Nappy Care and FAQ's

Modern cloth nappies care advice and frequently asked questions.

For best results, and to abide by manufacturers warranty, check specific washing recommendations for the brand of nappy you are using. 

General Wash and Care Instructions

Brand new nappies need to be washed before use. All nappies need at least 1-3 washes prior and nappies using bamboo will need 8-10 washes before they reach peak absorbency.

After nappy change flush any solid contents down the toilet. Give your nappy a quick rinse to dilute wee and pop it in a dry pail. Disposable liners are biodegradable and flushable, but not suitable for septic tanks. Cloth liners can be washed with nappies.

We recommend that you wash every second day. Nappies left longer than three days this can start to smell and the acids in urine will eat away at fabric and elastic.

When you are ready to wash remove boosters and inserts from covers/shells. Fold back the laundry tabs on any velcro nappies. Do a rinse cycle or quick wash with half the recommended amount of detergent. Follow by a full or heavy duty wash cycle. We find best results are from a warm wash (up to 60 degrees).  Use the recommended amount of detergent on your box or bottle. Avoid detergents with fabric softener included. Ensure you are washing your nappies in enough water to get clean and agitate properly (if you have a top loader)

With a good wash routing you will not need to use bleach, fabric softener, Napisan, vinegar, stain removers or bicarbonate of soda. Using these may void your warranty (check with nappy manufacturer)

The sun does wonders removing stains from nappies. Whenever possible hang your nappies outside to dry. 

You can tumble dry inserts on a low temperature but be wary that tumble drying reduces the life of your nappies and can cause elastics to deteriorate and PUL to delaminate.

Use a cloth liner when using barrier creams as they can coat the fibres of your nappy and reduce the absorbency.

My nappies are beginning to smell. What can I do?

Stinky nappies could be from:

  • not washing them as frequently as they need,
  • not letting them dry 100% before reusing,
  • ineffective cleaning – over filling machine, not using enough water, not using enough detergent or a strong enough detergent
  • a build up soapy detergent or fabric softener

Solution 1 - Analyse and experiment with your washing routine:

  • If your baby is teething or has very acidic wee you may need to hand rinse before dry paling and wash more regularly.
  • Check the water levels on your machine and increase them in your nappy wash
  • If you have a top loader check the agitation of your washing
  • Increase/decrease your detergent amount or change detergents. Supermarket brands that have worked well for me are Ecostore powder + Almat & Trimat from Aldi

Solution 2 - Strip Wash

A strip wash or a deep clean can be done occasionally to keep your nappies smelling fresh and at their maximum absorbency. This should not be a part of your washing routing and should only be done VERY occasionally

1 – Wash your clean dry nappies with NO detergent in a hot wash (max 60 degrees).

2 –  Do a second hot wash with 1 teaspoon of (non-moisturising) dishwashing liquid. Optional is a cap of Dettol Sanitary Laundry Rinse, Milton or Caneston in the rinse cycle.


Use Grovia Mighty Bubbles

3 – A final cold rinse to ensure that there is no suds remaining. Do another rinse if you can see lots of suds.

4 – Dry in the full sun.

Why are my nappies leaking?

Absorbency – if the nappies are new remember that they need several washes (up to 10) before they get to peak absorbency. As your baby gets older they may need extra boosters as they drink and wee more. Many brands offer special night time boosters and nappies for older babies and toddlers.

Fit – Ensure that you are fitting cloth nappies snugly on your baby. There should be no gapes around the legs or back of the nappy. The nappy needs to sit up high for good coverage. Take note of where your babies leaks are to get an idea of where you need to improve the nappies fit.

Build-up – Excess use of detergents or barrier creams can clog the fibres of your nappies. Do a strip wash and try to use cloth liners when using barrier creams.

Do you feel like your washing machine could use a clean?

Easy! Most washing machines have a cleaning cycle or cleaning instructions in the manual. Follow these instructions to abide by warranty.

I have used the below methods with good success, although be wary - some new machines don't recommend the use of vinegar.

Top loader – Run a normal hot cycle and add ½ a cup of bicarbonate of soda and 2 cups of white vinegar when the water has filled and let it run as usual.

Front loader – Add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into the detergent drawer and ½ cup of white vinegar into the drum and run a hot wash as normal. Take time to clean the filter as per manufacturers instructions