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Cleaning Cloth Nappies

Cleaning Your Cloth Nappies

When it comes to cleaning cloth nappies there seems to be a fair bit of confusion, especially if you are new to the whole idea of cloth nappies.

Luckily I'm here to offer a little bit of help and run you through our simple cleaning routine.

The general gist for cleaning cloth nappies is to rinse any dirty nappies, dry pail, quick wash with a small amount of detergent, full wash with full amount of detergent, dry and then wear.

Cloth Nappy Cleaning Cycle


Dry Pail

A dry pail is essentially a nappy pail without water. Now days we don't soak our nappies in a nappysan solution as nappysan no longer sanistises clothing or cloth nappies.

You can buy a pail from any of the major retailers make sure when using it you keep the lid off for airflow. The airflow helps prevent the nappies in the pail from smelling and stops bacteria build up. Lots of people have put holes in their pails for additional air flow, alternatively you can use a basket with lots of holes in them as your pail.

After your nappy change remove your inserts from Pocket Nappies or All in Two Nappies and just put them straight into the pail; unless you have a mess which will need to be rinsed under the tap or in the toilet.

Aim to wash every second day, you can occasionally get away with a wash on the third day but for best results a 2 day cycle is our choice.
A note on breastfed babies - you do not need to rinse BF nappies as no 2s from a breastfed baby is water soluble.


To clean cloth nappies we use a two part process.

1. 30min quick wash is half a scoop of detergent at 40-60 degrees, or a prewash IF your machine empties the water between the pre-wash and the main wash. We do this first wash to get rid of the bulk of the muck out of your cloth nappies and then start the main wash with clean water.

2. Long Cotton Main Wash. You are looking for a cotton or cotton intensive cycle on your machine here. This longer cycle in clean water will get deep into your nappies and give them a proper clean. Use a full scoop of detergent at 40-60 degrees.

In the long wash you may need to add things to a front loader in order to get decent agitation of your nappies. Things like washcloths, small towels, socks etc are great. You are looking to get the drum 2/3 full when wet or as close to.

For a top loader just set the water level to suit the size of you load, you are looking for your nappies to be bumping and rubbing together in the wash. 

Detergent Choice

Most detergents are fine to use for cleaning cloth nappies just make sure that your detergent choice doesn't include fabric softeners as these can coat the fibres of your nappies and stop them working properly.

If you are wanting a more eco-friendly detergent such as ecostore you will probably need to use an extra half scoop in your wash and run the wash on 60. The reason for this is that non mainstream detergents usually have a weaker formulation and no enzymes so in order to work the way needed for cloth nappies you need to up the dosage and wash with warmer water as this is what will get the detergent working effectively.                                                                                                                               


Hang nappies out to dry on the line, clothes horse etc. In the southern states over winter some inserts will take 2 days to dry properly.
During summer try not to leave your nappies out in direct sunlight for longer than 2 hours and the extreme UV and temperatures can damage your PUL.     

Once dry put together and ready to be worn.

*Please note that if you nappies ever smell a little funny, musty or of ammonia it's an indication that something is wrong with your wash routine. If this does happen please reach out for help.

You can contact us on for troubleshooting or any other questions relating to cloth nappies.


I know how daunting starting out with cloth nappies can be, please be assured it is nowhere near as hard as you think it will be. Really it's just a nappy that goes on similar to other nappies and instead of going in the bin you wash them.