Washing cloth nappies
Cloth nappies may be the ideologically sound choice for your baby's bottom, but along with cloth nappies comes the substantial task of cleaning and washing them. Will you really have time to do all that soaking and scraping? In fact, most cloth nappy users wash every 2-3 days (which is probably as often as you would put a load on anyway with a baby in the house).
This is the traditional method of dealing with dirty nappies. As you change your baby's nappies, you scrape the poo off into the toilet, and put the siled nappy into a lidded bucket of water and a nappy soaker (such as Napisan). Once the bucket's full, you drain the water, put the whole lot into the washing machine and then put them through the rinse and spin cycles.
The soaking method is:
- a very effective way of getting nappies clean
- hard physical work because the bucket will be heavy once it's full and moving it around may be tricky
- stinky! Just opening the lid of a full bucket can make your eyes water!
- potentially messy. Splashing is an occupational hazard when you're soaking nappies
Drypailing lets the washing machine do all the work for you. As you change your baby's nappy, you remove the poo and then place the nappy into an empty lidded bucket for storage. Once the bucket is full, you empty it into the washing machine and then put it through a wash cycle.
The drypailing method is:
- is less stinky than soaking is - strange but true!
- takes the back-breaking work out of cloth nappies
- needs a hot wash to shift stains
- Remove any poo from the nappy and liner.
- For traditional soaking, use the method above.
- For drypailing, use the method above.
If you have a top-loader:
- Put the nappies through a rinse cycle to wash the worst of the muck off, and then fill the machine up again on a hot wash and add the powder (special nappy soakers aren't necessary at this stage).
- Once the machine has filled, turn it off and allow the nappies to soak for a couple of hours.
- Once suitably soaked, turn the washing machine back on and allow it to finish its cycle.
- Consider doing an extra rinse of clear water to remove any excess detergent if your baby has sensitive skin.
If you have a front-loader:
- Put the nappies through an extra rinse either before or after a regular wash of the nappies - generally no extra soaking is required.
Try adding a small amount of white vinegar to the final rinse as this makes the nappies softer when dried on the line. The acid in the vinegar also counteracts any traces of urine left in the nappies (as urine is alkaline).
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