How Many Cloth Nappies Do I Need?

cloth nappies in a basket

When you first start looking into using cloth nappies, it can feel a little overwhelming but one of the most common questions that comes up is how many will I need?

How Many Cloth Nappies?

There are a few factors that will alter this which I will go into in this post but a quick answer (because you are a busy parent googling for info) is around 20-25 if you are planning on using cloth nappies full time.

What Can Alter This?

If you don’t want to cloth nappy full time or if you can’t for whatever reason (childcare won’t accept them, you will only use for night or only for day) then you will be able to get away with less. What this number will be will highly depend on how you will be using them. For instance, if you only need them for nighttime you could probably purchase 7 if you know you will be able to wash and dry them in time. Part-time users for the day often find that 10-15 is a sufficient amount.

If you are planning to cloth nappy full time, the size of your stash (collection) will vary for each person as every baby is different. How often you wash will play a big factor as will drying time. This is why I always say 20-25 as a rough guide but be prepared for this to be a little more if you have a heavy wetter, if you don’t have sufficient drying space (especially in the winter) and also because the prints and amazing brands are a huge draw and often irresistible!

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a variety of cloth nappies

What type of nappies you buy will also make a difference. If you mostly go for pocket nappies, the outer part of the nappy dries very quickly which will allow you to get more use out of them each week. The inserts can take longer but if you purchase more of these separately, you will be able to rotate what you have.

If you use all in one nappies, these can take a little longer to dry due to the insert being attached and if you go for a 2 part system, you can reuse the wrap (outer shell) and just replace the inner nappy/terry/prefold. With each change you can just simply wipe the wrap down so you could possibly get away with using it for several nappy changes in one day. Working out which cloth nappies will suit you and your baby is a good way of determining how many you will need. Buying trial kits, borrowing from friends or from a local nappy library are all great ways of finding what works best for you.


Another big factor is being able to afford the amount that you need. Cloth nappies are becoming much bigger business and as more parents are turning to them, many more brands have come to market and there is a fantastic secondhand market for them too which is great for anybody starting out right now. When looking to build your stash, take some time to research what there is, what you like and plan how you will build up your collection until you have enough to get by on. As I mentioned above, one very helpful way of doing this is checking to see if your area has a cloth nappy library. Here you will be able to look through different styles and brands, you will be able to rent and try them out and get a real feel for what cloth nappy life is like. And remember, nobody is saying that you have to cloth full time or that you have to from day 1. Start off small, see what you like and purchase them as and when you can afford to. Buying 25 nappies at once certainly isn’t doable for the majority of us and it can take time to get to that magic number that will allow you to comfortably cloth 24/7.

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And once you have enough cloth nappies to use full time these will last your baby from birth to potty which means you will never have to buy another nappy ever again. Those nappies will even go on to be used on siblings or could be passed on or sold to other parents once you are finished with them.

If you have any more cloth nappy questions, please do check out my other blog posts or leave me a query in the comment box below and I will reply to you there.

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