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Cloth or disposable nappies - am I made even to consider it?

47 replies

deegward · 18/01/2003 22:32

I have just finished reading an article in today's Times, regarding the pros and cons of using cloth nappies. I briefly flirted with this idea when I was expecting my ds, (now nearly 3) but dismissed it as I was going back to work.

This time I will at home full time, and the environmental argument does sway me, and how hard can it be, our Mums did it! What do Mumsnetters think, has anyone tried and failed, or tired and succeeded, I would really like to know. #2 isn't due until end of March so still have time to consider.

OP posts:

deegward · 18/01/2003 22:34

ok it should have said, mad, even to consider it, but heh I'm pregnant

OP posts:

Clarinet60 · 18/01/2003 23:04

I have 3 friends who did very well at this and one gave me all the equipment. The env argument sways me too, but when I tried, he was wet through to the outer clothes after half an hour. I think maybe I was doing something wrong or perhaps he was still too small (3 months). I may try again.


Jimjams · 18/01/2003 23:13

No you're not mad! I've done it with both of mine. TBH it's easy (and I am not the best housekeper-lol). You do need to spend a bit of time researching the different types. Some of the prettiest ones don't work that well- and they don't look so good with a soggy baby.

There is another board with a forum dedicated to cloth nappies but I don't know if I'm allowed to mention it on here. It's very active and you could get loads of advice from there.

It's much easier than in our mum's day as well. Fleece liners, autimatic washing machines, tumble driers. Basically it's an extra washing load every other day (less as they grow older). After using cloth for a while I found I really didn't like putting disposables with that yukky gel onto my babies (have you ever got any one you- if it's dry it kind of stings- it's weird stuff).

I'm using same nappies with ds2- so real money saver there- you could have a number three


musica · 18/01/2003 23:16

Does anyone know if it's actually more environmentally friendly - I looked into this, and lots of studies (like the Which! report) concluded that although you save on rubbish to go into landfill sites, the bleach used in washing the nappies was just as harmful. They concluded that they were equally bad environmentally. I'd be interested to know what you think - please note, I'm not pro or anti at the moment, just wanting more info!


Jimjams · 18/01/2003 23:18

Droile- a decent system will last as long as a disposable. It depends a bit on the outer wrap- you have to be really careful with some of the cotton covered ones (the pretty ones). Also the prefolds aren't usually as absorbant as shaped nappies. The all-in-ones look good but you have to be careful about leaks with a lot of brands.

Having tried a few- my personal favourites are a two part system. Sam I Am's work very well. Earthwise are good as well- and their wraps look a bit nicer than Sam-I-Ams. I've never had an leaks from Snugglenaps easy grow system - and they last from birth to potty.

In general cloth nappies work well from about 10lb up.


Jimjams · 18/01/2003 23:22

you don't usualy use bleach to wash the nappies!! (maybe the nappy washing services do but certainly not at home). I soak pooey nappies in white vinegar (the cheapo stuff from sainsburys). You can use tea tree oil if preffered or bicarb of soda I think. Most nappy manufacturers do no recommend nappy san or anything. The nappies then just go on a 60 degrees cotton wash. This would use more energy than a standard wash (as I usually wash at 40) but isn't going to make a huge difference.

You can get slightly more environmentally friendly disposables as well- but they are pricey. I have no idea how well they work.


Janeway · 18/01/2003 23:31

ds has spent 90% of his time from 4 weeks (bum too small before then for the type we'd bought) to now (10 months old) in cloth nappies (bambino mio then motherease) - we've found the motherease very easy to use (not much more work than paper as wet ones just get put straight in the bucket, and pooey ones only need a rinse off if poo is loose and gets out of the liner). Even his nursery manages them well.
The extra two washes each week doesn't cause a problem and they dry on the line in the summer, and overnight on a rack by a radiator in the winter (though I do use the tumble drier sometimes if I've been disorganised). We use paper now and again but try not to feel guilty about it, I prefer to see each use of a cloth one as one less paper nappy in the land fill.
The only thing that has been a bit tricky is getting a liner that doesn't leave ds more prone to nappy rash - the one way liners by Bambino Mio have been great (practically no rash) and they're flushable, so the poo is washed away rather than lingering in your bin till the rubbish is collected as it would with paper nappies.


Jimjams · 18/01/2003 23:39

Janeway - have you tried fleece liners? I've just started using them- the poo falls off them really easily and they're so soft!

I like motherease nappies as well. Earthwise are quite similar.


Janeway · 18/01/2003 23:42

Jim Jams - how thick are the fleece liners? ds is just starting to walk and he already looks a bit like he's lost his horse


bea · 19/01/2003 00:10

i dabble in clothdom, and am at the moment using fuzzi bunz (an all in one pocket style system... brilliant for drying! hardly takes any time at all, super slim fitting... dd doesn't waddlie like a duck! but sometimes hit and miss as dd is in betweeen sizes and can leak... but still woth persevering!) and kissaluvs (comes in lovely ice cream gorgeous colours, still quite slim fitting, needs a wrap!)

i too read the times article, and thought the mother who tried the cloth for one day was a bit of a wuss! she was definitely going to see the bad side of clothiedom whatever happenned, (and i have read that she wasn;t even briefed on how to use the nappies... thus her serious leakage problem...)

it does take a while to get into the swing of thiings, work out which nappies are best... etc etc but i think that's all part of the fun! there are some absolutely gorgeous ones out there! Go to one of the rec websites for nappy advice... there's plenty of it out there! and from much more experienced clothies than me!

have a go! if it works great!
if not? you had a go!
but they do look so cute in a clothie!!!

p.s. we could have the arguement about the envoronment for ages.. swings and roundabouts really! it's just nice to put something on dd's bot whcih doesn't contain al that gel crap!!! (i use moltex when not in cloth! - yeah! yeah! i know they have a tad of gel!), plus i don't like to add to mr pampers and mr huggies ever increasing bank balance!


Enid · 19/01/2003 09:27

I was the biggest cloth nappies sceptic in the world until my SIL gave me some of her old ones - now I love them. Its not that much more work and they are so soft and cosy when you put them on - very satisfying! I agree that there might not be much more environmental saving when you take into account all the power used to wash/dry them, but I like not contributing to landfill and LOVE not having to buy packs of the things everytime I go to the supermarket, making millions for Mr and Mrs Pampers/Huggies.

I use a combination of Tots Bots (look sweet, very very absorbent) and Motherease (less bulky, easier to put on). I am about to buy more Motherease as I find them much easier to use but will use the Tots Bots at night as they are so fantastically absorbent. I've used them since dd2 was about 5/6 weeks old.

The other thing I love about cloth nappies is that when dd2 poos, it doesnt go up her back which ALWAYS happens when she poos in a disposable.

I don't bother to soak mine, just chuck them in a bucket and wash them every day and a half or so. I bought some Oxi Clean from Lakeland which is very effective at getting stains out if you need to - and in my opinion the Tots Bots stain much worse than the Motherease, anyone else found that? I also wash wee-only nappies in with other white things to save on the washing.

Good luck!


Enid · 19/01/2003 09:29

PS I got so into cloth nappies that I now even use terries - I can fold them and everything - my mum is very proud!!


Podmog · 19/01/2003 09:40

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ScummyMummy · 19/01/2003 09:49

Enid- I smiled at the thought of your ma's pride at your terry folding skills! I also am pleased to hear that you're using cloth as it fits in with my image of you wearing your special wellies in a cozy country cottage with yummy things simmering on the stove and 2 beautiful wee girls clammering for your attention. And if I want to add an edge I can imagine you playing your gameboy at the same time!

Good luck to all you cloth users.


Enid · 19/01/2003 09:58


I do love my special wellies


lou33 · 19/01/2003 11:14

I used disposable nappies for my first 3 children and now use washable because number 4 became allergic to disposables. I use motherease which I haven't had any problem with, actually I think they are better than the disposables with regards to leakages. Ds2 had diarrhoea for the first 2 weeks we started using them and there was no seepage at all. I use fleece liners, which draw away the wetness into the nappy, and they are not that thick , and I have boosters if I need them for night time, although ds2 doesn't need them . I put ds1 in them at night, after being won over, and he rarely leaks with them plus a booster like he does when I used disposables. I got brilliant service from the nappy lady , and would really recommend you talk to them if you are not sure what type to go for. You fill in a questionairre online then they get someone to look through it and call you or email you with their suggestions.


Lucy123 · 19/01/2003 14:59

I agree with all those who say that, used properly, clth nappies are if anything less leaky than disposables. This is particularly true of the shaped nappies (I use Tots Bots), but also true of good quality flat nappies. Mothercare flat nappies on the other hand are rubbish!

On cloth nappies being just as bad for the environment... that argument would only hold sway if you used napisan (or other soaking bleach agent) and even then I'm not sure. There is no way that a bit of detergent and little bit of electricity for a few extra washes is more harmful to the environment than all the chemicals, bleach and power that go into making disposables. Not to mention the pollution from the lorries carting the things around.

To be on the safe side though, my nappies are washed most of the time in gloop and with all the other washing (this way it's less bother too). But my favourite thing about cloth nappies is that they mean one less thing to worry about running out of!


susanmt · 19/01/2003 18:31

I'm another commited clothie. My dd has hardly ever had a disposable on her bum (and this week she started going to bed with no nappy!) - ds is in cloth and when we went abroad on holiday and used huggies for a week he got DREADFUL nappy rash, the poor wee thing.
My choice of nappy is kissaluvs with Motherease rikki wraps, and I got mine from www.twinkleonthe - very helpful site and will answer all your questions.
The Which! survey was not a very good one - it only compared the disposal vs washing costs of both nappies - did not include the environmental cost of making disps - the paper, plastic, bleaching, energy etc that goes into the manufacture of disposables.
It is, honestly, a little bit more work than disposables, but not much. I dont even soak mine, I put them (with poo rinsed off) into a pail with a few drops of tea tree oil, then wash every 2 days. No problem, and I would highly recommend cloth nappies to anyone!


bossykate · 19/01/2003 18:51

musica, i was asking the same question recently. i am persuaded, having done some research, that cloth is still better, despite the additional energy usage from detergents, washing and tumble drying (but you don't have to tumble dry).

have a look at this thread for more details.


mears · 19/01/2003 18:59

I used ordinary terries for my 4, inluding when I had 2 in nappies, 15 months apart. I used washable one way liners as well, plus the extra muslin at night to prevent leaks. I used Zorbit supreme nappies. They made extra big/thick night time nappies too. My only problem was getting waterproof pants big enough to go cover them. My youngest is now 9yrs so hopefully the situation has changed with terries becoming more popular again. I loved the feel of a bum in a cloth nappy


Jimjams · 19/01/2003 20:24

Janeawy. Not very thick at all. I've just converted to them. Maybe get one (they cost about a pound) to try. They so lovely and soft..... And now you can get fleecy nappies as well....yummy! I have a nappy order in at the moment- including some fleecey ones- I'll let you know.....


pupuce · 19/01/2003 20:58

Have bee using cloth for DD (used disposabe for DS) since she was 6 weeks old (now 17 months old) - I use Tots Bots (which are Scottish and very good ) with fleece.
I wash every 3 days in a 40 degree cycle (36 minutes) as I have been told that past 6 months old, that's fine. I use an ebvironmentally friendly powder and yes they are almost white... not perfect but I've used them non stop for 15 months!

These nappies are fab... there are many other cloth nappy users on this board.. Joe, Honeybunny and Bloss come to mind- all of us I think are Tots Bots users...
Also I thought the Nappy Lady was great - as mentioned below - but now I have met her face-to-face.. she is fab!)


anais · 19/01/2003 20:58

I also use Kissaluvs and Motherease air flow wraps with fleece liners and I love them. I even made my own liners (fleece fabric cut to the right size and shape and that's it!).

I rinse the poo off and stick them in a bucket without water (I find they smell more if they are in water). I put a nappy wash on every other night after putting on her bedtime nappy, and when the wash has finished I put them on the rail or radiators to dry. I never tumble dry them.

It took a while to adjust (I used to use Imse nappies which were more difficult to put on a squirmy baby, but had to change when dd learnt to undo them) but I love my nappies now and would never go back to disposables.


bloss · 20/01/2003 00:11

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bloss · 20/01/2003 00:12

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