Monday, March 8, 2010

How to wash your terry nappies

There are two ways to wash your terry nappies, essentially... the old way and the new way!

nappy bucketsYou can a) put them in nappy bucket with water to cover and add 2-3 tbsp. white distilled vinegar OR 1tbsp. sodium bicarbonate OR 5 drops of tea tree oil, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties (and top up the water over nappies when you add them and they fill up past the water line), or b) "dry pail" them in the bucket or put them in a "wet bag" and leave your nappies in there until you need to wash, then put them on to wash just like you would any other item.

As terry nappies are cotton they can handle boiling but you don't need to do this as it will reduce the life of the nappy while not really doing anything useful.  Don't use too much detergent on cloth nappies because if you use too much it will not rinse out fully and when the baby wees in the nappy, it will rehydrate and sting/burm your baby's bottom.

Never use fabric softeners or antistatic products, they can lessen the absorbency and the life of your nappies.  Terries will be disinfected just by hanging in the sun, so you don't need to go nuts with washing them with extra washing powder.  In fact, use less than the manufacturer's recommendation when washing them.

When it comes to drying them, hang them out in the sun if possible because the sun will bleach your terry nappies white again and they will look nice and clean and pretty hanging on the line!  If you can't hang them outside, hanging them inside in a sunny airy room will dry them in next to no time too and direct sun on them will keep your terry towel squares fine as fine can be.  Terries dry so fast, with just a little sun or a breeze, you couldn't ask for nappies that are faster drying.

At the top of this post is an example of a plain plastic nappy bucket.  Some people choose to use "hanging pails" or large wet bags instead.  We used wet bags, as they can be easier to grab and move to the laundry, but some people swear by buckets.  Buckets are bulky, of course, and even if you dry-pail rather than soak they are still heavier than a PUL and cotton wetbag.

That said, pails may hold in smells better, and they still generally cheaper - a large wetbag may set you back more than $30, but a nappy bucket can be "made" simply by begging, borrowing or hopefully not stealing (lol) from a local bakery - the buckets that bakery flour comes in are often an ideal size for nappy dry pailing.