How to clean reusable nappies

Tuesday, 12 April 2022  |  Admin

In this article we'll cover:

How to clean reusable nappies - line drying

Cleaning reusable nappies isn't complicated. Here's the wash routine for bamboo cloth nappies as recommended by the Nappy Alliance:

  • Prewash your nappies before use
  • Remove any poo
  • 'Dry pail' nappies in a bucket or strucket without water until washing
  • Rinse before full washing
  • Wash in a full wash cycle
  • Dry without heat if possible - line drying is best

Prewash reusable nappies before use

Reusable Nappies should be pre-washed 3 or 4 times before use as this increases absorbency. Nappy wraps only need to be pre-washed once. You can wash them as part of a mixed wash load at your usual washing temperature (max 40c), no problems at all to save on energy.

Remove any poo

Sounds gross but is surprisingly easy. Under 6 months, poo tends to be runny and water soluble, so will just wash out in the washing machine.

`If you're using fleece liners or a built in liner with your cloth nappy, hold the other end tightly with the soiled end in the loo. Flush the toilet and the poo will flush away if your baby is over 6 months and has been weaned.

If you're using disposable liners, please don't flush. Even though they are biodegradable, they still cause sewer blockages as they take 12 weeks to biodegrade!

Dry pail cloth nappies

Soaking nappies is no longer a thing! Simply store your dirty nappies in a dry nappy bucket or a Strucket until you have a wash going on. A large wet bag will also work for the same purpose. Take a look at the Cheeky range of wetbags and nappy storage solutions.

Rinse Reusable Nappies before washing

All cloth nappies should be rinsed before washing, whether they are all-in-one type, two parters or pocket nappies. It's best to run your nappies through a cold rinse cycle before washing. Not a pre-wash as this often uses the same water for the main wash. A rinse cycle rinses and drains the dirtiest water away, so fresh water will be used for the main wash.

Wash in a full wash cycle

Wash your real nappies in a full wash cycle, not a rapid wash and at the manufacturers recommended wash temperature. In the case of Cheeky Doodoo bamboo nappies, that's 40c.

Washing powder is the best laundry detergent, capsules or liquid can leave a residue on nappies. Generally non-bio is best for delicate skin. Bio can also be used for tough stains, although it can impact the longevity of your nappies.

Don't be tempted to add fabric softener, this can impact the absorbency of your nappies over time.

DO NOT be tempted to add chlorine or household bleach to any nappy wash, no matter what you read online, it isn't necessary and will damage your nappies and invalidate your warranty.

Cheeky Bamboo Nappies are grey coloured, stain free

Dry your washable nappies without heat

The best way to dry your nappies is on the clothes line which has the added benefit of 'sunning out' any poo stains. Not that this is an issue with Cheeky Doodoo as our nappies are coloured grey!

It's not always practical to line dry in winter. Some people have recommended a dehumidifier and airer in one room which is much cheaper than a tumble dryer and has no direct heat.

High direct heat can damage your nappies, although the nappies can be tumble dried on low heat if essential. Wraps shouldn't be tumble dried.

'Very pleased with the nappy. Stay soft even after several washes. Good absorbency and good fit in my baby.' Viktorija, product review

Can You Wash Reusable Nappies With Clothes? 

Yes you can wash real nappies with other clothes.

If you think about it logically, baby clothing from newborn to potty training is also covered in puke, pee and poo, so washing your nappies alongside makes no odds and you will have rinsed the nappies already. Just wash at the temperature specified by your nappy manufacturer, 40c for all Cheeky Doodoo nappies. See our Cheeky Doodoo Nappy washing guide for more details.

Can You Tumble Dry Reusable Nappies? 

Yes, you can tumble dry reusable nappies but only on LOW heat. If you're unsure what temperature your tumble dryer uses, don't do it.

Outdoor line drying is best as  it has the added benefit of 'sunning out' any lingering stains.

In winter, an airer and well ventilated space or dehumidifier work a treat!

We hope that helps answer any questions you have about washing reusable nappies. We've got lots more information to help you make the switch to reusable nappies:

Lastly, our blog has more articles all about reusable nappies, however if you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us.  The team are experts in cloth nappies and love to chat pee and poo!

About the author:  Helen Rankin is the founder of Cheeky Wipes and used cloth nappies with her 4 children over a period of 10 years!  She launched Cheeky Doodoo nappies after customers asked for Cheeky Nappies and worked with designer Penny Broderick to develop the range super absorbent, slim fitting nappies. 

The company won a Queens Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category in 2021 in recognition of their work bringing 'Simple Reusables' to the UK since 2008.


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