How do I wash cloth nappies?

Washing cloth nappies can be a little overwhelming at the start. But we promise, once you set up your routine you’ll be able to do this with your eyes closed in no time!

In short, washing your modern cloth nappies is a two-step process.

Step 1: Pre-Wash

The first step is the ‘pre-wash’. This is to remove the bulk of the soiling from the nappy. Ideally the pre-wash should happen once a day and once completed it can be removed from the washing machine and stored in your dry pail ready for the main wash.

We recommend setting your water temperature between 40 degrees – 60 degrees for this wash cycle as it is more effective at removing soiling than cold water. Be sure your water temperature doesn’t exceed 60 degrees as the excessive heat can cause your nappy shell to delaminate, which is when the water-resistant layer detaches from the outer layer.

This cycle should be for a minimum of 45 minutes and include half the recommended dose of detergent listed on the packaging. 

Pro tip: You can add laundry boosters such as Napisan to this wash cycle to help remove any stains from your nappies.

Step 2: Main Wash

The second step is the ‘main wash’. This second wash is to ensure any remaining soling is removed that may have been missed in the first wash. Your main wash should be done every 2 – 3 days and include all nappies from your pre-wash.

Again, we recommend setting your water temperature between 40 degrees – 60 degrees for this wash cycle.

The duration for this wash cycle should be longer than your pre-wash and we recommend 90 minutes or more together with a full dose of detergent. 

Pro tip: For nappies to be effectively cleaned, there needs to be sufficient agitation between the items in your washing machine drum. Therefore, we recommend that your washing machine is loaded to the point where it’s 2/3 full when wet. If you find that nappies alone may not be sufficient to fill your washing machine, you can add small items like face washers, bibs and baby clothing to this wash cycle.

You might be wondering, ‘do I really need both steps?’ and the answer is yes. This two- step wash process will help ensure your nappies are cleaned effectively, minimising ammonia build up which can cause smells and nappy rash.

We recommend air drying your nappies as it’s the most energy efficient way to dry them and also prolongs the life of your nappies. However, given the climate where you live or for convenience, nappies can be tumble dried on a low setting. Please note that high temperatures when tumble drying can cause the nappy shells to delaminate and the inserts to shrink excessively. 

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