All About Cloth Nappies - FAQ
Starting with cloth nappies
  • A stock of nappies and inserts

  • A dry pail – (laundry basket with holes for ventilation) for storing used nappies until wash day

  • A wet bag – for nappy changes when out or on holiday

  • Nappy liners – to line the inside of the nappy and contain any poop

  • Pocket nappies: these nappies have waterproof outer shell with an opening for you to be able to place the insert(s) inside.

  • All-in-ones (AIO): these nappies have an absorbent insert attached to the waterproof shell.

  • All-in-twos (AI2): the absorbent insert of these nappies snaps on to the waterproof shell.

  • Cover and prefolds: these nappies consist of a waterproof shell with a folded insert (prefold) placed inside.

  • Fitted nappies: these nappies are made of absorbent material and are used with a waterproof cover.

  • Squares or flats: these nappies are made up of absorbent fabric which is fitted around your baby and secured with a nappy clip. A waterproof cover needs to be used.

The reply to this question is very subjective and based on personal preference. However, we’ll give you a bit of a breakdown of pros and cons:

  • All-in-one nappies are simple to put on and take off just like disposable nappies. Even though they are easy to use, they are slower drying since the absorbent insert is sewn to the inside of the nappy and cannot be removed.

  • Pocket nappies are a popular choice for many. Their level of absorbency can be customised using additional inserts. These nappies need to have the inserts stuffed inside the pocket and then removed before washing.

  • All-in-two nappies are between an all-in-one and pocket nappy. Once the inserts are popped on to the outer waterproof shell, they are ready to be used. The inserts are simply popped off after a nappy change. These nappies are easy drying.

  • Nappy cover and prefold inserts are also a popular choice for many. The prefold insert is simply placed in the waterproof nappy cover and you’re ready to go. If the nappy cover doesn’t become soiled, it can simply be wiped clean, lined with a clean prefold and reused again by baby. Therefore, one nappy cover can be used for multiple nappy changes if it isn’t soiled.

  • Fitted nappies are easy to put on. However, since they are not waterproof, a separate nappy cover needs to be used. This can be reused if it doesn’t get soiled.

  • Squares or flats are quite popular as they are quick drying nappies, so ideal for winter months. However, they can be quite fiddly to fit onto your baby. A waterproof nappy cover needs to be used with these and can be reused if it doesn’t get soiled.

Two – Newborn and One size. Newborn nappies are smaller and made for babies from birth to about 6 months (2.3kgs to 8kgs). One size nappies may also be used from birth as they are designed for babies from about 3.5kgs to 16kgs (up to potty training). The size of the nappy very much depends on the size and weight of your baby.

A wet bag or nappy bag is a simple way to store used nappies when you are out until you get back home. Wet bags are also convenient for storage of wipes, liners or damp swimwear after a day at the beach.

Liners are optional and come in useful when dealing with poop (especially when solids are introduced), as they help by containing most of it. The liners are biodegradable and are placed on the inside of the nappy, between your baby’s bum and the nappy. Once you come to a nappy change, the liner is simply thrown into an organic bin or compost heap.

  • Microfiber – light, fast absorbing and quick drying. Do not hold a large quantity of liquid; however, two inserts can easily last 4-5 hours.

  • Bamboo – very soft, quick to absorb, holds quite an amount of liquid.

  • Charcoal – very absorbent. Often used for heavy wetting babies or night time nappies.

  • Hemp – extremely thirsty.

Only one insert is needed for really small babies. Then, as they grow and start soaking their nappy faster, you may opt to boost your nappy with an additional insert.

Velcro nappies tend to be more adjustable for newborn nappies. However, as your baby grows and becomes more adventurous and inquisitive, they tend to discover how to open the Velcro closures. With time, Velcro tends to wear out faster and things like hair, lint and fluff can get stuck to Velcro.

Popper nappies are more difficult for babies to remove and are a better option for one size nappies on older babies.

Not at all. They are easy to put on and take off. They do not require any soaking, scrubbing or boiling after use. Once used, store them in a dry pail (a laundry basket with holes as ventilation is important for used nappies until you accumulate enough for your washing load), then simply wash the load. All you will have is a couple of extra loads in your washing machine. The pocket nappies in particular dry very quickly and are ready to reuse in a few hours.

On average, a baby will require 5,000 nappy changes before potty training. Cloth nappies are a great way of saving when it comes to nappies. There is a higher start-up cost, however, in the long run, using cloth nappies can save you more than €1,780.

 

Based on personal experience with my son’s first year, this is a breakdown of the costs:

  • Average cost spent on cloth nappies: €480 (with this amount I have a stash of nappies that will last me until he’s potty trained)

  • Average cost of disposable nappies needed if we didn’t use reusable: €877

  • Average savings: €397

 

Predicted breakdown of costs for my son’s second year:

  • Average cost spent on nappies: €80 (I might buy an extra few nappies as the new prints are irresistible)

  • Average cost of disposable nappies needed if we didn’t use reusable: €630

  • Average savings: €550

 

Predicted breakdown of costs for my son’s third year:

  • Average cost spent on nappies: €80 (Again, I might buy an extra few nappies to add to my collection but they are not essentially needed)

  • Average cost of disposable nappies needed if we didn’t use reusable: €706

  • Average savings: €626

Every baby is different with most things and nappy changes are no exception. You would definitely need 20-25 nappies for full time use. With this quantity, you will probably only need to wash one load a week.

Some people opt to transition slowly from disposable to cloth nappies. This is done by having a few cloth nappies to start off with and gradually increasing as you start to get the feel of the balance between use and washing.

On average, babies use the following amount of nappies on a daily basis:

  • Newborn to 3 months: 10 – 12 nappies

  • 3 to 6 months: 8 – 10 nappies

  • 6 to +12 months: 6 – 8 nappies

Yes of course. Extra inserts will help to ensure your baby doesn’t soak through their nappy.

Care and washing

Follow the washing guide on each nappy. The general rule is to keep the detergent dose proportional to your load size. Use non-bio detergent and no fabric softener or conditioner. Do not use an exaggerated amount of detergent, as this tends to build-up within the multiple layers of the inserts, affecting the level of absorption. It may also cause skin irritation or nappy rash to your baby’s sensitive skin. We recommend running an initial rinse before the complete washing cycle and, if possible, a final rinse before the spin – this will help reduce any chance of detergent residue.
 

It is also advisable to use a long, warm cycle (e.g. the cotton cycle and not more than 60 degrees – always check product label) and to load the washing machine ⅔ full so that the nappies are mixed around a lot and get thoroughly cleaned, this also help the fibres to be ruffled up which helps maintain their level of absorbency. Please note that using a longer cycle doesn’t mean it uses up more water than other cycles.
 

Note that in areas of soft water, less detergent can be used. However, in areas of hard water, a fuller detergent dose may be needed even if the load isn’t large.

For inserts (especially bamboo or hemp) to reach optimal absorption, they need to be washed a number of times prior to use. It is not the detergent that helps to increase the absorption but the level of agitation in the washing machine. We recommend you wash new nappies or inserts a couple of times before use. Instead of wasting water washing them multiple times, start using them but keep in mind that they may leak a little initially until the optimal level of absorption is reached.

This depends on the number of nappies you have. As we didn’t have many nappies for the first 8 months, we would wash every day. Luckily, since it was during the summer months and we were using pocket nappies, the nappies dried very quickly and we were able to reuse them the same day. However, this is not a must. If you have a good number of nappies (as we do now), you can accumulate the used nappies and have a wash day every few days.

No. The best remedy for staining is, believe it or not, the sun! Make sure to place your freshly washed nappies and inserts in direct sunlight for best results. Remember that the outer waterproof shell dries quite quickly compared to inserts or AIO and since our sunshine is quite intense, we don’t recommend leaving them in direct sunlight for as long as you would with inserts.

Instead of pre-rinsing in your machine, rinse in old bath water or the shower while you shower (use your feet to step on the nappies and rinse them).

This is most likely due to a nappy not being fitted correctly. Please contact us so that we can guide you accordingly.

This could be a number of reasons such as ammonia build up, your washing routine needs adjusting or your nappies need a strip wash.

This is a more intense wash which aids in refreshing your nappies. See instructions below.

Nappies smell as soon as they come out of the wash or as soon as your baby pees: Clean nappies should have a neutral smell. If they smell of pee, then they have an ammonia build-up and aren’t being cleaned properly. You need to strip wash your nappies and adjust your washing routine.

  1. Baby has nappy rash: A build-up of detergent or ammonia within the layer inside the inserts can cause your baby’s sensitive skin to become irritated.

  2. Nappies aren’t as absorbent as they were.

  3. Nappies bought second hand: This should not be off-putting. However, we recommend strip washing them before to ensure they are properly cleaned.

Load your machine so that it is no more than ⅔ full when dry.

  1. Set a rinse cycle with no detergent and low spin or a short, cool wash to soak the nappies so that no additional water may be absorbed in the following washes.

  2. Next set a long (approximately 2.5-3 hours), hot wash (60 degrees) with the full amount of detergent for very dirty nappies (adjust to machine size).

  3. No need to dry nappies. Set a second wash at 60 degrees on the longest possible cycle with NO detergent and an additional rinse.

  4. Finally, set a rinse cycle like step 2. If you still see soap bubbles in your machine at the end of the rinse, keep on rinsing until you can no longer see any.

Start the routine wash with a cold rinse with low spin followed by a longer, warm wash.

  1. Do not fill your machine more than ⅔ full when dry (overloaded machines will not allow the nappies to agitate enough).

  2. Do not use more than the recommended dose of detergent – keep your dose proportional to your load size.

  3. Run a maintenance cycle for your machine once a month and check your machine filters are clean.

  4. As a last resort, if you dry pail your nappies, you can try rinsing them before putting them in the laundry basket, however, make sure they are not left in a closed basket for long before they are washed as they might start to smell or develop mould.

Nappy changes

Simple!

  1. Undo the nappy.

  2. Pee – separate the inserts from the cover (unless using an AIO) and place them in your dry pail.
    Poop – If your baby is exclusively breastfed, simply separate the inserts from the cover (unless using an AIO) and place them in your bucket or nappy bag to be washed on wash day. (Exclusively breastfed (no formula or solids) baby poop is water soluble and nappies can go straight in the washing machine.
    Once your baby starts solids, you will need to dump the poop into the toilet (if using a liner, tip this into a bin), separate the inserts from the cover (unless using an AIO) and place them in your dry pail to be washed on wash day.

  3. Clean baby, fit with a new nappy and you’re done.

Nope. The number of changes does not increase. If anything, it may decrease as cloth nappies are highly absorbent. Therefore, unless the nappy contains poop or is saturated with pee, a nappy will last quite a while.

Nappies with just pee can be placed in a dry pail. For nappies containing poop, dump poop in toilet. If needed, rinse any excess poop off and place in dry pail for washing.

When you’re out or on holiday, you can use a wet bag to store used nappies until you get home.

A question I get asked so many times. However, any parent with a new baby will know that poop handling really isn’t that bad and you soon become immune to it.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed (no formula or solids), their poop is water soluble and soiled nappies can go straight in the washing machine. If you prefer, you could also rinse them in a bucket, sink or bath beforehand (this initial rinse can also be done in your washing machine).

Once solids are introduced or you’re feeding formula, you need to remove the poop from the nappy to make sure your washing machine doesn’t get blocked. A simple way to get rid of the poop is to empty it directly into the toilet. You may also opt to use liners which help to contain most of the poop. Simply drop poop into the toilet and dispose of the liner in an organic bin or compost heap.

1. What do I need to go “cloth”?​
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2. What is the difference between reusable nappy types?
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3. Which nappies are the easiest to use?
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4. What sizes do the nappies come in?
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5. What is a wet bag?
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6. What are the liners for?
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7. What is the difference between insert types?
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8. Do I need extra inserts or boosters?
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9. What is the difference between poppers or Velcro?
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10. Are cloth nappies difficult to use?
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11. Are cloth nappies expensive?
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12. How many cloth nappies do I need?
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13. Are they safe to use at night?
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1. How do I wash my nappies?
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2. Do I need to wash new nappies?
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3. How often should I put a load in?
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4. Do the nappies remain stained?
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5. I’m worried about wasting water with all the rinsing, how can I save water?
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6. Why is my nappy leaking?
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7. Why are my nappies smelling strongly of pee?
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8. What is a strip wash?
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9. When should I strip wash my nappies?
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10. How do I strip wash my nappies?
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11. How can I prevent having to strip wash?
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1. What’s the process of a nappy change?
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2. Do I need to nappy change more often?
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3. What do I do with the used nappy?
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4. What do I do with a poop filled nappy?
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