloth Nappies - Step-By-Step

  1. Flush poo into the toilet if possible.

  2. Hand rinse briefly to avoid smells prior to washing.Breastfed newborn poo is water-soluble and does not require rinsing.

  3. Store in dry pail

  4. Pre-wash nappies daily in a warm short cycle. Use half the amount of detergent recommended for a normal load. This step is very important for getting rid of excess poo and wee prior to cleaning your nappies in the main wash.

  5. When you have enough nappies to fill your machine (2/3 full), run a long hot wash (40-60 degrees Celsius) using the amount of detergent recommended for heavy soiling.

  6. Line dry. Inserts may be tumble dried.

You can download a printable copy of our wash guide to display in your laundry.


Wash Routine Guide For Exclusively Breastfed Babies

Washing cloth nappies is even easier for babies who are breastfed, and have not yet started eating solid foods. Breast fed baby poo is water-soluble, meaning that soiled cloth nappies do not have to be rinsed prior to going in the wash. This is a valuable time-saver when you are already so busy learning the ropes of caring for your new baby. 

Conclusion: The Simple Way to Wash Cloth Nappies

I hope that you have found the information in this guide useful. I am also hoping that you are now confident enough to go ahead and get started using and washing cloth nappies. Remember, as long as you follow the steps outlined in this guide, your cloth nappies will come out clean and looking like new every time!

You can check out the full range of Frank Nappies here, and, don’t forget to make use of our bulk cloth nappy discounts here. There are discounts available when you buy 6, 12, 18, or 24 nappies. 

Cloth Nappy Washing Guide

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