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The Modern Cloth Nappies Guide


Hello there! Welcome to the Hunibums Cloth Nappies Guide. Below you’ll find a table of contents for possible questions you may have with regards to cloth nappies and taking care of them.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding modern cloth nappies which this cloth nappy guide does not cover, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me via WhatsApp on 079 513 3320, I would love to assist you!

What Is a Pocket Nappy?

Pocket nappies are really the best choice when it comes to the balance between how time-consuming it is, and how convenient it is. You just need to stuff them with their inserts and they are ready to go! They are easy to send to any school, because the only difference between what the teacher does with a pocket vs. a disposable, is that the pocket goes into a wet bag, and the disposable goes in the bin!

A pocket nappy is a nappy made of PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) which is waterproof on the outside, and suede cloth or microsuede inner. The inner has a stay dry quality. The inserts go between the two layers which form a pocket.

We recommend using two inserts for each nappy- one bamboo and one hemp. The bamboo insert closest to your baby’s bum, as bamboo inserts absorb liquid faster, then the hemp insert behind the bamboo insert, as the hemp is able to hold more liquid.

What Are Flats?

Flats or flat diapers are the old school way of doing cloth nappies, it’s one of the cheapest ways of cloth diapering and very popular for the newborn stage. You get many different ways to fold the flat diapers, origami, Pickman, kite fold, just to name a few. You also have more options to choose from when considering the type of flat you want. You can use the old school terry flats, or flannel flats, also bamboo, hemp, or cotton fleece. Flats are a tried and true method of cloth diapering but mastering that fold can be exhausting and time-consuming.

How To Get The Right Fit

Pockets are probably one of the easiest nappies to use, as the inserts are stuffed in and then the nappy just needs to be put on! In order to prevent leaks, you need to make sure there are no gaps between your baby’s legs and the elastics of the nappy. Lift baby’s legs up, and if there are gaps, you can try the following:

  • Adjust the rise snaps as they might be on a bigger setting than required for your baby.
  • Pull the front “wings” of the pocket further up and back.
  • Fasten the back, longer wings on a tighter setting
  • Sometimes it’s easier to remove the nappy and start again.
  • Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy sailing from there.

How Many Nappies Do I Need?

The number of nappies you need will depend on how often you will wash them, how many children you have in nappies, and whether you will be using cloth full time. We recommend at least 18-20 nappies for daytime and 4 night nappies per child if you will be using cloth full time and washing every second day. If you live in an area where the nappies take a longer time to dry, you may need to get a few extra nappies, or at least extra inserts, as the pockets dry relatively fast compared to the inserts.

How Often Should I Change My Baby’s Nappy?

For hygiene reasons, cloth nappies should be changed every 2-3 hours, just as you would with disposable diapers.

How Do The Nappy Sizes Work?

  • Our pocket nappies are one size fits most (OSFM).
  • They will fit babies from roughly 4.5kg to about 16kg.
  • The fit will depend on the size of your baby as well as their weight.
  • Our pockets are fitted with various plastic snaps that allow you to adjust the height of the nappy to suit your baby as they grow.

How To Store Used Nappies

Poop nappies should be rinsed off the bum. This can be done by holding the nappy in the toilet, flushing, and shaking until all poop is removed. It can also be rinsed off in a bucket and the dirty water thrown into the toilet. Many parents have installed bidet sprayers to spray the poop off into the toilet which is very convenient. We recommend using gloves when rinsing soiled nappies.

Used nappies should be stored in a ventilated bucket ( a washing basket with holes is ideal and perfect for this) until wash day. The bucket/basket should be cleaned when the nappies have been removed.

Before washing you should remove the inserts from the pockets.

Cloth Safe Bum Creams

Bum creams containing zinc or petrolatum should never come into contact with your nappies. This causes build-up on the fibers which hinders the nappies from absorbing liquids properly.

Your baby should be less prone to bum rashes since their skin is no longer in contact with the chemicals found in disposable diapers, but if they do have a rash, you could use a cloth safe bum balm or coconut oil.

If you absolutely MUST use a bum cream that contains either zinc or petrolatum or both, we recommend using a large fleece liner that covers any surface that the bum cream might touch. It could cause build-up on the liner, but your nappy will be safe.

How To Wash Cloth Nappies

  • Wash every second day (18-20 nappies)
  • Inserts must be removed from pockets before washing
  • Rinse and spin (or pre-rinse) on washing day before washing
  • Wash with washing powder that does not contain softener, also do not add softener.
  • Use the recommended amount of detergent for heavily soiled clothing as per package
  • Poop must be rinsed off immediately off the bum
  • With a top loader wash with towels or clothes, must be enough water to be the consistency of veggie soup.
  • With a frontloader wash on a long cotton cycle, the machine must be ¾ full.

To Dry:

  • Hang the inserts outside, and the pockets inside. The waterproof fabric can be damaged by the sun if they are outside for too long (1-hour max.)
  • Inserts can be tumble dried if they are still damp after being outside all day.
  • Do not tumble dry pockets, it can also damage the waterproof fabric and cause it to delaminate.

When To Strip Cloth Nappies

Stripping nappies is not something you need to do regularly, however, it should be done under the following circumstances:

  • when you purchase preloved nappies
  • when your baby has thrush
  • when there is ammonia build up in the nappies and you experience a strong urine smell after your baby’s first wee in the nappy, or the nappy smells like urine after being washed.

The stipping process will correct any issues with your nappies resulting from the above, however, thrush must be cleared before you start using your nappies again.

In the case of ammonia build-up, you will need to correct your washing routine otherwise you will continue to have the same problem.

Please note that regular stripping will shorten the life of your nappies.

How To Strip Your Cloth Nappies

(Wash used nappies before stripping)

In a bath: add half a cup of bleach to a half-full bath of cold water. First, add the bleach to the water before adding the nappies. Leave the nappies in the bath for half an hour, then wash them in the machine with detergent (WARM WASH- 40-60 degrees) The warm wash is really important, as it “deactivates” the bleach.

In a washing machine: add half a cup of bleach dissolved in a bucket of water to your machine only after it has filled up with water. Add the nappies only after adding the bleach. If you are using a front loader, add the bleach through the detergent tray after the water has filled up. Do a quick wash, rinse and spin with cold water then wash in your washing machine with detergent (warm wash 40-60 degrees). The warm wash is important after exposing your nappies to bleach.

When your baby has thrush or if you’ve purchased preloved nappies:

In either of these instances, it is necessary to do a bleach strip. Follow instructions as stated above.

Ammonia Build-up (stink)

Wash your nappies in a long 60-degree wash as your first resort.
If this does not solve the problem, you can do a bleach strip. Follow the instructions as stated above.

Thank you for reading my cloth nappies guide. If you have any suggestions or your own tried and tested tips and tricks for modern cloth nappies please feel free to get in touch with me by leaving a comment below.

Lots of Love

3 Replies to “The Modern Cloth Nappies Guide”

  1. I think maybe a small section about fleece liners and cloth wipes might be a nice addition to the guide? (Those are the two things I had to look up when starting cloth) 🙂

  2. Always add a booster to your flats for Newborn to avoid leaks
    Make sure the pocket isn’t to tight on top (muffin top) and it must be nice and snug around the legs to avoid leaks
    Personal preference is a bamboo insert ontop of a hemp insert: I find it holds more urine so nappy can stay on longer and I don’t have any leaks.
    Fleece liners are great not just because its easier to clean off poop but because it gives baby a dry feel on the bum.

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