Cloth nappies have many benefits – they mean less waste and are therefore more ecologically friendly, they are kinder and more comfortable for baby, and they will save you money in the long run. Your baby will be in nappies for about two and a half years. Using disposables for that time will cost approximately £500 more than if you use cloth nappies. However, if you tumble dry your baby’s cloth nappies, you could add an extra £100 or more to your bill.
Cleaning cloth nappies is one of the biggest issues holding some parents back from making the switch. We’ve broken down the process step-by-step and included our expert tips and tricks.
As parents, we all base a lot of our parenting decisions on what’s best for our kids, as well as our family as a whole. There were 4 main reasons we chose cloth diapers over disposables.
Simply dispose of any solid waste into the toilet and flush.
Disposable Liners: They make cleanup a cinch and keep diapers protected from the majority of stains, smells and similar soilings. On the other hand, disposable liners aren’t particularly cost effective or environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, if they make the cloth diaper process easier they still beat disposable diapers.
Detergent Do’s and Don’ts
You don’t need to buy special detergent, but you do need to use less than you would for a normal load – around half the amount. Cloth nappies require gentle cleaning to retain their shape and maximum absorption qualities. Using too much detergent can clog the fibres and prevent absorption. Be sure to use a product that won’t irritate baby’s skin.
Running a load each day or every other day is ideal, not to mention least stinky option. Obviously, that’s not always possible. Not to worry. You can certainly get away with going 3-5 days if you’d like. Try the Wet Pail Method if you prefer to wash less frequently.
For best results, consider washing about 8-15 nappies (1-3 days) per load. Many manufacturers suggest washing no more than 24 nappies (3-5 days) at a time.
It’s best to run each load of nappies through the washer twice. Start with a cold rinse or soak setting and follow with a hot wash. If odour is an issue, use a few drops of tea tree oil and about a cup of distilled vinegar during one or both cycles. You can pour the mixture right into your machine’s fabric softener dispenser so it will disperse properly.
Cloth nappies can be air dried on the line, a dryer rack or tumble-dry on the low or warm setting. Line drying is probably best, as sunlight can be especially helpful in getting stains out.
Tumble dryer Settings
If you prefer using the tumble dryer, as always, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Some cloths diapers need to be dried on medium or low.
Products to Avoid
Bleach will eat away at the fibres and can leave holes in your diapers. If you need some extra whitening power, use baking soda, washing soda and/ or oxygen bleach instead.
Fabric softeners will leave a liquid-blocking layer of residue on your diapers. This will leave the diapers unable to properly absorb resulting in leaking and potentially messy clean-ups.
Heavy Duty Cleaners
You may be tempted to bring out the big guns when it comes to getting the diapers clean. DON’T! Stick with gentle cleansers to keep them clean and make them last longer.