How To Wash And Care For Your Cloth Nappies


Remove Solids and Rinse

Drop any solids in the toilet and put the cloth nappies in the extra-large wet bag that came with The Cloth Nappy Box. Zip it up, and all smells are contained. (wet bags replace plastic bags)


Jenna shares options for poo removal.


Jenna demonstrates how to rinse.

Wash Cycles

Wash every 1 to 2 days. Wash the nappies the same as you wash your clothes. Except set your washing machine to do a pre-wash. If your washing machine does not have a pre-wash setting, wash the nappies on the shortest setting (30 min), then do a regular wash with the recommended amount of detergent at 40 to 60 degrees. Cold is ok if they design your detergent for it.

Do not use a detergent with fabric softeners or whiteners as they leave a residue in the nappy.

This is also a good practice with anything touching your baby’s skin. Babies reacting to residue left after washing clothes is a common occurrence.


Jenna talks through wash cycles.

Jenna shares her wash routine.

Drying The Nappies

This is the easy bit. If you can line dry it’s best for the environment and your electricity bill, not to mention your nappies. Hang inserts out in the sun to soak up those rays. Your covers you may want to be more careful with. You can either hang them outside for a short period of time or just hang inside. I hang mine over the edge of my washing basket inside and they’re dry in less than a day. Harsh sun can damage your PUL or fade your beautiful designs so it’s best to take care with covers. If it’s raining, or just if you prefer, you can dry your inserts in the dryer. This can take a while as they’re super absorbent! 

Avoid putting the PUL covers and Candie shells in the dryer, as this shortens the life of the elastic. It’s ok if you must but the Candie and PUL covers can and will last multiple children, so if you are careful, you can cloth nappy all your children spending no more money. Three is the record. Let me know if you break that.

Note: the absorbency of the boosters increases over the first 5 to 10 washes. You also notice that the boosters will shrink by about 10%. They are milled and made this way. That’s why the inserts are bigger when you get them. You will also notice the absorbance increase at the same time.

Before First Use

Let’s start at the very beginning. You’ve received your new nappies, hugged them, taken a photo for your partner, squealed a little bit. What do you do next? Prep them! You can prep them a couple of different ways. You can wash them 6-8 times before use which is a bit laborious and you have to be very patient, which I am not. Or you can just soak them overnight in plain water, wash them once and use straight away. They won’t be at full absorbency straight away but you can just change baby a little more frequently until they’ve been washed a few times and you’ll be fine. And best of all you get to start using them straight away! As a note, you only need to prep nappies like this if they’re made of natural fibres (hemp, bamboo, cotton). Microfibre just needs one wash to make sure any production chemicals are removed. Covers also only need to be washed one to make sure they’re clean.

We have also found some places charge for washing instructions. Do not pay for cloth nappy washing instructions. We, as the manufacture, are happy to help if you need extra help.

Storing and Care

Storing dirty nappies couldn’t be simpler. These days we don’t recommend storing them in a bucket of water. It’s cumbersome, breeds bacteria, is a drowning hazard and can be damaging to the PUL and elastics in modern cloth nappies. These days we dry pail. When looking for a dry pail you’ll want something with lots of holes, we want airflow. The more air the better. It seems counterintuitive but if you have good airflow you won’t have smells.

Pee nappies can just be thrown in the dry pail until wash day. Poo nappies should be rinsed before dry pailing. You’ve got a few poo removal choices. You can use a nappy sprayer like a Little Squirt one attached to your toilet or a home-made one rigged up in your laundry tub. You can also use all manner of everyday items to remove poo. Some of the popular options are a spatula, butter knives, and hair brushes. Try whatever takes your fancy. Just label that knife for goodness sakes! Once the poo is removed you can just pop it in the dry pail or give it quick spray with a stain spray (if you do this be sure to check it’s not one with a time limit on it).

Night nappies can benefit from a quick hand rinse before dry pailing. They contain large amounts of quite concentrated urine so it’s a good idea to rinse them in hot water with a tiny bit of detergent. Just rinse a couple of times until the water runs clear, then dry pail with the rest of the nappies.

As our nappies can be used for multiple children, it is important to store your nappies correctly in order to keep them in their best condition. 


Jenna shares her Change Mat set up.

Find out more

Our Nappy Leaks Podcast spent an entire episode discussing washing Cloth Nappies. Listen along to find out just how easy it can be as well as some handy tips and tricks.