What will I need to use cloth nappies?

Written by Tory on the 18 May 2007

What will I need to use cloth nappies?

This article gives you an easy to follow quick list of what you will need to buy to get started with cloth nappies and then a more detailed explanation of other things you may like to buy.

Quick shopping list - Cloth Nappy Basics


  • Wraps (PUL, fleece or wool)
  • Liners (paper or fleece)
  • Boosters (to give added absorbency at night time or for heavy wetters)
  • Snappi Nappi (Nappi Nippa) if required with your type of nappy
  • Nappy Bucket (or storage wet bag)


  • Lavender and Tea tree oil
  • Washable wipes
  • Mesh bag for the nappy bucket
  • Nappy soaker (if not dry-pailing)
  • White vinegar
  • Laundry Sanitiser

Detailed explanation of cloth nappy paraphenalia to buy!

Obviously you will need nappies! How many depends on how often you are going to wash and how old your baby is. If you have a newborn you will need more nappies or to wash more often than an older baby as you will be getting through 10-12 a day which then drops to 6-8 a day quite quickly. Most people like to have enough so they can wash every second day. If you are going to wash every day 15 nappies would be enough and up to 25 if you are washing every 2nd or even every 3rd day. There are other factors as well such as your drying facilities and whether you live in Norway or Brisbane!

If your nappies are fleece (or suede-cloth) lined already you won't need a separate liner. Otherwise you can use disposable paper liners which can usually be flushed (always check the packaging and your toilet system before doing this though!). They can be useful when out or if you have nasty teething nappies or a sick baby. Some people like to use the disposable liners all the time. Personally I prefer (as do many people) to use fleece liners. They really do keep the baby's bottom dry allowing urine to pass through and stopping solids from touching the actually nappy, solids can then be put down the toilet and flushed away. If using washable fleece liners you'll need as many as you have nappies. You may need nappy boosters depending how heavily your child wets and the type of nappies you use, or for boosting night nappies.

If your chosen nappies are poppers or Velcro that's fine but if not you will need to use a Snappi Nappi (Nappi Nippa). Three should be enough unless you're really hopeless like me and keep losing them!

If you have chosen a two-part system you will also need wraps, four to six should be enough.

After that you will need somewhere to keep your dirty nappies. Most people use a bucket but you can also get big waterproof bags which are great if you are short on space as they can hang on the back of a door. I suggest buying a 25 litre lidded bin bucket from a cheapie shop as they are a fraction of the price of a 'real' nappy bucket and they fit a whole machine load in where a lot of the nappy buckets only fit 1 days worth of nappies.

That is all you really need to get going. However other things which you may like to have include:

  • A mesh bag to put in your bucket, for easy transfer of soiled nappies to the washing machine
  • Washable wipes (well if you are washing nappies anyway its no extra hassle and so much milder on your baby's bottom!)
  • Boosters if your baby is a heavy wetter or to boost at night
  • Lavender and tea tree oil to add to your wash and make washable wipe mix with.  You can also add a few drops to your nappy bucket to keep it smelling fresh.

If you have chosen to soak your nappies you will need some sort of soaking powder (see 'Nappy Maintenance - Storing the dirty nappies' to see why soaking may not be the best option). There are also other various sanitisers, vinegar etc., that you can add to your washing if you want but they are by no means necessary.

Make it easy for yourself, see how you get on with the basics then add other things as you need them!

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