Cloth Nappies - How easy can they be!?
Can you remember back to the day you started using cloth nappies? Did you feel unqualified for the job? Did you ever feel it would be one of the most confusing and onerous tasks in your journey through parenthood?
In fact, when I first starting using cloth nappies, I just did what my mum used to do... hand rinsed, machine rinsed, washed with detergent, and threw them on the line. Too simple! I knew they were clean because they smelt like... well, nothing... when they came out of the machine.
10 years later though, things have changed. The most common question I receive from customers is about how to wash their nappies. Specifically, they ask the following:
Which detergent should I use?
Can I tumble dry them?
What do I do about the poo?
What about stains?
What temperature should I wash at?
Well, here are the answers to those questions and more...
Which detergent should I use?
At Cushie Tushies we prefer our own Premium Laundry Detergent, the first detergent of its kind made in Australia specifically for use with modern cloth nappies.
Otherwise, choose a very plain washing detergent – liquid or powder. Choose one with no whiteners, brighteners, softeners, perfumes or other added enzymes. Use only the amount of detergent as instructed; using extra will build up in the fabrics and reduce absorbency.
Other detergents we recommend are Seventh Generation, Enviro Clean, Eco Store and Earth’s Choice.
As above, we advise against the use of chlorine/non-chlorine bleaches and fabric softener.
Can I tumble dry them? What about stains?
Dry immediately after washing. We advise line drying as often as possible, sunny side up to help with stains! To reduce the strain on the bamboo fabric and the elastic, remove the boosters and hang separately. Hang your nappies and boosters directly over the middle so there is an equal weight hanging on each side of the line. Drying with the bamboo side facing up to the sun is faster.
Using an electric dryer sometimes is ok. Use a warm setting only (not hot) to prevent the bamboo from shrinking or the waterproof lining to blister. Try to dry the absorbent boosters ONLY in the tumble dryer and keep your nappy shells over a clothes horse (to protect the waterproof lining in the outer shell).
Ensure nappies are very dry and before re-using. If the bamboo fabric is cool to touch, it is not dry. Nappies that are not fully dry before use will not be as absorbent and may leak.
What do I do about the poo? What temperature should I wash at?
Flushable or Reusable Liners are your best friend when it comes to poo! Simply flush the pooey liner away and wash wet and soiled nappies promptly – we recommend washing within 24 hours of use, to prevent the urine from corroding the fabrics and stains and odors from developing.
Note: if your baby has particularly acidic (or stinky/concentrated) urine, please rinse your nappies immediately after use and before placing them in the nappy bucket.
This will help prevent the urine from corroding the fabric.
Regular wash in plenty of cold or warm water. We recommend cold to 40ºC, but not hotter than 60°C maximum as the heat will degrade the bamboo fabric over time.
Note: many modern washing machines, particularly front loaders, do not use much water in the regular cycle at all. This is not enough to clean your nappies! The nappies will easily soak up such small volumes of water and there will be none left to clean them! Use the ‘extra water’ setting and try not to cram the machine too full.