Saturday 20 April 2013

Washing and Drying your Cloth Nappies #RNW13 Guest Post by Melissa from The Happy Peach

washing and drying cloth nappies

Melissa from the Happy Peach joins us today to tell us all about washing and drying Cloth Nappies...

Hi! I'm Melissa and I'm from The Happy Peach! I've developed a huge love of cloth and want the world to know about the wonderful fluffy benefits there are to using cloth nappies! I'm not quite sure what it is that puts people off using cloth, maybe it's the initial start up cost or maybe it's the thought that cloth is hard work, some people think they are less reliable and for others I think that they just don't know about it.  Disposable companies have millions of pounds to spend on advertising that cloth companies don't have and this puts the disposable companies at a huge advantage.  One other thing that puts people off is the nappy washing, I'm hoping this guide will help, it's really simple to do and it's not something you need to do daily, I only do around 3 a week. I shove the wash on at night and it's all done by the morning! 

Washing your cloth!

The dreaded nappy wash! The thing that puts people off even considering cloth. Images of handling poo filled terrys and sloshing wet buckets spring to minds. How times have changed! As time has moved on so has the wonderful fluffy world and also the way we wash them.  Modern cloth nappy's are more attractive than ever, not just in the way they look but also in the way they're cared for! Cloth nappy brands are making their products easier to use and they are easier to wash! With a good wash routine your nappies will last you for multiple children!

The Change!

After changing your baby's botty make sure you close any laundry tabs on the nappy's that provide them so that they don't all stick together in the wash. If using a disposable paper liner pick it up and put in the toilet as they're flushable, if using a fleece liner, shake any poop off into the toilet and put in bucket. (Breastfed baby poo is very sloppy and soluble so I threw it into my dry pail and straight in the wash it came off in initial rinse no problem)

Storing Your Dirtys!

There are 2 main ways of storing your dirty nappies either wet pail or dry pail! Both have their pro's and con's. To summarise: Wet pailing is storing your nappies in a solution (the common ones are water with bicarb or vinegar or sanitizer etc) before the wash, the pro's are that because they're wet stains don't tend to set so no prewash is needed therefore better for environment, the con's include that you have to lug a heavy bucket to the machine and deal with the poopy/urine infused water left in the bucket, you can NOT keep any waterproof nappy components eg.pockets/wraps/AIO's/elastic etc in the bucket as the prolonged soaking will deteriorate the PUL and effectiveness of the waterproof layer. So if you're using pockets etc this method isn't for you.  Dry pailing is you literally change babies bottom and throw the nappy into the empty dry bucket. The con is that any poo'ey nappies if left for a long period of time can set so best not to leave more than 2 days and a rinse cycle is recommended before the wash too, the pro's are that it's an easier system to use, you can use an XL wetbag instead of bucket if space is an issue and you do not need to seperate any waterproof items before putting in the bucket.  Little Tip: If you're getting any odours from either style pailing, a few drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil in a pad stuck to the lid or directly in the bucket works wonders

The Wash!

To save you having to touch your dirty nappies have a laundry net in your bucket then simply lift it out and place in the machine, or put your open wetbag in! If you're dry pailing run a rinse cycle first to wash excess urine/poops off the nappies. Then it's time for the proper wash! Set your machine to a nice long wash, a couple of hours or more. I wash at 40 degrees with a once weekly-fortnightly 60 wash to kill nasties but for sanitation purposes and to make sure bacteria is killed a 60 wash is recommended for the following reasons:

*Your baby under 3mth
* Your baby has an illness
*Your baby is prone to nappy rash or has a skin sensitivity
*You have more than one child using the nappies

otherwise a 40 with occasional 60 is just fine, if you do a 60 every wash it does reduce the lifespan of the nappies due to nappy components being sensitive to prolongued high heat, the velcro and waterproof layers are the main parts affected and wont last as long. If you are washing your nappies with your usual wash powder (powder rinses out better than gels/liquids) only use 1/3 - 1/2 the recommended dosage, this is to stop detergent build up in your nappy fibres, when detergent builds up nappies can hold onto smells and become less absorbant. At the end of your spin cycle if you can see bubbles you've used to much powder so run an extra rinse or two until all the bubbles have gone! Then just remember to use a bit less next time.  I have a baby/toddler function on my wash machine that automatically runs an extra rinse at the end so I use that program.  I've recently discovered a product called stinkpot and this is what I now use to wash my nappies in, I love it and have written a full review on my page!  Also, NEVER use fabric softener this will put a film on your nappy fibres and make them less absorbant.

So to summarise here are the simple steps!

1. Run a rinse cycle
2. Do a full wash cycle using only 1/3-1/2 of your recommended powder dosage (NO softeners)
3. Do an extra rinse

Dry Time!

The most economical and environmentally friendly way of drying your nappies is on the line (and lets be honest nothing looks better than a lovely line full of gorgeous fluff!) Not only does it dry your fluff it also acts as a stain remover!! Yes the sun is one of the best stain removers out there for fluff and it's all free! bamboo and cotton I personally feel do benefit from a quick 5min in the tumble after just to 'fluff them up' again to make them super duper soft, hard water areas can cause stiffness! Don't place items directly on a radiator use an airer near the radiator instead if possible, also many nappies are fine in the tumble just make sure you select the low heat option.  What I tend to do when line drying isn't possible  (Great british weather can really suck can't it!) is seperate all my shaped nappies/prefolds/inserts from anything with a waterproof layer like my pockets/wraps etc and then tumble the fluff and I hang my wraps/pocket outers on my stair gate

Organise It!

What you do next is up to you, once they're all clean you put them away how you choose, for me on the other hand this is my favourite bit!! I love grabbing all that warm fluff out the dryer and it all smelling fresh and ready to use! I stuff my pockets so they're ready to go and put them in wicker baskets and then stack my shaped fitted nappies on a shelf and ready to start over.  I love my fluffy cloth stash and it's probably the most organised part of my house haha!

I hope this has helped somewhat and please feel free to pop over to my page and say Hi whenever you can :-)

Thank you for sharing your tips Melissa! Does anyone else have any tips for washing and drying your nappies? Or any questions? Please do show Melissa some comment love and remember all comments get entered into our prize draw


  1. Another lovely post. Very informative and shows people it really isn't that bad washing your nappies!! x

  2. Melissa you are such a star spreading your fluffy love! definitely considering going luffy once my stock pile of nasty disposables is used up!

  3. Fab post Melissa :)

  4. OOo great tips, I never heard so much conflicting advice as when ever anyone asks how best to wash and dry there nappys so this is a great place to send people to have a read in the future. x

  5. Yet again Melissa is here with an amazing and informative post. Love reading her advice. Xx

  6. Excellent post :-) I put a couple of drops of tea tree oil in the drum when I do the cold rinse before the main wash as it is antibacterial then put a few drops of lavender oil in the softener drawer for the main wash so they come out smelling scrummy :-) x

  7. Fab post !! Melissa converted me to cloth 5 months ago for my 2 kiddies and I'd never go back ! X

  8. Great post. I'm just potty training my youngest and he's wearing normal pants now. I actually miss washing and hanging my fluff out to dry. It's not that hard at all.

  9. I am new to all of this and have found this and all your advice so helpful! I am getting addicted already and baby isn't even due till sept! Love your FB page too

  10. great advice! i use an ecoegg for all my washing that way i dont have to worry about using too much or too little powder I dont have a tumbledryer but have no issues getting them dry on the clothes horse. i think some people think they cant use them as they have nowhere to dry them in winter but its just the same as washing and drying clothes!

  11. I ALWAYS use too much detergent!! I end up strip washing more frequently because of it. I've only recently started rinsing before washing and I think it makes a real difference :)

  12. nice to read about washing fluff as its not often you see washing post in detail x

  13. Brilliant tips here thank you! X

  14. Great tips, and good to have the rationale to back this whole washing routine up :-)

  15. Great advice, thanks for sharing

  16. Another great post filled with lots of information and tips highlighting that washing cloth nappies is not that bad a is a 'chore' I love myself.

  17. Great post, some very useful advice that I hadn't seen before, so thank you. I used cloth on my first son just every now and then, but my second son is in them full time, has been for 3 weeks now, he's not quite 5 weeks old! And it's going well.

  18. A really useful, informative post, especially for someone like me with so much to learn about this whole new world of nappies!

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