Washing Tips

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:

  1. Use a laundry bucket with holes in the side to help air circulation
  2. A sanitary pad with a couple drops of Tea Tree Oil placed at the bottom of the bucket can help lessen any unpleasant odours
  3. Airflow is important in the storage area

Should you rinse your cloth nappies before putting them in your bucket?

 Most of the solids should be taken care of by the liner but there may be time when the liner did not catch everything.

Exclusively breastfed poop is water-soluble. This means that it breaks down in water and will rinse off during the pre-rinse or wash cycle. When baby starts on solids then you should immediately rinse your cloth nappy.

Formula stool should also be rinsed.

Urine does not need to be rinsed off before you start your wash routine but if baby has an acidic wee (during teething) it is not a bad idea to give the nappy a quick rinse.

Before you put the nappy in the bucket remember to remove and unsnap the inserts.


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Soaking and wet pail storage are outdated methods and modern cloth nappy no nos.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 in the case of a particularly soiled load or if you would like to add other household washing to your load then a pre-rinse cycle can help.

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

A cloth safe detergent must be softener free. Softeners will coat the natural fibres and interfere with their ability to absorb effectively.

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage unless you are in a hard water area.

South African Cloth Nappy Users Laundry Detergent List

Brand Top Loader Front Loader Notes
Ariel Capsules 1 capsule 1 capsule If you have hard water, you need to use 2 capsules
Ariel Auto Liquid 110ml 73ml
Ariel Auto Powder 1.5 cup 1 cup 1 cup = 180ml. Add half a cup to these for heavily soiled loads
Bio Classic Liquid 1.5 cap 1 cap = 35ml. Not indicated for top loader
Bio Classic Powder 4 heaped scoops Indication for 7kg machine. 3 scoops for 5kg. Not indicated for top loaders. Twin tubs use same amount as front loaders
Earthsap Laundry Liquid 45ml 45ml No distinction between top & front loaders. You may need to increase dose for top loaders
Earthsap Powder 250ml 250ml
Exello Powder ¾ cup Not for front loaders
Golden Products G1 Laundry Compound 3 heaped scoops
Omo Capsules 2 capsules 2 capsules No distinction on the package for front vs top loader
Omo Auto Liquid 1.5 cap 1 cap 1 cap = 75ml
Omo Auto Powder 1.5 scoop 1 scoop 1 scoop = 180ml
MAQ 1 cap 1 cap Buy the one without softener
Probac 60ml 60ml Dosage is for 7kg machine, increase for 13kg
Triple Orange 25ml 25ml No distinction between top & front loaders. You may need to increase dose for top loader
Skip 1.5 scoop 1 full scoop Scoop = 180ml
Sunlight Gel (homemade) ¾ cup ¾ cup Increase the amount for a 13kg machine
Surf Auto Liquid 1.5 cap 1 cap = 75ml. Best suited to top loaders, as per the package
Woolworths Auto Laundry Liquid 150ml 125ml You may need to increase the amount of detergent for heavily soiled items as per packaging
Woolies Earth Friendly Liquid 15ml 15ml No distinction for heavily soiled items


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.

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.

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