Real nappies

Why use real nappies?

Approximately eight million nappies are thrown away daily in the UK.

It could possibly take hundreds of years for the plastic in disposable nappies to decompose and it is presumed that parts of every disposable nappy ever put into landfill are still there.

You can help reduce this problem by using modern washable nappies.

Need more advice?

You can network with other parents who use cloth nappies for advice and offer your own tips on facebook too

See the real nappy links page for details of suppliers.

More information

Modern washable nappies are convenient and easy to use - no pins, complicated folds or boiling!

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What are the different types of washable nappies?

Most washable nappies are made from natural fabrics and come in a wide range of styles:

  • all-in-ones - incorporate a built-in waterproof outer layer and fasten with Velcro or poppers. Need a liner to catch solids.
  • shaped nappies - shaped nappies have a neat precise fit, fasten with Velcro or poppers and require a separate waterproof wrap and liner.  These systems are generally more leak-proof than all-in-ones and come in various sizes or one size fits all.
  • flat nappies - either traditional terry squares, tie-ups or prefolds, all need a liner, waterproof outer wrap and, if required, a booster pad. All require some folding and are economic, if not necessarily more efficient. Prefolds are the type used by laundry services.

What do I do with the nappy liners?

Nappy liners will contain the solids and can be fabric or paper.  The solids can be emptied into the toilet and a paper liner can be carefully disposed of in the bin. Fabric liners are easily sluiced and can be stored with the nappies until washing.

What about washing the nappies?

  • washing at home - a 60 degree wash is sufficient to sterilise your nappies. Do not add any fabric conditioner as this can reduce their absorbency. Check the washing instructions label, as the wash temperature for wraps may be lower. Before washing, nappies can be stored in a dry bucket or soaked in water with a few drops of tea tree oil, 1 tbls of bicarbinate of soda, 2-3tbls of white vinegar or one of the many bleach-free soaking solutions available from nappy suppliers.
  • laundry services - they will collect your used nappies from your door weekly and will deliver clean, sterile nappies in their place.

How do I buy real nappies?

A wide choice of nappies are available from local shops and mail order companies. See the 'real nappy' links page for details of shops and suppliers.

What about washable nappies for children and adults?

You can also buy washable nappies in sizes suitable for older children and adults. For more information and details of stockists download the continence products information sheet [pdf 29kb].

What's the cost?

Even taking into account washing costs, parents can save hundreds of pounds over the time their child is in real nappies. For a subsequent child the savings can be even greater, as washable nappies can often be re-used.

What are the health benefits for my baby?

  • cotton nappies do not cause nappy rash, neither do disposables prevent it (Prof. Jean Golding, Child Health Expert, Bristol University)   
  • it has been suggested that the extra padding in real nappies provides better postural support as well as a more comfortable landing for those first steps!
  • real nappies are a more natural product against the skin and this means that parents have more control over their child's chemical environment.

For more information about real nappies contact Cityclean by email  or see the real nappy links page for details of suppliers.