How Long do Reusable Nappies Last?
A question parents often have when considering reusable nappies is, "How long do they last?" The good news is that reusable nappies can last for a long time, years and years.
They can be bought for your first baby, be used on their younger siblings and then be sold when the youngest potty trains.
Reusable nappies are designed to last, using high-quality skin safe natural fibres and materials. You'll use between 5 and 10 nappies a day for your child, depending on their age and they are made to withstand daily wear, washing and drying.
Unlike disposable diapers, which end up in landfill after a single use, reusable nappies can last through years of diaper changes as long as they are treated gently, making them an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice.
They are super comfortable for babies too and help to avoid chemicals next to babies delicate skin.
How Long do Disposable Nappies Last?
Disposable nappies, have a significantly shorter lifespan of use but then hang around forever. Once used, they are thrown away in household waste and contribute to the growing environmental issues associated with single-use plastics.
Disposable nappies takes hundreds of years to decompose, showing the stark contrast between the lifespan of disposable and reusable options.
Most parents 'bag' their babies nappies in single use nappy sacks to avoid smells in their household bin doubling the environmental impact.
Be aware that if you buy disposables in bulk they have a shelf life of 2-3 years. If your baby grows out of a size and you save unused nappies for your next baby and the diapers expire they might not be as absorbent or stay fastened as well.
As solid waste is flushed with reusable nappies they leave less smells and require no single use parts.
Tips for Making Reusable Nappies Last Longer
1. Follow the Care Instructions
To maximise the lifespan of your reusable nappies, always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Brands may have guidelines for washing, drying, and maintaining the nappies to ensure they last. Waterproof wraps will need to avoid direct high heat to prolong its life and maintain them in good condition.
If you notice issues with your nappies soon after purchasing, get in touch with the company as most are responsive to customer issues.
"We are very impressed with this product. Absorbent, no leaks and fits my 2-yr-old very comfortably. The lining of the shell was almost dry to the touch after a whole night in the nappy. Wish these had been available when my son was first born." Customer review, Nov '23
2. Wash the Nappies Regularly
Regular washing is crucial for keeping cloth diapers in top condition. Storing diapers too long between washes can lead to lingering odours, stains, and wear and tear.
Ammonia and bacteria can eat away at fabrics so ensure they are washed within a few days of use. Doing a daily prewash can help you remove most waste from your nappies whilst waiting for a full wash.
Fabrics will degrade more quickly if they are left wet for prolonged amounts of time.
A good quality consistent washing routine helps maintain the nappies' absorbency and overall performance.
Keep the spin setting of your washing machine to 1000 or lower.
3. Line/Air Dry If Possible
Air drying instead of using a tumble dryer can extend the life of your reusable nappies. The heat from dryers can cause fabric degradation. Line drying reduces your environmental impact.
If you do need to tumble dry, choose a low heat.
4. Protect the Velcro Fastenings
Velcro fastenings are common in reusable nappies and are great for accurate sizing. To prevent premature wear, be gentle when fastening and unfastening, and consider using laundry tabs if provided by the manufacturer.
Velcro can catch on other parts of the nappy and cause pulls.
Opting for nappies with poppers avoids this issue.
"Amazing quality, great fit, soft on skin, not bulky with excellent absorption. The best nappies I have tried (and I have tried a few!) and there is no way I am using anything else from now on." Anna, March '23 trustpilot
5. Avoid Harsh Stain Removal Methods
While its important to tackle stains promptly, avoid bleach and harsh stain removal methods that can damage the fabric. Opt for gentle stain removers or natural alternatives.
White vinegar and oxy stain removers are safe and effective to use. Antibacterial laundry detergent, vanish or napisan are useful too.
UV light can work to sterilise so sunning your washable nappies on the line can help with stains - even in the winter!
6. Store Properly
Proper storage is crucial when the nappies are not in use. Ensure they are stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures and prolonged exposure to sunlight can affect the fabric, leg cuffs and elastic components.
Be mindful that nappies left in the car can be affected by extreme heat and cold.
7. Invest in Quality Products
Choosing high-quality reusable nappies from reputable brands can make a difference in their lifespan. Quality materials and craftsmanship contribute to their overall performance.
Preloved nappies can be useful but you are at the mercy of the previous owners care routine. Check for PUL damage on reusable wraps, look for balding on bamboo inserts and boosters, check velcro sticks and be wary of smells when first washing and wearing.
Always strip wash second hand reusable nappies before first use.
8. Rotate Your Nappy Collection
If you have a collection of reusable nappies, rotate their use to distribute wear evenly. This helps prevent your most used nappies having more wear and tear than others.
If you have a favourite, consider buying a duplicate.
By following proper care practices and investing in quality products, you can ensure that your reusable nappies last through multiple children, providing both economic and environmental benefits.
For more information on reusable nappies and related topics, feel free to explore our blog and check out the following recommended links:
- Are reusables a hassle?
- Pocket nappies: Everything you need to know
- How to deal with poo in a reusable nappy
- Can you use reusable nappies as swim nappies?
- How to clean washable nappies
- Why do my cloth nappies smell?
Feel free to explore our blogs for more useful information on modern cloth nappies. If you have any questions or need further guidance, reach out to us anytime via our live chat or contact us form. We're here to support your journey to a greener, more sustainable parenting experience.
About the Author: Kirstin on our customer services team loves spending her days helping customers with their reusable period product needs and advising cloth nappy using families. Nothing is too much information, she is happy talking pee, poo and periods. Kirstin lives with her three teenagers and loves walking and sea swimming year round in our beautiful bay.