(Guest post by Theresa)
Washing cloth nappies can seem confusing at first, but once you figure out a routine that suits you, it couldn’t be simpler! Your nappies will need two washes. One short wash at 40-60°c (aim for around 30 minutes) and one long hot wash at 40-60°c (preferably 2+ hours).
The first wash will get rid of the bulk of the soiling and the second wash will deep clean the multi-layers of fabric that make up your nappies.
It is important that you properly dose your load depending on;
- The size of your machine
- The hardness of the water in your area (you can check this with your provider)
- How soiled your load is (always wash nappies as heavily soiled)
Where can I store my dirty nappies and how often should I wash them?
We recommend dry-pailing dirty nappies in an airy basket, pre-washing every 1-2 days and main washing no later than every 3 days.
What about the poo?
There is some debate as to whether or not exclusive formula poos need plopping before washing. If the poo is quite firm, you might wish to dispose of it beforehand, though this shouldn’t be too much of a worry if it’s more of a paste-y consistency.
If you’re breastfeeding, your nappies can go straight in the wash, but once your baby starts having solids, you’ll need to remove as much poo as possible before washing. Popular methods include;
- Using a ‘poo knife’ to scrape into the toilet
- Using a shower head to shower directly into the toilet
- Showering into a bucket to be poured down the toilet
We recommend using a fleece or disposable liner to help catch the poo and make disposal easier.
What’s the best cycle to use?
When selecting your wash cycles, try to avoid eco settings as these typically use the same water throughout and you’ll effectively end up washing in dirty water, quick washes or rinses are best for your pre-wash. If you wish to use detergent, use half the amount you would use in your main wash. When selecting your main wash setting, look to choose either a cotton or heavy duty cycle, these cycles tend to be the longest, and use the full recommended dose of detergent.
Powder or liquid?
We recommend using a powder detergent as we find it gives a more effective clean than liquid or pods, though the choice is really up to you and what suits your family best. Most importantly, we recommended not using fabrics softeners as these generally contain surfactants which can affect the absorbency of your nappies.
How full should my machine be?
Ensure your washing machine is no more than 3/4 full. Nappies need lots of agitation to get properly clean, so you don’t want to overload it, but it’s equally important that you don’t under load it. If you don’t have enough for a full load, you can bulk out your wash with your baby’s clothes or muslins. There should be enough space in the top of your machine for you to make a clenched fist, but not jazz hands!