Useful things like making sure the fit is right, washing and drying, poo, dealing with stains, avoiding leaks, dressing the cloth bum and how to use washable nappies out and about and at nighttime
Getting the fit right
You need to make sure that the washable nappies are fitted correctly otherwise they’ll leak. This great short film from YouTube shows you how to get the best fit. If you do get leaks we have a section of information to help.
The main tips are:
- The back of the washable nappy only goes as high as the top of the bottom cheeks, then do it up and if the top of the nappy at the front sits just under the tummy button then it’s the right height.
- Make sure that there’s no fabric peeking out from the waterproof cover of the nappy.
- Do up the velcro or poppers so you can get 2 fingers down the front of the nappy.
- Make sure the nappy is in the creases of the leg otherwise the nappy will be really bulky and may leak.
- On first wear with the birth to potty nappies adjust the poppers going vertically down the nappy when it's being worn to get a snug fit.
Washing and drying
Once the nappy has been used just put it in the nappy bucket with the mesh bag in it. If the nappy fastens with Velcro fold the Velcro back on to the non-sticky part so the tabs don't attach to everything else in the wash. If the nappy has poo in it there’s no need to soak it first. As long as your baby hasn’t started solid foods just put the whole nappy including the poo in to the bucket. If you’re already on solid food remove the more solid bits of poo before putting it in the bucket – check out our poo section for ways to do this that you may be comfortable with.
Once the bucket is full or after 2 days take the mesh bag or wet bag and put it all (bag included) in the washing machine.
- Wash at either 40 or 60 degrees, we suggest using a prewash and washing at 60 if there are lots of poo nappies in the load.
- Use non-biological washing powder or liquid only. Please do not use biological washing products as these can damage some of the fabrics
- You can wash nappies with other items, the 60 degree wash and detergent will get the nappies and your clothes clean.
- Try to wash dirty nappies every 2 or 3 days. If you leave it longer than that they’ll be rather smelly.
- DO NOT use fabric softener - this can reduce the absorbency.
If you’ve been doing a bit of research about washable nappies you may have read about using nappy sanitisers in the wash. We haven’t included one in the pack as it isn’t essential when washing the nappies.
Line dry, put over an airer or tumble dry on cool (hot drying can cause shrinking or other damage). NEVER put a washable nappy on to a direct heat source like a radiator.
Bamboo nappies and boosters will take longer to dry as they’re very absorbent. For bamboo nappies think of the drying time as similar to a pair of jeans.
Let’s be honest, this is probably the reason why a lot more babies aren’t looking stylish in fabric nappies. The thought of handing poo and putting poo nappies in the washing machine can be quite off-putting.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time googling poo since your little one arrived, well here’s more about it. If your baby is still only drinking milk (breast or formula) the poo is water soluble and will just disappear when the nappy is washed. Weaning poo is more solid and you need to remove the more solid bits as they won’t just dissolve in the washing machine. You can do this in several ways – hold it under the toilet flush so that washes some of it away, wipe it off with toilet roll which can just be flushed or have a dedicate ‘poo spoon or spatula’ to scrape it off.
Once your baby eats more solid food than milk the poo is much firmer and will just slide off the liner when it’s held upright over the toilet.
The pack also includes disposable paper liners which when used as the top layer in the nappy should catch the poo. These work best on more solid poo.
Sometimes poo stains are hard to remove. If they don't come out in the wash then don't panic. Just wet the stain again and place the nappy in direct sunlight - on a washing line or windowsill for example. The sun fades the stain and it doesn't even need to be very sunny to work. This works well for clothing too.
We hope these are few and far between but as you’ll know from your current use of disposables, it does happen, no matter how carefully you put it on.
Here’s a guide to finding out why your nappy is leaking:
- Is it on properly? If it's too loose around the middle or legs then things will get out. This short film on YouTube is a great introduction but there are others online too.
- Check how wet it is. If all layers are soaked through then it’s just reached its absorbency limit. Try adding more boosters or checking how long the nappy has been on and if possible changing a little sooner.
- Can you see any fabric peeking out from the waterproof layer, perhaps around the legs or at the back. If so, that's probably why it's a bit wet outside the nappy.
- If it’s not soaked through then is it leaking from just one place? Could that be because your child has been moving around and the nappy moved or perhaps they’ve been laying on their front instead of back? You can add more boosters or fold the boosters so there’s more absorbency where you need it. If it keeps happening, maybe the cut of the nappy isn't quite right for the shape of your little one at the moment.
- Sometimes you can get compression leaks caused by clothing being too tight and squeezing the nappy. If your little one is close to growing out of a clothing size then use the vest extenders we’ve provided in the pack on a bodysuit. This should give you a little more room and stop the problem.
If you still have leaks then get in touch with us or try posting in the Facebook group to see if anyone has advice to share.
There is no evidence out there to suggest your baby is more likely to get nappy rash whether you use cloth nappies or disposable ones. Nappy rash is simply caused by poo being in contact with the skin for a period of time and your baby may be more or less sensitive to it than other babies. Once you know your baby has pooed change them as soon as you can and if you can put a bit of nappy free time in to every day.
The only difference when treating nappy rash when you use washable nappies is that if you use a traditional barrier cream like sudocream or bepanthen it will stop your washable nappies absorbing moisture. Instead a moisturising cream should be used e.g. coconut oil or Waitrose's Bottom Butter.
Some washable nappies are bulkier than disposables, especially if you've added lots of boosters. This can cause a few fitting issues with trousers and bodysuits. If your little one is just on the cusp of growing out of a size and you want to get the most from the bodysuit then use the vest extenders included in the pack. With trousers you'll need to try with what you've got and see what fits. Just like with adult clothes all brands fit slightly differently, but you've probably worked that out by now too! There are some brands out there that are made to accommodate cloth nappies so if you switch to washables in the long run you can plan your clothes shopping around those brands. We can tell you some of the brands that are cut to accommate a washable nappy covered bottom.
Out and About
You don't have to use washable nappies all the time, many people choose to use disposables out and about and cloth at home. If you do want to give it a try away from the house here's what you need to do – put a nappy, (washable wipe if you're using them) and the wet bag in to your changing bag. When you've done the change just put the used nappy in to the wet bag. Wet bags are great and can be used for anything that gets wet with sick, wee or poo.
There is no reason why using a washable nappy means your baby will wake up at night. If your little one has finally cracked a 10 hour sleep and you're really worried about them waking upthen you could continue using disposables at night and washables during the day. But if you know you'll have to get up anyway does it really make a difference? From the pack we recommend Little Lamb bamboo or Bamboozle with a wrap and boosters for night time.