Cloth Nappy Guide

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. 

Save Money

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 

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, and you can reuse them by snapping in a fresh insert. 

Fitted 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? 

We strongly recommend the washing guidelines from Clean Cloth Nappies Downunder (CCNDU). 

Knock off solids into the toilet and give the nappy a quick rinse under the tap before storing in your nappy bucket. This will reduce the smell and avoid ammonia damage from the urine. Soiled cloth nappies shouldn't be stored for too long and should be washed at least every two days.  

1. Run a prewash cycle (about 30-40 min) so that the nappies are rid of urine and poo, and the main wash is done with clean water. 

2. Run a full warm wash (longest cycle) with detergent. Make sure there is enough water in the machine so that nappies get cleaned properly.

3. Do not use fabric softeners.

4. 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. 

5. As inserts take longer to dry, you can tumble dry them in the machine. Line dry inserts if possible to save on energy. Use the cool or lowest 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). 

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