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Environmentally Friendly Nappies - Cloth Nappies Explained

The environmental impacts of disposable nappies have led many parents to look at alternative options that reduce the impacts, are cheaper and can be more comfortable and healthy for babies.

Each child on average uses 5000-6000 single-use nappies until toilet trained. Across Australia 800 million nappies enter landfill each year, taking up to 400 years to biodegrade. Even eco-disposable nappies (which have a higher percentage of biodegradable content) cannot be completely broken down.

Introduce Cloth Nappies= Save Money + Reduce Landfill

In financial terms, the initial outlay for cloth nappies is greater BUT over time reusable nappies can save you thousands of dollars. Disposable nappies are bought as needed and most parents will spend $2000-$3000 per child without even realising; in comparison cloth nappies cost $250-$900 per child and these can be used on subsequent children for no additional cost. There is also a great market for second hand nappies if you can keep them in good condition, so some of the initial outlay can be returned by selling the nappies on.

For some, the initial outlay and the cleaning of the nappies can be daunting and off putting - but just remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some parents continue to use disposables  at night to help their babies sleep through and other parents ease into trying cloth nappies when they are ready. 

Let's look closer at Modern Cloth Nappies:

Modern Cloth Nappies or MCNs are similar in shape and functionality to disposables. They don’t need folding, soaking or safety pins, making them much easier to use than traditional cloth. MCNs are often made from breathable highly absorbent fabrics such as micro-fibre, hemp, cotton and bamboo. 

The main types of MCNs:

  • Nappy with built in covers
    • All-in one design with Velcro or press studs. – range of sizes or adjustable to grow with your baby from newborn until toilet trained.
    • Pocket and All-in two - fast drying with absorbent inserts that dry separately to the outer shell. Absorbency can be increased with additional inserts. 
    • All-in 1 – slightly more convenient but take longer to dry.
  • Separate nappy and cover system, three main styles:
    • traditional: now available in more absorbent fabrics such as hemp, bamboo and microfibre.
    • prefolds: a modern variation of traditional cloth with an absorbent panel sewn in, can be fastened with pins or just a cover. 
    • fitted: shaped like disposables, with elastic legs therefore more leak proof than prefolds.
    • The separate nappy and cover system come in a range of sizes or adjustable. Waterproof covers are more breathable than traditional PVC and are easy to wash and maintain.

There are disadvantages with using cloth nappies. One of those is having to transport dirty nappies home when out and about, but we stock handy wet-bags to help with this which come in a range of sizes.

When giving up a convenience such as disposable nappies there is often an inherent inconvenience such as the care and maintenance of cloth nappies - but once you develop a routine for cleaning and care you barely notice it after a while and once you see the amount of rubbish going down in your landfill bin you will feel rewarded for your effort. So give cloth a go today - if you need help on where to start, send us an email at