Are you new to cloth nappies?

For all the benefits in using cloth there are not so many drawbacks. Sure, they need washing, but so do all those little clothes and bedding. They will all get soiled – mark my words. The beauty of using cloth nappies in 2021 is that they really don’t take much more care than the rest of the washing. No longer are we boiling, bleaching or requiring hard manual labour to get through a load of nappies. It can be overwhelming though, before you have started, so here is an easy to manage guide, with a no nonsense laundry printable at the end if you want to keep a hardcopy on hand.

‘The beauty of using cloth nappies in 2020 is that they really don’t take much more care than the rest of the washing’

How to use cloth nappies 101:

  1. Buy some to try, the simpler the better for those first ones. For a guide on how many cloth nappies you will need [head over here] (will open in a separate tab).
  2. Give them a few washes before baby arrives. Hang them on the line and admire their simple, wholesome beauty.
  3. Try them on a teddy, doll or your cat – get a feel for how they work before baby arrives.
  4. When you feel ready, try them on baby (as the cat breathes a sign of relief).
    Remember, you don’t have to take them to the hospital or birth centre with you – just keep them close by so that you can have a go when the fancy takes you.
  5. If you find you have questions or feel overwhelmed, ask for help – join a group like the Australian Nappy Association‘s Facebook Group, our own Community Group or contact us directly, we are always keen to chat cloth with you.

How many cloth nappies do I need?

It is completely reasonable, and common, to start with one. If you want to stash up for full or part time use, and avoid single use as much as possible, then we recommend 24 to 30 nappies for full-time cloth – and just halve that amount for part-time use. We have a [comprehensive guide here – coming soon], you can save it to your phone or device to refer to when shopping.

How do cloth nappies actually work?

You will fit a cloth nappy in much the same way as a disposable. You can watch a demonstration here, but it will be quite natural once you have it in your hands. A modern cloth nappy is generally made from a water resistant outer ‘shell’ sewn to an inner layer of skin friendly fabric which makes up the inside:

These layers can be slightly different depending on the nappy brand and style, but that is the foundation of how a waterproof reusable nappy is put together. An ‘All In One’ (AIO) will have absorbent layers of fabric sewn inside, a pocket will have an opening for absorbent layers to be inserted (and removed for washing). Traditional prefolds, flats and fitted nappies are also making a comeback too, you can read more about them here.

To learn more about the styles of cloth nappies, and their absorbent inserts head over here: What is a Modern Cloth Nappy?

How do I wash them?

  1. RINSE. Thoroughly after use.
  2. DRY PAIL. Drop rinsed nappy in a dry pail until a full machine load is ready (no need to soak in Napisan).
  3. WASH. In a clean modern washing machine, using detergent suitable for load size and heavy soiling.
  4. DRY. Hang, or tumble dry in a cool dryer.

For more specific information on washing RAWr Nappies, head over here for the low down on getting them squeaky clean.

How much do they cost?

Now, this is a total variable. While one person might spend thousands on the prettiest handmade frilly bum modern cloth nappies, another might be given a hand-me-down stash and not spend a cent.

A stash of 24 reusable cloth nappies + 8 waterproof covers for day time and 6 night nappies from RAWr will cost between $1240 and $1465 for birth to 4 years old. This amount is based on buying RAWr prefolds and covers new – these nappies will last at least two and likely three babies, if cared for and stored appropriately.

How long will they last?

Good quality modern cloth nappies are designed to be used for one child, worn and washed once every two to three days for 2.5 years. The beauty of buying good nappies is that they are more likely to last for far longer. On average cloth nappies can be used for 2-3 children before elastics will wear or fabrics might break down, if they are cared for according to manufacturer’s instructions and stored appropriately.