Why choose cloth nappies over disposables?
Our planet will thank you!
It is estimated that at least 3.75 million disposable nappies are being used in Australia and New Zealand each day. A single baby can use at least 5,000 disposable nappies until they are potty-trained.
These plastic disposable nappies will be in the landfill long after we are gone. In fact, it is estimated that it will take at least 250-500 years for disposables to break down.
Disposable nappies also take a lot of energy and water into producing them. Disposables use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp. The use and manufacture of disposable diapers also amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
Choosing reusable cloth nappies is a great way to reduce waste and help our environment. A stash of 30 cloth nappies can save thousands of disposables from going into landfills.
Parents can spend up to $2,000 in disposable nappies. Cloth nappies work out cheaper even if you include the cost of water, electricity and laundry detergent. You can even reuse them for your next child, donate or sell them. Some councils in Australia also offer rebates to encourage the use of cloth nappies. Learn more here.
Ok, but are they a lot of work?
A lot of people are hesitant to use cloth nappies thinking they are too much work. Leave all the hard work to your trusty washing machine! Clever designs of modern cloth nappies also keep your bub dry and comfortable and are not much different from using disposables.
When baby needs a change, simply remove the soiled diaper, dispose of any solids/rinse and store them into a dry pail/ nappy bucket (no soaking is required).
Change your bub every 3 hours or when nappy is soiled as you would with disposables. Nappy changing is also a great time to bond with your baby. With all the adorable prints and designs of modern cloth nappies, you'll certainly have lots of fun picking out which nappy to use next.
How many nappies do I need?
You need at least 20-30 nappies depending on your wash routine and lifestyle, and the age of your baby. This is so that while some are in the laundry, you'll have spare ones to use. It is ok to start small and you can try different brands that work well for your baby.
What else do I need?
Nappy bucket/ dry pail- This is where you store your soiled nappies. It can be as simple as a garbage bin. It is recommended not to have a lid on which allows air to circulate. Make sure to knock solids down the toilet before storing soiled nappies in your bucket. To reduce ammonia damage and smells, rinse your nappies with water before putting them in your bucket.
Wet bag- These are handy waterproof bags to store your soiled or clean nappies while you are out and about with your baby.
Nappy Liners- You can use liners to make nappy changing and washing easier as it catches solid waste. These are optional. Please note that liners, even biodegradable ones, cannot be flushed down the toilet.
Which nappies to choose?
Pocket nappies are a popular choice and very easy to use. Pocket nappies consist of a nappy shell with a pocket and an insert (absorbent part). You simply put the insert inside the pocket and adjust the snaps or rise setting to fit your baby. You can also boost the absorbency by adding in extra inserts into the pockets. They are quick drying as inserts and shells are separate pieces.
All-in-one (AIO) nappies
All-in-one nappies have all the parts sewn in so they are as easy to use as disposables. Simply snap them in and throw in the nappy bucket after use. They are convenient but also slower drying.
All-in-two (AI2) nappies
All-in-two nappies usually consist of a waterproof shell/cover and insert that you snap into place or lay on top of the cover. No stuffing required! Some covers are wipeable (e.g. Buttons, Bare and Boho), and you can reuse them by snapping in a fresh insert. Some AI2s like Junior Tribe and Little Baby Clouds are convertible nappies and can be used as an all-in-two or pocket nappies.
These are contoured or shaped nappies with elasticised waist. As the whole nappy is absorbent, you need a separate waterproof cover. Great for heavy wetters and for night time.
How do I prepare my new nappies for use?
All new nappies need to be washed prior to use to remove impurities, to fluff up the fibres and to increase absorbency. Simply wash them with detergent in cool or warm water. If you have bamboo or hemp inserts, soak them overnight before putting them in the wash. They will get more absorbent each time you wash them.
How do I wash soiled nappies?
* Pocket shells and nappy covers dry quickly- line dry in shade or tumble dry (cool/lowest setting). Please note that hotter settings or excessive heat exposure from the sun may damage or delaminate the waterproofing of your shells.
* As inserts take longer to dry, you can tumble dry them in the machine. Line dry inserts if possible to save on energy. Use a low heat setting for your bamboo and hemp inserts. Very hot temperatures can cause your bamboo and hemp inserts to overly shrink and misshapen (this voids the warranty of your inserts).
Which detergent should I use?
We recommend mainstream laundry detergents - OMO, Biozet or Radiant to get the best clean. Note that some eco detergents may not be strong enough to effectively clean heavily soiled cloth nappies. If you prefer eco detergents, you may have to double the dose of detergent and use 60 deg hot washes.
Can I use barrier creams?
Yes. We do suggest using a nappy liner if doing so. Barrier creams can leave residues which can affect the absorbency of your nappies. Hot washes may be required to effectively remove this.
Can I wash my nappies with our clothes?
Yes, you can add small items of clothing with your MAIN WASH to bulk up the load. Make sure not to add clothing that may shrink or cannot stand warm-hot washes.
What is a nappy stew?
Not to worry, this does not involve boiling nappies in your stove. A nappy stew is the correct proportion of water to your nappy load. The washing machine should have enough water that the nappies are able to move freely but also agitate or rub against each other. If there is too much water, the nappies are just swimming around and won't agitate to get properly cleaned. If you're using cloth nappies part-time or you don't have much nappies for your main wash, add small items of clothing to bulk up the washing load.
My nappies are leaking. What should I do?
Nappy leaks can be caused by a poor fit, damage to the PUL or waterproofing of your nappies and most commonly, not enough absorbency especially if your baby is a heavy-wetter. Read our troubleshooting guide here
Need help? We’d love to hear from you. Send us a message through our contact page.