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When older generations hear about cloth nappies, they describe the soaking of pails full of smelly diapers, boiling them, and folding towels. They may also mention accidents with safety pins. The best reusable diapers are as easy to use as disposables. They’re elasticated, shaped, and fastened by velcro, poppers, or velcro. And they come in an array of designs. They’re also easier to maintain: no need to soak or boil them; throw them in the washer. We are truly living in the golden age of reusable diapers. Here is a quick look at the top five. After I’ve answered some key questions, you can find the total reviews below.
Why Buy Reusable Nappys?
Save a mountainous amount of garbage. Most toddlers outgrow their nappies by the time they reach three years. If you replace one disposable napkin daily with a reusable nappy, you could save 900 disposable nappies that would otherwise end up in landfills that take hundreds of years to decompose.
Parents also opt for cloth nappies to avoid the chemicals in disposables. One report found that disposable diapers contain various chemicals the skin could absorb through urine.
Why don’t we use reusables more? Some people may be put off the idea of using and cleaning reusable nappies, but it is not as bad as they think. Permeable Nappy Liners are used to catch non-liquid waste. They sit between the baby’s skin and the cloth nappies. The liner can be thrown away in the same way as a disposable diaper.
It takes some time to wash the nappies, but after you get the hang of it, the process is no different than washing the mucky onesies of your family members at the end of a long day. Below this article, I answer frequently asked questions about how to wash nappies and where to find help.
Are reusable nappies more expensive?
There is an initial price: disposable nappies cost a few pennies, but reusable nappies cost pounds. Once you have stocked up on cloth nappies, you won’t need to purchase more. Some councils provide vouchers or money back to parents who buy cloth nappies. The postcode lottery is an excellent way to see if there are any help options in your area.
The most important thing to consider when choosing cloth nappies is that they should suit your needs. A specialist seller, Wendy Richards of the Nappy Lady, summarizes this: “There’s no such thing as a best reusable diaper, but only a nappy that suits your lifestyle.”
What is the best diaper for my baby, and how do I choose it?
When searching for the perfect nappy, there are many factors to consider: your baby’s size and shape, whether or not they leak, and, most importantly, your home washing and dryer facilities. When I used cloth nappies exclusively, I washed one batch every two to three days. You’ll want to use quick-drying diapers if you live in a cold, damp, or small area.
While the choices can seem overwhelming, there are two main options.
One-part nappies involve fastening one layer around your child, much like a disposable nappy. They are convenient and quickest to put on but offer less absorbency and containment than a two-part system because they tend to have one set of elastic and a smaller absorbent core.
Two-part nappies involve using a cloth nappy with a different wrap. They’re unbeatable for absorbency and containment. The whole nappy of the inner layer is made from an absorbent material, so they are often used as night-time nappies or for nap times and long journeys.
They also have two sets of elastic, making them likely to contain even the most explosive expulsions. They tend to dry slower because they absorb more, but if you have a heavy wetter and space to dry the nappies, they’re a reliable regular option. Two-parters are cheaper because you only need a few wraps to cover a stash of nappies.
The best nappies, before and after testing. The Nappi Nippa fastening, top right, is a modern alternative to safety pins.
How I Tested the best reusable Nappies
I first tested reusable nappies for the Telegraph in 2019 with my first child and used them for years. For this update, I’ve tested dozens of new nappies on my second child, a ten-month-old baby. I also tried a variety of pull-up pants on my three-year-old overnight. Here’s what I’ve found in my search for the best reusable nappies on the market. (If you have a new arrival, read our guide to the best high chairs, travel cots, prams, pushchairs, and baby carriers.)
Best one-part nappy with popper fastening
You pop on this all-in-one just as you would a disposable nappy, only it fastens with poppers rather than sticky tabs (with the advantage that mischievous baby hands can’t easily undo it). After use, put it straight into your nappy bucket, ready for washing. It couldn’t be easier to use.
The clever thing about the Wizard Uno is that it has the convenience of a one-part nappy while approximating the performance of a two-part nappy because it has two layers of elastic which provide excellent containment and minimize leaks. The attached inner absorbent pad is elasticated, and there is a space between it and the elastic of the outside waterproof layer. The outer layer is made of the same fabric as the Motherease Airflow wrap (reviewed below), which is widely regarded as the best nappy wrap on the market.
The pad is made of a particular stay-dry synthetic fabric that performs well, makes for a slim fit, and dries quickly. I found my son stayed drier in these Canadian nappies for longer than other one-part nappies, and they were less prone to pesky leaks. Wendy has seen the same in her vast experience too.