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30 Tips and Tricks for New Cloth Nappy Users

Posted by The Nappy Guru on

 After trawling through Cloth nappy Facebook Groups for the last 4.5 years as well as from my own personal experience (2.5 years with 95% cloth use on my youngest), I've come up with top 30 Tips that I wish someone told me about when I first started. 
  1. Start with 1 or 2 reusable nappies/day and treat those nappies like any other piece of clothing that got wee or poo on it. Just give it a good rinse, squeeze out excess water and add it to your wash pile. If you think washing nappies is going to take over your life - don't worry - it won't...if you can spare extra 10 mins a day and extra two loads/week you can do cloth nappies! 
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself! As with starting anything new there is a bit of a learning curve. Leaks and nappy rashes occur in both reusables and disposable nappies! If it gets overwhelming – take a break (yes you are allowed to) and ask for help! Doing part time cloth is better than none!
  3. For toddlers and older children start with 6-10 nappies. Follow the link to get a trial pack of preloved sanitised nappies for just $15!
  4. Brand new nappies/inserts can take up to 6-8 washes before they reach full capacity so change these nappies more frequently.
  5. Newborns will need at least 30 nappies for full time use. Newborn nappies are designed to fit from 3kgs-8kgs (depending on the nappy and baby this can be birth to 12 weeks) where as most One Size Fits Most (OSFM) nappies will fit best from 5 kgs onwards and for a single baby 24 nappies is ideal.
  6. Most economical option for the newborn stage is to use 30-35 terry flats or pre-folds with 6-10 newborn sized covers. Check out the origami fold or why not try some pre-flats!
  7.  Try before you buy – Use a nappy library service. Rent a Newborn Nappy kit, Brand Trial kit or Night Nappy Trial kit. Nappy Hire allows you to find brands that will work for you, your baby and your budget when searching for which brands to buy. Rebates & Subsidies now available for residents from various Councils here in WA! More information is available here: 
  8. It’s risky to buy bulk packs of more than 6 of the same brand of nappy if you haven’t tried them before. Buy a trial packs of different brands from a multibrand retailer instead. Your local council maybe offering rebates so grab a copy of discount codes to purchase nappies by attending a Nappy Guru workshop happening all over Perth Metro areas.
  9. Invest in inserts – Inserts made of microfibre have the least capacity but they are fast drying and fast absorbing. Cotton is a better alternative with fast absorption and higher capacity and fast drying. Hemp and Bamboo have the highest capacity however can be slow to absorb and takes longest to dry! 
  10. Two inserts are better than one! Pair a microfibre insert with cotton, hemp or bamboo insert for fast absorption and high capacity combo! Feel free to create your own “franken-nappy” by mixing different inserts with different covers to suit your baby’s output.  Check out the various insert combinations here.
  11. Change poo nappies straight away - this will reduce the chance of nappy rashes. Cloth nappies do not give off offensive smells when soiled – so check  every so often for a stealth poo.
  12. Cloth wipes can save you over $500 for one child. Choose cotton flannelette or cotton velour or bamboo velour for the best wipes. Make wipes with old sheets/PJs/towels if you have a sewing machine handy!
  13.  Use just plain water with cloth wipes. Wet as you go or have the wipes pre-wet ready to use for the day. Dry your baby’s skin completely to reduce chance of nappy rashes due to excess moisture.
  14. Flush solids down the loo (use a silicone brush or a nappy sprayer for sticky messes). A quick rinse under the laundry tap, wring out to stop drips and place in the “dry pail”.
  15. Store used nappies and/or pre washed nappies in a “dry pail” an airy basket/laundry hamper that allows for air flow whcih reduces smells. Soaking isn’t recommended as fabrics, elastics and PUL starts breaking down with excessive soaking. Try Struckets for short soaks (less than 4 hours) or as a dry pail option!
  16. Wash used nappies within 2 days  in warm or hot water. Do a short wash called a Pre-wash (eg Daily wash or Quick Wash setting on your washing machine)  with nappies & wipes with some detergent to remove majority of the wee and poo. Follow with a second Longer wash called a Main wash (eg Cottons or Heavy Duty that goes for 2-2.5 hours) with full dose of detergent for a thorough clean. We can help  you with your own Personalised wash routine to standards! Photo below is of drain water after each wash. Two washes in clean water will keep your nappies in pristine condition (think re-sale value) and will prevent nappy rashes, smells or stains in the long term!
  17. Use a commercial detergent. Biozet Powder or Omo are very popular among cloth nappy users Eco/sensitive detergents like Omo Sensitive or Eco Store powder works well if washed in a hot cycle (60 deg C) and will need stain removing booster like Sard or Vanish to help with stains. Sorry soap nuts will not work long term!  If you like liquid detergents try ZERO CO detergent. A discount of $25 will be received for anyone who signs up by going to through this link -->
  18.  Look after nappy elastics and water proofing layers. High heat from sun or extensive use of dryers, concentrated bleach, soaking for long periods will cause delamination where the water proofing layers separate from the outer fabric or cracking that seep liquids. Unfortunately delaminated & cracked nappy shells cannot be repaired. Good news is that we can replace elastics for $7.50/nappy on most nappy brands!
  19. Do not add fabric softeners to your wash – long term use can make nappies repel liquids. If inserts seem stiff, just pop them in the dryer on warm for a few minutes. You can use of laundry detergents that has fabric softeners built in like Biozet powder.
  20. Drying nappies in winter? Use a cloth airer or peg hanger in a well ventilated room with a heater or fan already on  - no extra electricity use required! Dehumidifier will be helpful or use a dryer to finish off. 
  21. Use reusable microfleece liners for nappy rash prevention! These stops stains setting on the nappy itself, easier for cleaning number 2s and keeps baby's skin dry. Buy fabric from spotlight and cut to approx. 30 cm x 13 cm and they don't frey. Wash liners and wipes in a mesh bag.
  22. Avoid disposable bamboo liners – do not flush these down the loo. You must dispose of solids in the toilet and liners into your landfill bin. These may cause redness due to moisture being retained on the skin. These however will be handy for day cares where nappies gets changed every 2 hours. 
  23.  Hook & Loop or Velcro nappies are preferred at day cares and easy for anyone with dexterity issues or arthritis. Wash these nappies with wash tabs folded down or wing tabs stuck on to the tummy panel to reduce them coming loose in the wash.
  24. When fitting nappies on boys ensure the genitals are pointing down. Boost with extra layers in the front of the nappy for boys and the middle of the nappy for girls where their wet zones are. 
  25.  A good fit means less leaks – Click Here for one of the best fitting videos -  it’s only 2 mins long - the best 2 mins spent learning how to fit nappies. Youtube is your friend if you want to know how to fit a specific brands or how to fit different types of nappies. 
  26. Don’t be surprised if your child toilet trains earlier with cloth nappies as they feel wetness more with cloth than disposables. Look up “elimination communication” which is practiced in a lot of countries and by different cultures. Find out more at or
  27. Buying second hand is great for your pocket and the environment – Just do a sanitise wash before use. We can help with a professional strip and sanitise (S&S) for you if you wish but it's easy to do it yourself. 
  28. WARNING: Cloth Nappy buying can become addictive! Buy only what you need – You won't save money if you get  sucked into buying latest in season prints each time they come out! 
  29. Try not to go on a spending spree before baby arrives – sometimes best laid intentions just don’t work out but at least you can sell, give away or donate cloth nappies to keep them out of landfill!
  30. Remember: Every single cloth nappy used is one less in landfill! You’ve got this! You are not alone, you can always reach out for help from other parents or myself any time!


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