Busting Those Cloth Nappy Myths

flatlay of cloth nappies

It is Real Nappy Week 2019 and this has been my very first one as a cloth nappy parent. I’ve been buzzing over the fact that I have been able to get involved this year and I have never, ever had so many messages on social media before! I can see that this year is the year for further change and it could well be a huge turning point for environmental issues. So many people are being vocal about their swaps, sharing their eco stories and raising awareness in order to try and secure a better future for this planet. We need to, don’t we? There is no planet B. This is it and if we continue down this disposable path, there will be nothing beautiful or safe left.

So, onto the topic at hand– the cloth nappy myths.

Wow, I have heard so many this week and I wanted to hop on today and turn those cloth nappy myths into cloth nappy facts for you.

 

 

Cloth Nappies Are Hard To Wash

One of the biggest cloth nappy myths going maybe?

Nope. Today’s cloth nappies are not like the old terry towel style. I mean, yes terry towels are still around and you could choose to use these or you could shop around and find which brand works the best for you. The brand I love washes easily and also dries very quickly. I usually put on 2-3 washes per week and my process goes like this:

Cold rinse cycle (22 minutes)

40° wash, the longest/best I have on my machine using just non-bio washing powder

Done

 

That is it. I do not soak them, I don’t take them apart, I don’t scrub them, I don’t do anything fancy with them. I can pop them on the long wash and go out or get on with other jobs. 

 

 

They Take Days To Dry

This will all depend on how warm your home is, whether you have other options available to you and which brand you opt for. On a warm day, the nappies will dry very quickly out on the line. If you have a tumble drier you could use this as an option but it isn’t recommended all the time as it can reduce the life of them (as it does for all clothing). I use our spare room and have clothes airers set up in there. If I am desperate for some I simply pop them on the radiator. My Baba and Boo nappies dry incredibly fast and are often done within a few hours. Our thick overnight nappies do take a little longer but they are very similar to terry towels. I promise you my house is not completely covered in wet cloth nappies. With 2 washes a week and maybe a few hours to a day to dry inside the house, it isn’t any longer than drying your clothes.

 

 

All That Washing Is Just as Bad For The Environment

The facts state:

People think they are saving water by using single-use nappies. But that’s not true.

Washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water.

Manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week? 1,550 litres.

Overall, using single-use nappies means using nearly TEN TIMES more water than reusables.

Baba and Boo

And I’ll leave that cloth nappy myth at the door. Next…

 

 

Your Washing Machine Must Be Gross

When your baby has a poo explosion in their disposable nappy, where do you put the soiled clothes? Do they go in the bin too? I doubt it. You probably rinse them out and put them in your washing machine, right? There is no difference to putting a cloth nappy in there also. The first rinse will clean the nappies and remove the dirty water from the machine. The wash will then clean them up. The water is taken away, it doesn’t sit in there and your washing machine isn’t dirty after washing clothes or a dog bed or vomit-stained bedding is it? Neither is mine after washing nappies.

 

 

I can’t Be Touching Poo!

First things first, if you don’t want to touch poo you probably shouldn’t have had a baby! None of us set out to touch poo and I certainly don’t when I change my little one’s bum. If he has had a solid poo it is a simple tip down the toilet. If it is a bit stuck (here’s the technical bits) you can do a bit of a flick of the nappy. You could also buy a scraper for those really bad poos, wipe it off with toilet roll OR use a fleece liner as the poo tends to just fall straight off these. It is very simple and once you get the hang of it you don’t even think about it. Oh, and just to add that poonami’s or poo explosions do not exist with cloth bums.

 

 

They Are So Bulky

These days you are spoilt for choice. Some cloth nappies may be a little bulkier than others, yes, but most are very streamlined. What you go for all comes down to personal taste. In fact, a lot of cloth nappying parents love a big fluff bum! I have a few brands and even though they vary in thickness they do not affect how I dress him (a lot of the time he is like this below!)

 

william walking through water wearing a cloth nappy

 

 

They Smell More

If you compare the smell of disposable nappies sat in your kitchen bin to those reusables sat in a nappy bin I for one can tell you which smells the worst. If somebody puts a disposable nappy in my bin, those odours linger and each time the lid is opened that is all you can smell. My cloth nappies are contained in their nappy bin and there are no bad smells. The same goes for when we are out and about. If he has pooed it can be hard to tell he has without either really sticking your nose up to him or by pulling the back down to check. There are definitely no stinks here!

 

 

They Leak

Once you find a cloth nappy that fits your baby well you will not have leaks. All cloth nappies can be adjusted and as long as you have the poppers/velcro in the right place for the size of your little one you shouldn’t see any leaks. As with disposables if you leave them for too long between changes you may find a urine leak but I can promise you that no poo will ever explode out.

 

 

They Give Them Nappy Rash

Again, not true. In fact, most cloth nappy parents do not use any products for nappy rash as it is a rare occurrence. The plastics and chemicals used in disposable nappies can be a trigger for nappy rash and once you make that swap you usually see immediate improvements. I know I’d rather have natural products next to my baby’s skin over chemicals, such as dioxins to bleach them and Sodium Polyacrylate which draws the moisture away (you may want to google what they add).

 

william sat in his cloth nappy at home

 

 

They Are So Expensive

To purchase your entire stash of nappies at once, along with cloth wipes, liners, nappy bin and wetbag, yes it will definitely seem like a lot of money. However, there is no reason why you cannot build your stash gradually. There is also no reason to buy entirely brand new. I purchased my first few from a brand, I then turned to eBay, Facebook selling pages and friends. I have a real mix of pre-loved and new nappies and you honestly could not tell the difference! Cloth nappies last, cloth nappy parents look after them really, really well and they are always very upfront about the condition in all the selling groups. The fact is that you could buy all the reusables you’ll need for around £200 but if you were to only use disposables you will be spending around £1,000. It may seem expensive to start with but just look how much you would save yourself overall. ALSO, you can use those reusables on your next child/children too!

 

 

You Can’t Go Out With Them

Yes, you can and do you know what? I have even recently gone abroad with them and did not use a disposable once. Once you get into the routine, once you’ve changed your mindset and you’ve discovered how amazing cloth nappies are, you will never go back. When I am out I take about 3-4 nappies with me. When he needs a change I do it as usual in the baby change room, I put any poo down the toilet and then pop the nappy into my wetbag which contains all smells and wetness. Once home I simply transfer these into my nappy bin. Easy. 

 

William laying on the beach in his cloth nappy

 

 

They Are Complicated

I think this is one of the cloth nappy myths that worries people the most. We think they are complicated because we now see disposable life as the norm but once upon a time cloth nappies were the norm. Once you do your research, once you know what brand you like, whether you like an all in one or a pocket nappy etc, you will quickly see how uncomplicated it all really is. We are living in a time where materials are better, where bamboo has been discovered for its absorbency properties, where washing machines have a variety of settings for all your needs and a time where a question can be asked online and answered within minutes. We have come such a long way from towelling, safety pins and soaking. The choices are there to suit all families and babies, you can find exactly what will work for you and once you do you will wonder why you spent so much time worrying. 

 

 

I have a post on cloth nappies over on Instagram this week and I just wanted to end this article with a few of the comments I’ve received in response to my question ‘What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started using cloth?’

Here are just a selection (some were repeated quite often):

I wish I’d known how easy it was!

 

How amazingly they contain newborn poo!

 

I wish I had known about how easy they were and not listened to all the negative comments about how hard they are to use!

 

I wish I’d realised that I didn’t need an entire stash before getting started. Just using one reusable nappy is the start of change.

 

I wish I’d known that different nappies have different fits and that nappy libraries existed to help you to get started.

 

I wish I’d known that cloth nappies work brilliantly overnight.

 

I wish I’d known how easy they were to wash!

 

I wish I’d realised sooner what a positive impact it has on the environment.

 

I wish I’d known how easy it all is!

 

I wish I’d known about wetbags from the start.

 

I wish we had started earlier.

 

The most common answer was I wish I’d known how easy they were to use, which I think says it all. These cloth nappy myths have caused so much negativity over the years but thanks to people like these amazing cloth nappy parents who shared their experiences, we are making a change for the better.

 

Here’s to a brighter, funkier, fluffier baby bum future!!

 

love breastfeeding on the beach

 

 

If you have any cloth nappy myths you think I have missed and want an answer to please just drop me a comment below.

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15 thoughts on “Busting Those Cloth Nappy Myths

  1. Thank you, honestly so much for sharing this! I’ve been wanting to make the change from single use to cloth but always find me doubting myself with loads of questions. You’ve answered those so I’m gonna do it, I’m just gonna bite the bullet.

    1. Oh I am so happy to hear this!! This week has been amazing for raising awareness and I was you this time last year, umming and ahhing and reading all the comments. I was more confused by what to buy than anything but once we found the right nappies for us it was a breeze. Good luck with it all, let me know how you get on xx

  2. Can I add another reason to use them – in my experience children potty train so much more easily when they have been in real nappies. They can feel the wet as soon as they do a wee so once the brain matures enough for them to be able to control their bladder, actually learning to do so is pretty quick. Both my boys potty trained very quickly, the younger one in just one week with almost zero help from me!

  3. Great Post. I wish I’d have used them with my three children but I was really put off by the initial outlay and also what I’d do when I was out and about. Carrying a pooey nappy around with me to take home and wash didn’t seem appealing at all. But honestly wish I’d have researched more, read posts like this and just tried it and built it up as I went along .

    Laura @ http://Www.lauraleanne.com

  4. You answered a lot of questions I had and felt too silly to ask. I think they look really cute and really interesting about the washing too.

    1. There’s never a silly question believe me, I was that person last year as I tried my best to understand all the jargon! Even now there are things I hear of and still need to look into but it is all so easy when you get started

  5. Your point about how we see disposable life as the norm is so true. I wish I’d known about how easy cloth nappies are to use when Flora was small. I shudder to think how much money we spent on disposables, not to mention contributing to all those landfill sites. I loved this post, thank you so much for busting so many myths, it was a real eye-opener 🙂

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    1. I feel the same about using them with my first. The guilt of how much I sent to landfill really sticks with me so I am trying to make it better with all of my eco changes.

  6. You know, when I was pregnant with Oscar, I really wanted to give cloth nappies a go…but then the time of using them got closer and closer and I got more and more worried about the things you’ve mentioned above! I feel so silly now and thinking about the amount of money I have probably spent on disposable nappies seems absolutely insane.

    1. I know how that feels. I spent ages looking into it all and then made the change once he was 5 months old. It’s definitely about finding out what you can and being able to chat with people. I was very lucky that I found an instagrammer who answered a lot of my questions.

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