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What are the benefits of using cloth nappies?

There are many reasons people now choose to use cloth nappies. The simple facts are that real nappies are kinder to the environment, kinder to your wallet, kinder to your baby's skin, and all our nappies are much more attractive than disposables! Modern cloth nappies are simple to use, VERY reliable and, contrary to popular belief, do not mean you spend all your time washing and drying them.

How many reusable nappies will I need?

How many reusable nappies you require depends on a few factors. Newborn babies need changing much more frequently than older babies, and so may require more nappies. If you are using cloth nappies full-time we usually recommend that you have about 20 nappies, meaning a washing load is only required every 2-3 days. If you are happy to wash more often, fewer nappies would be needed. If you are using a hybrid system, or two part system, you are likely to need about 5 waterproof outers, and 20 absorbent inners.

What are all the different types of real nappies and which one is best?

Which real nappies are best is very much a personal choice, and what works for some people will not work for the next. Below is a list of the different types of nappy, with some brief pros and cons. If you want any more advice please feel free to contact us at

Pocket nappies - these have a waterproof outer layer and a stay-dry inner layer (usually fleece or suedecloth), between which is a pocket. An absorbent insert is placed into this pocket to soak everything up. These are easy to use, and the insert can be removed to speed up drying times.

All in one nappies - these have both a waterproof layer and an absorbent layer sewn together into one piece, and are the easiest type to put on. The disadvantage is that they take longer to dry than nappies where the absorbent insert can be removed.

All in two nappies - these have a waterproof outer shell, and absorbent inserts which attach inside the nappy (usually with poppers). They simply pop together and are very straightforward to use. The insert can then changed for a new one if just wet, only needing to replace the whole nappy if the waterproof outer gets soiled.

Fitted nappies - these are made from absorbent fabrics and do not contain a waterproof layer. They are usually more absorbent than other types of nappy, and are often chosen for night-time wear. They can take a while to dry and require a waterproof wrap to be worn on top of them.

Flat nappies or prefolds - these are a simple piece of flat absorbent material which is folded and then placed inside a waterproof wrap. Some flat nappies can be folded around the baby's bottom and held in place with pins or nappy nippas before adding the wrap.

Wraps - waterproof layer for use over fitted nappies. These can also be used as swim nappies by themselves.

One-size - These nappies can be adjusted to fit most babies from birth to potty. Please check each brand for more information on sizes.

Inserts - go inside pocket or all-in-two nappies. These  usually come with the nappies, but can also be bought separately to boost absorbency.

Boosters - smaller than an insert, these are used to add extra absorbency to nappies without as much bulk as a full insert.

Liners - come in both flushable/disposable form, or reusable. Can help to prevent staining and make disposal of solids easier.

How do I care for my reusable nappies?

Below are general care instructions, but each brand may differ. Please check labels for specific wash instructions. Please note - new nappies in bright colours may run for the first few washes. Please ensure you wash them with like colours and/or use a colour-catcher sheet.

How should I store the nappies?
Once the nappy has been used, any solids should be shaken off down the toilet (or disposable liner removed and flushed). Milk-fed poo can simply be left on the nappy, or rinsed if you prefer.
If your nappy has velcro tabs, make sure these are closed or folded onto the laundry tabs, this will prevent nappy chains and keep the velcro in best condition. The nappies should then be kept in a dry nappy pail or wetbag until you are ready to wash them (no need to soak, this can also sometimes degrade modern nappy materials). The pail or bag should contain any unpleasant smells.
When you are ready to wash, simply empty the nappies into the washing machine and away you go.

How do I wash cloth nappies?
Most real nappies can be washed at up to 60 degrees, though we recommend using a 40 degree wash most of the time as this will increase the life of the nappy. We have personally found the following wash cycle to be most effective:

  • Cold prewash/rinse with NO detergent (gets rid of solids and helps prevent staining)
  • Wash on a 40-60 degree wash with detergent. Use approx 2/3 of a normal amount of detergent - too little leaves the nappies still dirty, too much can cause detergent build-up which reduces absorbency. DO NOT use fabrics softeners. Either Bio or non-bio washing powder can be used, but some people report Bio to be more effective.
  • Sometimes nappies may need an extra rinse to ensure all detergent is removed from the nappies.
  • We do not guarantee our nappies if you add bleach or vinegar to the wash or wash at higher temperatures.

How do I dry cloth nappies?
Line drying is the best method, not only for the environment, but sunshine also helps bleach out any stains from cloth nappies. Most modern nappies will dry overnight on a rack inside if the weather is not being kind.  Alternatively  they can  be tumbled on LOW setting to speed up drying times.
Please note, PUL will 'melt' if dried at too hot a temperature - DO NOT put on the radiators or on a high heat in the tumble dryer.