Cloth Nappy Washing Overview
How to prep brand new nappies.
Brand new nappies take up to six washes to reach their full absorbency. This doesn’t mean that you need to wash them six times on their own before their first use; this would be a huge waste of water! You can add the inserts in to any other loads of washing you are doing to start building up the absorbency, they don't need to be dried completely between washes.
To build up the absorbency, some families choose to soak them in water overnight before putting them through their first wash. Just being aware of this with the new nappies means you may have to change the nappy a bit more frequently, however we wash these every second day or so depending on how many nappies you have in your stash, so absorbency will build up quickly!
Line dry is always preferred. Tumble dry on cool setting only when absolutely necessary (tumble dryer will greatly reduce the lifespan of the elastics and the covers). If you choose to use the dryer, make sure the nappies are back to room temperature before extending the elastics.
Washing nappies, what is a prewash anyway?
Nappies and wipes need to be put through a washing machine cycle twice. The first cycle is called a prewash and is designed to get most of the wee and poo off. It can be a short cycle (40-60mins) with cold or warm water and half the recommended dose of detergent, it also does not matter if a front loader (FL) machine is under loaded in the prewash. (This is a big deal for a FL in the main wash) Max spin speed 800RPM as per most manufactures warranty requirements.
The nappies will then need a main wash, on the longest setting available on your machine (at least 2 hours), with a good quality detergent as per the boxes recommendation for “heavily soiled load”, maximum temp 60 degrees celcius (check manufacturer info) and max spin speed 800RPM.
***Nappies that need a daily prewash or if you don’t have enough nappies for a main wash can be dry pailed again, for up to 2 days. Keep these in a separate dry pail to the ones that come straight off the child. See “Nappy Washing Routine Example"
What about washing cloth wipes?
Wipes get the same treatment as the nappies. If wee only, straight into the dry pail. Solid waste? Rinse thoroughly and place into dry pail. All wipes will need a prewash and main wash, just throw them all in with the nappies, no sorting necessary.