Eco Store | Sling & Cloth Nappy Library | Parent Hub

How do I wash cloth nappies?

Feb 28, 2020Cloth nappies

Washing cloth nappies is a topic that google is divided on. The reason for this is that every single washing machine will behave very differently in each household with each water hardness and each detergent! Therefore it is impossible to standardise.

As we run a nappy library, we do have a washing routine that we ask our users to follow. This is to support our own insurance, and because it’s been pretty successful for us for the last 5 years! That said, it may need a little tweaking so do get in touch if you have any issue. We recommend:

* Remove as much poop as possible before a wash.

* Tuck in any velcro fastenings, undo all poppers, and remove all inserts from all nappies. You need them to be fully apart, and not sticking to each other.

* A cold machine rinse, no detergent. This is usually around 30 minutes.

* The longest wash you have on your machine. This is often a cottons wash, and lasts around 2-4 hours. If you have an eco-machine, see your manual and choose a setting with more water.

* Wash with POWDERS only. We have powders that are generally considered amongst libraries, to wash better. These include Ariel, Persil, Asda tropical, Bold 2 in 1, and most non-bio’s (there are more) but it is important to be fully informed that use of bio powders may void your warranties if you purchase your own nappies new.

* Use a FULL dose of powder as per the instructions on your powder box. This includes the extra dosage for heavily soiled, plus the extra for water hardness.

*Strictly no liquids, no softeners or eco powders (such as ecover, Bio D, Miocare as these contain soap). These add a ‘coating’ to the nappies, which affects their absorbency and creates a build up.

*Only rinse if there are still suds at the very end of the wash cycle. If there are, next time reduce the amount of powder slightly until you no longer have suds, and do not need a rinse.

* Air dry, but not directly on the radiators. Some nappies indicate on the labels they can be tumble dried, see each nappy’s label.

This is a list of strict no-no’s and use of them will void your hire agreement with us, as well as the above mentioned no-no’s:

This list of things to avoid with cloth nappies is taken from manufacturers’ and retailers’ websites.

  • Detergents with “cellulase” in the ingredients
  • Vinegar
  • Calgon
  • Any fabric conditioner
  • Bleach (apart from where listed as safe)
  • Napisan
  • “Vanish” and other harsh stain removers
  • Oxy-action stain removers
  • bumGenius/Cotton Babies specifically say, “Use non-bio washing powder which does not contacting any perfumes, dyes, whiteners, brighteners or enzymes” (It is possible that your warranty could be void if your nappies prematurely degrade and you are found to be using a harsh detergent or something else on the “DO NOT USE” list)

We are also asked very often about nappy creams. The UK Cloth Nappy Network lists the following as cloth nappy friendly as long as they are used sparingly and rubbed in well:

  • Angel Baby Botty Balm
  • Arbonne Baby range of products
  • Badger Balm (questionable)
  • Balmy Notions
  • Bio Baby Eco Spray
  • Breastmilk
  • Burt Bees (questionable)
  • California Baby Diaper Rash Cream
  • Chamomile tea (NOT chamomile essential oils)
  • Cavilon (cream or spray)
  • CJ’s BUTTer (all variants including tubs, tubes and spritz)
  • Coconut oil (solid or cold pressed)
  • Eco Sprout Bum Salve
  • Lanisoh
  • Little Violet’s Baby Balm
  • Neal’s Yards Baby CREAM (NOT baby balm)
  • Punkin Butt
  • Purepotions Lav Salve
  • Sheepish Grins Bottom Balm
  • Thirsties Booty Love
  • Waitrose Bottom Butter
  • Weleda Baby

When you hire a kit from us, you sign an agreement which includes information on the washing instructions. It is important that these are followed as not doing so will result in a breach, and may incur costs to repair them. As a library, we have a level of care and hygiene expected that may not be as you prefer in your own home. As our nappies are loaned out to multiple users, it is important that you trust the depth in which our nappies are cared for. In order to help more baby bottoms into fluff, we trust that you follow our guidance and contact us if there are any issues.

For information on how to fit a cloth nappy, see our leaflet here.


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