If you’re new to the world of cloth nappies, it’s totally normal to be asking, “how do I wash them?” Thankfully washing cloth nappies is much easier than you might think! Gone are the days of soaking and scrubbing, modern cloth nappies are easy and low maintenance.
To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know about washing cloth nappies.
How to wash your cloth nappies
- Start by putting any solids into the toilet. If your little one isn’t weaned yet then solids don’t need to be removed before they go in the washing machine. Place nappies into a bucket or waterproof bag and aim to wash them every 2-3 days. If you’re using pocket nappies like ours, it can be helpful to remove the inserts before you put the nappy in the bag.
- On wash day, tip the nappies into the washing machine and run a rinse cycle with no detergent.
- Once that’s finished, run a long cycle (ideally more than 3 hours) at either 40° or 60° with a full dose of detergent. We recommend washing the waterproof part of the nappy and any wet bags at 40° to prolong their life. Absorbent inserts and wipes can be washed at 40° or 60°. For most people, washing the inserts at 40° should be fine, with the odd 60° wash where a deeper clean is needed (such as when there’s a tummy bug in town!)
- Line dry your nappies. We don’t recommend tumble drying our nappies, to help prolong their life.
A non-bio detergent is best for your nappies, and most people find that powder works better for nappies than liquid. Our favourite is Fill Laundry Powder, because it’s unscented and enzyme free. Always make sure you’re using the correct dosage of detergent per the packet and the water hardness in your area. It’s often more than you think you will need! Finally, steer clear of fabric conditioner - it will build up on your nappies and make them less absorbent.
If you’ve heard that nappies need to be soaked while they wait for the wash, don’t worry, that’s not needed for modern nappies like ours!
If your nappies are brand new, make sure you wash them at least once before you use them. The more you wash them the more absorbent they will get, so you may need to change your little one more often for the first few wears.
And finally, since your washing machine is going to be working a little harder from now on, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of running a machine clean once a month.
How to prevent stains on cloth nappies
Finding stains on your nappies isn’t necessarily a problem. As long as your nappies smell clean, stains are just cosmetic and don’t always mean you need to change your wash routine. The absolute best thing to remove stains is to dry your nappies in the sun, which is the perfect natural brightener. It doesn’t even have to be a particularly hot day - as long as the sun is shining, it will do its work.
If you’re in the middle of winter and sunshine is scarce, you can always add a gentle, earth-friendly stain remover to your wash, like Fill’s Destainer.