How to Wash Modern Cloth Nappies

Three colourful cloth nappies on the washing line

Are you curious about cleaning cloth nappies? Perhaps you’re seeking guidance on how to wash modern cloth nappies? Fear not, we’re here to demystify the process and assure you that washing cloth nappies doesn’t need to be complex or resource-intensive. With a straightforward approach to cleaning, your cloth nappies should remain odour-free and stain-free. If you’re new to the world of cloth nappies or facing staining and odours, the following tips can be incredibly useful. We’re always ready to offer personalised guidance on how to wash cloth nappies, ensuring you get the most out of your nappies and continue to make eco-conscious choices.

How to Clean Cloth Nappies

Cleaning cloth nappies is not as challenging as it may seem. In fact, it’s a simple process. If your nappies are free from stains and unpleasant odours, you’re on the right track. There’s no need to make any drastic changes.

The Basics of Cleaning

  • Post-Use Handling: After you remove the nappy from your baby, make sure to flush any solid waste down the toilet. For breastfed poo, there’s no need to rinse it off; your washing machine will take care of it. Avoid rinsing the nappy as it can lead to the growth of ammonia and bacteria.
  • Storage Matters: To store dirty nappies, consider using a basket with holes or a laundry basket. This promotes airflow and reduces odour. Avoid using a lidded bucket, as it can trap odours and create a dark, moist environment that’s conducive to mould growth.

Cloth Nappy Short Wash

  • Daily Rinse: Implement a daily short cycle for your nappies. Once you establish a routine, it becomes a straightforward task. If you’re not using cloth nappies overnight, you can perform the short wash in the morning or evening.
  • Overnight Use: For nappies used overnight, run them through a warm (40-degree) short wash in the morning. Overnight urine is concentrated and can deteriorate fabric quickly while causing odours to seep into the fabric.
  • Detergent Usage: When running the short wash, use the appropriate amount of detergent according to your load’s size. Ensure that the detergent you use aligns with your load’s requirements.
  • Storing for the Next Wash: Once the short wash is complete, you can store the nappies in a basket until the next day or proceed directly to the long wash (preferred). For breastfed poo or concerns about stains, consider adding products like Vanish or Napisan to boost detergent and effectively remove stains.

Cloth Nappy Long Wash

  • Frequency: It’s recommended to run the long wash at least every other day. If you lack enough nappies for a full load, you can include family laundry to fill it out, particularly for front-loading machines.
  • Detergent Amount: During the long wash, which should last between 1.5 to 3 hours, use an adequate amount of detergent for the load. If you’re adding family laundry, ensure there’s enough detergent for both.
  • Water Temperature: The long cycle can be performed in cold or warm water. If opting for cold water, choose a detergent formulated for cold water, like Cold Power, or enhance your detergent with a booster such as Vanish.

Best Practise for Cloth Nappy Drying

For the best environmental impact, hang your nappies on a clothesline or a clothes horse. Avoid using a dryer. To preserve the fabric and colour, place the nappy shells on the line with the white side up, preferably in the shade to reduce sun damage.

For inserts, peg them on the line in the sun or shade. If they’re not drying fast enough, bring them inside, either near a heat source or, during summer, under a fan or in an air-conditioned room you’re already using. In exceptional cases, inserts can be put in the dryer, but never the shells, as this can damage the waterproof lining. Shells typically dry quickly in most environments.

Recommended Detergents for How to Wash Cloth Nappies

Opt for a high-quality detergent like Omo, Radiant, or Biozet. Cloth nappies are among the dirtiest items you’ll wash, so a robust detergent is essential for removing urine, waste, and bacteria.

Sensitive detergents may require more detergent and warmer water for optimal results. Eco-friendly detergents like Earth’s Choice and Purity may not be potent enough to effectively clean cloth nappies.

In summary, washing modern cloth nappies involves two cycles: a short wash and a long wash. If your nappy load isn’t large enough, you can supplement it with soft, light-coloured family laundry. Hang everything to dry, stuff the nappies, stack them, and they’re ready for use again. Avoid soaking, rinsing, or bleaching, as these actions can damage or shorten the life of the nappies.

Washing modern cloth nappies should be simple and straightforward. Overthinking is not necessary. If you notice stains or odours, it’s time to reevaluate your routine and make necessary adjustments. We’re here to assist you with any questions or concerns regarding washing your cloth nappies, and you can find out more information on our Little Aussie Monster blog.

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