We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.


When you click on a retailer link on our site, we may earn affiliate commission to help fund our not-for-profit mission.Find out more.

7 Apr 2020

Five things you need to know if you've switched to reusable nappies in the past couple of weeks

Ditching disposable nappies for reusables? Find out how they work, how to wash them, where to buy them and more
changing reusable nappy

Disposable nappies have been in high demand over recent weeks as people stock up on everyday essentials in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you've beenfindingitdifficulttogethold of disposable nappies in shops, you might have decided the time is right to switch to reusable nappies (or called cloth or washable nappies), which can be washed after use, ready to be worn again.

Opting for reusable nappies helps to reduce the number of disposable nappies ending up in landfill. They also work out cheaper than disposable nappies in the long run and are even more cost effective if you use them for more than one child.

How to buy the best reusable nappies: read more expert tips

1. How do reusable nappies work?

unfolded reusable nappy

Reusable nappies are made up of an absorbent inner layer, containing a washable or disposable liner and a waterproof outer layer, called the wrap. You can also choose to add a booster pad for extra absorbency.

Some have an all-in-one design with layers attached, while others come with separate layers.

One size, or birth to potty, nappies can be adjusted to fit your baby. If you choose sized nappies, you'll need to buy new ones as your baby grows.

2. How many reusable nappies do you need?

Pile of reusable nappies

Depending on how often your baby needs changing and how frequently you wash the nappies, you're likely to need around 15-25 reusable nappies. You won't need as many if you're using them alongside disposable nappies.

3. How do you wash reusable nappies?

Drying washed reusable nappies

Reusable nappies should be washed in a washing machine every two to three days. You only need to change the outer wrap every 12 hours, unless it's heavily soiled.

Run a cold-rinse cycle first, then add detergent or washing powder and wash at the temperature recommended in the care instructions.

You can then hang the nappies up to line dry. Alternatively, you can put them in a tumble dryer, although this will increase costs.

Coronavirus: How to wash clothes and kill germs

4. What are reusable nappies made of?

baby wearing reusable nappy

Reusable nappies are available in a variety of materials including cotton, bamboo, hemp and microfibre. The outer wraps can be made of fleece, wool, PUL (a type of laminated fabric) or waterproof plastic.

They are fastened together using Velcro, poppers or plastic clips.

5. Where can you buy reusable nappies?

changing reusable nappy

If you're thinking of making the switch, but haven't yet, you can buy reusable nappies online directly from the manufacturer. Popular brands, such as Bambino Mio, Tots Bots and Tickle Tots, are also available in some supermarkets and stores, such as Boots and Argos. But it's worth checking availability and delivery times at the moment.

Best reusable nappy brands - see which brands were rated best by parents

If you want to try reusable nappies, check whether your local council runs a reusable nappy incentive scheme. These schemes offer benefits ranging from a free starter pack to vouchers that you can put towards the cost of reusable nappies.