Washable Nappies are very easy to care for and you will soon get into the swing of things! However, it’s important to be aware that the way you care for your nappies will have an impact on the way they perform. Here are some nappy ‘do’s and don’ts’
Pre-washing your new nappies - When you buy a brand new nappy, it is very tempting to unwrap it and immediately put it on your baby’s bum! I’ve done it myself! New nappies do need to be pre-washed before first use, to remove manufacturing residue and to build up the nappy’s absorbency. The amount of times you need to pre-wash the nappy depends on what material it is made from. A manmade fiber like microfiber is usually ready to go after about 1-2 washes however natural materials take much longer. Cotton may take up to 5 washes before it becomes absorbent, while Hemp and Bamboo fibers can take up to 10 washes to reach their full absorbency! Although some nappy manufacturers recommend it, drying the nappies in-between pre-washes is not usually necessary.
Storing dirty nappies – you will need to store your nappies somewhere in-between washes. You can store your nappies in a lidded bucket or in a draw string bag (hung on the back of your bathroom door) There is no need to add any water to your stored nappies, in fact many modern nappy manufacturers advise against this as prolonged soaking can deteriorate materials in your nappy. Storing your nappies with no added water or chemicals is called dry-pailing A mesh bag is often used to line your bucket, you can pop the mesh bag into the wash with the nappies still inside.
What about the poo? You can usually put newborn poo straight in the washing machine as it is generally wet enough. Put the nappies on a rinse cycle first, before adding your detergent.
As your baby gets bigger so will the poo! And when you start weaning you will notice the poo has more form and should be emptied into the toilet before storing/washing
HINT: You could use a shower head over the toilet basin to rinse excess off into the toilet.
Once poos have more substance, you can also choose to use paper liners in the nappy, do check that they are flushable before flushing them as some do require putting in the bin.
The general consensus is wash cloth nappies in 1/4 of the usual amount of detergent. Most nappies will wash well at low temperatures, with the occasional high temp wash to provide a deeper clean. Many people chose to rinse the nappies first on a cold rinse cycle – before washing the nappies at around 40 degrees (with an occasional 60 degree wash) You must not use fabric conditioner when washing your nappies as it will stop your nappies being absorbent
HINT: Always read the label when washing nappies, they set a maximum temperature for a reason. Nappies with a PUL layer can lead to leaks if repeatedly washed at a higher than recommended temperature.
Stripping Nappies- A build up of detergent can often happen, and you will need to ‘strip’ the nappies if it does. You will know you have detergent build up as your nappies no longer smell clean after washing and they may start to leak.
To do a strip wash you should use a full dose of detergent, a hot wash (highest that the nappies will allow i.e 60 degrees) and do repeated rinses to make sure there are no bubbles left in the washer then dry as normal.
Some fabrics are more prone to build up than others.