Caring for your nappies

Prepping nappies for use

  • New nappies and accessories will require at least one long wash with detergent, to increase absorbency and remove factory residue. It would be best to wash night nappies and boosters at least 2-3 times before use as they require optimal absorbency to last 12+ hours at night. You do not need to dry them between washes.
  • Sanitised nappies will be ready to use, if you have any particular skin sensitivities or allergies you may wish to wash the nappies in your own detergent prior to use.
  • Start with a clean washing machine, follow manufacturer guidelines, or if you can not locate these then in an empty machine; run a 90 degree wash, use a washing machine cleaner following their instructions or 1/4 cup thin bleach on a 1-2 hour long wash.
  • Night nappies will require a hot handwash with detergent each morning to minimise build up of ammonia. Alternatively you can do a daily 60 degree prewash with 1/2 dose of detergent each morning with the night nappy and previous days nappies.
  • Every nappy, wrap and booster should go through one pre and one main wash. 
  • Prewash is a short separate wash every 1-2 days, using 1/2 dose detergent, at a minimum of 30 degrees Celsius for around 30-60 minutes (NOT a rinse or prewash setting). This is designed to significantly reduce the heavy soiling levels. A laundry booster such as Vanish, Mio Fresh or Oxy can be added to the prewash to assist stain removal or boost a weaker eco/sensitive detergent. Add nappies to dry pail until the main wash.
  • Main wash every 2-4 days, using full dose of detergent for water hardness, machine size and heavy soiling. This wash is designed to provide a deep clean. Aim for main wash to be 2-3 hours long at 40-60 degrees. Ensure machine is loosely full when dry for optimal loading; you can add any items smaller then a 70cm terry square to bulk- tea towels, muslins, bibs, baby clothes, small children's clothes, underwear etc.
  • Do NOT use Ecover, Soap nuts, Eco eggs, Violets, Rockin Green (except platinum) or Bambino Mio detergents, they are weak, ineffective detergents on the most heavily soiled items you are going to ever wash. 
  • With the above exceptions you can use any detergent you use for normal washing, bio or non bio, mainstream or plant based, fragranced or fragrance free. Bear in mind eco detergents may need up to double the recommended dose and both eco and sensitive require 60 degree washes to compensate for their weaker formula.
  • Do NOT wetpail (soak in water between use and washing)
  • Ideally store nappies in an open airy basket, the more airflow to the nappies the less they will smell
  • If this is not possible then a wetbag or bucket will do, however to minimise ammonia formation and smells this would be best teamed with a daily prewash.
  • If you are not doing the mainwash on the same day as the short separate prewash then put nappies back into the dry pail until ready to wash. This can either be a separate dry pail for prewashed nappies or separate the dirty from the prewashed with a muslin/teatowel/terry square for ease of use.
  • Do NOT use essential oils either as part of washing or storing nappies or wipes.
  • For longevity and to reduce electricity use it is best to hang nappies to dry
  • However you can tumble dry all fitted nappies, boosters and liners on a low to medium heat
  • PUL (polyurethane laminate) can be tumble dried on a low heat
  • Do NOT hang nappies directly on radiators, though they can be placed on an airer in front of a radiator
  • If you want to speed up nappies drying and you can not dry nappies outdoors or do not have a tumble dryer, pointing a fan or dehumidifier towards the nappies can help
  • Natural fibers will feel rough over time, tumble drying - even for 15 mins can significantly help soften them up, alternatively give them a good scrunch/rub together to loosen the fibres.

Wash guidelines created from Clean Cloth Nappies, for further information see: cleanclothnappies.com