Cloth Nappy FAQs
How many cloth nappies do I need to get started?
As a general rule I would aim for around 25 for full time use on a newborn, for older children around 15-20 would be enough. However, this will largely depend on the nappy system you use, how often you want to wash, the age of your child and if you use cloth full or part time.
If you wash every 3 days you will need a few more than if you wash every 2 days. Equally if you use 2 part systems like a terry nappy or an all-in-two you will need around 4-5 absorbent inserts or terries for every 1 wrap.
The other thing to consider is drying time. In the UK you tend to be able to line dry in the summer pretty easily so they're dry the same day, in colder months however it can take 1-2 days to line dry. Some inserts you can tumble dry so that is an option and will reduce winter drying times.
Do nappies come in different sizes?
Some do, yes. Most come in birth to potty (one-size) option so they will fit from around 10-35lb. They have rise poppers on the front to adjust the length as your baby grows. There are also newborn nappies for smaller or premature babies and plus sizes for larger children who grow out of one-size before potty training.
There are also some brands that offer sized nappies so you have size 1, 2, 3, 4 and sometimes 5 and you would need to buy each size as your baby grows.
Should I buy all one type of nappy?
My advice here would be no. You may get lucky and find that one type of nappy works perfectly for you and your baby but I know from experience that different types of nappies suit different babies at different times. For instance, I like a very thirsty all-in-one for lazier days or to quickly pop on for a long journey but my favourite kind of nappy is a pocket nappy, simple to use, easy to adjust the absorbency and dries relatively quickly, that's my every day nappy. I also really like terries for days when I have a bit more time and they're great for nap times.
You may also find that one material perhaps doesn't provide you with enough absorbency or that a particular brand does fit your baby's shape quite right. In that case you don't want to have spent a large sum of money to find you don't get on with them. I would recommend first trying a few nappies in different styles from different brands, seeing what you like and getting more of that.
I'm new to cloth nappies can I have some advice?
Absolutely, fill in our advice questionnaire or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you get started and find the right nappy solution for you.
How should I store my dirty nappies?
If they're just wet you can pop them straight in to a wet bag or bucket, if they have poo on remove what you can in to the toilet if your baby is weaning. If your baby is only having milk then all dirty nappies can go straight through the wash, if your baby is weaning then you need to remove as much as possible. Scrap, spray or swish in the toilet, whatever works for you.
Wet pailing (leaving your nappies soaking in a bucket of water) is no longer recommended and can in fact cause your nappies to fail through PUL or elastic damage.
How do I wash my nappies?
Check out our wash guide for full details but the simplified version is; a short wash to get off the worst of it followed by a long wash with a full dose of detergent based on your drum size, water hardness and heavy soiling for 2-3 hours. The main thing is, it should be what works for you and it shouldn't be so complicated that it puts you off using cloth.
Some people have a lot of rules that they say you HAVE to follow, in reality, you don't. If your nappies don't smell and don't cause baby any irritation then you're doing perfectly.
Will they make my house smell?
This should never be the case! Dirty nappies are stored in a wet bag or bucket and washed every three days. They should not make your house smell and if they do then please contact us for advice as you may have an issue with your nappies.
Will cloth nappies make my baby too hot?
No, this is a common misconception. Evidence has shown that disposable nappies are actually hotter for your baby. Just think how uncomfortable you'd feel wearing a plastic bag in the summer!
What are all the different materials?
In short, different materials hold different levels of liquid and have different features. Please see our materials guide for more information.
Do cloth nappies fit like disposables?
Not entirely but some more than others. Check out our fit guide to master fitting your nappies. Although they don't fit exactly like disposables they are easy enough once you get started. Mainly, most nappies need tucking in to the knicker line (groin) and they sit noticeable lower on baby than a disposable. If you have questions about a specific nappy please contact us and we'll be happy to help you fit it.
Will I save money with cloth nappies?
Yes, you absolutely can save money with cloth nappies! Even more so if you use them for multiple children. This goes for reusable wipes too. Cloth nappies also have great resale value so if you don't get on with a particular nappy or you want to sell your stash after potty training then you certainly can. That's something you definitely can't do with disposables!