Washing nappies can often be something that puts the dread in prospective mothers. Which is completely understandable! Getting up close and personal to poop ridden nappies and the extra work involved can be the reason that many parents decide to go disposable. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to avoid getting hands on with poo (you won’t even escape that with disposables) but using cloth nappies doesn’t have to be hard work. A couple of extra loads of washing a week amongst the piles of washing that come with babies and toddlers is like a drop of water in the ocean. Here is the routine that I think has minimal effort for maximum results.
- Nappies that are just wet come off baby and straight into a dry bucket. No need for wet pailing nowadays with our wonderful modern machines. In fact, wet pailing with a sanitizer like Napisan can actually damage some of the fabrics now used in cloth nappies and drastically reduce their life.
- Soiled nappies will need to be rinsed. I recommend using a liner, either disposable or reusable. Personally I have always loved the reusable fleece liners from Little Lamb. They are really soft, keep baby nice and dry and the poo generally just falls off and into the toilet. Disposable liners are great for keeping things simple, reducing the amount of rinsing and washing, but these will be more of an ongoing cost.
- Its also good practice to remove any boosters or inserts that the nappy may have. Doing this before putting them in the bucket means you don’t have to spend so much time fiddling with them when it comes to wash day.
- I would suggest washing every three days. You really don’t want to leave them any longer than this! If you have fewer nappies you may need to wash more regularly, but I’m going for minimal effort here! To save handling them all again you could line the bucket with a mesh laundry bag. Leave it open when you put it in the machine then the nappies can escape when they are in the wash. If you are finding that smaller items, like liners, are getting stuck in the door seal you may need to put these in a separate, closed laundry bag.
- My machine makes things very easy for me. I have a lot of options for customising the cycle, which I love by the way! But I understand not everybody has this function so you may need to adjust what you do in the next few steps. Either way, always start with a cold rinse! It will help keep both stains and smells at bay.
- After this you want to do a regular 40 degree wash with half the amount of powder and extra rinses at the end. Your machine may have an “extra rinse” button somewhere, or, like mine, you can adjust the number of rinses to whatever you want. I program in two extra rinses, bringing the total number of rinses at the end to four. It may be that you need to go and put it on a couple extra rinse cycles. However you need to do it, make sure that there are no bubbles floating around on the last rinse. Left over bubbles means bad news for both the nappies and baby.
- Now your nappies should be clean and fresh smelling, ready to dry. You don’t want them smelling like soap, there shouldn’t be any soap residue left over (hence the extra rinses). Line drying is preferable (sun is great for nappies!) but tumble drying on a low heat is ok for some nappies, please check the manufacturers instructions.
And there you have it! I hope to write up a few more posts about other aspects of nappy care soon but in the mean time I hope somebody out there finds this helpful.
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