I still remember the excitement I felt when my first 10 colorful cloth nappies arrived by post. It was the beginning of our colorful journey with our babies. Back then, I had many questions and concerns; starting out with cloth diapers can be daunting! Looking back, I wish that I knew more about the best way to take care of them. In this blog I would like to share with you 7 simple tips to help you take care of your new cloth nappy stash in the best way possible.
1. Pre-wash your new nappies
Cloth nappies become more and more absorbent with the first few washes. The best way to get them ready for use for the first time is to run them through 2 full cycles. You don’t need to dry them in between each cycle.
2. Non-bio detergent and no softener
Use a non-bio detergent only. We are currently using the ‘BIO’ concentrated laundry liquid/powder. Not only is it an eco-friendly option but it can be used with delicate fabrics too. Avoid using fabric conditioner cause it will reduce the absorbency. Whilst we like using the ‘ecoegg’ with our other clothes and laundry, we do not recommend using it with cloth nappies since it has softeners included in it.
3. No bicarbonate, vinegar or stain removers
Because bamboo is more delicate than other materials such as cotton, we recommend that you avoid using bicarbonate, vinegar or stain removers to wash. You do not need them anyway! In time, these products may cause damage to the waterproof lining and the structure of the nappies. In my own experience, this happened to me and I ended up buying more inserts to replace the ones that had been damaged.
4. Wash at least twice a week
We advise that you wash your nappies frequently, take no longer than 3 days between washes. If repeatedly left for a longer amount of time, ammonia will develop and it may deteriorate the fabric of the nappies.
5. Air dry nappies if possible
The best way to dry cloth nappies is to put them out in the sun and fresh air. UV rays are also a great natural stain remover! But if you are in a rush or the weather is bad, we recommend that you place the inserts only in the tumble dryer with a gentle cycle on low heat. The waterproof covers or pocket nappy covers will dry fairly quickly if left to dry inside as they come out of the wash practically dry.
6. Do not leave nappies too long in the sun
In Malta we definitely do not have problems getting our nappies dry on most days. However high heat from the sun, especially in summer can scorch the fibres of Bamboo inserts and damage the material that makes the nappies waterproof.Therefore, tumble drying on high heat or leaving out the nappies too long in in the sun is not recommended. Whilst the damage might not show immediately the quality of the nappies might be effected with time. Together with this, we recommend that you wash the nappies at a temperature 40°C and alternate with a 60°C wash every once in a while.
7. Rinse and repeat
After repeated use you might notice that your nappies smell or that the inserts are not as absorbent as they used to be. In this case we recommend a very gentle strip wash.
The gentle strip wash that we recommend involves giving your nappies the regular wash (with a 60°C for more intensive cleaning), and then putting the nappies in a rinse cycle repeatedly until no suds can be seen in the washing machine. This will eliminate the build up of minerals in the fibers of the nappies caused by too much detergent or not being rinsed properly every time they are washed.
We hope that these tips will help you take the best care for your nappies for years to come. For more information on how to wash the cloth nappies read our blog washing your cloth diapers a quick guide.
All of these tips are ones that we can share with you through our own experience with cloth nappies. However, we are aware that there are many different opinions about the best ways to take care of cloth nappies. We acknowledge that there are no hard and fast rules, or a cloth nappy bible to stick to, as long as what you are doing is working for you.
At ikkuluriti we like to have a simple approach towards caring for cloth nappies: one that is as easy as possible for the parent to maintain, and is best on the baby’s skin and the environment by avoiding harsh chemicals.
We are always grateful for learning more as we go along; from both our own and your experiences, and are happy to share this with you!
Finally, we would also like to add that different brands of cloth nappies may require different care. We would suggest that you take a look at the recommendations of the brand you have chosen for the best care of that nappy.
We hope that these tips have simplified things for you and encourage you to try out cloth nappies with your baby.