We are big, giant, enormous fans of the Cloth Nappy movement.

They create less waste, they are cheaper on a per use basis, and they work a lot better than cloth nappies did in the past. Almost sounds like we're talking about ourselves.

But, they do need a little more T.L.C than the rest of your washing, because they're a little more stinky, and a little more soiled. Below, we've covered the basics of the routine. It is based on the knowledge of Clean Cloth Nappies who are an excellent resource to help you along your cloth nappy journey as you get into it.

But first, allow us to share the basics.  

You might hear some new words and phrases when you start on your cloth nappies journey. Let's get across them first.  

Cloth nappy washing terminology:

  • Dry Pail: A dry pail is a fancy term for a bucket that has some airflow.
    The reason you need this is to store nappies between washes. Putting them in a bucket full of water creates a less sanitary environment, and can lead to ammonia smells forming.

  • Soiled nappies: This just means nappies that have poo or wee in them. Instructions will tell you to "remove soiling", this basically means scrape the poo or rinse the wee, then leave your nappies somewhere they can dry out (aka hanging over the side of your "Dry Pail")

  • Pre Wash: Pre wash is a less energy intensive wash. You can do this either using a "pre-wash" setting on your washing machine, or by running a short cycle like "express 30".
    The point of it is to get rid of all the poo and wee, by ensuring that there are multiple rinse cycles. It is especially good do do before you add nappies in with all your other dirty clothes.

  • Main Wash: This just means a regular washing machine wash, using thorough wash settings.

  • Shells: The shells (or sometimes called covers), are the outside of the nappy. The cute and colourful part.

  • Inserts: The inserts are the layers that sit within the shell, to absorb the liquid.

Now, onto the routine. Regardless of your detergent choice, the bones of a cloth nappy cleaning routine are simple, and fairly similar.


The basic cleaning routine for cloth nappies:

  1. Remove soiling: This means rinse out nappies as soon as you change them. If you're running a prewash within the day, it's fine to leave wee soaked nappies for a few hours, just don't leave them overnight or for more than 12 hours.

  2. Run a daily prewash: If you leave wee for too long, it will start to form an ammonia smell that is difficult to get rid of. Similar with newborn poo stains, they are more likely to set the longer you leave them, so the idea of the daily prewash is to protect the longevity of your nappies, by limiting the exposure time. This step is a little more thorough than first, and can be used to replace the first step if it's timely. Ideally, you run a 60 degree cycle.

  3. Run a daily main wash: This is just a regular old washing cycle, and can include your other clothes. It should happen within three days of your prewash, and should be as hot as your other clothes can take.

  4. Dry: Line drying cloth nappies is great for really airing them out, but most nappy brands will also survive a dryer on low heat.

Detergent dosages are subject to change. The tricky balance, is getting enough detergent (more than the recommend dosage in most cases), without creating too many extra suds or bubbles. Too much white foam actually means your water is too soft, and you can no longer get the friction required for a high washing standard. 

Cleaning Cloth Nappies with Dirt.

We are a Clean Cloth Nappies approved choice. You'll notice on the blog that their recommendations using our are a little different to our standard dosages.

If you’re cleaning Clean Cloth Nappies with our detergents - here's your go-to guide:

You can choose to wash with either our Advanced Wash, or our Original Laundry Detergent.

Advanced Wash has been formulated to deal with smellier washing, and has an antimicrobial agent in it to prevent the growth of Malodours.

Original Laundry Detergent is a little softer on sensitive skin, with essential oils leaving the washing smelling clean and fresh, without any lingering scent.

Both have enough power to deliver clean nappies, and are low sudsing in front and top loaders - so you can’t really go wrong. It’s just a matter of preference.

We only have one Powder Booster, and here's a fun fact - we developed it with you guessed it, the help of Clean Cloth Nappies. So you can't really go wrong. 

If you have any questions on cleaning cloth nappies, please feel free to reach out to us: contact@thedirtcompany.co.nz. 

Frankie Layton