Are reusable nappies hygienic? 8 common myths busted
Are modern cloth nappies hygienic? Answer: Yes! Here's why:
Considering switching to reusable nappies but concerned that they might not be as hygienic as disposables? Never fear! The nappy myth-busters are here. Get ready to put your mind at ease with 8 myth-busting reasons why cloth nappies are a clean and clear winner for your baby
MYTH: REUSABLE NAPPIES ARE UNCONVENTIONAL & UNTRUSTWORTHY
First thing's first, disposable nappies are a relatively new phenomenon. Prior to their appearance on the mass-market, cloth nappies were actually the norm.
Granted, back in those days they didn't have the modern cloth nappies that we have today (poppers, pretty prints and all). No, Granny and Grandad wore terry nappies that had to be folded in special ways and pinned into place.
They along with the rest of the human race survived and thrived. And they did so even without washing machines!
MYTH: YOU HAVE TO SOAK OR BOIL THEM
Often older generations will wince at the suggestion of reusable nappies. Likely because it brings back memories of stinky buckets of nappies soaking in water: Before modern washing machines existed, cloth nappies required soaking, boiling and generally a lot more faff to get them clean. So it's hard to blame them for having an initial negative reaction.
Luckily soaking or boiling is not required with modern reusable nappies: The nappies have advanced and we now have brilliant and efficient washing machines.
We actually don't recommend soaking nappies at all because it's not good for the fibres and elastics. Open water buckets also present a drowning hazard.
MYTH: YOU CAN'T WASH CLOTHES WITH THEM
Your reusable nappy wash routine will require a short wash followed by a long wash. The short wash will take off the majority of the yucky stuff and will drain the water out afterwards.
The nappies will then be fine to wash with baby clothes, muslins and cloth wipes etc. for the main wash.
You want your washing machine drum to be about 3/4 full when dry for the main wash to achieve the right amount of agitation for a thorough clean. So it's actually beneficial to add extra items if your nappy load is quite small.
MYTH: THEY'RE BAD FOR THE WASHING MACHINE
Doctors and nurses wash their scrubs, chefs wash their aprons and farmers wash their overalls.
Washing machines these days are highly effective at cleaning washable textiles, including cloth nappies.
Regardless of whether or not you're using cloth nappies you should be doing a maintenance wash on your machine every month. We have a quick and easy guide on how to do that here.
MYTH: DISPOSING OF THE POO IS MORE GROSS
Nobody 'enjoys' changing nappies no matter what kind of nappy you're using. It just needs to be done.
But did you know that with disposable nappies you are actually supposed to dispose of the poo in the toilet? That's because it is pretty unhygienic to place human-waste in the bin.
With reusable nappies you just shake, scrape or rinse the poo off of your reusable nappies and put it in the loo (AKA where it's supposed to go!).
There's a little more info on that and other frequently asked questions here
MYTH: DISPOSABLE NAPPIES ARE CLEANER
We're very careful with what we put on our skin and our little one's skin. We buy clean skincare, eat organic foods where possible and buy specially-certified cotton sleep suits for our bubs.
We know that a newborn baby's skin is five times thinner than an adults so they're more susceptible to absorbing toxins.
So why aren't we as conscious when it comes to what we put on our baby's private parts?
Often 'eco' disposable brands will list what's NOT in them. But often they fail to mention what chemicals ARE present in their products.
French researchers found that many disposable nappies (including 'ecological' brands) contained traces of dangerous chemicals. These included many banned chemicals and traces of the controversial weedkiller Glyphosate. Glyphosate has not been banned but the World Health Organisation admits it has likely links to cancer. The list of chemicals found in disposable nappies is about 200 long so we won't even attempt to analyse every single one. Just be sure to check the ingredients on the back of the packet when choosing what's right for your baby.
MYTH: REUSABLE NAPPIES ARE SMELLY
Many disposable nappies contain fragrances to block odours. They often have endocrine disrupting phthalates in them, which are known to have an array of negative health effects.
If a nappy smells, it should be removed from the body immediately. Simple.
Fragrances in nappies are completely unnecessary and should be avoided.
If your nappies smell bad the chance are you that you need to make changes to your washing routine.
MYTH: REUSABLE NAPPIES AREN'T CLEAN
If you follow our wash routine with a good quality detergent, your nappies will be clean and hygienic for your baby.
If you change your baby's nappy regularly enough, as soon as bub has done a number two, and keep the nappy area clean, there shouldn't be any concerns about nappy rash or other hygiene issues.
A study by Bristol University on infants with 'quite bad' and 'very bad' nappy rash, found that the type of nappy did not emerge as a significant factor.
In fact many parents say that their babies' nappy rashes clear up when they switch to reusables.
We have a helpful infographic here which explains our nappy wash routine in simple terms.
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