Cloth Nappies and Wipes

our cloth nappy adventure

I felt sick as I wrapped another nappy, and threw it into the bin… and not for the reason you might think.  I mean, sure, E’s nappies were stinky, poo filled, wet and heavy, but the reason I felt sick was due to the amount of rubbish we were creating.

Pre-baby, J and I could go about a week, making only 1 or 2 shopping bags full of rubbish.  It wasn’t a conscious decision, but definitely something we felt proud of.  Now we were filling our rolly bin each week.

Before E was born, I had done a bit of research about cloth nappies, but mostly I just listened to a friend and heeded her advice regarding which kind worked for her and we settled on PeaPods.  I scoured  eBay and Gumtree for cloth nappies, and we were lucky to get two bulk lots of about 20 nappies each, for $200 a bundle.

cloth nappies on the line

We decided to use cloth nappies for 2 reasons:

  1. The cost – we just couldn’t afford to be buying disposable nappies week after week.  We did use disposables for the first 5 weeks (because E was too small to fit into the cloth ones) and went through 4 packets of 30 nappies and at anywhere between $6-$15 a packet, we’d already spent a maximum of $60 on nappies. Whereas our cloth ones had cost us $400 and will last until he is toilet trained, and for potential subsequent children.
  2. The environment – yesterday I read that using cloth nappies could bring about a roughly 40% reduction in carbon emissions. Pairing that with the amount of waste we were creating and I feel really good about the choice we have made.

While we were clothing it up, we thought we may as well include wipes in this equation. Again, Google saved the day and I found Cheeky Wipes.

cheeky wipes

These have been a fantastic choice!  We’re already washing nappies, and we don’t have to wash one thing and throw out another, they just all go in the wash together.  We also found that E has no reaction to the essential oils that goes into the water that the wipes are soaked in, however he was getting nappy rash in those early days from the disposable wipes.

Washing all these bits is easy; granted there’s no solids yet, but we just separate the liner from the shell, place both into the dry bucket.  Once the bucket is full, we move it to the laundry until we’ve filled the second bucket.  Then dump all into the washing machine, add the wipes, then set the machine to a 45 minute soak and a 15 minute rinse.  We add store bought eco-friendly liquid detergent and press ‘go’.

Once it’s done we hang all the pieces out to dry.  If the weather isn’t great, the liners go in the drier and the shells go on the line or clothes horse.

cloth nappy washing basket

I find people quite defensive about me using cloth nappies.  I don’t judge your or anyone else’s choices.  Parenting is a tough caper and I’m not about to add to that but I have found that people explain their choice to not use cloth to me, when they see me changing a nappy.

For example: at our 6 week check up, our doctor confessed to giving up on cloth after her second, due to the 3 flights of stairs she had to scale to do the washing.  I promise, I’m not here to judge, just to share our experience.

Have you ever had someone share something with you because maybe they thought they were being judged by you?  Have you used cloth or disposable nappies?

24 thoughts on “Cloth Nappies and Wipes

  1. Hi Clare, I love this post! We use cloth nappies as well, and I’ve been fortunate that daycare respect that and will also use them for me (I do all the nappy construction and washing for them of course). I’ve even converted a few other mamas I know, which I’m proud of… I didn’t preach, I just did what I normally do and they paid attention and liked what they saw.

    Just a quick observation, I have found that using two pegs to hang my shells, so the elastic isn’t stretched as they dry, will help them last longer. Nothing is more finicky than having to try to re-sew that elastic when it goes!

    • Thanks so much Lisa! I love that your daycare respects your wishes! And how lovely that other mum’s followed your lead!

  2. I’ve got a 1 month old, and we’re using MCNs, too!
    I have yet to fully transition to reusable wipes (and breast pass!) but I’m hoping to make my own as soon as my sewing machine gets back from the shop! (It died the day before my bub was born – as I was trying to finish his quilt!)

    I’ve picked up a few bargain nappies new on sites like OzSale…

  3. I’m wondering if Lisa means she hung her nappies sideways with 2 pegs?!
    I’ve just been pegging mine like yours, Clare!

  4. I knew well before having a bub that cloth nappies were not for us. Both SIL’S used cloth nappies. I’ve heard arguments that the amount of water used isn’t so great for the environment. I have no research to back this up but I’ve never gone looking for it.
    I did have someone give some cloth nappies as a gift and I did find that a bit off putting/judgemental ( can’t think of the right word.
    I do however think I’m doing my bit for the environment with not buying new toys (my mother is the Queen of op shop toy hunting and council clean ups). There is a hell of a lot of plastic out there with kids toys. I also buy a lot of second hand kids clothes (some brand new but grown out of). Others just play clothes. So I feel I’m doing my bit for the environment.
    Either way since having a kid I’ve had to buy more pegs.

    • I’m with you on the new pegs! I went out the other day and bought two packets of 48, and used all of them and some of our old ones and still had to put things in the dryer! Crazy isn’t it!

      I absolutely think, ‘each to their own’. There’s definitely pro’s and con’s for each situation! I think you’re right about the gift, it’s not really someone else place to make that decision for you. We were gifted some, but only because someone else didn’t want them any more, and we had been searching for them.

      You’re absolutely right about the new toys! How great is op shop hunting!

  5. Loved reading this post, i’ll be using cloth nappies when bub is due in July, its nice to hear others experiences. I’m now sold on ghe reuseable wipes! Thanks for sharing your experiences :-)

    • Thanks Kate. How exciting that you have a bub due in July! The reuseable wipes are great and no more difficult than using the nappies.

  6. Good for you Clare. I’d love to use them but I just don’t have the time. I found a brand of disposables based in brissy that are biodegradable and friendlier on bub’s bottom so we’ve been using those as a compromise but they’re so expensive! I hate the idea of all those nappies going to landfill but I try to make up for it in other ways around the house.

    • Isn’t it crazy that good disposables are so expensive! When we do use disposables, which we did when we went camping, I just use the basic ones because the others are so expensive!

  7. So proud of you using cloth nappies. We are still yet to embrace using them with the amount of water we use to wash them. It turns out it is a hell of a lot more than I first expected and we have an eco friendly washing machine. So I have been alternating between cloth and disposable. I think any mum who makes a choice to make her life easy is a good choice when a new bub arrives at home. Cloth or disposable – but I am with you that they do create a lot of rubbish we are making more than one trip to our bins now each week. Fingers crossed the rain keeps up and our tanks don’t run too low this year.

    • Thanks Lizzie! It’s a bit crazy, the amount of water and washing you have to do. For us it’s tough because E is only in the smallest size, we only have 20 and it’s not a full wash. When he gets to the next size we won’t have to do as many loads of washing, which I’ll feel better about. You’re absolutely right about mum’s making choices to make her life easy! The first few days/weeks are such a haze.

  8. Maybe she should have moved her washing machine/changing room or just changed her kids in the same room as the washing machine, then she could have literally thrown them right in there if she wanted to.

    I think you’ve made a very good choice. Everyone is entitled to do it their own way, but at least this way you have more money to spoil E with, and it has the happy side effect of being more ecological, having cuter nappies and also less allergy issues!

    • Haha, maybe we should move E into thee laundry! It feels like we do so many trips between his room and the laundry as it is! I love the idea that we’ll have more money to spoil him with! Thanks for that lovely reminder!

  9. Congratulations on such an environmentally wise decision. I also used cloth nappies when my son was a baby but they weren’t as advanced as they are today with the elastic around the legs. There was many an accident. LOL.

    • Thanks Suzanne, I think it’s going to be a bit of a mission through winter, trying to get them all dry in time, but I’m pretty happy with the choice.

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