Cloth Nappy FAQ

Cloth Nappy FAQLouise from Gentle Baby has put together this handy Cloth Nappy FAQ.

How many do I need?

You need to have about 18 – 24 cloth nappies. This will allow you to wash every 2nd day and use cloth nappies full time.

What else will I need to get?

You do need a few accessories for cloth nappies.

  • Extra Boosters which will allow you increase the absorbency of your nappy.
  • Flushable Liners which catches the poo while allowing the wee to go through to nappy.
  • A nappy bucket with a lid is very handy to have to put wet/soiled nappies in.
  • Cloth Wipes which are gentler than disposable wipes. Wet with warm water and wipe that wee bottom clean, throw in bucket with nappies.
  • Wet Bags are ideal for using when out and about and taking cloth nappies to day care.  These are water proof bags which wet and soiled nappies can be placed.
  • Extra inserts for pocket nappies and snap in one nappies are always handy to have on hand.
  • Nappy Barrier Cream for nappy rash or irritated bottoms (make sure you use a liner with all nappy creams).

Why is my cloth nappy leaking?

A good fitting nappy should not leak. Disposables are prone to leaks just as much as cloth nappies and this is usually due to the nappy not fitting properly around the legs and in some case around the back and tummy to contain those explosive poos.

You also could have a heavy wetter so the first thing to try is adding more inserts and seeing if that helps.  A good cloth nappy should give you at least 2 hours between changes.

This is why we say it is so important to get one or two of the brands you like the look of before splashing out and buying heaps in one go. Each nappy brand has different features and the nappy shapes are different so depending on your baby the fit will be different with each one.

Things to look for a good fit:

  • There is no gaps around the legs – a good test is to move your baby’s legs around making sure there are no gaps.
  • The rise of the nappy (the height at which the nappy sits on their waist) is high enough at the back and the front. If you can see down their back when sitting up, this is a sign that the nappy is either done up to loosely or too big.
  • If the nappy cuts into their skin, leaving nasty red marks then the nappy is too small or done up too tightly.

If you have checked the above and still are experiencing leaks, please give us a call or send an email and we will work with you to try and fix the problem.

The nappy brand just may not be suited to your child (which is common) so before getting frustrated and throwing reusable cloth nappies out the window, come talk to me and I will try and help you solve the problem.

Can I use cloth nappies on a newborn?

Yes you certainly can! Most small nappies will fit newborns right from birth, some brands do offer a newborn size for the smaller babies.

Cloth nappies are fantastic for containing those explosive poos babies are well known for – in my personal experience disposables are pretty useless at containing them especially if the poo goes up the back. We have not yet had a poo escape from a cloth nappy!

Do I need to soak my nappies?

No, soaking can damage the waterproof lining and elastic decreasing the lifespan of your nappy.  Rinse poo off straight away and wash within 24 hours. Line drying in sun will help remove stains.

How do I wash and care for my cloth nappies?

  • Remove the poo from nappy and flush down the toilet – we highly recommend using a nappy liner to make this really easy
  • If using a pocket nappy, remove insert before putting the wet/dirty nappy into a dry pail (or lidded bucket)
  • Wash wet and soiled nappies with 24 hours to prevent the urine from corroding the fabrics and stains and odours from developing.
  • Gentle machine wash in cold or warm water. We recommend cold to 40 degrees but not hotter than 60 degrees maximum as the heat will ruin the bamboo fabric over time.  Handy Hint: For best washing results, choose either a pre-wash or rinse cycle then a wash cycle.
  • Line dry in sun or use a cool to warm tumble dry setting
  • Put nappies back together ready for the next use.

Handy Hints:

  • To keep your nappies soft, tumble dry for 10 mins before hanging on line in sun as normal.
  • A capful of Dettol Fresh in the wash every few months is a good way to give your nappies a freshen up and kill any nasties that maybe hiding in the fabrics.
  • A drop of tea tree oil or lavender oil on a wash cloth in the nappy bucket will help keep any smells away
  • Soak new nappies in a bucket of cold water for 8 to 24 hours to increase the absorbency of your nappies. This will allow you to use them straight away without washing a few times first.
  • If your nappies are leaking and you need to remove build up of nappy rash creams, try scrubbing the nappy with a little bit of dishwashing liquid.
  • To reduce the strain on the bamboo fabric and the elastic, remove any snap in boosters and hang separately (do not hang by sewn in boosters!). Hang your nappies and boosters directly over the middle so there is equal weight hanging on each of the line. Drying with the bamboo side facing up to the sun is faster.
  • Using a tumble dryer sometimes is ok – especially during the cooler months when sun shine is limited. Use a warm setting to prevent the bamboo from shrinking or the waterproof lining to blister.
  • Ensure nappies are 100% dry before putting away. If the bamboo fabric is cool is touch, it is not dry. Nappies that are not fully dry before use will not be absorbent and may leak.

Things to Avoid:

  • Do not use fabric softener as this will damage the waterproof lining as well as decrease the absorbency of the bamboo fabric.
  • We do not recommend the use of Ecostore powder for the Ecobubs wool pocket nappies. This washing powder is not meant to be used on woollen items and may cause damage the to nappy outer. The Ecostore liquid wash is perfect for use on the Ecobubs nappies. Do NOT use the following on Ecobubs products – bleach, enzyme-based detergents, fabric softner or dry cleaning chemicals.
  • Avoid laundry powders containing fabric softener or soap (such as Lux Soap Flakes) as these will coat the fabric fibers, affecting the absorbency levels of the nappies.
  • Avoid soaking using chlorine bleach and soakers containing oxygen bleach as regular use can damage the elastic and waterproof lining in your nappies and covers. Soaking isn’t normally required as modern day laundry powder will remove stains easily as will line drying in the sun.
  • Avoid stripping your nappies (a washing method designed to remove any build up on the fabric) using vinegar (white) and baking soda as the chemical reaction from these two chemicals mixing can corrode natural fibres such as hemp and bamboo.
  • Avoid washing your nappies in water not hotter than 60 degrees (40 degrees or colder is ideal).
  • Avoid tumble drying your nappies on a hot setting. Warm setting is ok but line drying is preferred.

Recommended Laundry Powders:

It can be so hard to know which laundry powder is best for your washing your cloth nappies with. The team at Scamps Boutique has done their research and put together a easy to follow guide. Modern cloth nappies are easy because they don’t require bleaching, soaking, hot washing or ironing.

Enzyme Free:

  • Rockin’ Green
  • Tots Bots Nappy Potion
  • Soapnuts or Washberries
  • Eco Store Powder
  • Eco Store Liquid

Why enzyme free? Enzymes coat the fabrics of your nappies which can cause build up leading to leaks and skin irritation.

With Enzymes:

  • Next Generation Powder
  • Persil
  • Persil Sensitive
  • Reflex
  • Drive
  • Surf

When using laundry powder with enzymes make sure you do an extra rinse cycle to remove all the residue from your nappies.

Updated March 2013

Reference:  Article Supplied by Gentle Baby

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