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How to use MCNs

Nappy washing and care instructions, tips and guidelines

There are no set rules here. The following tips and guidelines are compiled based on our experience, feedback from our buyers and articles on the internet. You should use them as guidelines only. Not everyone will get the same result even if they follow the same instructions. And every baby is different. You will find the best way that suits you and your baby by trial and error.

There are many tips and care instruction on the internet as well. Just do a Google search with keywords like “modern cloth nappy washing” or “modern cloth nappy care instructions”, etc.

Washing and first time use

  • Wash before first use. We suggest that you separate colours, at least for the first wash, and observe if there is any colour run.
  • It may take 6 washes or more for it to reach its maximum absorbency. But many customers can start using them after one wash. Absorbency will improve along the way .
  • Place the insert inside the nappy through the open pocket in the back.
  • Moisture will be absorbed through the inner layer of the nappy to the insert.
  • More than one insert can be placed in the pocket when needed. Most people use two inserts for better absorbency and better fit.
  • Nappy should be changed every 2-3 hours, and when damp, to prevent nappy rash.
  • You may use flushable liners on the top of the nappy for easy disposal of solids. Simple remove any solid waste and flushable liner into the toilet. You may also do a quick rinse under the tap before putting your nappy in a pail.
  • To wash:
    • Remove and rinse off the residuals (knock solids into toilet), then store in dry pail;
    • Machine wash (no hotter than 350C), cold rinse;
    • Hang them up to dry in the sun (sunlight helps bleach the nappies to remove any remaining stains), or “Low” tumble dry;
    • Do not store nappies for too many days. They should be washed in 1-2 days;
    • No bleach, no softener.

Pre-wash

You need to wash your nappies and inserts before you use them for the first time, for two main reasons:

  1. To remove any residues from production process
  2. To help reach their full absorbency quicker.

You can expect reasonable absorbency from your nappies after 2-3 washes. It may take up to 6-10 times before they reach full absorbency. You only need a small amount of detergent. Drying after each wash will help reach full absorbency quicker. Some suggest that you just wash a few times then start using them. But change more frequently at the beginning until they reach their best absorbency eventually.

Detergent and softener

Normal washing detergent is good to use, providing it does not contain bleach or softener which will reduce the absorbency. Use 1/4 or 1/3 of normal amount is enough. No softener or bleach should be used.

Some people use bi-carb (approx 1/4 – 1/2 cups) instead of detergent, and use white vinegar on rinse cycle to help get rid of the smell. Remember to do a clean rinse after a vinegar rinse.

Drying

Line-drying is the ideal way of drying your modern cloth nappies as the sun sanitises and bleach out any remaining stains. It is also the most economical and environmental-friendly method. You should place the inner side of the nappy facing the sun.

But the nappy shell is best air-dried in the shade as this helps prevent elastic going brittle. The inserts are good to be line-dried in full sun or tumble-dried in low.

If the weather is not permissible, you may tumble dry them in LOW. But tumble drying is not recommended as it will shorten the lifespan of your nappy. To shorten drying time, try to add a dry towel to the dryer.

The inserts will take longer to dry. The nappies should be much quicker. An alternatively way to shorten nappy shell drying time is to roll it up in a towel to remove excess moisture, then hang it up and air-dry it.

How many nappies do I need?

It will depend on your budget and the frequency you washing and drying them. You need to change the nappy and the insert approximately every 2-3 hours. The estimated total number of nappies you need is 10 per day. And you need another 10 the next day while others are being washed or dried. Of course the more nappies you store the easier it will be for you.

Sizing

Nappy Sizes

Nappy Sizes

The nappy is one size fits all. There are four rows of snap buttons on the nappy. The top row (1st row) is for waist fastening.

For size small:
fold the 2nd last row of snaps up and clip into the 3rd last row;

For size medium:
fold the bottom row of snaps up and clip into the 2nd last row;

For size large: just leave it as it is.

There should be no gaps around the legs yet not too tight and leave red marks on your child.

Would it fit newborns?

The nappy will fit 4kg-13kg, or beyond. That is only a rough guide. It depends more on the size of your baby rather than their weight.

It will fit most newborns in general if they are not too skinny (especially the legs). Otherwise you just wait till they grow rounder and fit into the nappy. We strongly recommend using 2 inserts to make it fit better. See if that works for you.

The same goes for toddlers. Some toddlers are 20kg but can still fit into Size L. Some toddlers are 15kg but do not fit into the nappy anymore because of their sizes.

Newborns require nappy changing every 1-2 hours because they have tiny bladders.

Removing stains

The most common way to remove stains is to use bi-carb instead of detergent, and hang them out in the full sun. The sun does a very good job of bleaching the stains out.

Soaking or dry-pail?

No soaking is required. Try to avoid Napisan or other soakers. The soakers break down the absorbent components of the nappy. You should leave the nappies in dry pail and wash it around every 2 days. You may sprinkle some bicarb to help keeping the smell down.

How to get rid of the smell?

Smelly bucket:

  • Sprinkle a little bicarb on each nappy as you pop the nappy in the bucket or sprinkle some bicarb on the bottom of the bucket;
  • Rinse the nappy before putting in the bucket and leave the lid off. The reaction that turns the pee to ammonia is anaerobic so more air circulating will slow it down. That’s if your problem smell is ammonia.
  • Use an old liner or cloth and put a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil on it and put at the bottom of the bucket.

Smelly nappy:

  • Do not put too much detergent when doing the wash, warm wash and wash on a long rinse cycle to ensures that all of the wee and poo comes out of the fabric;
  • Give the nappies a really good rinse before putting them in the bucket;
  • Add extra rinse cycles with no detergent;
  • Make sure you are washing with enough water;
  • Do a strip wash if they get very smelly.

My nappy is leaking

A normal nappy in good condition should not leak. If it is leaking, try to find out the reason causing it so that you can fix the problem:

  • Make sure you adjust the nappy properly so that it fits your child. The nappy itself does not hold moisture, the moisture gets whisked away to the insert placed in the pocket. Therefore, they need to be placed close to the body, not too loose. Make sure none of the inner fabric around the legs can be seen from the outside;
  • Make sure you change the nappy every 2-3 hours or when the insert is saturated, otherwise it will leak through to the side. Newborns may require more frequent changes;
  • The nappy may not have reached its full absorbency yet. Do a few more wash/dry cycles so the nappy starts function properly;
  • We strongly recommend using 2 inserts for better fit and better absorbency;
  • Boys often require thicker layers in the front. Make sure you do not cover the tummy or navel (or umbilicus). Girls often need extra padding at the back. Or you may try folding one of 2 inserts in half to create a triple layer to slow down the stream. Place the triple layer accordingly for a boy or a girl;
  • Bodysuits may cause leaking (from our customers’ experience). Your baby can stop wearing bodysuit for  a while and see how it goes;
  • If you have been using the nappies for awhile now, maybe it’s time to do a strip wash.
  • You may also try to use thicker inserts, such as 4-layer or 5-layer inserts. Eg our best selling 5-layer bamboo charcoal inserts.

Strip wash

After a few months of usage, you might have a leaking or smelly nappy. That is due to a build up of residue (detergent, cream or other chemical) which reduces the absorbency, even if you have been following the instructions carefully. You might want to do a strip wash.

  1. Make sure your nappies are washed and dried
  2. Wash all nappies in hot water without any soap so that you are ‘stripping’ clean nappies
  3. Run a hot wash (no hotter than 60 degrees) with 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid, or 1/2 cup of baking soda instead of detergent, and 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the fabric conditioner section. You may use  a bit of Canesten or Dettol rinse instead of vinegar. (Our manufacturer says no hotter than 35 degrees. It’s your call. Maybe use warm wash instead of hot wash)
  4. Run a normal wash, cold or warm with no detergent
  5. Check the water while they are being washed – If you see soapy bubbles, keep running them through a rinse cycle until they are gone
  6. If you have done 4 rinse cycles and you are still seeing bubbles, do another hot wash, with no detergent and no hotter than 60 degrees
  7. Keep rinsing until there are no bubbles
  8. Line dry your nappies