Unlike disposables, reusable nappies do require some maintenance, namely in the washing and keeping them clean department. Here is a comprehensive 14 point care guide to ensure that your reusable nappies are cleaned properly, maintain absorbency and extend its usage lifespan.
1. Soak in cold water
Soak in cold water (especially inserts) for 24 hours to kick start and to ensure maximum absorbency. Then run it through a normal cycle once. If you don’t do this, it usually takes about 6-8 wash cycles to get the bamboo fibers in the inserts to absorb properly.
2. Rinse well
Rinse well and get as much poo off as much as possible before popping into the wash. Using flushable liners is one way to quickly remove solids and reduce staining.
Sunlight is the best drying method for reusable nappies. Not only will it save on your power bill, the UV rays also ensures that any lingering bacteria is killed off in the process. But if you have to, low tumble dry is recommended in contrast to high heat for the shells.
4. Warm washing
Warm wash if you are using a lot of creams. This is because the fats and oils in the creams reduce absorbency rates by creating a barrier on the material. Cold washing will not get rid of fats and oils, only warm water will dissolve it.
5. Do not boil
Do not boil or hot wash because it will break down the fibers of your reusable nappy.
6. Wash often
Try to wash your cloth nappies at least every other day and do not leave them for more than 3 days. Poo will stain and the smell might get a bit too much by then.
7. Maximum amount of nappies
A wash cycle should have only around 15 – 18 nappies in them. Do not over load your washing machine with too many nappies or else they won’t clean properly. It will also prevent stains and damage to the nappy shell fabric.
8. Do not use the following
Do not use fabric conditioner or powers with fabric softeners in them as they can reduce absorbency, create a build up that can lead to smell nappies.
9. You only need half
Only use half the amount of washing power to prevent residue build ups which can cause rashes and redness. Depending on your area and your water, you may need to use a little bit more. Don’t be afraid to experiment but less is best.
10. Take out inserts
When washing, make sure to take out inserts from their pockets. This will ensure that everything gets cleaned properly. You don’t need to do separate washes for shells and inserts, you just need to make sure that they’re not attached to each other.
11. How to bleach nappy stains
Sunlight is your best friend when it comes to bleaching stains. Do not use bleach, vinegar or baking soda. These things will break down the bamboo fibers and your cloth nappy will not last as long as it should.
12. Reducing stains and smells
Rinsing your nappies in your nappy bucket (that is, any bucket, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or special) can help remove stains and prevent smells from building up.
13. What a good cloth nappy should be
A clean washed nappy shouldn’t smell.
14. Drying and care
Hang your nappy with care. One of the things that determines the life of your nappy is the leg elastic. If you have them on the line, make sure you’re not stretching the elastic out.