How Do I Wash My Cloth Nappies?

How Do I Wash My Cloth Nappies?

How many Pop-ins per load?

It largely depends on the capacity of your machine, so unless you have a very small machine, we recommend washing a reasonable amount together (12-15 nappies) as fewer nappies make it less environmentally friendly.

Be sure not to overcrowd the load as the nappies need plenty of room to agitate in the wash to thoroughly clean them.

If you have a higher water setting on your washing machine then it’s worth using this. Often, smelly nappies are caused simply because they aren't rinsed thoroughly or are washed in too little water.

Which detergent should I use?

We don’t recommend specific brands of detergents (however we have had personal success with Biozet Rapid Liquid). Ingredients, their quantities and recommendations from detergent manufacturers are changing constantly.

Rather, we support the Australian Nappy Association’s recommendation to steer clear of detergents with additives designed to stay in the fabric after the wash, like softeners (which can reduce absorbency) and brighteners or fragrances (which might cause issues for a baby’s sensitive skin). 

In addition, bleaching agents and soaking solutions will deteriorate the fabric and will reduce the lifespan of your nappies, particularly the bamboo components. Likewise vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, washing sodas etc will all deteriorate the fabric.

Just like with regular washing, you will find you get better results with some detergents than others and a lot depends on your washing machine, the water in your area and the temperature you wash at – it’s not just about the detergent.

How long do the nappies take to dry?


Assuming the average room temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, over a line the nappies should take the following amount of time to dry:

  • Outershell: approx. 2-3 hours
  • Minkee soaker/booster: approx. 4-6 hours
  • Bamboo soaker/booster: approx. 24 hours

Certainly if hung outside on a warm day, your nappies will dry much quicker. Do be careful of very hot weather though, as our Australian summers can be detrimental to the components of your nappies.

Can I tumble dry my Pop-ins?

Never tumble your outershell or leave it in contact with direct heat (such as an oil heater) as this will deteriorate the waterproofing.

You can tumble dry the inner parts once in a while if necessary, so separate the soaker and booster from the outershell and tumble dry on a low heat.

It can help to revitalise bamboo fibres keeping them nice and soft. We only recommend tumble drying infrequently to maximise the lifespan of the product, as all the fluff that’s collected in the filter of your dryer is actually your nappy wearing away!

My nappies still smell after washing them!

First of all, we strongly recommend a rinse before your normal wash as part of your usual routine, as this will help prevent stains and smells from setting in the wash.

If you have a higher water setting on your washing machine then it’s worth using, as lower water levels just don’t wash as well and can leave your nappies a bit smelly still.

Sometimes nappies can begin to smell musty during the winter months when they don't see as much sun. Wherever possible, hang them outside in the fresh air, even if only on a clothes rack.

My nappies are a bit crunchy after laundering...

This can happen with the bamboo nappies, particularly in hard water areas. Ensure that the nappies are rinsed well enough after washing to get rid of all the detergent – if you can still see bubbles in the machine at the end of the rinse cycle, try doing another rinse.

Some people recommend adding vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften the nappies, but please don’t do this as the vinegar will deteriorate the fibres of the nappy.

Tumble drying just the soakers and boosters for a very short period of time can help revitalise the fibres and bring the softness back. Even 5 minutes in the machine can help. See the separate advice on tumble drying above.

What should I do if my baby has thrush?

Thorough washing of nappies is crucial if your baby has thrush, and we would recommend trying Dettol Anti-Bacterial Laundry Cleanser, which can be used in conjunction with your usual detergent and is said to kill off bacteria.


Feb 22, 2018 Close Parent Australia

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