I’ve written before about why we chose to use modern cloth nappies with our babies. I thought I would write a little about washing, drying and maintaining the nappies, for anyone out there interested in trying them with their bubs.
We mainly use baby behinds hemp one size fits all, and itti bitti snap in styles. There are a couple of other types floating in the mix, but these are the main types. They are all washed in the same way. We also use face washers/cloths instead of disposable wipes.
So after a nappy change, I rinse any solids (or not so solid when they were pre-solid food) straight into the toilet. I have a very handy partner who loves to DIY and he attached a hose to the toilet that helps no end with this process! Once the nappy is rinsed I place it straight into a bucket in the laundry, put the lid on and leave it. I dry pail – which simply means I don’t soak the nappies, but I wash at least every second day. If you leave it longer, the urine can wreck the elastic in the nappies, and the stink increases also. Also, this past year I’ve had two in nappies, so it has often meant I’ve washed every day.
Once the bucket is full, I place them all in the washing machine and do a rinse cycle. I put the nappies and the covers all in together, along with the cloths and nappy liners (if I’ve remembered to use them!). Nappy liners are great – you can purchase eco disposable ones, but I prefer to use reusable ones. Super easy to make – strips of fleece material, you know, that jumpers are made from. The solids come off the liner a lot easier than the nappy.
After the rinse, I usually choose the 30-40 degree setting and an intensive rinse. Most of the manufacturers seem to recommend no higher than 60 degrees (Celsius) for the nappies, to look after the elastic. There seem to be differing opinions about using cold or warm wash, and on using washing powder/liquid. I use whatever washing liquid we have in the laundry, although sometimes I manage to score some Rockin’ Green, which is designed for use with modern cloth nappies, but is often really hard to get. We always have eco/green washing liquid in the cupboard. Less is definitely more when it comes to MCNs – too much detergent will build up in the nappies, and they become stinky and less absorbent, and you’ll have to do a strip wash.
The nappies do well when you can dry them in the sunlight – the UV helps whiten them and is good for getting rid of bacteria also. However, if you need to use a dryer no problem. I find our hemp nappies soften up really well after a tumble in the dryer. Just don’t put the PUL covers in. They dry so quickly anyway, just whack them on the clothes horse. We didn’t have a dryer until our second one came along, and they were both in nappies. Couldn’t keep up!
I mentioned a strip wash above. This is for when the nappies become a bit stinky and aren’t absorbing very well. Wash them as normal and then put them through a couple of washes with no detergent. Some people recommend using a small amount of dish washing liquid in the first wash. I sometimes use the Canesten Laundry Rinse also, particularly if the kids haven’t been well.
We don’t use cloth 100% of the time – if the kids are sick, if I’m sick – we do use disposables. But we do our best to use cloth most of the time. How about you? Any tips on washing and drying your cloth nappies that aren’t mentioned here?
This is the first post in a planned series on cloth nappies. We decided early on that we would use cloth nappies as much as possible. For both the long term cost factor and the environmental factors. What we didn’t know was just how many options there are now! Modern Cloth Nappies or MCNs as they are referred to come in different sizes, shapes, materials and prices. And there are so many retailers and manufacturers. Many are work at home mums or mums that have turned their nappy obsession into successful businesses. It’s quite amazing really.
I read reviews and trawled through site after site. I didn’t know anyone who had used MCNs and so didn’t have any ‘real life’ feedback available. In the end, we took a punt on the Baby Beehinds hemp one size fits all model. Mainly because they were having an awesome run out sale! So they were a good price. These nappies are supposed to fit from birth to toilet training and they need covers. We have also used itti bitti. So far they have worked pretty well and I’m amazed to say that we use them full time and only use disposables when we have gone away for more than one night, or when something has happened like me hurting my back and not being able to move! Getting nappies in and out of the washing machine when you can’t move ain’t easy…
Recently, we went through a period where we used more disposables – my toddler had gastro and we had a newborn who didn’t quite fit into the nappies straight away. This period reinforced for us the decision to use cloth nappies. I truly hate throwing bags of used nappies into the bin! And spending that money on a packet of nappies! Urgh. It can be tricky with two in nappies and living in Melbourne to get them dry in time, but really, I just need to work on being more organised with the washing!!
How about you? I would love to hear from others who have used MCNs or who are planning on it. If you do use them, what was the main factor behind your decision?
Right – what an amazing year it’s been for us. But clearly, blogging has not been high on the priority list! I intend for that change from now on!
Brief run down of the year and my broad plan for this blog:
We moved to the beautiful, green outer eastern suburbs and are loving it – I intend to share pictures and posts of how we are slowly changing our new house to become our new home.
I gave birth to our amazing, beautiful and gorgeous little girl. Awe inspiring. Hard. Scary. Wonderful. I plan to blog about many parenting inspired things – birthing, changes to relationships, to self, the fun, the hard, the good, the unexpected.
Frugal or budget smart living – I’m not great at this, but I plan to throw myself in to it this year – the overall goal for us being that I don’t go back to work for as long as we can manage! This has already begun with us having a detailed budget, growing and preserving food, looking at making our own foods like yoghurt and breads and considering getting some chooks! We are keen to live as sustainably and ethically as possible, but know this will entail changing how we currently live. We’ll see how it goes…….
I am also learning to sew – inspired by my mother, a close friend and many blogs I am really quite keen on developing this skill. I would love to eventually earn some money from sewing but we’ll see.
My other goal is to develop my blogging skills – to both challenge myself and for the sake of anyone who stumbles across this blog!!!
I am going to aim for two posts a week as a minimum. Let’s see how it goes!!