To Cloth Or Not To Cloth.

Cloth, reusable, fluffy bum? What do you call cloth nappies? Well whatever you call them do you have any idea on how amazing they are?
I will try to make this blog less preachy and just more factual, though personal opinions may pop up occasionally, I'll make no apology for announcing my love for them known! ;)

The Facts;
Currently in the UK about eight million disposable nappies are thrown away each day, which accounts for about three percent of our household waste. Using real nappies can dramatically reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and minimise our impact on the environment.
Disposable nappies in landfills take hundreds of years to degrade, but also have a big impact through the manufacturing, transport and chemicals they require. Real nappies not only reduce this waste dramatically, but they have an overall lesser impact on our environment.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that those children who use cloth nappies become potty trained much quicker than those using disposables as they are more aware that they have been to the toilet.
Cloth nappies are made from natural materials, which help your child’s skin to breathe naturally as they do not contain any chemicals or gels.
Real nappies could save you up to £500 per child and this price will rise if the nappies are reused for subsequent children. An initial payment is required for the nappies at the start of use, but this is one-off and you won’t need to pay out for disposable nappies as part of the weekly shop. Although the one of cost for real nappies will be between £300-400; parents will end up spending four times this amount over a two and a half year period.
There are lots of preloved websites online where you can buy cloth nappies from second hand.
Washing nappies at home is the cheapest option, but there are also plenty of collection laundry services which cost around £8-10 per week.
The Myths;
Washing nappies take forever - Simply not true, well, depends what you class as forever, most people depending on the nappy do a 40 to 60 wash with an extra rinse, this takes about two and a half hours depending on your washing machine, some also add a prewash at the start which can add on about fifteen minutes. So really it's like doing a normal clothes wash with a little extra time. If you've got plenty of nappies you only have to do one wash every couple of days, if you put it on in the evening it's barely any extra hard work at all.
You have to buy special laundry liquid - Not true, you can use anything that doesn't contact any harsh bleaches and nothing with fabric conditioner in it either (ruins the absorbency), so basically if you can just use whatever you're already using to wash your clothes, providing it's non bio too, you don't need any of this fancy stuff that some nappy companies have made, like Totsbots potion etc, although you can use it if you want to give your nappies an extra nice smell to them, but you could use essential oils like tea tree which are much cheaper if you wished.
You have to 'strip wash' your nappies every time' - Nope. It's handy to do a strip wash of your stash once maybe every couple of months, especially if your child has had a nasty tummy bug to make sure no germs are left over (although if you wash your nappies on a 60 with a few extra rinses you should be safe), yes a strip wash takes time, but at the end of the day you're still saving money in the long run.
Cloth is expensive - Not really, not compared to how much you spend on disposables. You'll need to spend between £300-£400 depending on what nappy you go for (there are hundreds to choose from!) and if you get them preloved they're even cheaper! But once you've got them, you've got them, you don't need to buy anymore (though you do get a little addicted to buying them, so you will get random impulses during the night feeds to buy more!) And if you have more than one child you can keep using them, you can pass them along to family and friends or you could sell them on once you've finished with them and make some money back! Also if your local council takes part you can get some trial nappies from them!
Pre school and nurseries don't accept cloth - This sort of depends on your nursery or pre school, but on the preloved boards and from experience i've never come across somewhere that doesn't accept them, they may ask for you to teach them what to do but that's not a problem!
Some facts about the chemicals in disposable nappies (taken from babies nappies);
Polyacrylic Acid- Ever noticed little gel balls on your baby's bottom after wearing a disposable nappy? Welcome to Polyacrylic Acid - A Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) that turns urine into gel and can absorb 100 times its weight in liquid. This is a substance which was banned from use in tampons in 1985 due to its link with Toxic Shock Syndrome. Employees in factories producing Polyacrylate suffer from female organ damage, fatigue and weight loss. No long term studies have been conducted to assess the risks of 24/7 exposure to this compound on a babies vulnerable genitals.
Due to its extreme absorbency, this chemical has been found to draw moisture from the skin, causing severe nappy rash and bleeding of perineal and scrotal tissue. Polyacrylic Acid is also lethal to cats when inhaled.
Dioxin- The most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals, and a by-product of the paper bleaching process. Certain dioxins have been shown to be a carcinogen and to affect the reproductive and immune systems, cause skin disease, birth defects and liver damage. Several European countries have begun phasing out the bleaching of wood pulp with chlorine due to concerns about dioxin and it potential negative effects on health.
In response to scares over dioxin exposure, several disposable nappy manufacturers have started to product nappies that are unbleached or bleached without chlorine.
TBT (Tribulytin)- This substance was found in Pampers® Ultra Dry nappies in May 2000. TBT is one of the most toxic substances ever produced, it damages the immune system and impairs the hormonal system. There is also speculation of a link with male sterility.
Xylene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene & Isopropyl - These are some of the chemicals which were reported to be released from disposable nappies in a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health (1999). Anderson Laboratories exposed lab mice to various brands of disposable nappies and found them to suffer from asthma like symptoms, including bronchoconstriction and eye, nose and throat irritation as a direct result. Xylene and Ethylbenzene are suspected endocrine, neuro and respiratory toxins; Styrene is a suspected carcinogen and respiratory toxin; Ispropylene is a suspected neurotoxin.
Male Infertility- In 2000, a scientific study was conducted at Kiel University in Germany which indicated that the widespread use of disposable nappies, which heat the testes above body temperature, is a significant factor in the declining fertility rates in Western European males.
Nappy Rash- Reported instances of nappy rash rose from 7.1% to a whopping 61% with the increased use of disposable nappies according to a review of Proctor and Gambles own studies (The Landbank Consultancy Limited, 1991). How very handy for Nappy Rash Cream manufacturers!
Now I'm not trying to scare people into feeling bad about using disposables, that is YOUR parenting choice at the end of the day, I myself have used, I used them for a year and a half on Edward before I found out about cloth, swapping to cloth was my families personal choice, I will say it was one of the best choices we have made as family and I really would not look back, I even used them in hospital when I gave birth to Eppy when even a lot of cloth mums I know used disposables.
I don't have anything against those who use disposables, I know cloth isn't for everyone, but what I do find is that those who don't use cloth come out with a lot of the myths I mentioned and judge cloth before they know the facts, I have helped convert a few people to cloth after talking to them and busting their myths, I don't set out to force people to use cloth but if people ask me about it all then I will give them all the advice they require.
Handy websites to learn and buy cloth from;
Kingdom of Fluff
Little Lambs
Kitty Kins
TJ Cloth Nappies
Pixie Pants Cloth Nappies

Preloved Facebook Groups;Pre-Loved Cloth Nappies
TotsBots Addicts
TotsBots Preloved
Cloth Raffles No Rules
UK Pretties Sales

Have I mentioned that cloth nappies also look super cute;

Parenting Linky


  1. I was a pampers baby when I was younger, although theres a lot of benefits to cloth nappies, I think I'd still use the disposable ones xxx

  2. I never even thought of that, nappies are so bad for the enviyronment !

  3. I have never used a cloth nappy and I know that they are amazing as my friends have used them but I've always stuck to Pampers for both boys. I guess it's whatever you are comfortable using. For me it was easier to use disposable. Thanks so much for linking up with #ToddlersAndTeens at Mummy 2 Monkeys xx


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