Real Mums Washing Cloth - Part One



One of the biggest worries that people have with Cloth Nappies is how overwhelming the cleaning process seems. They’ve heard all the horror stories from their mother’s or grandmother's generation. Stories of ammonia and stink, of hours spent trying to get stains out and of soaking and folding. Somewhere along the lines it seems like people started buying into the idea that it takes dancing naked on a full moon around your nappy stash, in order to keep them from being forever ruined.

This blog post is the first in a little mini series to show you how far that is from the truth! I have teamed up with a beautiful group of women who have kindly agreed to share what works for them. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing their routines and systems with you, in the hope that you will see there is not ONE ‘right way’.

One of the beautiful things about cloth nappies is that you’re in charge. You get to decide on your routine. You get to decide how many or how few cloth nappies you use every day. And you get to decide on which brands you choose to support and what styles you want to try. What works for you, may not work for your friends—and that is totally okay!


Introducing Amanda Hanita

Hi! My name is Amanda and I am a stay at home mum of 3 (13, 3 and nearly 2) living in Western Australia. We started using cloth nappies when our second born was 13 months. I initially just bought a trial pack that I’d seen advertised on Instagram (the designs caught my eye!) and I really loved using them. It wasn’t as hard or as gross as I’d thought it would be and even hubby thought they were pretty neat. We invested in a couple of 12 packs and went full time from there. We have used them full time on our third since he was around 4 months and I estimated that we have saved around 4,000 disposable nappies from landfill between the two of them. I am a sucker for beautiful prints, which has resulted in a rather large stash but it also means I’ve been able to give a few friends little trial packs to borrow which has been awesome!

What types of cloth nappies do you use?

  • We use pockets and ai2s (All-In-2)

What is your favourite style of nappies and why?

  • At the moment I love our double row ai2s, they fit my little guy really well and seem the most comfortable on him.

  • I do love a good single row ai2 as well, they’re really easy and quick to fit.

  • Nappies with great stretchy elastics are something we really appreciate.

What kind of washing machine do you have?

  • We have a Fisher and Paykel 8kg Front Loader and I love it! We had a F&P top loader for the first year and that washed them well too. I find the front loader has better wash cycles making it a bit more convenient overall.

How many nappies do you usually wash at a time?

  • In a main wash it’s usually 24, give or take a few

How often do you wash? (prewash / main wash / only one wash?)

  • Pre wash each morning as soon as the night nappy comes off the bum!

  • Main wash is either every 3-4 days

What are your top troubleshooting tips / things to look out for?

  • Look out for stains and smells, those are telltale signs your nappies aren’t quite getting the best wash.

  • Make sure you use a good detergent and are using the right dosage for your machine size.

What kinds of fibers are your absorbent layers made of? (eg. synthetics: microfiber / natural: hemp, cotton, bamboo)

  • We have a huge mix of nappies so we have all of the above! I love our bamboo fleece ones the most and have a preference for natural fibres.


What’s your system for dealing with poop?

  • I grab our Kmart silicone brush and scrape off the bulk into the toilet and then get the rest off in the laundry tub, rinse thoroughly, squeeze excess water and dry pail

What is your normal wash routine? (step by step, please)

  • Dry pail wee nappies straight off the bum. Poop nappies get a quick hand wash and then dry pailed. We just use a plastic washing basket with lots of holes in it for good air flow.

  • Our pre wash is done each morning once the night nappy has been changed. Our pre wash is a normal cycle (1h 9m) on 60°C with around half a scoop of Omo)

  • The pre washed then sit in a different dry pail until main wash.

  • Main wash is on day 3 or 4 and is washed with 2.5 scoops of Omo on 60°C on a long cycle - on our machine that is the cottons cycle. It’s just over 2h long.

  • Hang and repeat until toilet training!

What laundry powder / liquid do you use? How much do you use?

  • I use Omo and get the big 7kg tubs from Big W because they last us forever.

  • I also love Aldi Trimat Liquid.

  • I use about ½ to ¾ scoop for prewash

  • 2 1/2 scoops for main

How often do you strip / reset your nappies? If this is not something you do, please say why.

  • I’ve only done a strip and sanitise once after a fungal infection, our routine is pretty good and we don’t get stains and smells.

  • I do s&s anything that we get that is secondhand just for peace of mind.


How do you defunk your nappies? (Funk: a cabbage / fart like smell when little one wees. Not eye watering, like ammonia but definitely smelly enough to need an immediate change)

  • I haven’t had this yet but I would do an s&s on them all

How do you deal with or avoid ammonia?

  • I really recommend having a look on the Clean Cloth Nappies FB group and searching up your washing machine. That’s how we found our routine and it’s been great. We haven’t had any issues in the time we’ve used cloth so I’m really thankful for the wealth of knowledge in that group

What are your top cloth tips and tricks?

  • Check out the Clean Cloth Nappy FB group or website, there is so much information on there.

  • Just do it! Most people I know have always found it easier than anticipated and wish they’d tried sooner, there aren’t too many things you can do that will wreck them long term (I mean, don’t put the shells on a 90°C cycle or anything haha!) but for the most part, any ammonia build up or stains can be easily fixed.

How do you store your nappies?

  • Usually in drawers but realistically they live in washing baskets forever waiting to be stuffed!

How do you dry your nappies?

  • I dry mine inside on a clothes airer, sometimes my night trifolds and slower drying inserts will go out on the line for faster drying

Anything else you’d like to add?

  • Enjoy! We’ve found using cloth has been a really rewarding experience, I’ve made loads of beautiful friends in the cloth community and it’s great to know we aren’t adding thousands of nappies to landfill. It also isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t work out! Every nappy counts :)



Introducing Marilie Nyika

Hey! My name is Marilie and I’m a mum of a gorgeous 21 month old boy (and another one the way). We have been cloth diapering since my son Amos was 3 weeks old. We have done a mix of part-time and full-time over our time using cloth diapers. Currently we are using cloth during the day and a disposable overnight. We go through 6 nappies a day on average. Even before I had kids I was interested in using cloth diapers, and the more research I did the more I was sure that this would be the route for us. It has saved us so much money, and I love how much better it is for the environment than using disposables full time. Even with me doing shift work 3 days a week it has still been super easy to implement a cloth diaper routine into our schedule!

What types of cloth nappies do you use?

  • I use a mix of prefolds and pocket nappies


What is your favourite style (not brand) of nappies and why?

  • My favourite is definitely prefolds, because you can adjust the absorbency to suit the age and stage of your child!


What kind of washing machine do you have?

  • I use a Haier 7kg washing machine with no agitator in the middle


How many nappies do you usually wash at a time?

  • It varies depending on if I’m doing a prewash or main wash

  • For the prewash I usually do about 5-7

  • For the main wash usually between 10-15 nappies at a time, depending on how often I’m doing the load


How often do you wash? (prewash / main wash / only one wash?)

  • I do a quick wash every day and then every 2-3 days I will do a big main wash before hanging them out to dry


What are your top troubleshooting tips / things to look out for?

  • If your nappies are starting to smell before you have washed them, try putting them in a laundry basket with holes in the sides to air them out a bit


What kinds of fibers are your absorbent layers made of? (eg. synthetics: microfiber / natural: hemp, cotton, bamboo)

  • I use mainly cotton for day time, which is super absorbent, and hemp/bamboo for naps

What’s your system for dealing with poop?

  • I’m lucky that my toddler now has normal human poop so I simply shake the poop into the loo and flush it away.

  • When he was still exclusively breastfed (before he started solids) I would just rinse the poo off the nappy in the laundry sink and then give the sink a good spray down with a vinegar solution to disinfect it (breastmilk poop is quite clean though!)


What is your normal wash routine? (step by step, please)

  • Once I’ve changed a nappy, I separate the cover from the insert and pop both into a large wet bag that is kept inside a laundry basket in my bathroom (neither the wet bag or the basket are closed)

  • Every morning I pop the used nappies (covers and inserts), cloth wipes and reusable liners (but not the big wet bag) from the day before on a “quick” cycle, which on my machine is 10 minute cycle. I make sure this is a warm wash, and have the water level on low.

  • Once the quick cycle is finished, I shake them out a bit and put them into a separate laundry basket that I keep by the washing machine

  • The following morning I will do another quick cycle for the nappies, wipes and liners from the day before, then add the nappies (covers and inserts), wipes and liners from the laundry basket into the machine (I also add the big wet bag from the “dirty nappy” basket into this wash cycle).

  • I set this on a ‘heavy’ cycle (56 minutes), water temperature on hot and water level on medium.


What laundry powder / liquid do you use? How much do you use?

  • I use Persil Ultimate Sensitive laundry liquid.

  • 1/3 cap for the quick cycles

  • 2/3 cap for the main wash


How often do you strip / reset your nappies? If this is not something you do, please

say why.

  • I have only done this once with my nappies during the 20 months of using cloth, and this was due to the build-up of ammonia in my hemp night nappies. Since changing my wash routine to the one above about 6 months ago, I haven’t had the need to strip them.


How do you defunk your nappies? (Funk: a cabbage / fart like smell when little one wees. Not eye watering, like ammonia but definitely smelly enough to need an immediate change)

  • Changing my wash routine to a warm/hot cycle every day instead of only doing a cold cycle every 2 days, and using the right detergent for us has definitely helped prevent this, but in the case that it does happen…

  • To freshen the nappy I will add about a tablespoon of a natural sanitizing/whitening powder and also hang in the sun to sanitize them.

  • Making sure the nappies are stored in an aerated basket/bucket is also good to avoid the build-up of bacteria in the nappy.

  • Also make sure your child is drinking enough water – dehydrated wee does smell more than well hydrated wee!

How do you deal with or avoid ammonia?

  • Night nappies are the only ones I’ve had an issue of ammonia with. The best thing is to avoid ammonia is to rinse it under hot water immediately after taking it off and then add it to your warm ‘quick cycle’.


What are your top cloth tips and tricks?

  • Make sure the filter of your washing machine is emptied/cleaned regularly – this can alter the effectiveness of the wash routine!

  • If your nappies have a bit of staining (especially from that bright yellow newborn poop!) hang them in the sun to bleach

  • Use a microfleece resuable liner to prevent the nappy from getting stained and to prevent the build-up of barrier creams on your nappy


How do you store your nappies?

  • My clean nappies get folded ready to use and stored in a hanging nappy stacker

  • Dirty nappies get separated and stored in a large wet bag inside a small laundry basket ready for a prewash every morning


How do you dry your nappies?

  • During the winter I throw all my inserts, liners and cloth wipes into the dryer and do a 1 ½ cycle on low heat.

  • During the warmer months I hang them on my clothes horse, which is either in my lounge or on the deck – and no, they do not smell the lounge out!

  • Covers and wet bags ALWAYS get hung on a clothes horse or clothes line



Introducing Ainslie Smith


I'm Ainslie a mum of 4 children aged 12 down to 1. Im a FIFO wife as well as working from home making cloth nappies.


I got into cloth 9 years ago. I think it was the cute prints available that got me, and it was to also save money. Well that didn't work-- I bought too many.


We currently have maybe 50 in our stash, with just one in cloth again. I got into cloth to save money and now I'm drowning in nappies, as well as fabric!


What types of cloth nappies do you use?

  • We use OSFM AI2 (One Size Fits Most All-In-2)

What kind of washing machine do you have?

  • A 8.5kg front loader

How many nappies do you usually wash at a time?

  • Up to 8 for pre wash

  • 20 to 30 for main wash

How often do you wash? (prewash / main wash / only one wash?)

  • Pre wash daily

  • Main wash every 3 to 4 days

What are your top troubleshooting tips / things to look out for?

  • Loading correct loading is key

  • I use Terry flats to help bulk my washes if I don’t have enough nappies

What kinds of fibers are your absorbent layers made of? (eg. synthetics: microfiber / natural: hemp, cotton, bamboo)

  • Bamboo fleece 500gsm, two layers

What’s your system for dealing with poop?

  • Rinse straight away and let drip over sink

What laundry powder / liquid do you use? How much do you use?

  • Omo pre wash half a cap

  • Main wash 1 cap

What is your normal wash routine? (step by step, please)

  • Pre wash daily on a 60° 30min cycle half a cap of omo

  • Dry pail in between washes

  • 4th day main wash at 40° 1 cap full of omo on a cottons cycle for 2hrs

How often do you strip / reset your nappies? If this is not something you do, please say why.

  • I haven't strip washed any of my nappies

How do you defunk your nappies? (Funk: a cabbage / fart like smell when little one wees. Not eye watering, like ammonia but definitely smelly enough to need an immediate change)

  • We haven’t had any issues with this I believe correct loading has been our saviour

How do you deal with or avoid ammonia?

  • Correct loading and a good routine avoids it

What are your top cloth tips and tricks?

  • Don't let it overwhelm you. Start with a few cloth nappies a day and work your way up. It really is a easy process, once you get the hang of it all.

How do you store your nappies?

  • Clean ones- in a shelf

How do you dry your nappies?

  • Shells hang inside on a line and inserts go in the dryer

Anything else you’d like to add?

  • Cloth wipes are the bomb too! So easy to have on hand and can be used for anything. They wash well and help bulk the loading of your machine too.



I hope that you found these lovely ladies' routines and methods helpful. We would love for you to share your experience or to ask any questions you may have in the comments.


Come back next week for three more mammas and three more ways to wash!

1,123 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All