There’s a lot floating around the internet about the do and don’ts of washable nappies. At Baba+Boo we have nine year’s experience of trouble-shooting nappy issues - so to celebrate Real Nappy Week, here’s our exhaustive list of everything you need to know about fitting, washing and using nappies.
1) Don’t use fabric conditioner.
2) Erm…no, that’s it really.
Here’s the thing. If you look online then you'd be forgiven for thinking that reusable nappies are really, really hard. You have to wash them exactly right. Heaven help you get the rise wrong, or the gap gapes a little too much. And you’re still using microfibre on top of bamboo? Bahaha, well it serves you right then, doesn’t it?
But there’s another side to this. Eve, the founder of Baba+Boo, follows up every customer after a month. She likes to make sure that the nappies are doing what they should be, and that if there are any problems then she is the first to know. And guess what? Ninety percent of the time, those nappies are doing the job. No leaks. No smells. No fit issues. No nothing.
So why does the internet indicate that reusables are a minefield, whilst our experience shows they’re a walk in the park? When you think about it the answer is as simple as putting on a nappy. People go online when they need advice. No one logs on to post “Hey, I changed my baby’s nappy today - with no leaks, no smells, no problems!” You don’t see anything online from the silent majority - and so it looks like problems abound.
The other advantage that Eve has is that if people do have a problem - after another month, or another year - guess what? They get back in touch because they know she cares. So Eve knows what’s going on. She’s seen it all. She knows what causes problems and what doesn’t, she knows that works for one person doesn’t always work for another.
And that’s the other issue with the internet. Parent A replies to the original post, describing the solution that worked for her. But parent B tried that and it didn’t work, so he suggests something different. Parent A gets offended, Parent C wades in, and pow - the internet is full of conflicting advice that makes reusable nappies look complicated.
There really doesn't need to be a rigid list of ‘dos and don’ts’. Instead, nine years’ worth of reusable nappy customer service has taught us:
- Nappies should fit in with you - not the other way round. We do not recommend specific temperatures, wash cycles or washing powders because in all the years we have been working with nappies we have never needed to.
- Nappies do appreciate a long wash cycle; the eco cycle generally doesn’t use enough water to keep nappies happy.
- There is no right or wrong way to use inserts. For daytime, bamboo inserts do a good enough job for pretty much everyone. You can play with different combinations to optimise performance but this is more like trying to get a few extra milliseconds from a Formula 1 car than trying to give your old banger enough juice to last the distance.
- Some parents have issues with laundry liquid as it doesn’t seem to rinse or dissolve as well as powder - although other families happily use it.
- Bamboo (which is what we use for our inserts) is fussy about heat. Tumble drying it at a high temperature or putting it directly on a radiator can damage it.
- ‘Dry pailing’ - keeping your dirty nappies in a dry bucket or a nappy storage bag - is kinder to your nappies than soaking them. And less eugh.
- Reusables often work best when they are snug in the leg crease. Again, we know parents who don’t do this and have no problems.
- Barrier/nappy rash cream can coat the nappy and limit its absorbency. if you really need a cream then use a liner and choose a cream that's recommended for use with reusable nappies.
- Reusable nappies work. We’ve yet to see a problem we can’t solve.