“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan
The average child will use up to 12,000 nappies in their lifetime, all of which eventually end up in our landfills. A recent report states that Australians alone are using 5.6 million nappies per day. Most nappies are not biodegradable and as a result they are extremely damaging to our Earth. The manufacturing process is also a big contributor to climate change due to the significant amount of energy and materials used.
So what are the benefits of switching to cloth?
By making a switch to cloth nappies you not only help reduce your environmental footprint but you will also save yourself a considerable amount of money in the long run. By taking good care of your cloth nappies, they will last you through the nappy stages of multiple children.
Another benefit of cloth nappies is that they are also gentler on your little one’s skin. The plastic used in disposable nappies does not allow for air circulation which can lead to rashes and skin irritation.
If you are thinking about making the switch, I recommend easing into it. Start by trialling a few brands to find out which works for you. A great way to do this is by scouring ‘Buy/Swap/Sell’ pages on Facebook. There are plenty that are dedicated to modern cloth nappies, so you can get a feel for the products using second hand, for a fraction of the cost.
Start by only purchasing a few. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might find that using cloth nappies just isn’t for you. If this ends up being the case, it would be a shame to have bought an entire supply.
Try using them around the house while you get the hang of them. Then once you are more confident start wearing them out-and-about, over-night and eventually full time. You will work out exactly how many you need for a full-time supply. The average baby will need about 24. It is handy to keep a few disposables on hand in case of emergency, but do your best to buy eco-friendly brands.
Here are my top tips for caring for your modern cloth nappies (and our environment).
Wash before use: Putting your cloth nappies through a couple of wash cycles before your first use will help improve their absorbency.
Rinse immediately: Before putting used nappy in bucket, rinse both the nappy and insert with cold water. This will help remove the urine, as the acidity can lead to deterioration of the fabric
Use a nappy bucket with a locking lid: This will prevent mould build up and is also a safety precaution. You don’t want crawlers or toddlers getting into the dirty bucket.
Always wash in cold water: This will help the fabrics last longer, and also uses less electricity.
Use half detergent: Only use half the recommended detergent for the size of your load. I also recommend using an eco-friendly and enzyme free detergent. It is better for the environment and the longevity of your fabric!
Line dry: Dry your nappies outside, and preferably out of the hot sun. Hang nappies horizontally to avoid stretching of the elastic.
Avoid using nappy rash creams: Nappy rash creams (especially those made with heavy oils, zinc oxide and petroleum) can affect the absorbency and longevity of your nappies. If your baby is prone to rashes, try using coconut oil with a bit of lavender & tea tree essential oil.
Use compostable or flushable liners: An eco-friendly liner is a great way to minimise the clean-up from messy poos, and prevent staining. Be sure to check whether the liner is flushable or disposable.
Fold and insert liner after washing: Having your nappies pre-folded with the insert already in makes nappy changing time much quicker.
Wet bags: Using wet bags makes it easier to store used nappies when you are out and about. It keeps your other belongings dry and minimises odour from your handbag.
Click here to download my printable list of tips! (Great to have on the wall in your laundry space)