Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Elaine Jolliffe on

How to use your Modern Cloth Nappies

Q: What do I do with the inserts?

A: The inserts are placed inside the pocket. Usually one insert is enough, but you can also use more to increase absorbency (this is especially useful of a night). Each nappy comes with one insert, and extras can be purchased separately.

Q: How do I adjust the size?

A: The size is adjusted with the bottom 3 rows of snaps (9 snaps in total)
+ + + row 1

+ + + row 2

+ + + row 3

- for small size - fold the bottom row of snaps (row 3) up and clip them into row 1

- for medium size - fold the middle row of snaps (row 2) up and clip them into row 1

- for large size - leave all 3 rows unsnapped

The other snaps are used to adjust the size around the waist (very top row) and around the legs (second row from top)


Q: Should I wash the nappies before their first use?

A: Yes, you should wash them 5-6 times, especially the inserts (the shells should be washed at least twice). This will allow them to reach peak absorbency (think of them like a new towel). You do not need to dry them between each wash.

Q: How much detergent should I use and what brand do you recommend?

A: Use ½ strength detergent (if you use too much detergent it will leave a film on the nappy and lead to leakage). Any natural brand that doesn’t contain bleach (or oxygen bleach), enzymes, fabric softeners or any other additives (eg. brighteners, whiteners, dyes, perfumes, essential oils). Also avoid ‘eco-detergents’ that use a lot of plant oils.

Soap nuts are also a great alternative to detergent.

Q: What temperature should I wash cloth nappies?

A: It is best to do a rinse cycle first, then wash with cold water (Cold water is better for the environment and will ensure your nappies last longer).

Q: What is the best way to dry cloth nappies?

A: In the sun – sunlight naturally bleaches the nappies to remove any remaining stains and this method is also better for the environment. If you have to you can also dry them in the dryer on a low temperature, however, if done often this may shorten their lifespan.

Q: Should I soak my cloth nappies?

A: No. Soaking will wear out the cloth nappies faster. We do not recommend Napisan. You should just store them in an airtight container and wash them within 3 days.

Q: Should I remove solids before putting the cloth nappy in the airtight container?

A: Yes, you should rinse off majority of the solids. You can also use nappy liners to catch solids (these can then be placed directly in the toilet, as they are biodegradable).

Another option to avoid pooey nappies is to potty train from birth – also referred to as “elimination communication”.

Q: Why can’t I use fabric softener?

A: Fabric softener can decrease the absorbency of the nappies.

Q: Why can’t I use bleach?

A: It will wear the nappies.

Q: Can I use barrier creams or powder on my baby?

A: You shouldn’t use barrier creams as they can leave a film on the nappies, but powder is fine.

Q: Will the colours run?

A: No, they won’t. All of your nappies can be washed together without a problem.

Q: How do I do a strip clean on my nappies?

A: First wash your clean nappies in warm water (40°C) with no detergent filled up to a high level. Then wash your nappies again using a small amount of dishwashing liquid (yes, the one you use on your dishes - one that has no moisturiser). Rinse as many times as necessary to remove any suds.


Q: My cloth nappies are leaking. What could be the reason?

A: The following are possibilities –

You have not done up the nappy tight enough around the stomach or legs
The insert is bunching
You haven’t prewashed your nappies enough
There is clothing pushing up against the absorbent part of the nappy, causing wicking
You have left the nappy on too long – change more frequently or add an insert
You have used too much detergent, creams or fabric softener and they have left a film on the nappy. In which case you will need to do a strip clean.

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