How to wash cloth nappies

How do you wash cloth nappies? This has to be the number one question asked by people interested (and skeptical) about using cloth.

But… it is way easier than you think!!

For more detailed advice, please visit the amazing Cloth Nappy Help page.
This page is also available to download in Easy Read

Cloth Nappy Washing Kit

  • Dry Pails (I have 1 small and 1 large). Open, airy laundry basket that allows for lots of air flow.
  • Good quality detergent
  • In wash booster
  • Stain removing soap (e.g. Tuff Stuff)
  • Rubber Gloves

How to wash cloth nappies

1. Remove solids and dry pail. Put wet nappies into the small dry pail. Knock any solids into the toilet and rinse using stain removing soap if required. Squeeze out excess water and add to the small dry pail.

2. Prewash. Every 1-2 days, wash nappies on a short cycle that is around 30-60 minutes long. Use a half dose of detergent (i.e. if it is recommended to use 1 scoop for a heavily soiled wash, use 1/2 scoop). If using night nappies, it is recommended that you do a 60 degree wash every morning. Once washed, put these in the large dry pail.

3. Main wash. Every 3-4 days, add all of the prewashed nappies into the machine. Your machine should be about 3/4 full. If you don’t have enough nappies, add in small items like cloth wipes, socks and undies. Choose a long, hot cycle of around 2-3 hours.

4. Dry. Line dry inserts or in the dryer (hint: dryer balls will speed this process up!). Dry nappy shells in the shade – avoid drying these in the sun or dryer as it will deteriorate the waterproof lining.

How should I set up my laundry?

Short answer – however you want, but my lovely customers have shared some photos of their set ups

Do I really need to do a prewash and main wash?

Yes. The prewash removes the bulk of the soiling so you can wash your nappies in clean water during the main wash. (and no…the using a prewash built in cycle in your machine doesn’t count)

Glossary - key washing words

  • Booster – An extra in-wash powder to help remove stains.
  • Dry Pail – Open, airy basket that allows for lots of air flow.
  • Main wash – long wash to make sure everything is very clean
  • Night nappy – any nappy worn for 4+ hours
  • Pre-wash – short wash to remove most of the wee and poop
  • Solids – Poop!

More questions? Send me an email and I would be happy to help. I will add more FAQs as I receive questions.

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