Cloth Nappies

How To Wash Modern Cloth Nappies: A Comprehensive Guide

How To Wash Modern Cloth Nappies: A Comprehensive Guide - Mimi & Co

In the 2019 Cloth Nappy Survey, 11.9% of parents found the biggest challenge to getting started with cloth nappies was because they were worried about washing them. 

To be honest, when I tell people I've decided to Cloth Nappy Oliver their first comment [or question] often is about washing.. specifically poo nappies.

Or just a gentle 'ew'.  

[Just quietly, 8% of parents don't end up pursuing their cloth nappy journey because they don't feel supported by partner, friends or family]

There is great news for mums who exclusively breastfeed, babes poop is completely water-soluble. Great right? This means poop and all can be put into the washing machine, and following our wash instructions, will come out fresh, clean and smelling great. 

I appreciate not everyone's baby is exclusively breastfed, any solids or formula in your babies diet will mean that their poo is no longer water-soluble.. but still very easy to clean using our wash instructions. 

Disclaimer here; I have trialled and experimented and will share with you what works for me. 

Washing cloth nappies generally require 5 things.

1. Detergent! 

This is one of the most important choices you will make to ensure your nappies come out looking and smelling like new. 

How much? What Type? When?

If you start the long journey down the detergent rabbit hole you'll realise they're not all the same. So I'll share with you what I find is the creme de la creme of the detergent world. 


*Its important to choose a detergent that works well for you and your family


2. Remove Soiling and Dry Pail

Again, great news for exclusively breastfed babies.. no need to remove soiling. For all other babes, removing soiling is extremely important. If you're using a liner, simply pick up solids and shake into the toilet (disposing of liner in the bin) and rinse your nappy & inserts under water then dry pail.

If you're not using a liner you'll need to dump or scrape soiling into the toilet then rinse your nappy and inserts under water then dry pail. 

Dry pailing is simply placing prewashed or wet nappies in an air-raided basket to... well air.  



3. Pre-Wash

Nappies can dry pail up to 2 days without being prewashed. It is important that you do not skip the pre wash step. Ever. This is not just a rinse and spin. 

It's important you choose a cycle here that is relatively short, depending on your washing machine it's usually called a quick cycle. This will remove excess soiling and will ensure dirty water is completely drained before doing the main wash cycle. 

If you have pre washed your nappies but still don't have enough for a full main wash load (2/3 - 3/4 full), you can place them back into the dry pail for up to 3 days until you have a full load.

It is recommended to use water temperature between 40 and 60 degrees celsius. 


4. Main Wash Cycle

Usually a long cottons or heavy cycle will suffice here. It is recommended to use water temperature between 40 and 60 degrees celsius. 


5. Dry

Whatever floats your boat here; clothesline, clothes horse, clothes dryer or all of the above. Be mindful, the more absorbent your inserts and boosters the longer they will take to dry, regardless of your drying method. 


My Specific Wash Routine: 

Machine: Miele 8.5kg Front Loading 


Soiling & Dry Pail

Deposit solids in the toilet and place nappies and inserts into the dry pail for a maximum of 2 days



Cycle:70-minute delicate cycle

Temperate: 60 degrees 

Detergent: 1/2 scoop of detergent

Nappies will go back into a clean dry pail for a few days until I have enough for a 2/3 - 3/4 full load. 


Main Wash 

Once I have a "full load" i am ready to main wash

Cycle: Cottons (3-hour cycle)

Temperate: 60 degrees 

Detergent: 1 scoop of detergent (1.5 scoops if main wash includes night nappies)



In the condenser dryer to remove most of the moisture then air dry for a day. 


Once you get it, you get it you know? It can be overwhelming but there fantastic resources out there. My recommendation is to check out cleanclothnappies for a comprehensive guide. 

Mimi xx

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Hey! So… exclusively breastfed bubs’ poop can be washed straight as it is water soluble… is this the same once you start to introduce solids, or will you need to remove the waste by then? Thanks!

Sarah Silling

Sarah Silling


Should I follow the whole wash routine before I use my nappies, or would the one wash be okay before I use them on bub?


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