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Washing Guidelines

Washing Guidelines

*Please note this is general advise only and the manufacturers instructions should always be followed to reach the maximum lifespan out of each nappy.

Washing cloth nappies might initially seem complicated, however don't over think it too much... Here's a simplified break down:

 

An effective wash routine has the following 4 steps:

1. Pretreat (Optional) 

2. Prewash (Short wash in warm or hot water)

3. Main Wash (Long wash in warm or hot water)

4. Dry

 

Pretreat 
This step is optional. Some parents choose to pretreat, as some babies have stainy poops. After rinsing the poopy nappies (or spraying the poop into the toilet with a nappy sprayer), rub a laundry soap such as Sard/Sunlight/Velvet into the fabrics until they're nice and bubbly. Pop your nappies back into the pail until you're ready to wash them.

Prewash
The prewash is a short wash cycle that removes excess soiling from your nappies, so that you can complete your main wash in clean water. You can see the difference in wash water quality in the below photo - the prewash water is really dirty and won't result in a good clean, which is why your prewash needs to be followed by your main wash.
Picture

Your prewash is a short wash cycle (on most machines there will be an option for a quick or regular cycle that's around 30-60 minutes long). Warm to hot water (maximum 60 deg) will provide a more effective wash than cold.
 

Main Wash
The main wash is a long wash cycle that gives your nappies a really thorough clean. Use the longest cycle on your machine. For most front loaders, this is around 2-3 hours. For top loaders, this can vary from 1-3 hours.  Complete your main wash in warm to hot (40-60degC) water for best results.

Dry
You can dry your nappies outdoors, indoors or in the tumble dryer.  If you're drying outdoors, ensure your nappy covers/shells are in the shade as the waterproofing can be damaged by the sun.
If you're drying in the dryer, ensure that you are drying your inserts only. The dryer can melt or delaminate the waterproof outers.
 
*The above information is thanks to Cloth Nappy Help and more helpful information you can visit their website HERE.
 
What do I do with poo nappies?
If using a disposable or reusable liner poo can be placed in the toilet, any disposable liner to go in the rubbish bin and reusable to be rinsed and placed in your dry pail.
 
Do I need to soak or rinse nappies?
It is suggested to rinse poo nappies, nappies with urine only can go straight into your dry pail waiting for your prewash.  Soaking nappies is old practice and not generally necessary unless you have an excessively stained nappy.  If nappies are soaked for extended periods of time this can degrade materials and elastic.
 
What to avoid?
Avoid washing in cold water as this will not thoroughly clean the nappies and over time you will begin to notice smells and possible amonia build up.  Keep in mind that not all eco-friendly detergents have the enzymes and properties that will effectively clean your soiled nappies, click here  to find a list of suggested detergents and the amounts to use. 
 
How frequently do I need to wash?
This will depend on how many children you have wearing nappies and how often you are using cloth.  A general guideline to prewash every 1-2 days and main wash between every 2-3 days. Most people find that they prewash every morning once the night nappy has been taken off. 
 
To clean your nappies thoroughly, be sure to
  • wash regularly (2nd day)
  • use a prewash + main wash routine
  • use warm to hot water (max 60 deg C)
  • add some stain remover powder if you're washing at temperatures less than 60 deg C, and
  • use enough detergent for a heavily soiled load.