Prepping your nappy stash
The nappy shells, Microfibre inserts and fleece liners only require one pre-wash before use.
Natural fibres (Bamboo & Hemp inserts) will require at least 8 washes before they achieve their maximum absorbency. It is a good idea to keep you new inserts in your laundry area and include them with other household washing to help achieve the washing target before use.
Storage – Soiled Nappy
The general rules are; nappies may not be left for more than 3 days and the must be “dry” stored.
Some storage tricks:
- Use a laundry bucket with holes in the side to help air circulation
- A sanitary pad with a couple drops of Tea Tree Oil placed at the bottom of the bucket can help lessen any unpleasant odours
- Airflow is important in the storage area
Should you rinse your cloth nappies before putting them in your bucket?
Exclusively breastfed poop is water-soluble. This means that it breaks down in water and will rinse off during the pre-rinse cycle. When baby starts on formula then you should rinse your cloth nappy before storage.
You do not need to rinse urine only nappies before your wash day. However, should baby be showing signs of teething (as early as 4 months) you must rinse the nappies to remove the acidic wee. This is also a good habit to have with your night nappies. Strong and acidic wee will lead to deterioration and stink issues. Simply rinse these nappies in warm water until the smell is neutral, squeeze out the water and store as usual.
Most of the solids should be taken care of by the liner but there may be time when the liner did not catch everything. Scrap the solids into the toilet, then rinse the nappy and squeeze out as much water as possible. Do not wring your nappies.
Soaking & Wet Pails
We strongly advise that you do not soak your nappies!
Soaking and wet pail storage are outdated methods and modern cloth nappy no nos. These methods are a breeding ground for mould and bacteria and were based on a different fabric. They are unhealthy for you and baby not to mention your nappies.
There is the idea that a soak will reduce staining and shorten the washing cycle, but this will also increase the chances of damaging the fabrics, fasteners and the waterproofing. Bamboo is a delicate fabric and will not stand up the old-fashioned terry toweling nappy regime.
The use of any bleaches, softeners, soaking adds or harsh chemicals, including vinegar and bicarbonate of soda will corrode and ultimately destroy your nappies as well as void the Manufacturer’s Warranty.
A simple solution is to use Sunlight green bar soap and adding a pre-wash cycle you will achieve better results with less damage.
The Pre-Rinse Cycle
If you have a good long cycle on your washing machine, then this step may not be necessary however it is unusual to have a nappy only load so before adding your other household laundry it is a good idea. A quick pre-rinse will remove most of the urine and any lurking solid.
If you are particularly environmentally conscious, then it is possible to complete this part of your routine with your bathroom grey water. Either you can pour the water into a bucket and use a plunger to agitate the nappies, or you can use a short rinse cycle on your machine.
This cycle does not require detergent or any pre-soaking solutions.
Choosing your detergent
This can seem like a daunting task when you start your cloth nappy journey. The trick is not to over think it. The regular household detergent that you are using is probably going to be fine for your cloth nappies. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage unless you are in a hard water area.
There is only one real rule: A cloth safe detergent must be softener free. Softeners will coat the natural fibres and interfere with their ability to absorb effectively. This rule means that most baby laundry detergents are unsuitable as they contain build in softeners. They are often too mild to effectively clean cloth nappies.
The addition of bleaches, soaking agents and stain treatments is also unnecessary and while they might seem to boost your cleaning power, they cause deterioration and damage over time to the delicate natural fibres.
If you are super eco conscious you might prefer a natural plant-based detergent. It is important to note that these can often be too mild when used as directed. There will be some trial and error to get the right amount of detergent and rinses for thoroughly cleaned nappies.
If you notice a white flaky build-up on our water using appliance, you probably have hard water. This can make cleaning your nappies challenging but here are some tips to ease the difficulties.
Hard water has a high Magnesium and Calcium content. Detergents are more likely to bind with these particles than the fabric making them less effective. If not managed properly hard water will lead to build which will cause stink issues.
Follow these steps to ensure that you are getting the best clean from your water situation:
- Warm water washing. This helps your detergent dissolve and aids better cleaning power.
- Use detergents that have water softening properties or switch to liquid detergents.
- Use more than the recommend dosage.
- Do not use vinegar. This will cause more stick issues.
- Do not add rinse cycles. Extra rinsing with hard water can lead to more mineral deposits.
- Use only enough water to reach the desirable “soupy” consistency.
- Avoid Borax and Washing Soda, while these agents cab help achieve an easier clean, they will damage your nappies in the long run.
- Do not use softeners! They will not soften the water and will cause stinks and leaking issues.
Know your washing machine
Modern cloth nappies need a balance of detergent, agitation, time and temperature to ensure that they are properly cleaned. All machines are different, so it is important that you understand the capacity and washing cycles for your machine.
Your load of nappies should be approximately ¾ of the washing machine drum. Too many nappies will mean that they will not agitate properly and too few nappies will lead to an unbalanced load. Add a towel if your load is less than ¾ of the washing machine drum.
An incorrect load will also change the effectiveness of your detergent. When removing your nappies, they should not smell of anything; too little detergent will not clean the nappies and too much will lead to soap build up.
Modern cloth nappies will benefit most from a long wash cycle. Check your washing machine instruction manual for the best cycle. Often named the Cotton or Fuzzy cycle.
Always check the temperature settings of your machine, we do not recommend washing your nappies over 40⁰C. At the end of your washing cycle there should be no soap suds and your nappies should not smell of anything; good or bad.
Can I handwash my nappies?
Yes! In fact, there are times when it is unavoidable. We recommend the Bucky & Plunger Method.
Follow the same storage routine as for machine washing. On wash day submerge your nappies in clean water and use a regular toilet plunger to agitate. To ensure a decent rinse count out 50 plunges. Drain water.
If you have covers in the load, it is time to remove them from the bucket. Gently wash them separately. Place them in a towel to wring out before hanging to dry. Please note that covers should be dried in the shade.
Refill the bucket with warm water and the recommend dose of detergent. Use your plunger to agitate the nappies. Make sure that your count out at least 100 plunges before draining the water.
Repeat the rinse cycle, refill the bucket with clean water and plunge at least 50 times. Drain the water and gently wring out your nappies. If you notice that you still have a urine smell repeat your wash repeat and rinse again. If you still feel soapiness on your nappies repeat the final rinse step.
Once your nappies are clean and as much water as possible has be squeezed out it is time to line dry.
Drying your nappies
Sun dry = best dry
Drying your nappies outside on the washing line is our number one suggestion. The sun has natural bleaching power, this will help with stains and ensure that any lurking spores or bacteria is destroyed. Hang your nappies over the line exposing the inside lining to the sun.
It is possible to dry your nappies in a tumble dryer or dry buddy but remember to make sure it is a low-heat or no-heat setting. The PUL fabric will delaminate if exposed to high temperatures. Do not use any drying sheets with your nappies. These will cause waxy build up on your nappies and lead to leaking issues.
Nappies can also be dried on a clothes horse or washing line in a well ventilated, sunlit room.
Always ensure that your nappies are thoroughly dry before folding and packing away.