How do I wash reusable nappies?

How do I wash my cloth nappies?

Firstly - let's not over complicate this! Here at Dinky Dodo we believe in #fussfreefluff. There is A LOT of information on the best way to wash nappies, and many manufacturers and retailers have their own guidance. Not to mention the amount of conflicting information on social media groups.

Below is a basic, simple guide to how to wash our own label nappies - it's a starting place, and you may find you tweak this based on your own needs! That's fine - do what works for YOU!

At the bottom of the page is also links to other manufacturers washing guidelines - it is important that you check these as certain products and temperatures of washing can invalidate warranties.

5 Simple Steps


1) Remove poo - (pre-weaning you can skip this step!)

Whether you flick, scrape, spray, dip - however you chose to do it, all poo needs to be removed from the nappy before going in the machine. Using a disposable or fleece liner can make things a little easier, but aren't essential. Also just to note, some disposable liners say 'flushable' - in reality, they just sit in the sewage system and don't always break down, so it is best to bin them!

2) Store - Store all dirty nappies in either a bin or bag  (top tip - line it with a mesh bag so you don't need to rehandle the nappies again). At this point you can remove the inserts from pocket nappies (they don't always manage to wiggle out in the wash otherwise), and fasten up the laundry tabs on your velcro nappies. We would recommend that you don't store them any longer than 3 days before being washed. 


3) The first wash - this is a 30-60 minute cycle to get the worst of the soiling off the nappies. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Some people do a cold rinse with no detergent, where others do a 60D short wash with half dose of detergent (more on amount of detergent later). 

4) The main wash - this is a 2-3hr cycle (usually a cotton cycle) that will thoroughly clean your nappies.

  • Make sure your drum is the equivalent of being full when dry/three quarters full when wet (if you don't have enough nappies for this, add in baby clothes or anything of a similar size - nothing bigger than a tea towel). It's important the machine is filled to this level to ensure that there is enough in there to rub against each other properly and therefore clean off the poo!

  • Use a FULL DOSE of detergent (nappies are the dirtiest thing you are likely to wash, so a full dose is needed. If you feel like they come out overly perfumed, or find there are A LOT of suds near the end of the cycle, then you could do an extra rinse at the end)

  • Detergent -  Check the dosage guidelines on your detergent to make sure you use the correct amount for your drum size, water hardness and for heavy soiling! Regarding which detergent to use, powder generally performs best for nappy washing - bio or non bio is absolutely fine for our nappies (we find bio gives a great clean) however check individual manufactures guidelines below to see if they state non bio only, otherwise you can invalidate the warranty. 

  • 40D is generally sufficient for your main wash, but until baby is over 3m or after vaccinations 60D is better (again, check individual manufacturers guidelines to be sure if your nappies can be washed at 60D - Dinky Dodo nappies can be wshed at 60D)

  • Avoid fabric softener. Avoid bleach.

5) Dry - where possible it is best to line dry nappies outside, but this is the UK... so it's not always possible. Just try to get them in a place with good airflow but not in direct contact with a radiator (near a radiator is fine). Some nappies can be tumble dried on low but this should be avoided if you can. We advise against using a tumble drier on our own nappies as this will shorten their life span. If you absolutely need to, only tumble dry the inserts and make sure it is a very low temperature. Our warranty does not cover you if you use a tumble drier.

Other points:

- You may see advice saying to put your previous days nappies on a short cycle each morning, or to at least hand rinse your night nappies each morning. This isn't essential, particularly if you are washing your nappies every other day. If you only wash every 3rd day, you may want to do "the first wash" on day 2, and then repeat on day 3 followed by your main wash - but this is again personal choice. 

Click on the below manufacturer to check their washing guidelines


Sassy Pants

My Little Gumnut