5 Easy Tips for making the switch to cloth nappies

Right now there are hundreds (probably thousands) of families who are wanting to make the move into cloth nappies. Families who are probably looking through the depth and wealth of information available and feeling somewhat overawed, overwhelmed and like they slipped into some alternate dimension filled with a foreign language they don’t speak.

Luckily I’m here to tell you to sit back and relax because these 5 tips will make it just that little bit easier to understand what you are getting yourself in to.

1 – Don’t ask what the best nappy around is (especially in facebook groups).

Unless you want your head to explode with 6000 different answers. Put simply there is no ‘best’ nappy you can buy. Everyone has a different nappy that is the ‘best’ for their family and the needs of their children.

Instead trial a few different types of nappies to get a feel for what works for you. Don’t spend time worrying about if the nappy will work (it will) and if it’s the right choice (it will depend). You just need to get some and have a go.

 If you want to go into full in depth research mode then look at different styles and the different types of absorbency options available and choose from there.

Most retailers offer a mixed brand trial pack or two which offers you a few different nappies to try at a discounted price. 

2 – Buy nappies with suitable absorbency

Most nappies are going to need at least 2 inserts or a decent trifold/long insert. If you are looking to buy a nappy that only comes with one insert then it’s likely that won’t be enough absorbency and you will get leaks. Remember Charcoal Bamboo and Bamboo Microfibre are essentially just a microfiber insert and will have the least capacity to hold liquid. If you are buying these nappies then look for something like a bamboo/cotton prefold to add to them or a separate bamboo insert with 4-5 layers to use with your microfiber inserts.

3 – Don’t be overwhelmed by the wash routine

I realise there is a lot of information on washing – and lots of spreadsheets, but it’s really simple actually.

You empty solids down the loo or laundry trough, dry pail (that means don’t put water in your basket/bucket), do a short quick wash with a small amount of detergent, then a long wash with full detergent, dry and put together.

Make sure you choose a decent detergent, mainstream is fine. Don’t use fabric softener and try to wash on 40-60 degrees. If you have a front loader you will need to have a full load for the best clean so feel free to add in extra items like facewashers, burp cloths, singlets etc after you have done your prewash.

For those who wish to use a more natural detergent like ecostore you will need a longer wash, extra detergent and a hot wash for it to be effective. Please note there are a few natural detergents that don’t really cut the mustard with cloth and please please don’t use soap nuts – they just don’t work for cloth nappies.

4 – Get your fit basics down.

Fitting cloth can be a little different to fitting a disposable but the basics are to make sure the leg elastics are right up in the groin and that there aren’t any obvious gaps; and to make sure the waist isn’t done up so tight you have a muffin top.

Learning how to fit a cloth nappy can take time but as long as your legs and waist is ok then the nappy should do its job. There are lots of fit graphics and videos out there so a simple google search should help you along in this area.

 5 – Speak to a retailer

I’m not saying this because I am one – what I can tell you about retailers is they are experts in cloth nappies and can usually answer any questions you have about absorbency, fit, which nappy might suit your baby, why you are getting leaks, what a night nappy is plus a whole heap more.

They are a wealth of information and are more than happy to help with any questions you might have.


I know how overwhelming it can be even trying to get started with cloth, there is waaaayy too much information and choice out there that even buying one nappy can seem difficult.

The best piece of advice I can give is to just give it a go. It doesn't matter which nappy you buy, which style you get, how much they cost. Hell nowdays I'd just buy whatever print you like and go from there. 

What is important is that you just have a go, what's the worst that can happen? You might get a leak? Well even disposables leak, all you gotta do is clean it up and try again - and remember to ask for help if you need it.