All nappies should come with their own recommended washing instructions. It is important you follow these properly as not doing so may void the warrant of the nappy.
Below are some general guidelines...
Wash nappy covers and inserts prior to use. This helps to soften the fabrics, enhance absorbency, and to remove any possible residues left from manufacturing. We recommend a warm wash (<60 degrees) with no detergent for this first wash.
The more often inserts are washed the more absorbent they become. Some people prefer to soak inserts in water only for 24 hours and then begin washing them (as above) and using them. This is usually the only time you will soak inserts and can help boost the inserts absorbency.
Store your nappies until they are ready to be washed in a 'dry pail' any bucket or container will do but a lid helps to contain smells. No need to soak them while you wait.
- Remove all solids from the nappy. Flush down the toilet before washing. Liners can help make this task a little easier.
- Separate the insert(s) from the nappy. In a pocket nappy remove the inserts.
- If you want to, rinse the outer and the insert plus the reusable liner, if you are using one. Squeeze out excess water and store in a bucket. Do not soak. If nappies are just wet you don't always need to be rinse, popping them into a dry pail will be fine.
- Do a pre-wash/short cycle wash. I do my own with a small amount of detergent. This helps remove any excess soiling and if done at the end of each day can prevent additional wear on your nappies if left in urine for longer. It also helps reduce odour in the laundry and ammonia build up.
- Wash on a normal cycle (or longer cycle if you find it works better for you) (<60 degrees).
- If you find excess washing detergent build up in your nappies try a double rinse at the end of the wash cycle.
- Fabric softeners are not recommended to be used when washing cloth nappies as they will effect the absorbency of the nappy.
- Line dry where possible, or dry inserts on low in the dryer. Try using a sock/delicates peg hanger that you can move between indoors and out if necessary.
- NEVER iron or dry clean nappies
What makes nappies smell bad?
Usually the cause of ‘stinky nappies’ is simple – too much washing powder (or possibly an unsuitable brand), not doing a pre-wash, insufficient wash routine. Clean Cloth Nappies is a fantastic website with a wealth of knowledge focused on washing of cloth nappies. They also have super helpful admins on their Facebook Page to help you troubleshoot.
More information about strip washing can be found on our Strip Washing & other Trips/Tricks page.