Photo by chrissie kremer on Unsplash

How To Wash Cloth Nappies

So you have your gorgeous new Alcmena cloth nappies but you have no idea how to wash them. Don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as you might think! I even timed it one week and the whole process (putting on washing, hanging them out to dry, folding the nappies) took 1hr 6m 59s!

Here is a week in the life of a cloth nappy user (me!)

Monday

  1. In the morning, put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies and cloth wipes used on Sunday. If you aren’t using night-nappies then you can do this at any time during the day.
  2. Put pre-washed nappies into the big dry pail.
  3. Change nappy every 2-3 hours. Flush any solids down the toilet and rinse. Sometimes I don’t have time to do it right away so will leave it in the laundry to rinse at the end of the day.
  4. After rinsing, or if the nappy is just a wee, put it straight into the dry pail.

Tuesday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Monday.
  2. Put pre-washed nappies into the big dry pail.
  3. Change nappies every 2-3 hours.
  4. Put dirty nappies into the small dry pails.

Wednesday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Tuesday.
  2. Add all of the pre-washed nappies, bibs and change mats into the washing machine for a main wash.
  3. I hang the inserts to dry on the clothes line in the sun and hang the covers over the side of the washing basket and put them in the shade.
  4. Change nappies every 2-3 hours. Dry pail.

Thursday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Wednesday.
  2. Put pre-washed nappies into the big dry pail.
  3. Change nappies every 2-3 hours.
  4. Put dirty nappies into the small dry pails.
  5. Usually the washing is dry by now. I then sort the inserts and get the nappies ready and put them away.

Friday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Thursday.
  2. Put pre-washed nappies into the big dry pail.
  3. Change nappies every 2-3 hours.
  4. Put dirty nappies into the small dry pails.

Saturday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Friday.
  2. Add all of the pre-washed nappies, bibs and change mats into the washing machine for a main wash.
  3. I hang the inserts to dry on the clothes line in the sun and hang the covers over the side of the washing basket and put them in the shade.
  4. Change nappies every 2-3 hours. Dry pail.

Sunday

  1. Put on a pre-wash with the night-nappy and all of the nappies used on Saturday.
  2. Put pre-washed nappies into the big dry pail.
  3. Change nappies every 2-3 hours.
  4. Put dirty nappies into the small dry pails.
  5. Usually the washing is dry by now. I then sort the inserts and get the nappies ready and put them away.

What is a Dry Pail?

A dry pail is an open airy basket. This is a photo of my set up. I have two small baskets and one big one.

First small pail – wee only nappies and any wipes

Second small pail – rinsed nappies and wipes. I hang this over the sink in case there are any drips

Big pail – all pre-washed nappies and wipes that are waiting for the main wash

What is a ‘Prewash’?

A prewash is a short wash to get out the bulk of the soiling. Choose a wash cycle that is between 30 – 60 minutes in length, between 40 – 60 degrees in temperature, with a half dose of detergent. The amount of detergent will depend on the type that you choose to use.

My prewash is a Cotton cycle, 60 degrees, 1hr20m in length. I use 1/2 scoop of Biozet and 1/2 cap of Vanish.

What is a ‘Main Wash’?

A main wash is a long wash cycle between 2 – 3.5 hours in length, between 40 – 60 degrees in temperature, with a full dose of detergent.

Agitation is very important during the main wash. In a front loader, the machine should be loosely full when dry (2/3 to 3/4 full when wet). If you don’t have enough nappies and wipes to fill your machine, you can bulk the load with small, light-coloured items. I have a stack of muslin cloths which I add in as needed.

My main wash is a Whites cycle, 60 degrees, 3hrs in length. I use 1 scoop of Biozet.

Still confused about how to wash cloth nappies?

Hopefully we have explained it well, but if you still have any questions please check out the Alcmena cleaning and fit guide