Modern cloth nappies are easy to use, fashionable and require no pre-soaking.

Why should I think about using cloth nappies?

Modern cloth nappies are convenient; they are shaped just like a disposable with no folding involved, they are also very fashionable and come in a variety of fabrics and prints. Limited edition nappies have been created with celebrative prints including the Golden Jubilee and the Royal Birth.

Cloth nappies can save parents hundreds of pounds; they can also be used on subsequent children or sold on as second-hand leading to further savings. Did you know that a branded disposable nappy can cost upwards of 20p each and a baby will use 5000 in a lifetime? That small cost soon adds up! Also, financial assistance is available for those unable to purchase a cloth nappy kit upfront.

Reusable nappies can help the environment, there are around 40,000 babies in Essex with each baby going through over a tonne of disposable nappies, now that’s a lot of rotting waste in Essex landfill sites.

Evidence has shown that cloth nappies can actually help your child to potty train quicker, as disposables are literally ‘too good’ at locking away moisture and children find it harder to make the connection between needing the toilet and being wet. It is a myth that using cloth nappies increase the likelihood of nappy rash; children should be changed when wet regardless of the type of nappy used.

But aren’t cloth nappies really messy?

Cloth nappies are used with a disposable paper liner which catches the solid waste; this is then simply flushed down the toilet. The used nappy can be stored dry in a lidded container until you have enough nappies to put through the wash. A drawstring mesh bag can be placed inside the nappy bucket meaning that you don’t even have to touch the wet nappies when moving them to the washing machine.

How do you wash them?

Once the disposable paper liner containing the solid waste has been flushed away, put the used nappies into a washing machine and do a cold rinse cycle, then wash your nappies between 40-60C with a third of your usual amount of detergent. Detergent and fabric softener actually coat the cloth fibres which prevent them from being absorbent, so less really is more! Nappies should be dried naturally where possible as this is better for the environment and UV from sunlight (even on cloudy days) can really help to bleach fabrics back to a dazzling white colour. Quick drying nappies made from microfiber are ideal for those people with limited drying space.

How can I find out more?

Essex County Council offers free sample nappies and a £10 refund every financial year you purchase your own cloth nappies. We also write a newsletter specifically for cloth users in Essex and run regular “Nappuccino’s” which are cloth nappy coffee sessions to help parents decide if cloth nappies are the right choice for them. There are companies that offer nappy laundering services for parents who don’t want to wash their own nappies and also volunteer run Cloth Nappy Libraries whereby parents can trial out a variety of styles to decide which option is best for them.

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