Taking proper care of your baby’s reusable nappies can make them last longer, saving you money and benefiting the environment.
From avoiding tumble dryers and harsh stain removers to using liners and protecting the Velcro straps, looking after your cloth nappies will mean you won’t have to stump up for replacements. Plus, you may be able to use them with multiple children or pass them on to other parents when you no longer need them.
Follow the tips below to help keep your baby’s reusable nappies in the best condition possible.
See how parents rate popular brands such as Bambino Mio, Little Lamb and TotsBots in our guide to the best reusable nappy brands.
Video: how to make your baby’s reusable nappies last longer
Watch to find out the best way to care for your reusable nappies.
1. Follow the care instructions
It might seem obvious, but not following the manufacturer’s instructions can cause nappies to wear out more quickly than they should and could also invalidate your warranty.
Depending on the type of material, washing on a high heat might damage the fabric, so it’s important to check the temperature recommended in the care instructions. Some nappy manufacturers also specify the type of detergent to use.
This means that if you have nappies from different brands, they may need to be washed separately.
Still not sure if reusable nappies are for you? Find out everything you need to know in our reusable nappy buying guide.
2. Line dry where possible
Tumble drying on a high heat can damage the nappy fabric and elastics, as well as the materials of any waterproof wraps, so it’s best to line dry where possible.
Line drying also reduces the amount of energy used for each load of washing, saving you money.
But if tumble drying is your only option, try to keep the temperature on low.
3. Wash nappies regularly
You should aim to wash reusable nappies at least every two days to help keep them in good condition.
Leaving soiled nappies for too long can cause the nappy material to degrade.
See our round-up of the most energy efficient washing machines.
4. Don’t use bleach or harsh stain removers
Stain removers and bleach are best avoided as they can damage the delicate nappy fabric and elastic, mute any patterns or colours and could even invalidate your warranty.
Instead, hang the nappies outside to fade stains naturally in the sunlight. If you don’t have an outdoor space, you can leave them by a window.
Is your little one nearly ready to start potty training? See our potty training guide.
5. Never dry directly on the radiator
Hanging nappies near a radiator after washing can be a handy way to speed up drying times, particularly in chilly weather.
But placing them directly on the radiator can damage, and may even burn the fabric.
In fact, you should always avoid drying laundry on a radiator. It can reduce the efficiency of your heating, increase your energy bills, and, without proper ventilation, it can lead to mould and damp.
See our best disposable nappy brands – for those times when you’re waiting for your reusable nappies to dry.
6. Don’t use fabric conditioner
While a soft nappy might sound like a good thing, fabric softeners are not.
Fabrics softeners either take up space in the fibres of the absorbent layers of your nappy, or coat the fabric making it water repellent, both of which will reduce the absorbency of the nappy, resulting in more frequent changing and washing.
Stick with a good-quality detergent instead. Read our reviews of the best washing powders and laundry detergents.
7. Protect Velcro fastenings
Fold back any Velcro tabs before the nappies go in the washing machine.
Velcro tabs that aren’t fastened can pick up small bits of fabric that get stuck, reducing their effectiveness. The tabs may also catch on other items in the wash and potentially damage them.
Do you use both reusable and disposable nappies on your baby? If so, see our nappy reviews.
8. Be careful with nappy creams
Some nappy creams can coat the fibres of the nappy, reducing the absorbency. Using a nappy liner will prevent any cream getting on to the nappy and lengthen your reusable nappies lifespan.
Keeping all your baby changing equipment in one place will really save you time. Here’s our guide to buying the best baby changing bags, wipes and mats.