How to start Cloth Nappies

Wondering how to start using cloth nappies?

We are here to help! How to start with cloth can often be the stumbling point. Tried Google? As a newbie to cloth, it can be very overwhelming. Here I shall try and help break it down.

First, let’s make it simple. There are essentially two main parts to cloth nappies: something waterproof and something absorbent. They can each come in many forms. Let’s start with the waterproof part:


This can be called the shell, outer, cover or wrap to name the most common terms. They can come with two different ways to ‘stick’ them: with snaps (the poppers), or with hook and loop (more commonly known as velcro).

They are typically made with a layer of PUL – Polyurethane Laminate. Some are made with TPU – Thermoplastic polyurethane. TPU fabrics are made using a heating process that ‘bakes in’ the laminated waterproofing properties rather than using a chemical cocktail to achieve the same, as in PUL. This makes TPU slightly more expensive. The final option are wool covers.

Wool covers/wraps

Alternative to waterproof covers are wool ones. Wool covers are an option that rely only on fibres, and not chemicals. They are not actually waterproof – so why are they such a popular choice of cover? Well – think of sheep! As long as you have enough absorbency underneath the cover, the wool will be reliable. However, if you do not have enough absorbency, you will experience leaks. It’s best to think of wool wraps as ‘water resistant’ than waterproof. They are a great alternative for children who struggle with eczema, sweating or rashes. The best part is, wool is naturally antibacterial and unless they get soiled, you can wash them about once a month! Read about our wash care here.


The next difference is the gusset. The gusset refers to the edging that sits around the leg/groin, and is elasticated. Some nappies have one layer, and some have two – known as a double gusset. It is often felt that double gussets offer more containment, but others can find it too fiddly to fit two layers of elastics well into the groin. If you don’t have a good fit, you can have leaks no matter how many layers of elastic there are.

Nappies such as close pop-in’s have a double gusset that looks like this. 

Comparable to the above, this gusset is quite deep and may even be referred to as a ‘leg guard’. The elastic you can see on the inner side, almost hiding, would be fit into the leg/groin and the outer elastic would act as a ‘back up’. For example on a baba and boo for example, the inner elastic is quite literally on the inside and so you ai to fit the outer one to the leg/groin.

This concludes our breakdown on the outer part of cloth nappies. So have a cuppa, take a moment to let that sink in and pop back for the next chapter: the absorbant part of cloth nappies.

I’m ready! Take me there.

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