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Cloth Nappies. Mythbusters

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

A lot of parents are put off the idea of using cloth nappies because they believe it can be expensive and hard work. Here we will look at some of the reasons cloth is easier than you may think...

Are cloth nappies cheaper?

While the initial cost can be high it does mean there is very little ongoing cost. The overall cost of cloth nappies is lower too. Some retailers offer payment plans to spread the cost over a few months which can be handy.

Are cloth nappies better?

A generation ago cloth was hard work. Before the invention of modern washing machines nappies needed to be soaked in water to prevent stains, boiled on the stove to ensure hygiene and washed by hand or machine. Modern nappies and washing machines almost all of this process unnecessary. Nappies don't need to be soaked - in fact it is not recommended because it can damage them and buckets of water full of bacteria is not something you want around the house! Washing machines these days are efficient enough to do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is prewash nappies then press a few buttons again for a full wash. Easy peasy!

How do I wash soiled cloth nappies?

Cloth nappies need washing once every 2-3 days. Washing machines these days tend to have a water-saving feature whereby they weigh the load and measure the minimum amount of water possible to wash it. This means that even with a pre wash washing nappies will use the equivalent of 2-3 toilet flushes a day so even less water than your child will use once toilet trained. Globally using cloth nappies uses less water overall as the process of making disposables uses more than cloth.

Cloth or disposable?

After use any solid waste is tipped into the toilet nappies are stored dry in a bucket or basket ready to wash. Modern nappies can be folded over so even when loading the washing machine you don't need to touch anything unpleasant.

Do cloth nappies leak?

Leaking is usually caused by a fit issue. Fitting guides can be found online to show how nappies need to sit low on the baby's back, be tucked into the knicker line and secure around the thighs. Cloth nappies can be as effective as disposables when used properly!

Some nappies may leak before reaching their full absorbency. This takes 8-10 washes so be patient.

Are cloth nappies bulky?

Until recently cloth nappies were usually made from cotton, microfiber or a combination of the two. This did mean that in order to work well they had to be very thick! Super absorbent fabrics using materials such as bamboo and hemp have since been developed which means nappies can be really absorbent and remain trim fitting.

Are cloth nappies better for nappy rash?

Most nappies come with a "stay dry" layer made from either fleece or suede cloth to draw moisture away from the skin. This means there is no difference between cloth and disposable when it comes to rashes. In fact, a lot of parents notice the opposite to be the case; rashes can be caused by a reaction to some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process of disposables.

Are cloth nappies inconvenient?

On average according to parents interviewed cloth nappies create an extra 6 minutes a day of work. They are so easy to wash and quick to hang to dry it takes hardly any time! Babies create so much extra washing anyway you'll barely even notice the extra load.

Cloth nappies don't work for every family. However they are rarely as much work as you might expect! In reality these days cloth nappies are a fantastic way to save the planet and keep your baby dry and comfortable.

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