Cloth nappies aren’t a new phenomenon. Your mother, grandmother, the old lady across the road will all say the same thing, “In our day there were ONLY cloth nappies’. But we aren’t talking the old terry toweling, nappy rash everywhere and hours spent folding nappies. Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN’s) are becoming more and more popular. The problem is where to start. With so much information available it can be very overwhelming. A Google search of the term ‘Cloth Nappies’ brings up 278,000 hits in Australia! No wonder many people give up before they even begin. So here it is – Cloth Nappies 101 from someone who has them, uses them and loves them.

Which brand?

Research – the most expensive are not always the best. Ask your friends. You will be surprised by the number of people that use cloth nappies. Or try online forums. Try a few different varieties before committing. You may find that one brand works better for naps and another for playtime. Check out nappy libraries where you can borrow and return a variety of different brands.

I know they will save me money in the long run but I can’t afford the initial outlay.

Bulk buy to save money or buy second hand nappies. Second hand nappies are already conditioned from many washes so less leaking! Or build up your stash slowly – buy one or two when you see some on sale.

How many?

It all starts with one! If you want to go full time you will need approximately 18-20 nappies, depending on how often you wash. *Warning* – cloth becomes addictive so you could end up with hundreds!

Full time vs. part time

Everyone has different needs. Some people use them full time; others use cloth during the day and have disposables for nights and when they are out. It is important to go with what suits you.


Get some extra microfibre inserts. They are more absorbent than the bamboo or cotton and less bulky for stuffing in extra layers. If you don’t like the idea of microfibre next to your baby’s skin, tuck it behind the natural fibre liner. These are also great if you have a heavy wetter or for nap times.


Disposable wipes wash really well, so you can just throw them into your nappy bucket with all the rest. Just dip them in some moisturising cream and use again. Wet face-washers also make really good wipes and are cheap.


You can get special brand laundry powder for cloth nappies or normal powder works just as well. You may have to experiment with dosage so as not to over do it. Excess powder sticks to the fibres and can reduce the absorbency. DO NOT use fabric softener of any kind.

Handy tip – for high water efficient front loaders, trick it into using more water by soaking an old towel and throw it in with your nappies. The extra weight will mean extra water and get rid of more of those nasties!

Wet or dry pail?

Wet pails are not recommended as they can be a drowning hazard. Shake or scrape any solids into the toilet and throw into the pail. You can also rinse particularly nasty ones before putting in the bucket. Flushable nappy liners also catch most of the solids but if you have a septic system it can clog up quickly.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cloth nappies and everyone will have a different approach. You need to tailor a routine to suit your needs and go with it. Just don’t be too scared to start!

Posted by elizabethr84, 5th December 2013

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  • nice compilation :) thanks for sharing


  • nice and exellent to read the story


  • I used disposals but I remember mum using cloth nappies on my sister.


  • thank you for sharing your tips. great ideas.


  • Useful info for mum – thank you :)


  • I love this, I agree with the cheap face washers for wipes but I also use cheap smaller face washers as liners when needed. If in a pinch large face washers also make great inserts. I would never go back from cloth and recommend it to anyone.


  • and thank you for the useful info.. lots of new mums would benefit!


  • i actually got used to using cloth nappies and they are awesome!!!


  • Great information here, well done :)


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