Best nappy brands: Disposable vs reusable nappies Reusable nappies
Reusable nappies - also known as washable nappies, cloth nappies or real nappies - have evolved significantly in the past decade and are a popular choice for eco-conscious parents.
Reusable nappies come in a vast range of colours and fabrics. They often look like disposables and can be just as easy to put on and take off again.
Modern reusable nappies don't require soaking and can be washed in the washing machine at home, or picked up by a nappy laundry service.
We asked parents which are the best reusable nappy brands - find out how they rated 17 different reusable nappy brands, including Mothercare, Bambino Mio and Tots Bots.
Reusable nappies: the pros
Price - babies use around six to 12 nappies a day in the first few months, and don't potty train until at least 24 months old. Reusable nappies work out cheaper than disposables, especially if you use traditional terry nappies rather than the modern, fitted equivalent. You'll be paying more initially (you'll need around 16 to 24 nappies in total) but the costs will be lower overall.
The Go Real nappy information service estimates it costs around £80 (based on the cheapest brand of reusable nappies) to kit out your baby with a basic set of reusable nappies plus around £1 a week to wash them. Savings will be even greater if the nappies are used for a second child.
Incentive schemes - many councils offer real nappy incentives in the form of cashback, free samples or vouchers, giving you the chance to try reusable nappies for a discounted price or free of charge. Contact your local authority for details of a scheme near you.
Longevity - you can use washable nappies again for subsequent children. Most are designed to use for at least two babies.
Waste - using reusable nappies reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.
Reusable nappies: the cons
Convenience - the main disadvantage with reusable nappies is that you have to wash them.
Energy use - cleaning and drying reusable nappies can potentially use lots of energy and water - see our environmental impact page for top tips on how to minimise your energy and water use.
Absorbency - reusable nappies can be less absorbent than disposable nappies, so you may need to change them more often. However, many types have a removable inner layer so you don't have to wash the whole nappy each time.
Nappy washing services
There is a growing number of locally run nappy washing services that will collect, launder and return your reusable nappies – at a price.
Nappy laundering services cost from around £10 to £15 per week. They provide weekly deliveries of fresh nappies and a storage bin, and collect dirty nappies from the week before.
If you like the idea of using reusable nappies but want to reduce the effort involved, you could consider signing up to one of these services.
If you're considering washing nappies at home and need a new washing machine or tumble dryer, you can find out how much appliances cost to run using our energy cost calculators and take a look at our pick of the best washing machines for parents.
You can find out what nappy services are available near you using the nappy finder tool on the Go Real nappy information service website.