FAQ about starting cloth

Posted by Amanda Abraham on

20 FAQ we hear about starting cloth.

Outlining the most common frequently asked questions for those looking to start cloth.


  1. How much do cloth nappies cost?

Cloth nappies vary in price anywhere from $10 - $50 each. This may seem excessive to start but when you look at the math behind disposable VS cloth, cloth wins every time.

Nappies that are mass produced in china and on the lower end of the price range are labeled "Chinese cheapy" nappies and as the saying goes, got get what you pay for. Unfortunately these nappies come with minimal absorption and you'll end up spending more in the long run trying to boost them enough to stop leaks. -Usually no resale value

"Designer" nappies are considered mid range- these nappies are manufactured in china but are owned by Australian businesses. -Maintain decent resale value

"WAHM" nappies sit higher on the price range as they are handmade, designed and sold by Australian parents; these nappies work closely with their cloth community to make the best fitting nappy they possibly can, tailoring fits specific to their demographics. -Hold RRP resale value


how many from birth to toilet training (approx.)

total cost

cost for multiple children



(based on market average)




18-36 (figures based on 36)

(based on RPS MCN RRP)




2. Which is the best overnight nappy?

Choosing a night nappy can be very daunting and as bub changes in urine output it can move from one extreme to the next. For best absorbency, you will benefit most from looking at fitted nappies specifically designed for use over night. These nappies are made with several layers of absorbent bamboo but do require a waterproof cover (wool or PUL) to keep moisture in the nappy.

3. How do I choose a cloth nappy style?

Nappy styles vary from brand to brand and may take some trial and error to find what works best for you and your baby. 
(nappy style break down to follow)

4. What do you do with the poop?

EASY! Just rinse it off down the laundry sink! From newborn until 6 month(introduction of solids and cow milk) baby poo is water soluble.

from 6 months onwards poo can be a little tricker, but grab yourself a silicone spatula or dish brush from Kmart or lash out and get a hand held bidet from Bunnings. Jump on over to our care and laundering page for a run down of my wash routine for some tips to dealing with poo.

5. Are pocket nappies hard to stuff?

They CAN be - cheaper brand may have quite a tight pocket or their inserts are larger than the opening making it a little tricky.

Some brands come with a double ended opening so you can put the insert in one end and pull it to fit by the other.

Red Panda Stitching’s single pockets are designed to be easy to stuff even for daddy hand!

6. Do you really need to use newborn nappies?

NO! Not necessarily. It will all depend on bubs size! My sizing range starts at 3.5 kgs which is exactly what my daughter weighed at birth- we didn’t need newborn, instead we snapped our nappies right down to the lowest rise and just used the booster to keep it trim around her little legs. 
Babies under 3.5kgs or preemis I would definitely suggest in investing in 4 or 5 newborns just to make it easier to fit and prevent leaks; they also have a handy snap down to keep the top of the nappy away from bubs umbilical nub.

7. How do I store the used/soiled nappies?

Air flow is your friend! Grab 2 plastic or wire laundry hamper with plenty of holes one to store your used nappies that have not been prewashed (wee only soiled nappies can go straight in without being rinsed), and one to put your prewashed nappies until main wash day.

8.What is a swim nappy?

A swim nappy can be any nappy shell without inserts, but a designated swim nappy is a great idea if you plan to do swimming lessons in a pool as the chemicals will put extra ware on your normal nappies. Second hand or delaminated nappy shells work great as swim nappies as you only need them to contain any unexpected poo long enough to get out of the water to change.
Swim nappies, even disposable swim nappies are not designed to contain liquids but instead let them drain through the fabrics so they are not recommended to be used for long periods like a trip in the car to the pool or beach. 

9.Which is better? Hook and loop or snaps?

This question is definitely a matter of personal preference- but longevity wise, snaps will last far longer than hook and loop Velcro will. You also don’t run the risk of snaps catching on your inserts or clothing and causing excess piling, they also don’t pick up hair, dust or laundry lint. 

10. Do cloth nappies cause nappy rash?

Short answer, No- well looked after, correctly washed cloth nappies do not cause nappy rash. 

Nappy rash can occur in any nappy or even underwear if soiled and left to long against the skin.
Incorrectly washed cloth nappies can lead to ammonia build up with can cause a burn effect on the skin, commonly occurs around the leg elastics. 
Underlying viral or bacterial infections may cause a rash and become persistent if using cloth nappies, this may require your cloth nappies to be sanitised before reuse- but is not generally cause BY the cloth nappy itself.

11. Can I start cloth nappies with older babies?

ABSOLUTELY! It never to late to make the switch! Be that on the verge or toilet training or 3 months of age. There is no wrong time to start. 

12. How many nappies do I need?

For full time cloth usage I recommend anywhere from 25-35 nappies. This gives you enough to rotate through without having to wash daily, instead every 2 maybe 3 days. There is no limit! 

13. How often do I need to wash the nappies?

This will all depend on how many nappies you have in your rotation. As above, between 25-35 nappies you can stretch your main wash to ever 3 days, but I recommend doing a DAILY prewash of the nappies you’ve used that day so reduce the risk of ammonia build up. 

14. Is cleaning cloth nappies hard?

No, it takes a bit of practise and can be a bit trial and error to develop your wash routine, but once you have it it becomes just like doing a normal load of laundry. 

15. Do cloth nappies smell?

No! Cloth nappies should never smell. If your cloth nappies start to smell something isn’t right with your wash routine and they are building up ammonia in the fabrics. 
Not even your dry pail should smell, especially if you have sufficient airflow and are prewashing daily. 

16. How long do cloth nappies last?

One size fits most Cloth nappies are designed to fit your baby from birth to toilet training which on average is about 3-3.5 years. They can definitely last much much longer and be used through multiple children or sold second hand to another mum ready to start her cloth journey.

17. Do I need to soak my nappies?

No- modern cloth nappies do not need to be soaked, in fact most cloth nappy brands advise against any soaking. 

18. Can i still use barrier creams?

Absolutely! It is a common myth that you need to avoid any zinc based barrier creams when using cloth, however, as long as you are washing at 60°c it should remove any build up of creams. If you have struggling with cream build ups you can add nappy liners on top of your inserts or lining to protect the nappy. 

19. Will using cloth nappies delay my child's movement developments?

No- there is absolutely no reason using cloth nappies will cause any restrictions to any movement development. My daughter has been in cloth from 3 days old and was rolling at 5 weeks in cloth - there is nothing to worry about. 

20. Why should we switch to cloth nappies?

Even just making the switch to cloth at home keeps hundreds of disposable nappies out of landfill. Disposables nappies take anywhere from 200 years to 500 years to breakdown, the plastic used to make disposables nappies requires the use of crude oil and thousands of litres of water causing life long impacts to our planet and contributes to the devastation of the climate. 
We don’t need one person making the change perfectly, we need a million people making the change imperfectly. 
Reducing Environmental Impact, One Little Bottom At A Time. -Red Panda Stitching 2018

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