The Cloth Nappy Questions I Am Asked Most Frequently

Which detergent should I use to wash my nappies?

We don’t recommend specific brands of detergents. Ingredients, their quantities and recommendations from detergent manufacturers are changing constantly.

We support the Australian Nappy Association’s recommendation to steer clear of detergents with additives designed to stay in the fabric after the wash, like softeners (which can reduce absorbency) and brighteners or fragrances (which might cause issues for a baby’s sensitive skin).

In addition, bleaching agents and soaking solutions will deteriorate the fabric and will reduce the lifespan of your nappies, particularly any bamboo components. Likewise vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, washing sodas etc will all deteriorate the fabric.

Just like with regular washing, you will find you get better results with some detergents than others and a lot depends on your washing machine, the water in your area and the temperature you wash at – it’s not just about the detergent. If you are getting great results for your regular washing with your current detergent, try that one with your nappies before you start shopping for alternatives.

How often should I strip wash my nappies?

The short answer is: NEVER!

Seriously, if you have a great wash routine, you should never have to strip wash your nappies. 

What do I do with the poo?

Regardless of the type of nappy you use, human fecal matter should be disposed of by flushing down the toilet.

Untreated human waste contains harmful bacteria so it is important that it lands where it belongs, rather than floating around in waste receptacles for days or even weeks in our bathroom, kitchen or laundry… or in our local tip.

Disposable nappy manufacturers advise consumers to dispose of solid waste into a toilet before throwing into the garbage.

When it comes to cloth nappies, it’s moderately gross to put solids into the washing machine and hope or expect the machine to magically disappear the problem. Always flush solids prior to giving your nappies a quick rinse under the tap.

Do I really need to use liners?

The short answer is no, unless you’re using cream… in which case, the answer is absolutely.

You can use barrier creams with cloth nappies, but it is really important to use a liner (disposable or reusable) when using them. Barrier creams are designed to do just that – create a barrier between the urine and your baby’s skin, protecting it while it heals. However, they can also create a barrier on the nappy, coating the fibres of the fabric and causing it to repel urine and leak. If you need to use creams, please always ensure you use a liner.

There are two types of liners – disposable and reusable. The disposable kind can often be used a few times before they will need to be thrown away, but the reusable kind will last for years and can made from almost any fabric, although fleece is a popular choice as it creates a good moisture barrier between the absorbent layers of the nappy and your baby’s skin.

Personally, I opt for reusable liners and here’s why.

If you’re using reusable liners to guard against cream, it is a good idea to wash your fleece liners separately from your nappies so that the cream doesn’t simply wash off the liners and on to your nappies.

In addition to being a necessity for use with barrier creams, liners are also used by many parents to help with a faster clean up of soiled nappies and this in turn can help to reduce staining.

Why are my nappies leaking?

There are 5 main causes we see for leaking nappies:

1. Insufficiently prepared new nappies

SOLUTION: Click Here for the cheat’s guide to prepping new nappies.

2. Incorrect fit

SOLUTION: If the nappy seems to be leaking at the legs or waist and you’re concerned about fit, send a picture through to your retailer or the nappy’s manufacturer and they’ll let you know what could be causing an issue.

3. Infrequent changing

SOLUTION: Aim for every 2 hours (or as soon as you know the nappy is soiled/wet), especially in those early months.

4. The use of creams without a liner.

SOLUTION: Creams can coat the fibres of your nappy fabric and cause it to repel urine. If you need to use cream, use a liner.

5. Use of a nappy or fabric that doesn’t match your baby’s output.

Let’s talk more about this one…

The most common cause of ongoing leaking arises from the insufficient boosting of nappies or from the use of nappies/fabric that doesn’t equal urine output. This will likely be the case if your nappies are being soaked, rather than leaking out the sides, and if you’ve successfully worked through the first 4 issues above.

With heavy wetting babies (which sometimes begins from birth but often around the 6-7 month mark) it will become necessary to use additional boosters in the nappy to increase absorbency to a sufficient level to prevent leaking.

You can use just about anything to boost the absorbency of your nappies and if you want to work out if it is in fact lack of absorbency that’s causing leak issues, just grab a face washer, fold it in half or thirds, and pop in your nappy. If the leak problem disappears, you’ve found your answer!

Alternatively, if you’ve been using synthetic fabrics, switch to bamboo, cotton or hemp and see if that makes a difference. These natural fibres can absorb up to 10 times more than synthetics so they are well worth trying. The Diversifolds which come with each of our pocket nappies can absorb a deceptively large amount of liquid. If you’ve been using nappies that have synthetic soakers, try a pack of Diversifolds in place of these and see how you get on. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂

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