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How to Wash Reusable Nappies

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How do you wash reusable nappies to ensure they’re as clean, safe and comfortable as possible?

Whether you’ve just bought your first batch of reusable nappies and you’re wondering how to wash them, or you’re considering buying reusable nappies and you’re thinking about the practicalities, this is your essential guide to washing reusable nappies.

How to Wash Reusable Nappies – a Step-by-Step Guide

  1. After your baby’s filled their nappy, get rid of any solids and give the nappy a good rinse. Also remove any liners or inserts.
  2. Store used nappies in their own dedicated wet bag or receptable.
  3. On wash day, add all nappies, inserts and liners to the washing machine. Also add two large wet bath towels to add water and weight to the wash.
  4. Run a delicate cycle with cold water. Add an extra cold rinse to this first cycle.
  5. After this first cycle, remove the bath towels from the wash. Rinse them in water again until they’re saturated, then add them back to the load.
  6. Run a normal cycle using hot water, at 40°C or 60°C, again with an added cold water rinse. For the detergent, read the packet instructions to ensure it’s safe for delicate items and sensitive skin.
  7. You can put any inserts in the tumble dryer. But you should hang-dry the main part of the nappy, to protect the elastic. Drying nappies outside, on a line in the sun, will help increase their longevity, and can also help remove stains.

Should I Soak Nappies Before Washing Them?

No, you don’t need to soak nappies before washing them. But you should remove any solids from the nappy and rinse them before adding them to your wet bag or receptacle.

The machine washing process will be enough to thoroughly clean the reusable nappies. Pre-soaking won’t make them any cleaner, but it could cause them to degrade over time.

Should I Wash Nappies Separately?

There’s no real need to wash nappies separately. However, nappies will need that initial cold rinse to flush away any urine and remove any lingering solids, and this stage might not be suitable for washing other items.

Also, reusable nappies are highly absorbent, and modern washing machines are designed to use as little water as possible. So if you wash reusable nappies as part of a full load, there might not be enough water to guarantee a thorough clean.

Some More Do’s and Don’ts of Washing and Storing Reusable Nappies


  • Read the washing instructions on the reusable nappy for advice on the best temperature for washing.
  • Get a dedicated receptacle to store your reusable nappies in before wash. Some receptacles are basically buckets with removable mesh bags. These are probably the most convenient solution, as you can just take the mesh bag and place it directly into your washing machine, washing the bag alongside the nappies.
  • Use a non-bio washing powder.
  • Wash nappies, liners, inserts and washable wipes at the same time. This will help you save water, and it may make you feel better if you need to wash nappies separately from the main load.
  • Run a washing machine maintenance cycle once a month. The cleaner your machine, the cleaner the nappies!


  • Use fabric softener or liquid detergents, as they can leave residues.
  • Use bio-detergents containing the “cellulase” enzyme. This can degrade bamboo, cotton, and other fibres.
  • Put reusable nappies in a dryer, as it will shorten their lifespan. But if you need to dry nappies in a hurry, make sure you set your dryer to as low a heat as possible.

How Often Should I Wash Reusable Nappies?

Aim to do a wash every other day. This will ensure you always have a clean supply of nappies on-hand while also giving you plenty of time for drying.

For more information about how often you should wash reusable nappies, read our guide to how many reusable nappies you’ll need.

Got any more questions about reusable nappies? Read our guide to how reusable nappies work, and how to use them.

Explore Our Range of Reusable Nappies

Our reusable nappies are available in lots of fun colours, patterns and are all adjustable to fit your baby from birth all the way up to around 2 and a half years old.

If you’re new to reusable nappies, you might want to try a reusable nappy starter pack, or explore our full range of reusable nappies.

Not Sure Reusables Are For You?

If you’re not sure reusable nappies will work for you, you might want to have a supply of our eco disposable nappieson hand. Just for those ‘just in case’ moments while you get used to your reusables.

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