How To Get A Reluctant Dad On Board With Cloth Nappies

a dad changing a nappy whilst sighing

When it comes to making that leap from disposable nappies to cloth nappies, you won’t be surprised to hear that the ones who usually instigate this change are the Mums. You also won’t be surprised to hear that getting Dad on board with cloth nappies can be quite tricky. And this isn’t because men don’t care as much about the environment or about not having chemicals next to their baby’s skin, it is usually just simply because they tend to tackle things in a slightly different way. Men like facts and figures, they like to see the costs, they want to know that the change is going to benefit them and be worthwhile in the long term. Whereas us women are more easily persuaded by a recommendation from a friend, the funky prints and being told how simple they are by those with experience. As a Mum who decided during pregnancy that I wanted to use cloth nappies with my second child, I can hand on heart tell you that my idea was met by my husband with a screwed up face, a ‘why bother?’ attitude and such reluctance that even after laying out the facts he still wasn’t convinced. However, I can also tell you that we have now been using cloth nappies full time for over 2 years and that my husband loves them! So, how do you get your reluctant other half to this point too? Here I am going to cover several ways in which you can get a reluctant Dad on board with cloth nappies.


Most men will want to hear that using cloth nappies will benefit their wallet and luckily for you, it really will! Cloth nappies are an investment and even though the upfront cost may seem a little bit overwhelming you will actually end up spending far more if you use disposable nappies on each child.

Baba and Boo state:

“If you buy all the reusable nappies you’ll need upfront. They cost you £195.

If you buy all the disposable nappies you’ll need upfront. They cost you around £1,000.”

The amount you spend will, of course, vary depending on which brands you like, whether you purchase brand new or pre-loved, whether you are kindly given hand me downs… There are so many ways to shop cloth nappies and plenty of ways to make it more affordable for you and your family, just read how to in this blog post here. But even if you do end up spending a little more, if you go and to have more children, you will never have to buy nappies for them because you will already have that stash built up. Imagine if you had 3 children all in disposable nappies. That could cost you around £3,000. If you had 3 children in cloth nappies, it will still only cost you £195. Think about what you could do with all of those savings!

a variety of cloth nappies

Environmental Facts

Most people choose to use cloth nappies due to environmental factors. Disposable nappies are not only made up of many chemicals, but they are also a single-use plastic that will take around 500 years to breakdown. On top of this, they also use a lot of natural resources and create more carbon emissions during production. Let’s take a look at some of those facts that a reluctant Dad will love…

  • Single-use nappies are made from plastic and wood pulp. Both of which are created by dirty, resource-intensive manufacturing processes. And on top of this we cut down around 7 million trees every year in the UK just to make these disposables.
  • single-use baby nappies use 20 times more land for production of raw materials and require three times more energy to make than cloth nappies.
  • It takes a cup of crude oil to make just one single-use nappy.
  • Disposable nappies contain chemicals which include chlorine, Dioxins, synthetic fragrances, sodium polyacrylate. However, all known ingredients aren’t actually known because the nappy companies do not state this on any packaging.
  • Washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water whereas manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week uses around 1,550 litres.
  • In a year, single-use nappies will create 400,000 tonnes of waste – or 2-3% of all British household waste.
  • By swapping to reusables the carbon footprint of a nappy can be reduced by 40%, which is equivalent to 200kg of CO 2 over two and a half years.
  • As disposable nappies sit in landfill they release methane gases due to the human excrement which is a contributor to climate change.
*Sources include: Baba and Boo, Totsbots, Laura Tweedale, The Nappy Gurus, Compound Chem

Household Energy Use

Unfortunately, back in 2005, a report was released by the Environment Agency which made cloth nappies look far worse than they actually are. The report used outdated cloth nappy methods to compare to disposables and this has been very damaging for the reusable’s reputation. I can most definitely tell you that this report is highly criticised by the cloth nappy community and it shouldn’t be used as a reason for not using cloth. One area that was targeted was the fact that cloth nappies use a lot of your household energy (as well as water) during washing and drying (I will get onto washing in a moment). I can promise you that cloth nappies have come a long, long way since old terry towels which needed to be boil washed and if anybody says you need to tumble dry a cloth nappy, they are very wrong. In fact, a tumble dryer will damage a cloth nappy if used regularly (a low heat every now and then maybe ok). Modern cloth nappies are made of better materials, many are designed to dry quickly, all are recommended to be line/air dried, you don’t need to soak them in a bath of water, none should be washed over 60° with most brands suggesting that a 40° is best. Another factor in all of this is the fact that washing machines have also come a long way in recent years. We ourselves, own a Samsung Eco-Bubble which is water and energy-efficient, so much so, that our water bill has come down in comparison to when we used our old machine. You also do not need to wash every day, you can leave these nappies in your nappy bin or wet bag for a few days before putting a wash on. I only do a nappy wash around 2-3 times a week. So, take away the high wash temperatures, the excessive water usage, no pre-soaking, fewer washes and you have a very energy-efficient way of using nappies… And a happy on board Dad I hope?!

No Running Out

Surely this has to be a huge positive for all tired parents? No sudden realisation that you have just run out of nappies. As long as you keep on top of a wash routine, you will always have a nappy to hand! No mad dashes to the shop in the middle of the night in this household.

Washing and Dealing With Poo

Ok, onto the biggest topic ‘but how do you deal with the poo?!’ Nobody wants to touch poo, none of us enjoy those teething explosions and as easy as it may seem to use a disposable nappy, did you know that you aren’t actually supposed to send the poo in it to landfill? Due to those methane gases I mentioned above. So, let’s dive straight in, here is how you can deal with the poo:

  • Use either a reusable or disposable liner which can catch the poo and be easily tipped down the toilet.
  • Solid poo can be easily tipped in and does not pose much of an issue.
  • For more loose stools use a dedicated scraper to push it off into the toilet.
  • Use toilet roll to wipe it away.
  • You can also hold the nappy under the flush to wash the worst of it away.

If this is still a big problem for your reluctant dad, the best thing you can do is demonstrate how easy this can all be, offer to deal with those nappies instead and allow him time to get used to this new routine.

For all of the information on washing please refer to another blog post here. Spoiler alert, it’s simple!

cloth nappies on a washing line

Keeping It Simple

Speaking of simple, I am a huge advocate of cloth being simple and anything that overcomplicates using these type of nappies really does annoy me. There are many different types, there are many different brands, there are also many different experiences and opinions but all that matters is what works for you. If you are both completely new to this, I would most definitely recommend taking a look at reputable sites such as The Nappy Lady and The Nappy Gurus or check to see if your local area has a cloth nappy library and begin to familiarise yourself with the types of nappies, the materials they come in and work out what you think will work for your lifestyle. By going through this together, you get the chance to discuss things, weigh up your options and make a joint decision. There is also an amazing cloth nappy community over on Instagram with many accounts showing what they love the best, offering honest reviews, giving handy tips and videos on how to fit and use them. I think it is always useful to hear things from those who use cloth every day.

All In Ones

All in one nappies are the closest in style and usage as disposable nappies so should win over any reluctant Dad. The insert is sewn in, you don’t have to fiddle around with anything, they simply go on like a disposable (usually with velcro tabs), the only extra you may have to add is another booster.

Pocket Nappies

The next simplest of cloth nappies is your pocket nappy. Again, it is like a disposable in look but has a pocket at the back where you stuff the insert. These usually have a popper fastening which can look overwhelming at first but once you try them yourself, you quickly come to learn which popper goes where and soon enough you can do it without even thinking.

For more on which fastenings to choose I have this blog post here.

Both are perfect for beginners to cloth nappying.

Reel Him In With The Prints!

Ok, we all know that we love the prints and Dad’s are no exception here. There is literally something out there for everyone– big and bold colours, pastel colours, plain, patterned, funky animals, flowery, rockets, boats, even superheroes and pac-man!! When it comes to building your stash, why not select 10-15 each? That way he can have his favourites in the collection too.

pac-man inspired cloth nappy print

If All Else Fails…

Do what I did and just go ahead and do it anyway! I knew as soon as I had the nappies in the house and could physically show him how they looked, how they worked and how simple they are, that he would start to get on board with them. It wasn’t until he could see them up close that it all started to make sense. Sometimes you just need to give a gentle, yet obvious nudge.

Once you get your reluctant Dad on board with cloth nappies he will love them as much as you do. Oh, and once that happens you could then mention reusable wipes maybe?…

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