Frequently asked cloth nappy questions

Written by Tory on the 18 May 2007

Frequently asked cloth nappy questions

This page answers some FAQ's about cloth nappies. If you can't find the answer to your question here then why not join our forum and ask the members on there!

How many nappies will I need?

This depends on how often you want to wash and how you are going to dry your nappies. 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. In the early days you will get through a lot more nappies per day as newborn are changed so regularly. After a few weeks this settles down a bit and you may only use 6 - 8 a day or less.

I'm worried about washing nappies, is it hard work?

No not at all. Most people wash every couple of days so its just one load of washing every 2 days. You put your dirty nappies in the machine with 1/4 to 1/2 of the normal amount of powder you use and wash at 40 - 60 degrees. Never add fabric softener to your nappy wash as it reduces absorbency. You can add some white vinegar to the fabric conditioner section. Vinegar is a natural softener and neutralises the urine as well. Some people suggest caution with using vinegar in every load as it can degrade the elastic in the nappies over time, yet many people do with no problems. A nice smelling touch is to add a few drops of tea tree and / or lavender oil to the rinse cycle as well. This has a double benefit as they smell great and have antibacterial properties. You can line dry or most nappies can also be tumble dried if you need to.

My mum says I'll need to soak all the nappies, do I?

No you don't, in fact most people dry-pail which is very easy, you just get rid of any solids and place the dirty nappy in a lidded bucket. It is amazing how little smell comes from your nappy bucket (certainly less than a bin with disposables in it!!), but if its very hot or you are worried about it you can place a few drops of essential oil in the bucket. Soaking was needed in the past because machines weren't as efficient as modern washing machines, now it's the washer not you who does the work! Nappies with elastic in them as well as wraps may be harmed by soaking as the elastic may degrade over time.

My nappies have gone hard and 'crunchy' what can I do?

If you live in a hard water area this can happen. If you don't already, add some vinegar to your next load of washing. Playing the nappy through your hands and scrunching it up can help too, I've even heard of one girl who swears by hitting them against a wall (this has the added benefit of stress release!!). Even if you normally line dry a run through a tumble dryer works wonders. Some people systematically pop the nappies in the dryer for 10 minutes either before or after air drying and this keeps them soft. If you use fleece liners then don't forget baby won't be in contact with the nappy anyway so won't even notice!

<< Back to Articles

Pregnancy due date calculator

Work out your baby's due date the easy way.

You can use our pregnancy calculator to work out your baby's approximate arrival date or your date of conception.

Also work out how long you have been pregnant for on a future date.