How Long Should a Cloth Nappy Last?

Having a baby comes with a lot of decisions, but one that may not have crossed your mind yet is what type of nappy to buy and how long it should last. This article will cover all you need to know about cloth nappies – from what types are available to how long you can expect them to last. Read on to get clued up on the ins and outs of cloth nappies!

1. The Advantages of Using Cloth Nappies

Cost Savings

Reusable cloth nappies are an economical investment. The initial upfront cost of a set of nappies is sometimes more than disposables, but the savings over time is significant – in some cases up to £800 – as you don’t need to keep buying more. Reusable nappies often last through more than one baby too, making them an even better choice for growing families.

Less Environmental Impact

Choosing reusable cloth nappies over disposables not only saves you money but helps conserve resources too. Disposable nappies contain materials that will sit in landfills for hundreds of years, and can also release toxins when burned. Reusable nappies, on the other hand, can be composted when their life has come to an end, meaning they are much more eco-friendly.

Healthier Choice

Disposable nappies often contain numerous chemicals and fragrances to absorb moisture and keep the skin dry – many of these can be damaging and even irritate a baby’s skin. With cloth nappies, there is no such issue as they are all-natural. Cloth nappies also provide better ventilation, which helps to reduce the risk of skin rashes or nappy rash.

Healthy Habits

Using cloth nappies from a young age can help to introduce healthy habits to children. Training pants and potty training can even be done more easily as most cloth nappies are often adjustable and can adapt as the baby starts to grow. Reusable nappies often come with fun designs and bright colors too, meaning there’s more motivation to use them.

2. How Long Should Cloth Nappies Last?

Cloth nappies are a great choice for parents who want to go green and opt for a more sustainable, reusable product when it comes to diapering their children. When it comes to nappies, it’s important to know how long they’ll last so you’re getting the most out of the product.

Most cloth nappies are designed to last until your baby is potty-trained. Typically this means they can be in use for up to three years depending on how often you launder them. However, there are certain factors that can shorten the life of your nappies.

  • Fabric type – Natural fabrics like hemp or cotton will last longer than synthetic fabrics like polyester.
  • Laundering methods – Cloth nappies need to be properly cared for in order to last. Ensure you follow the manufacturers’ instructions for laundering your nappies.

When cared for properly, cloth nappies should last the duration of your baby’s nappy-wearing days. Keep an eye on the elastic, Velcro, and waterproof materials to ensure they’re still in good shape. Compromised elastic and Velcro can put your baby at risk of leaking, while compromised waterproof material will make the nappy ineffective. Replace your cloth nappies as soon as they show signs of wear and tear.

It’s worth investing in a quality product that will last and provide maximum protection for your baby. The upfront cost may be a bit higher, but it’s likely that you’ll save money in the long term due to the extended lifespan of the nappies.

3. Taking Care of Cloth Nappies

Taking care of your cloth nappies doesn’t have to be hard. While they’re more effort than disposables, with the right process, it’s pretty quick, and you’ll be making a positive impact on the environment! Here are a few steps to follow when tending to your cloth nappies:

1. Rinse & Soak

After you’ve taken off the soiled nappy, give it a quick rinse or swish around in the water, then pop it in a nappy bucket with some water and a nappy-friendly laundry detergent. You can leave it for a few hours, overnight, or up to 48 hours.

2. Wash

When you’re ready, give your nappies a thorough hot wash on the machine. Make sure you don’t overload the machine and read the manufacturer’s instructions, as some fabric can shrink, and you might need to reduce the temperature a bit.

3. Dry

Once your washing cycle is done, check that the nappies aren’t too damp, and then you can either dry them in the sun or hang them out on the line. If the weather isn’t to your liking, you can also put them in the dryer on a low setting.

4. Sanitize

Cloth nappies should also go on a sanitizing wash. This can be 50 degrees Celsius cycle for 30 minutes, or a boil wash. Just make sure you get the temperature right, and avoid fabric softeners, as these can affect the absorbency of the nappies.

5. Maintenance

Be sure to regularly check for signs of wear and tear, so you can replace or mend any damages to the nappy. If your elastic is losing its snap, you can also reattach it with some fabric glue.

Care of Cloth Nappies
United Nations Development Programme

4. Best Practices for Using Cloth Nappies

Proper care and maintenance – Let’s start with the basics – the care and maintenance of your cloth nappies. Make sure you keep up with your routine of washing your nappies regularly and properly. Add natural detergent, vinegar, or baking soda for more effective stain removal. And if possible, air-dry the nappies.

Selection tips – When it comes to selecting the right cloth nappy for your baby, consider the age, weight, activity level as well as frequency of change. Also, look into eco-friendly options and shop locally to reduce your carbon footprint.

Storing used nappies – In order to make your laundering easier, use a separate bin for collecting the used nappies. Rinse them out (if possible) and ensure they’re not bunched together as this can lead to bacteria growth.

Diapers ‘n’ Duffles – If you’re looking for a foolproof way to ensure that your child’s nappies are always in tip-top shape; have a look at Diapers ‘n’ Duffles. They offer a range of services such as:

  • On-demand Nappy Delivery Service
  • Weekly Professional Washing & Sanitisation
  • Weekly Delivery of Clean Nappies
  • Hassle-free Storage Solutions

Healthy habits – Lastly, it’s important to keep a healthy routine when it comes to diaper changing. Make sure you avoid wiping your baby’s bottom and wash your hands frequently to avoid any bacteria transfer. It’s also important to give your child frequent breaks between diaper changes to avoid soreness due to long-term contact with the diaper.


So there you have it! As you can see, there are many factors to consider when it comes to how long your cloth nappy should last. With proper care and attention, you can expect your nappy to give you years of service. Keep in mind that each family’s needs are unique, so if you have any questions about how long your nappy should last, it’s best to consult an expert in cloth diaper care. Thanks for reading!

Also read: Gentle Foaming Handwash for Sensitive Skin

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