laundry hints & tips

When you remove a wet or dirty nappy,  first take the liner and throw any poo down the toilet. The nappy and liner (if it’s reusable) go in the nappy bucket, and the wrap can be given a quick rinse in the sink and hung up on the towel rail to dry and reuse.

When it’s time to do a wash, put them in a 60 degree cotton wash with a prewash, which will take away any poo remaining before the washing cycle. Use a non-bio detergent and wash as normal. This is plenty to clean and sanitise dirty nappies.

Stains  are pretty common with smaller babies in particular; they seem to leave their nappies dyed a lovely mustard colour much of the time, and these stains can survive a couple of washes. There are a few different ways to remove them.

First (and one I only just discovered after leaving a load of badly stained nappies on the line, only to get caught in the rain several times in a row) is to expose them to sunlight. This may sound unlikely to work, but it’s the most effective method I’ve used yet – 2-3 days outside, even in cloudy weather, gets rid of the most stubborn stains and what’s more,  a rainwater rinse softens them too.

Another option is to soak the nappy in a hot strong solution of soda crystals. You can buy them for about 90p a kilo in major supermarkets in the laundry and cleaning sections. You will need to wash the nappies again after this, of course, as they are irritant to baby’s skin, and in some cases using them can invalidate the guarantee on your nappies (I think this applies to BumGenius and some others).

Drying is best done outside, but that’s not always possible – I found putting in a ceiling airer was a lifesaver in the winter. Tumble drying does leave terry nappies nice and fluffy, but it destroys them quickly too, as well as using a lot of energy; it’s also possible to buy indoor airers which heat up for winter use and only cost a few pence to run while drying laundry much quicker than standard ones. How long you need to dry your nappies is going to depend on what kind you use – flat nappies dry fast, as do microfibre, while shaped nappies, bamboo fabrics, and all in ones all take longer.

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