About Cloth Nappies

What are cloth nappies?

Cloth nappies are washable/reusable nappies, they work in exactly the same way disposables do except you don’t throw them away, you wash and reuse them

Why use cloth nappies?

Around 8 million disposable nappies are used every day in the UK! Most of these end up in landfill sites. What happens when these landfills are full? Well, the use of incinerators will increase.

In the UK alone we get through 500,000 tonnes of disposable nappies every year! By choosing reusable nappies, you can reduce your household waste by half

For every £1 spent on disposable nappies, there is a cost to the taxpayer of 10p to dispose of them!

By ‘going cloth’ your family can incur a direct saving of up to £500, and even more for baby number 2, 3, 4, 5…..

By choosing washable nappies, you are helping to protect your baby’s very delicate skin from the harsh chemicals, plastics and adhesives that form the basis of disposables. A baby’s skin is 5 times thinner than that of an adult, so you can only imagine how much gets absorbed

In 2000, a scientific study was conducted at Kiel University in Germany which indicated that the widespread use of disposable nappies, which heat the testes above body temperature, is a significant factor in the declining fertility rates in Western European men

The chemical Sodium Polyacrylate absorbs and holds fluid in disposable nappies. This chemical has been linked to toxic shock syndrome and was banned from use in tampons in 1985. It can cause allergic reactions and it lethal to cats when inhaled. Its long term safety to a childs vulnerable genitals has not been assessed. In the short term, its super absorbency draws moisture away from the skin, in some instances causing severe nappy rash, and bleeding of perineal and scrotal tissue

The design of disposable nappies means that the child can not feel when they are wet, which can lead to delayed potty training. Real nappy wearing babies will generally potty train sooner than those in disposables

What types of cloth nappies are there?

Pocket: These come with an absorbent insert which sits inside a sleeve or back pocket. Simply stuff the insert in and then the nappy goes on and off as quickly as a disposable. Because the insert is separate, the nappies dry very quickly, and you can easily adjust the absorbency by adding more inserts. Some pocket nappies will require the insert to be pulled out before washing, whereas others such as the Smartipants™ will self-remove during the wash cycle


All in One: These have all parts built in, so the nappies are truly as easy to use as a disposable. Instead of throwing it away, throw it in the nappy bucket! Great for the real nappy sceptics! These nappies are slower drying


Fitted: These are nappies without the waterproof layer built in. A separate waterproof layer is required over the top of the nappies (nappy cover). Fitted nappies tend to be good for containment but also tend to be slow drying. Fitted nappies are great for night time use


Flat: These include the traditional terry squares, and also pre-folds. Like fitted nappies, a separate waterproof layer (nappy cover) in required over the top. The nappies also need folding, and perhaps gripping. These tend to be the most economical option


What will I need?

As a general guide, you will need somewhere between 15-25 real nappies (depending on how often you intend to wash) and if you are opting for a 2-part system (nappy and waterproof cover) you will need only about 4-5 of the covers/wraps, as these only need to be washed every few uses or when soiled

You will also need either a lidded container or wet bag to store used nappies in until ready to wash

How do I care for/wash them?