Cloth Nappies: Beginners Guide

cloth nappy modern cloth nappy reusable cloth nappy

Congratulations on taking the first step to using reusable cloth nappies for your baby! You’re here because:

  1. You’re thinking about using cloth nappies
  2. You’re about to start using cloth nappies
  3. You’re already using cloth nappies and want to know more
  4. You’re just curious!

Either way, I will endeavour to provide a guide for using cloth nappies based on my own experiences! Remember, this is only advice and everyone will have different opinions.

Why are there so many types of cloth nappies?

If you have been talking to the older generation, they will probably remember the old style of cloth nappy. They are the terry square that required folding and pins to hold them in place. These days it’s easier than we think! Hence, why it’s now called Modern Cloth Nappy (MCN).

Pocket Style- MCNs which have room to place inserts in the nappy, just like a pocket.

All-in-One- MCNs with the inserts sewn on and may only need boosting.

Snaps- MCNs which have snaps to clip inserts. Or may refer to the method to fasten the nappy.

Velcro- the method to fasten the cloth nappy

Flats- old style nappy

These are the most popular styles. Some MCNs have a combination of 2 or 3. Inserts are another story! Cloth nappies also come in a fitted style yet thicker fabric. These MCN will need a shell (waterproof bit) to go over the fitted nappy.

In the current market, inserts are usually made solely or a combination of bamboo, cotton, hemp and microfiber. The natural fabrics will take longer to dry especially bamboo and hemp. Yet they are also the most absorbent! When making decisions of which inserts, it is recommended to have a combination of all. See the benefits of each below!



Easy to Use


Good for Childcare

Quick Drying





















Most cloth nappies are affordable these days due to the competitive market! Handmade nappies often referred to as WAHMs (Working at Home Mums) will be the most expensive and can be the best quality.

How do I wash my nappies?

As you would have already noticed, there are a lot of advice about the washing of cloth nappies. The best way is to take on board a couple of washing routines.

Prepping- modern cloth nappies do not need a lot of prepping. Most simply need to be washed before used on a main wash 40-60 degrees. Some natural fabrics are required to be soaked overnight to boost absorbency.

Dry Pail- this refers to storing used cloth nappies. Most cloth nappies will last 2 hours and this can just be stored in a bucket. Yes there are lots of buckets, but I simply use a ‘bucket’ to store my nappies 2-3 days before washing.

Soiled Nappies- you can use a disposable liner and if you get lucky, most of the poo will be on the liner. Just like a disposable nappy, throw the liner with poo straight in the bin. In reality, poos will be everywhere. Depending on the age of your baby (breastfed babies just require rinsing), poos can be scraped into the toilet.

Pre-wash- When you have a substantial amount of cloth nappies to wash, you are ready to do a pre-wash. I unsnap and take out all the inserts. If it’s just a wee, I simply rinse it and place in my machine. If there are poo stains, I hand scrub (using gloves) any excess with hot water. My machine has a 60 degrees wash titled ‘Cotton Stains’ and it goes for about an hour and a bit.

Main Wash- After the pre-wash, I combine the shells with the inserts, any cloth wipes, tea towels or any other small items to bulk up my washing. I use a lot of reusable items such as cloth pads and unpaper towels, so this is your opportunity to be more environmentally friendly!

Drying- some people use a dryer but I prefer to dry it naturally. If you can, under the shade. I don’t have the luxury of having a verandah or a deck, so I simply hang them under the sun. Although, I avoid long periods of time as this will make the inserts stiff and curly.

Time Management- stuffing or snapping inserts do take time, but I make it part of my routine. I sit down and watch TV while doing them!

There are lots of advice on the internet and even videos of how to fit cloth nappies! You can join facebook groups, but it can get confusing. This is my fifth year of using cloth nappies with my second child and three of those years, I worked full time. So it is possible to fit it in your routine. If you become overwhelm, don’t quit and just take a break. Every cloth nappy counts towards the environment. This is just the beginning, so let me know your thoughts! How are you going on your cloth nappy journey?

Don't forget to check out our range of modern cloth nappies, including handmade! (click on picture for the link)



Older Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published