• Sarah from Cloth Tots

Our Most FAQs on Washing Cloth Nappies

Washing your nappies can often be the most daunting process of using cloth nappies, even the most experienced cloth parent might need tweaks and help from time-to-time.


We’ve collated some of our most frequently asked questions around washing:

  • Why do I need a ¾ load in my machine? Especially in a new machine that measures the weight of the load?

You are quite right, modern washers weigh the load and adjust the water and the timing accordingly. However this isn't foolproof, the weight of dry/damp laundry doesn't always equate to the liquid required to wash especially when the load is made up of many small light items, rather than a few large t-shirts. So you can have situations arise where the machine puts too much water, or not enough water into the machine which affects how the washing agitates. Agitation is one of the key elements in cleaning laundry.


This isn't a big deal in normal laundry, but in the face of faeces and urine, we want to get it right. The primary purpose of a prewash is to remove most of the urine and faeces so that the nappies don't degrade waiting for a mainwash, and to ensure the water in the mainwash isn't a soup of human waste.


When it comes to the mainwash its a necessity to prevent disease, protect the investment of your cloth nappies and provide you with peace of mind that your clothes, nappies, etc are perfectly clean each time. Part of hiring from Cloth Tots, means we create a tailored wash instructions, which includes, having a main wash setting that is at least 2.5 hours long, you have adequate dosing of your detergent for a heavily soiled load, correct temperature to assist your choice of detergent and that you have enough in there to get the items rubbing against each other (agitation), all necessary to ensure your items are expertly cleaned.


For our top loader users we use this descriptor "think cereal, not soup. Too much water and items float, too little and they clump". And in a Front loader the best way to obtain perfect loading is to pack your washer 3/4 full when the washing is wet which typically looks full when the washing is dry/slightly damp.

  • Can I sneak a “wee” nappy straight into the main-wash?

This is a great question, There is a time this is ok. If you are about to run a main wash, and there is a sneaky last minute inclusion and it is NOT a night nappy (this is very important criteria), then it is fine to just throw it straight into the main wash, and skip the prewash.

The reason the prewash is important for general daytime wee nappies is that wee nappies sitting in a dry pail for 3 days can develop ammonia from the urea present. Ammonia is bad business, it causes painful rashes on bub, eats the fabric of your nappies and smells like a barn.

Pre-Washing is necessary for all night nappies, even if it's just a good hot soapy hand wash or shower stomp and a spin in the washing machine to remove water. Night nappies get a LOT of urine in them, it's important to remove this as much as possible for the reasons listed above.

  • Is it safe to put bibs, burb cloths and things we use on our bubs face into the main wash to bulk it out?

These items are PERFECT to add to your main wash! Don't be concerned about hygiene, that is why it so important to work so hard to get your main wash running beautifully every time. Every item coming out of that main wash needs to be clean enough you could eat off it without any hesitations. That is why we pay attention to smells, what the load looks like when it's running and all the settings going in.

  • How can I clean my machine?

Even if you’re not a cloth user, you should be cleaning your machine regularly to keep it in top condition. Remember if you’re using a Top loader (TL) you need to add bleach to your wash, about 1 cup. This is because they don’t heat their water so they can’t get to 90/95. That’s how you thermal sanitise at that temperature. Bleach works better at cold temperatures because it doesn’t denature as quickly although it can still be functional at the beginning of you 90/95 cycle. Check out our reel on Instagram demonstrating this.



And where to go if you have your own FAQ?


Cloth Tots aims to give our customers enough support and guidance to get them up and running on their own after the hire-period, however there will always be tweaks or questions that pop-up after the hire period.

So where can you go for some extra help?

· Cloth Tots

Once a customer, always a customer. If you need help on your cloth journey, we are here to help. We often have customers coming back 6 months + on to ask for some guidance around their fits, wash etc. And we’re here for it. Send us an email and we will help out as much as we can or check out our social and blogs

· Clean Cloth Nappies Association

The Bible for all things clean nappies. The Clean Cloth Nappy Association is a science-based education resource which has information around cleaning cloth nappies that has been developed and tested by chemists and professionals. It’s a membership based subscription to access all these amazing resources including their washing machine and detergent index, which cost $15/qtr, or $30/year.

· The Manufacturer

If you’re having trouble with a particular brand, its worthwhile reaching out to the manufacturer. They can help you out with any product specifics, including material wear and tear.

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