- Frequently Asked Questions
washing instructions are enclosed with your nappies.
Why do I have to wash the nappies before
I use them?
We recommend to wash new nappies three times before use to improve absorbency. When the fabric is made, the cotton thread is coated with sizing to allow it to run freely through the machinery. Wash as hot as you can at least three times to remove this, it isn't necessary to dry between washes. Your nappies will reach peak absorbency after perhaps a dozen or more washes, often more for hemp fabrics. You don't have to wash the wraps before use though many prefer to. With any deep coloured nappies (Rainbow Bots, Bright Bots), fleece liners or wraps, especially red, it is advisable to wash the wraps separately before use to remove any excess colour. If in doubt about your purhases, please wash only one or two to try out as we are unable to accept worn/washed nappies for return for refund.
What will I need?
You will need a nappy bucket or bin with a tightly fitting
lid such as a brewing bucket. Some (trash can style) have clips
that clamp the lid on Look in your local DIY or cheap shop eg
Poundstretcher. You may prefer to get a large one, sufficient
to hold around 12-5 nappies. Some people have two smaller ones
- one upstairs and one down, others have two, one for wet nappies
and one for soiled ones. As nappies are next to your baby's skin
a non-bio powder should be used, and fabric conditioner should
not be used as this will reduce absorbency. Some wraps can be
washed at the same temperature as the nappies (60ºC) others,
especially wool wraps, require a cooler wash. Nappy washing becomes
easier once you have established this as part of your routine
- some people wash every day, some every two or three days. You
may also find that a few additional nappies, especially for a
newborn, will ease the burden of frequent washing and drying.
What do I do about soiled nappies?
Use a flushable biodegradable
liner, these are made from paper. The liner which contains the
poo can then be hygienically flushed down the toilet into the
sewage system. If any poo remains on the nappy, this can be rinsed
in the loo by holding tightly on to a corner and flushing. The
nappy can then be placed in your nappy bucket. These liners can
be used with a cess pool, I haven't had to empty mine since the
day my daughter was born so can testify they do not block the
system - provided your plumbing is in good order ! You
can also wash any wet only liners and re-use, generally they
will last through about 4 or 5 washes. You may choose to use
fleece liners, these are non absorbent, and dry quickly, so they
allow wee to pass straight throug to the nappy, and leave a dry
barrier between baby and wet nappy. They can be used in conjunction
with a flushable liner, however you will find the flushable liner
once wet stays wet. Fleece liners can be 'emptied' into the loo,
usually by stretching or by holding a corner and flushing, then
washed with the nappies.
Do I have to soak my nappies?
Not if you don't want to, many people don't, although
soaking may extend the life of your nappies if you're looking
for them to last several babies by diluting the urine and reducing
damage to the fabric by the urine compared to dry storing them.
Alternatively, you can rinse the wet and soiled nappies in clean
water to remove the urine before putting them in your nappy bin,
or . If you do soak, I recommend a few drops of tea tree oil
which has excellent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties,
OR a few ml of white vinegar OR a teaspoon or two of bicarbonate
of soda in a large bucket of water with a tightly fitting lid
or locking lid. It is important not to overdose on bicarbonate
of soda as this can attack the structure of terry pile fabric.
It is not necessary, and indeed not suitable for some nappies
and waterproof covers, to use a nappy sanitiser eg Napisan: this
can make Velcro fastenings stiff, and will desroy the waterproof layer of a wrap or all in one. A 60ºC wash in a modern
machine will adequately cleanse your nappies, but for economy you may porefer 40. If you don't
soak, it is often a good idea to do a rinse or pre-wash cycle
without detergent prior to your main wash at 40 or 60ºC, as this
removes the urine and any remaining 'bits' from your washing
before the wash cycle. Some people keep their soiled nappies
separate and soak just these. If you wish to soak and are worried
about the bucket getting tipped over, try standing it in the
bath or shower tray, and use a minimal of water if it is likely
that toddlers are around, topping up as more nappies are added.
What do I wash my nappies with, and
how do I keep them soft?
It is advisable to use a non biological powder, as these are
less likely to cause a skin reaction. You'll also discover that
you don't actually need the amount of washing powder the manufacturers
recommend. If you watch your rinse cycle you'll probably see
plenty of suds as the excess powder is washed out. By using less
powder you'll find you have slightly softer nappies too. Experiment
- you'll probably find using between 1/3 and 1/2 of your normal
amount of powder will suffice.
Unless you live in a soft water area, or have
a water softener you'll find your nappies will tend to go hard,
however you should not use a fabric conditioner as these will
coat the fibres of your nappy and significantly reduce its absorbency
giving leaks. Tumble drying will leave your nappies soft and
fluffy, even just a 10 minute burst will do. If you pop your
nappies in for 10 minutes after washing and remove whilst steaming
you'll find this accelerates drying too without costing too much.
However if you don't have a tumble drier, a dosh (about a tablespoonful)
of white vinegar in the conditioner compartment will help remove
the limescale and detergent residues giving softer nappies, as
will giving them a good shake and rub together when almost dry.
Surely washing is hard work?
Once you have established a routine, washing should only take
you a few minutes. Your machine will do the rest of the work.
If you wash every second or third day it will only take you a
few extra moments each week to load the machine, and just a few
more to hang nappies out or put them in the tumble drier. You'll
save time in the supermarket, and you won't have lots of bin
bags to put out for the dustman. Washing nappies is actually
very easy if you have an automatic washing machine - and you
won't need to iron!
Won't it be expensive to put the washing machine on just
for a few nappies?
Wash at a lower temperature, and when replacing your machine choose an A rated machine for best economy. Washing machines are generally designed to be most energy efficient when operated at 40ºC or 60ºC. You can also wash your whites and other items at the same time so you have a full machine. Generally 60ºC is considered best for pooey nappies, though many do wash at 40ºC, particularly if the nappies are just wet. I do know folks who wash their nappies at 60ºC, then stop the machine as it moves on to the cooler cycle, add in the rest of the 40ºC wash and reset the machine to carry on at 40ºC. However I think this is taking economy a little far! Avoid tumble drying to kep the cost down.
I don't have a drier, and don't have room to dry nappies
around the house?
If you set your machine to go on in the early evening usually
when baby has gone to bed (or is that wishful thinking?!), then
you can hang them on airers and by radiators or boilers overnight.
You'll find flat nappies in particular will be dry by morning
most days, the remainedr can be hung in the airing cupboard if
you have one to finish off. A bathroom or spare bedroom is often
the most suitable place to dry your nappies - an airer can be
placed out of the way in or over the bath provided you have suitable
ventilation, keeping the rest of the house free; you might also
like to keep your nappy bucket there too. Also try to choose
quicker drying nappies without a waterproof layer.
These can then be dried quickly overnight on or by a radiator,
leaving your house nappy free during the day. For speeding up
drying indoors, try pointing an electric fan (no heat required)
at your airer, the draft will speed drying considerably. We have
a ceiling fan in our kitchen, and it seems to dry in about 4
hours! Wraps may be hand rinsed and hung to dry. With all nappies, even the quicker drying microfibre it is advisable to ensure that although your nappy may feel dry on the surface that it is thoroughly dry. Airinng them well and storing them in a warm dry place eg airing cupboard or by a radiator will help with this. If they are put away slightly damp this can encourage bacterial growth and will result in smelly nappies, sometimes a cabbagey smell when your baby has weed.
How do I make my nappies and wraps last through more than
The majority of nappies will usually last more than one child
depending on wear and tear, though wraps in particular the larger
sizes which may be worn for a considerable time may need to be
replaced. You'll find that nappy elastic may give and patches
may wear round the legs, but generally most brands will still
be servicable, sized nappies will obviously fair better than
one-sized nappies as they will receive less wear and tear. Avoiding
tumble drying will extend the life of nappies, and in particular
of wraps (although with a polyurethane laminate wrap a quick
10 minute blast in the tumble drier can often help re-align the
molecules and re-seal a slightly leaking wrap where the waterproofing
properties are just beginning to go and the outside feels slightly
damp). If wraps that can withstand a 60ºC wash are washed
at 40ºC or hand washed where possible, this again will prolong
their life. Direct contact of wraps and All-In-Ones with radiators
should also be avoided, particularly PVC ones (Kooshies). If
you want to keep the nappies white, wash on a higher temperature
(see instructions provided with your nappies for maximum recommended
temperatures), although this will reduce their life span, but
avoid bleach as this can damage the fibres, although a dab of
Vanish may help shift a persistent stain particularly of breatfed
poo. Line drying is free, and the sun's action will naturally
bleach your nappies. Rinsing and soaking of soiled and wet nappies
and wraps will neutralise the urine and thereby reduce damage
to the fibres of the fabric and prolong life.
Full washing instructions
are supplied with your nappy purchases.
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