Modern Cloth Nappy Washing Guide
Similar to tea towels or bath towels, pre-washing your nappies is really important to ensure they reach their maximum absorbency, before you begin to use them. We recommend you wash them between 3-5 times, on a full length cycle, not hotter than 60 degrees, with a standard dose of laundry detergent. Ensure your nappies are fully dried between each pre-wash cycle.
Here’s what to do to each type of dirty cloth nappy:
#1’s - Place in a dry pail.
Newborn #2’s (Breastfed or Bottlefed) - Saturate with cold water under the tap, drain excess water and place in a dry pail.
Solid #2’s - Tip Solids into the toilet. Saturate with cold water under the tap, drain excess water and place in a dry pail.
Night Nappies - Saturate with cold water under the tap, drain excess water and place in a dry pail.
Wash your dirty nappies every 1-2 days. Leaving them any longer will encourage the growth of bacteria and mould.
Step 1: Begin by washing nappies and inserts on a warm (30-40 degrees) pre-rinse cycle. This prewash should last around 1 hour. This gets rid of any excess urine or soiling before the wash cycle.
Step 2: Follow with a warm, regular/long wash cycle, no hotter than 60 degrees. Wash with the correct amount of detergent recommended by your detergent manufacturer for the water level/load size.
Clean Cloth Nappies Down Under (CCNDU) approved Detergent Index - Here is a list of CCNDU approved detergents and amount recommendations.
A note about detergent: Your detergent of choice should not contain bleach, fabric softeners, whiteners or vinegar pre-rinse, particularly when used on soiled nappies. These chemicals can lead to nappy rash on your baby, and lessen the lifespan of your nappies.
Nappies and bamboo inserts are best line dried. If no outdoor area for drying is available, hang indoors on a drying rack, near a window exposed to sunlight. UV rays from sunlight (not sunshine) will remove stains naturally, no there are nasty chemicals required.
If you choose to use a clothes dryer, then separate the nappy covers from inserts. Dry the nappy covers on low, as excessive hot temperatures can cause the PUL to delaminate. Cloth nappy inserts will take a little longer to dry, as this is the absorbent part of the nappy. They are not quite as delicate as the nappy covers, so you can tumble dry these on med heat.
- Hanging dryers with attached pegs (the ones you usually use for socks and undies) are so handy for cloth nappy inserts and boosters. It's super quick and easy to hang them out, and if at the end of the day your inserts are not quite dry, you can bring the whole lot inside to finish them off, without having to unpeg, and repeg everything!
- For similar reasons as above, we love drying cloth nappy covers on a clothes airer. They are really quick to hang, and often (unless it’s windy) there is no pegs required, which means it’s super quick to bring in. Also, if you don’t have much sun, you can move the airer during the day without having to take all of the covers off, and rehang again.