Nappy & Accessory Care

The better you care for your cloth items, the longer they will last, and the better condition they will be in for use in the future or for you to sell on pre-loved.

Before I started using cloth one of my main worries was that it would cause a lot of extra work and washing for me, but I needn’t have worried. The nappy wash slotted in to my routine so easily, and I actually looked forward to nappy wash day (and miss it now that we have no more children in cloth).

Your New Fluff

When your new fluff arrives it is advised to pre-wash nappies and inserts/boosters because with each wash the absorbency increases and it can also help to remove any natural oils or manufacturing residue (although many of our WAHMs pre-wash their fabrics). There is no need to do several full wash cycles, you can just wash and then do several rinses, and there’s no need to dry them in-between either. A more economical alternative for increasing absorbency is to soak them in water for 24hrs (in a bucket, sink, or the bath for example) before then doing a normal wash (see further down for how to wash your nappies).

Dirty Nappy Storage

It is advised to store dirty nappies in a large lidded bucket or extra large wetbag. You can add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to a cloth or some cotton wool and pop it in to your bucket to make it smell a bit sweeter, but with a good bucket/wetbag, once the lid is on/zip is closed, any smell should be fully contained. There is no need to soak nappies these days as modern fabrics don’t stain as easily as fabrics did in the past. Soaking can also cause PUL (waterproofing) and elastic to deteriorate, shortening the life of some nappies. We would also strongly advise against soaking nappies in any kind of bleach or stain removing products, as it will damage the fabric. This also applies to vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Washing

Firstly, while every care is taken by our WAHMs to pre-wash dark or bright coloured fabrics for the purpose of removing excess dye prior to making their products, some colours are a bit tricky and can take a few washes before all the excess dye is removed.  We therefore strongly advise that you wash any dark/bright coloured items separately, or with like colours for the first few washes to avoid colour run. For items that combine dark/bright colours with lighter colours, we would advise using a colour catching sheet to avoid the darker colour running in to the lighter. Also ensure that you fold in any Aplix (velcro) before washing, so that it doesn’t catch on other items in the wash.

When washing we recommend doing a cold rinse first as this can stop any smells and stains setting in to the fabric. For the main wash cycle use only half of the amount of detergent recommended for a normal laundry wash, which will ensure that your nappies don’t get too much of a detergent build up as this can affect absorbency and cause irritation on baby’s delicate skin. We also highly recommend using a non-bio detergent. It’s important not to use fabric softener/conditioner on your nappies as it coats the fibres and reduces absorbency. Some recommend using white vinegar as a fabric softener, but it can cause PUL to deteriorate, so is best not to be used with wraps or nappy shells.

In the main, we recommend washing your nappies on a 30 or 40 degree cycle with an extra rinse at the end, just to ensure that any excess detergent is removed. Washing at 60 degrees is only recommended during the first 3 months of your baby’s life, when using communal washing facilities, if using the same nappies for two or more babies, and during times of illness, or if you’re baby has a rash. Frequent/prolonged periods of washing at 60 degrees can shorten the life span of your nappies by damaging waterproofing, elastic, aplix and also fabrics. Above all though, we would always recommend following manufacturer’s guidelines where applicable so as not to affect any warranty that they may have in place.

Drying

Although some nappies can be tumble dried, I recommend either line or air drying, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a washing line full of fluffy nappies! Avoid drying nappies on radiators or using direct heat, as this will weaken any PUL and also weaken the fibres in bamboo nappies. Any nappies that become rough or stiff can be softened up by giving them a short 10min blast in the tumble dryer while they’re still damp, or if dry then just put them in with some other damp items. Alternatives are to rub the nappies, or to beat them with a wooden spoon (which also acts as a good stress reliever!). Hanging them out on the line over night when there is going to be a frost is another method, letting the ice crystals do the work.

Pesky Stains!

By far the best stain remover for cloth nappies is the power of the sun! If you have stains on your Little Ones nappies (which is inevitable given the nature of the product), then simply hang them, straight from the wash, in direct sunlight or place them on a windowsill and watch those stains vanish! If you can’t get direct sunlight then any kind of daylight will do (even on a cloudy day), but the nappies may need longer exposure on those less than sunny days. Sunlight, as well as rain and frost, also act as a great natural sanitisers, and many find that leaving nappies out in the rain for a few days is great at ridding them of any nasty niffs!

Strip Washing

A build up of detergent on your nappies can cause them to suddenly start leaking, cause nappy rash, or become a bit smelly (they usually smell fine after washing, but the smell can develop once on your Little One has had a wee). Detergent build up can be easily resolved though, simply by giving your nappies a good old strip wash. Our recommended way of doing this is to firstly give your clean nappies a cold rinse, then put a little squirt of washing up liquid in the detergent section of the drawer or directly in to the drum (not too much, especially when there isn’t a full load, or you’ll be overrun with bubbles as I have discovered on more than one occasion, oops!). Put your machine on a 60 degree wash and then rinse, rinse, rinse until you can no longer see any bubbles in with the nappies.

Inserts

When using a combination of inserts, it is advised to put the quickest absorbing material at the top (nearest baby’s skin), with the slower absorbency materials underneath. Many cloth nappy users find that Microfibre absorbs the fastest, with zorb, bamboo and hemp absorbing slower. However, microfibre isn’t very good at holding on to the liquids it absorbs, so when using microfibre inserts it can be beneficial to place an insert/booster made from one of the other materials underneath. They will then be ready and waiting to slowly absorb the liquid as it’s released from the microfibre.

Adjusting the Fit of Birth To Potty/One Size Fits Most Nappies/Wraps

You may be wondering how one nappy/wrap can fit such a wide range of sizes, well we’re going to tell you!
Rise Poppers – These nappies/wraps have two or three rows of poppers on the front of the nappy/wrap, that you fasten or unfasten to make the rise (the length from the front to the back of the nappy/wrap) bigger, or smaller. You can see this in action on the below picture, which shows the wraps from their smallest, through to their biggest setting.
Waterproof Wraps

Fold-over
– These nappies have a row of popper sockets along the inner-top of the nappy. To put the nappy on a smaller setting, simply fold the front of the nappy out and over, then fasten the wings, as shown below.
Fold the top overFasten

Elastic – Finally, some nappies use the power of extra elastic to allow them to stretch and contract to fit a wide range of shapes, and sizes.
Little Acorn Candy

 

Wool Cover Care

The woollies in our Boutique are already pre-lanolised and ready to go, but normally before first use your wool cover will need to be lanolised around 3 times over the same number of weeks to build up an initial water resistance. After that you should only need to re-lanolise once a month or so. You will know when this is needed as they’ll start to lose their water-resistance.

You can buy pure lanolin or lanolin treatment (wool cure). For the wool cure you just add to hot water (enough to cover the wrap), wait for the water to cool down and put the wool cover in overnight, rinsing in the morning.

If you use pure lanolin (much cheaper in the long run), it needs help to emulsify in the water. To do this you need to add a small amount of soap (olive soap or wool wash are recommended) to very hot water and add a teaspoon of the lanolin. The hot water melts the lanolin and the soap emulsifies it into the water. When it has cooled down, you treat the same as with the wool cure.

Wool covers don’t need to be washed after every use, but instead hung up to air. Lanolised wool has anti-bacterial properties and so re-news itself when left to air. Wool covers only need to be washed every 2 weeks or so (you can tell when they are due a wash as they will retain an odour even after airing). If the cover becomes soiled you can gently remove it by sponging with a damp cloth.

It is recommended to handwash wool covers (especially those that are 100% wool) using olive soap or wool shampoo. Most washing machines do have a hand or wool wash cycle if you would prefer to machine wash, although it’s advised to turn the wool cover inside out and place in a net bag or pillowcase.

To handwash, wet the cover with warm water (body temperature is best). Gently rub the inside of the cover with the olive soap, or if using wool shampoo allow the cover to soak for 10mins in a little (approx. 1 tablespoon) of the shampoo before using the olive soap. Rinse the cover, trying to use the same temperature of water throughout to avoid shrinkage.

Gently squeeze out the excess water and then hang or lay flat to dry. Do not dry using direct heat (even sunlight!) as this can cause them to shrink.

Wipes

There are a couple of ways to store and use your wipes.

The first option (and the one that I preferred) is to store the wipes wet in a plastic lidded tub or wetbag so that they’re ready to use when you need them. You can either take the wipes still damp from the wash and put them straight in to your tub/wetbag as they are, or you could also add a little extra water and a couple of drops of chamomile and lavender oil or some wipe solution.

The other option is to dry your wipes and then at nappy change time fill a bowl or use a spray bottle containing plain water, or wipe solution and wet the dry wipes as you go.

Washing Machine Maintenance

A clean washing makes for cleaner clothes and fluff! It is recommended to do a monthly maintenance wash of your machine, and this can either be done by using a shop bought washing machine cleaner, or a cheaper alternative is to place 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in to the empty drum along with 1/2 a pint of white vinegar. Pour some fresh lemon juice in to the softener part of the drawer and put your empty machine on a hot wash. The results are a clean, sanitised and fresh smelling machine, ready for your next load of fluffiness :) For an extra clean machine you can also clean in and around the rubber of the door/drum as that’s where a lot of scum can hide causing nasty niff’s.

If you have any questions relating to the care of your cloth items then please feel free to contact us for advice and guidance.