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 for Cloth Nappies

Brand new cloth nappies need to be washed before use. All nappies need at least 1 wash prior to use and nappies using bamboo will need 8-10 washes before they reach peak absorbency. You can also soak overnight, do one wash and then use.

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. A night nappy may need a more thorough rinse.

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. If you want to wash every three days then you can do a daily rinse cycle. Don't forget that you can add other small items of clothing, washers to your wash after you have done the first rinse cycle.

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 on your box/bottle. Follow this 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 for drying 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.


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 of soapy detergent or fabric softener

Solution 1 - Analyse and experiment with your washing routine:

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

Solution 2 - Strip Wash

If you nappies are smelly, or if you have purchased secondhand nappies, you may need to do a strip-wash.

A strip wash should be a one-off. With a good wash routine, you shouldn't ever need to do a strip wash again. 

1 – Checkout Clean Cloth Nappies Down Under for their strip washing methods and check out their facebook page to get a wash routine 


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 soapydetergents 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