5 Top Tips for Using Reusable Nappies

For those not in the club, reusable nappies can seem like an enigma. So we asked our local Exeter-based reusable nappy group Nappuccino for their top tips.

Instant reassurance came with:

‘It is so much easier than you think!’

Nappuccino mum

Tip 1. Small steps

If changing to full time cloth nappies feels too daunting, then start small. Reusable wipes are fantastic value and a good initial step.  And remember, starting with just a few reusable nappies still avoids many disposables from going to landfill.  Then you can add to your stash later on. 

Tip 2. Try before you buy

In Devon, we’re lucky enough to have The Devon Real Nappy Project, which enables parents to borrow a nappy kit and speak to an advisor about it, all free of charge.  It’s a great way to try many different types of cloth nappies and, as the trial is for 2 weeks to a month, you really do get a feel for how they work, and how it all fits with your lifestyle and your baby.  To find your nearest advisor click here: https://www.recycledevon.org/nappy-advisors-and-retailers-0

Coming soon: our experience of the trial kit from Jen Harris at Exeter Babies.

Tip 3. Pre-wash and dry outside

Washing doesn’t have to be onerous.  Our mums advised that they do a quick pre-rinse or wash at 60 and then a long main wash at 40 – which you can bulk out the wash with other, general baby stuff (being careful not to add anything too big).  Occasionally, some mums do a complete wash at 60 instead.

Drying. In the sunshine, it’s a no brainer – get the nappies outside on the line.  Not only will it reduce drying time but the UV light from the wonderful sunlight (even on a cloudy day) will actually break down any stains and make them fade or completely disappear.  When drying, be sure not to hang anything with the elastic vertical as the weight of the nappy will stretch the elastic, eventually causing leaks. Instead hang the nappies (and the elastic) sideways. Good old Ikea is at help again – the £3 Pressa socktopus is a must buy for drying the liners.

Tip 4. Make, buy second hand and don’t get hooked!

There is no doubt that buying a lifetime worth of reusable nappies in one outlay is more expensive than buying just one pack of nappies.  But, according to Recycle Devon, “Using real nappies can save around £500 on average (including washing costs) compared to disposables, and these savings increase if you can use the same nappies on baby number two….or three!”

To reduce the initial outlay further, our mums suggest to cut your own reusable wipes from fleece which is actually quite simple as it doesn’t need sewing.  And, as we all know, a bargain can often be found on selling sites and this is no different for good quality reusable nappies.  Remember, to keep it affordable – don’t get hooked on buying lots of prints!

My favourite tip has to be about the ‘work horse and most affordable’ of reusable nappies (and the most traditional one our grandparents will be familiar with) which are terry nappies.  We were told “Don’t be scared of terries – just learn one type of fold and you are off.  They are bomb proof, never leak, great overnight, and dry really quickly”

Tip 5. If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again

Different brands of reusable nappies all fit slightly differently so if you’re not getting on with a particular nappy, try another (this is why the nappy trial kit is fabulous).  If you don’t succeed straight away, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your reusable nappy journey.  One mum told us ‘I found that my little one was producing too much wee for the new born size but once I moved to birth to potty there were no leaks or him feeling too wet.  And ‘birth to potty’ are actually too big for a new born!”

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