If you’re anything like me the thought of cloth nappies is a tad overwhelming and it can be tough knowing where to start. I looked into them a few times over the years but just felt like it confused me more. So as a complete novice myself I thought I would give a sort of dummies guide on I’ve found using them over the last week or so!
Firstly, why am I using them? For me personally I really wanted to start using them when our local council changed the bin collection (yawn lol). But seriously, going from a 3 week general waste collection to 4 has been a nightmare. They have started making us separate nappies and sanitary waste into a separate bin and they collect them every 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe how many nappies we accumulated in 2 weeks… nearly 3 black bags full most pick ups and don’t even get me started on the smell!
One thing I HIGHLY recommend is checking if you have a nappy library near you. I done this and I got a whole variety of nappies to try over 4 weeks for a £10 deposit, amazing! I was shown how to use them too which was a huge help.
So back to now! I have been super lucky that the lovely people over at TotsBots noticed I was trying to make the switch to cloth and they have given me a kit to use and share how I get on. I had heard of the brand and was excited to try them as they weren’t in the library kit I tried out. Here’s a run through of how I’ve found the main points I wondered about and have been asked on since I started using them…
So many to choose from!
I think this was one of the biggest things I found confusing when I was initially looking into cloth nappies. I would read blog posts in the hope they were a bit easier to understand but they all used terms like flat, 2 part, pre fold, hook and loop…. wahhhh!! I mostly still don’t understand all the terminology but from what I’ve used so far I’ve discovered most either come as a whole thing like what I use now and you just change the nappy as normal or they come as 2 parts so you reuse a waterproof outer layer and just change the nappy inside.
When I used the library kit initially I quite liked the 2 part ones but I now prefer the all in one type and find them a lot easier to use/wash/store. This is one of the main reasons I recommend a library or at least trying a trial pack which I know TotsBots offer as everyone will have a preference!
One thing I really like about the ones I am using is that they grow with the child so you use the poppers to make them smaller and as they get bigger you just unpop them so you don’t need to buy different sizes.
Whatever type you choose to use you can add liners which make dealing with poo easier as you can dispose of them and boosters which help add absorbency, you can actually make your own boosters and liners though I’ve found!
I’ve added a cloth nappy glossary at the end of this post which will help you know what is what.
Does it smell?
Surprisingly no! This is what I’ve been asked most since I started and was definitely one of my biggest worries but I have had a bucket full in the room for 3 days sometimes and you can’t smell it. Same with the waterproof bag I use if I’m out, can’t smell it! Also worth noting there isn’t that awful chemically smell like disposables have when they are wet!
Out and about
I found it quite daunting trying them out of the house, a lot of people just use cloth in the house and stick to disposable nappies out and about which I thought I would do but it’s actually not been that bad. I still keep 1 or 2 disposables just in case but as long as I have my waterproof bag it’s not much more hassle and I just chuck it in the nappy bucket when I get home.
How many to get?
Again this was something I really wondered about. When I got the library kit I didn’t use them all day as I was still so confused and with there being so many different types I found it hard to store them in a way that I could easily use them so I just tried them out at different times plus Freida was still so small then and going through A LOT of nappies. I have 17 now as I had a few of my own before getting the kit from TotsBots and I’m managing really easily to use them during the day every day and use disposables at night. I think if you were using them from birth then maybe it would be worth getting more.
Even using 1 or 2 a day is still saving over 300 nappies a year going in the bin, when I thought about it like that I just thought I would buy 1 or 2 a month and build it up before I got the kit I’m using. I think it can feel like you need to do all or nothing with it but I’ve found a lot of people still use disposables at night (like me) or out the house so it made it less daunting in a way.
Another thing I have found way easier than expected! So after you use each nappy you put it in a bucket until wash day, usually every 2/3 days. My bucket has a net so I literally just lift it out and chuck it in the machine. You use a higher temp if there is poop, that’s about it really! I’ve been using disposable liners as it helps get the worst of the poop off them before they go in the bucket but I know some people give them a flush in the loo if need be, not tried that yet lol. I was also a bit worried about drying them indoors but it’s been totally fine using the clothes horse, they haven’t taken that long to dry and they smell fine!
I will point out for newbies when washing make sure you fold the velcro tabs over so they don’t all stick together, also don’t use softner and stick to non bio although TotsBots do washing powder which I’ve linked at the bottom.
Will clothes still fit?
I found when I tried them when Freida was about 2 months old they were very bulky on her and if I chose to use them then I would have bought specific clothes for cloth nappies (yes it does exist!) or a size up. Now she’s 7 months I honestly don’t find much difference, you can also get extenders for vests which would be good I think!
I thought it worth covering this as I’ve found a few things that make it easier for me when it comes to changing time and how to store them. I started off just folding them away with the velcro tabs still shut from the wash but I’ve found if I spend the time putting them away like how they would be on it makes change time a lot less fiddly. I’ve got a trolley with my nappies on top, my disposables/liners and other bits in the middle and muslins on the bottom. I have the bucket behind that and all the other things are in a drawer (wet bags, spare wipes etc).
I will be updating more as we go with them and hopefully share some useful tips that I find along the way! I think I can safely say though I’m a complete convert and am basically using them full time apart from night time. It goes without saying it is a big expense initially compared to disposable nappies but on average people save at least a few hundred £££ using cloth nappies over time and of course they can be sold on or reused! So many places have sales including TotsBots (https://www.totsbots.com/collection/sale) or you can pick up decent second hand bundles online, definitely worth doing your research once you know what type you prefer.
In the meantime here are a few links I’ve found really helpful and easy to understand along with a few of the products I’m using from TotsBots that I can vouch for! As always I’m happy to answer any questions, let me know what else you would want to know!
TotsBots site has FAQs, videos and information on their products –https://www.totsbots.com/why-cloth
A cloth nappy term glossary – http://www.thenaturalbabyco.com/guides/cd-guide/cloth-diaper-glossary.html
TotsBots have made the environmental facts easy to understand – https://www.totsbots.com/why-cloth/environment
[We were not financially compensated for this post. We received a free kit to sample. The opinions are completely our own and are 100% honest.]