If you’re new to cloth nappies, then the internet can be a minefield of information, sometimes over complicating everything about cloth nappies.
Here we will explain all you need to know to get started.
Although there are an array of names for all the types of cloth nappies out there, all you need to know is there is an ABSORBENT PART (i.e inserts and boosters) and a WATERPROOF PART (i.e the wrap, cover or shell). With most nappies the absorbency (i.e. how many inserts you use in the nappy) can be as little or as much as you need for your baby. A smaller baby may only need one insert, but as they grow you will find that insufficient, then you can add an additional insert.
The Pokkit, is a pocket nappy, and comes with two bamboo inserts. The inserts slot into the pocket at the back. Use one or two depending on required absorbency. The fabric that touches baby's skin is a soft stay dry fleece.
The Econo, is a two part system, consisting of the shell and 2 supersized inserts, one hemp and one bamboo topped with stay dry fleece. The inserts simply snap into place in the shell.
Our nappies usually don't fit straight from birth, although depending on the size of your baby can within the first month be used with just one insert. By the time your baby is around 4 weeks old, or around 8-10lb your baby should fit in their one size nappies. Your new born may quickly out wet one insert, so you will soon need to add an extra.
The nappies should be washed at least once before first use. Our inserts are made from hemp and bamboo. Hemp and bamboo are natural fibres, and hence their natural oils can repel water, affecting the absorbency in the first few uses. It can take up to 10 washes before they reach maximum absorbency. Then you will really appreciate their magic.
HOW TO USE
Nappy changes are simple. If your baby is breastfed, there’s no need to dispose of the poo, as it’s water soluble, it washes out in your washing machine. Simply pull out the inserts at least partly, if using pocket nappies, and place the dirty nappies in a wet bag or bucket until wash day, usually every 2-3 days. Once baby is on solid foods, you just shake the poo off into the toilet, and place the dirty nappy into the wet bag/bucket. Some people find using disposable bamboo liners or reusable fleece liners makes this easier.
Once you have enough nappies for a wash, load your nappies into the washing machine. The number of nappies you should wash at once very much depends on the capacity of your machine. Just remember that there needs to be enough nappies to create agitation and get a good clean; but not so many that there is no room for the nappies to move around freely.
Start with a cold rinse cycle, on reduced spin, to wash out any solids and saturate nappies with water. Follow this with a full wash at either 40 or 60 degrees, using half the amount of the recommended dose of detergent (check the back of your detergent box, this can be altered to your needs). We recommend any non-bio washing powder. Ensure that you select a cycle that uses extra water, and remember to use a spin setting no higher than 1000.
When the wash is completed, it’s important that the nappies don’t smell of detergent, as this could cause detergent build up over time, and affect the absorbency of the nappies. In this case, you either need to reduce the amount of detergent you are using, or check that you are using a wash cycle with plenty of water, which ensures the detergent is being washed out fully. An extra rinse at the end will wash out the excess detergent.
The last step is to dry the nappies. The best way to dry is outside on the line, but for half the year this can be a struggle in the UK. The next best thing is drying indoors, away from direct heat. A drying rack near a heater usually does the trick in winter! If both of these are not possible then you can tumble dry on low. It’s best not to put the waterproof part in the dryer, as those will dry very quickly anyway, and the drier will cause damage to the waterproofing and elastics overtime. Do not dry nappies directly on a heater/radiater.
Wash in 3 Simple Steps
1- Rinse cycle- cold - reduced spin (<1000) - no detergent
2- Full wash cycle -40C/60C - reduced spin (<1000)- extra water- half recommended detergent
3- Line dry/ dry indoors/ tumble dry on low- Air dry covers and pockets
SMELLS & LEAKS
It’s not normal for cloth nappies to give off a potent smell as soon as baby wees; it is a sign that there is some build up of detergent in the nappies and they may need a strip wash. Another sign that your nappies need a strip wash is a lot of leaking. A strip wash is simply a more thorough wash to get all those fibres in the cloth completely clean. Simply follow these 3 steps.
1- Cold rinse cycle with no detergent
2- Full wash cycle -40C/60C - extra water*- half recommended detergent
3- Full wash cycle -40C/60C - extra water*- no detergent
If you still see suds forming in the drum near the end of the final wash, then repeat the rinse cycle until the suds no longer appear.
*Extra water- its necessary that cloth nappies are washed on a setting that uses extra water, as the cloth nappies are by nature absorbent, they will hold a lot of the water in the wash cycle. Therefore without the extra water there is not enough agitation to get the nappies clean. Refer to your washing machine manual to find the appropriate settings for washing your cloth nappies.
Do not use bleach, fabric softeners or vinegars. These will cause damage to your nappies. If using barrier creams, remember to use a liner as the creams can become trapped in the fibres of the nappy, causing leaks.