How to wash your cloth nappies

Is washing hard work?

No ways. Modern cloth is easy to clean. Read our blog post.

Prepping nappies 

Prepping is done to get rid of natural oils.
Wash all nappies and boosters once before using (only the items made of actual absorbent fabric). Not covers or liners.

You can use a shorter wash for this prep cycle. One hour is enough.
No pre rinse needed.
30`C maximum. Warmer water is better for nappies if possible.
Use half the amount of recommended detergent.
Never soak nappies in water/any chemicals/Sterri nappy/Milton/stain removers ever.


Most laundry detergents without softener, are safe for cloth nappies. Fabric softener covers the fibers of the fabric which inhibits absorption. We do not recommend using any that are not on our tried and tested list. Baby detergents are not suitable. **We have not had good results with Omo.**

Tried and tested detergents.

How long can I store dirty nappies?

Maximum three days. If you are only doing part time cloth, follow the washing directions below and just bulk up your main wash load with smaller items - baby clothes, small linen items, adult clothing after the rinse cycle.

Front loader machine wash
  1. Rinse the nappies on a rinse cycle. Ideally 30`C water or cold. No detergent. Add an Oxygen bleach (we suggest Nurture Oxygen bleach) to the rinse cycle to keep nappies build up free. This can be done once a week. Smaller items such as baby clothes must be added after the rinse if you need to bulk up the load to make it 3/4 full. If the load is too full or too empty the nappies will not get cleaned properly. Do not use towels or linen.
  2. The machine must be ¾ full of wet items (bend down and you should fit your hand on top of the pile in the machine). Bulk it up, if need be, as in step 1.
  3. Wash at 30`C. Do not wash our covers above 30 `C. Wash covers with clothes if you want to wash nappies on 40`C. If you have hard water you must wash nappies at 40`C (covers with clothes below 30`C). See hard water section below.
  4. Run the main/cotton/fuzzy cycle (must be the longest cycle, two hours minimum is best).The pre rinse is not part of this two hour wash. Note if the cycle is shorter the nappies will not get cleaned properly.
  5. No softener
  6. Night nappies, when baby is in one nappy all night/ for more than five/six hours, require a prewash or main wash the day it comes off the bum. See directions below.
Top loaders:

If considering buying a machine, front loaders are favoured for cloth nappies.

Night nappies (when baby wears one night nappy)

Night nappies that have been on for longer than six hours must be prewashed or main washed the day they come off the bum to prevent stinks. Simply  throw the nappy in the machine and follow the prewash directions below then airdry over a basket/ bathroom rail until main wash day. 

If you wash every day, simply follow the main wash instructions. This is ideal for parents who only use night nappies. 

Research has shown us that leaving the night nappy with urine in it, is the main cause of ammonia build up in PK nappies. A hand rinse is often not enough to prevent the build up starting.

If you can only get to the prewash or main wash later that day, hand rinse the night nappy well under a tap within an hour and squeeze out, hang it over a rail until you get to the pre or main wash later that day. 


Hard water washing

Can reduce the ability of detergent to clean nappies which can lead to smells.
Wash nappies on 40 degrees. Do not wash our covers at 40`C. Wash them on cold with clothes or linen.
Use only a powder detergent.


A bucket and plunger works brilliantly (makes for strong arms too):

  1. Add your nappies to the bucket filled with cold (grey) water. Plunge 40 – 50 times.
  2. Fill bucket with warm (grey) water.
  3. Add detergent and plunge about 90 – 100 times.
  4. Refill the bucket with cold (grey) water and plunge another 50 odd times to get rid of the soap.
  5. Drain, squeeze out the water and line dry.
  6. Wash covers separately until clean, then dry.

    Wash in a mesh bag or our Wash Buddy. If Superwraps are washed above 30`C, the waterproofing can get damaged and they will leak.

    How to clean poop

    Using a bidet sprayer


    We recommend installing a bidet sprayer. It`s affordable, easy and a total game changer when cleaning your cloth. You do not need to spend a lot of money. Get one for about R350 from Takealot, CTM or a bathroom shop.

    Breastfed babies: poop is water soluble and can go straight into the washing machine (or rinse off in the sink first) or spray off using the sprayer. The yellow "stains" can be rubbed with  some soap and nappies hung in the sun - the sun gets rid of "stains".

    Formula fed babies: rinse the nappy before adding to the machine.

    Eating solids stage: Poop must be sprayed off/ discarded into the toilet before washing. Use our fleece liners (as poop falls off the liner much easier than the cloth) with all nappies. 

    How to attach a sprayer

    Get a T joint (see image labelled 1) and an extra pipe (see image labelled 2) from a hardware store. This then can be easily hooked up to a toilet at the wall. No need for a plumber. 

    How to clean a poop nappy without a diaper sprayer


    Hang nappies in the sun to get rid of stains (yes it really works).
    Use a bit of boerseep to get rid of "stains".
    Poop does not stain nappies permanently. Use fleece liners once baby starts solids.

    How to make the nappies soft again

    Simply scrunch the nappy up and rub it against itself. Or pop in the tumble drier once dry for 10 minutes.