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.

  1. Before first time use
  2. Washing
  3. Detergent and softener
  4. Drying
  5. How many nappies do I need?
  6. Sizing and fitting
  7. Would it fit newborns?
  8. Removing stains
  9. Soaking or dry-pail?
  10. How to get rid of the smell?
  11. Leaking
  12. Strip wash


Before first time use

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.

Wash your new nappies and inserts in a short washing cycle with cold/warm water (not over 40 degrees), use no detergent or a small amount of detergent.


  • We suggest that you separate dark/strong colours (also charcoal inserts), at least for the first few washes, and observe if there is any colour run.
  • Nappy should be changed every 2-3 hours, and when damp, to prevent nappy rash.
  • If using barrier creams, we suggest you use flushable liner on the top of the nappy to protect your nappy fabric. Cream can
    become clogged in your nappy and cause it to repel urine and leak.



 Understand the difference between the nappy shell and the insert/booster

  • Nappy shell is non-absorbent. The moisture/fluid get whisked away to the insert placed in the pocket of the nappy. There is a PUL (water-proof) layer attached to the inside of the nappy shell. Washing the shell in very high temperature frequently will damage the PUL layer and the elastic used. We recommend the maximum temperature for washing the shells should not be over 40 degrees.
  • The purpose of inserts/boosters is to absorb moisture. They use towel-like material. They can be washed at higher temperature if needed.  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. Drying after each wash will help reach full absorbency quicker.

You can start using the nappies after a few washes, but change more frequently at the beginning until they reach their best absorbency eventually. We have many customers start using the nappies after one wash. That is okay as long as you keep an eye on your bub and change it frequently.

Remove solids

  • Flush solids into the toilet;
  • Give it a quick rinse under the laundry tap. This will minimise staining, stop potential fabric damage from acidic wee;
  • Store it away in a dry pail with lid or a wet bag;
  • You may use flushable liner on the top of the nappy for easy disposal of solids. Simple remove any solid waste and flushable liner into the toilet.


  • If you don’t wash them straight away, you should give them a pre-wash using the shortest washing cycle with a small amount of detergent every 1-2 days. This gets rid of any excess urine or soiling before the main washing cycle, also stop forming an ammonia smell;
  • Do not use the “Pre-wash” function of the washing machine. Because it does not rinse and spin, which traps dirty water in there;
  • Note, if the nappy shells (with PUL layer, which is non-absorbent) are clean enough, you do not need to put them for the main washing cycle again. You can line-dry them after pre-washing.

Main wash

  • When you have enough nappies in the pail, run a normal washing cycle (40-60 degrees);
  • We recommend washing your nappies every second day to prevent the building up of bacteria.


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.

Never use fabric softener, bleach or soakers, including Napisan, as they will compromise the waterproofing and elastic in your nappies. We do not recommend using vinegar for the same reason.



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.

For the nappy shell is best air-dried in the shade as this helps prevent elastic going brittle. Hang the nappy inside out. If they are out in the sun, make sure the PUL side is away from the sun. 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.

Be sure to hang the nappy horizontally across the line to prevent drag on the elastic.

If the weather is very hot, be sure to hang your nappies in the shade or inside.


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 and fitting

  • More than one insert can be placed in the pocket when needed. Most people use two inserts for better absorbency and better fit.
  • 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’ feedback). Your baby can stop wearing bodysuit for  a while and see how it goes.

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.

Note: Strip wash is not recommended by the manufacturer and it has not been officially tested. Strip wash is a popular method which you can find on Google. This is also compiled based on the feedback from our customers on our Facebook Page.  You only do a strip wash when it is necessary. If your routine washing does its job, then you do not need to do the strip wash.

  1. Make sure your nappies are washed and dried.
  2. Wash all nappies in warmer water (no hotter than 45-50 degrees) without any soap so that you are ‘stripping’ clean nappies. High temperature may damage the water proof layer of the nappy shell. (Our manufacturer says no hotter than 35 degrees. It’s your call.)
  3. Run a hot wash 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.
  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

Note: You may need to strip wash charcoal inserts separately in case of colour running in the wash.


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