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Are Reusable Nappies Hygienic?

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  • Bambino Mio
  • 01 / 10 / 2023


In a word, yes. Reusable nappies are very hygienic, as long as you wash and dry them properly they won’t present any risk to your baby’s health or to your health. 

Reusable nappies are safe and hygienic if they’re washed properly

Modern washing machines are designed to clean clothes and fabrics at lower temperatures and this includes cloth nappies and reusable wipes. You don’t even need to wash your reusable nappy bundle at 60C if you don’t want to - 40C is enough to get it completely clean and safe for your baby.

What you need to know about washing reusable nappies

Most people born from the 1980s onwards will be used to single-use nappies and so the idea of using reusable nappies might seem really old fashioned.


We’ve also become used to the idea of bundling up soiled single-use nappies, disposing of them in the nearest bin and never thinking about their odorous contents ever again. 


With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the idea of reusing a pooey nappy seems unhygienic, but that’s where washing machines and a washing routine comes in to save the day.


If you’re thinking of going down the reusables route, then you’ll probably have some questions and we’re ready to answer them.


Do I need to boil wash my reusable nappy bundle?

No, you don’t need to boil wash your reusable nappy bundle. You don’t need to soak soiled nappies, either. Our efficient modern washing machines are built to handle serious levels of soiling and return your nappies to you squeaky clean and ready for more action.


Unlike old-style nappies, modern reusables aren’t made from terry cloth, which could stand up to a boil wash or two but wasn’t as convenient or as absorbent. 


For modern reusables, a wash at anything above 60C will probably damage it and make it unusable. This is definitely the case for the waterproof wrap component of your nappies.


Is it difficult to get reusable nappies properly clean?

Not at all. It’s no more difficult to wash and dry reusable nappies than it is to wash and dry heavily soiled bedding or sports gear. After all, it’s your washing machine that does the work once you load it up!


Do you have to remove the poo from a reusable nappy first?

Yes, unless your baby is exclusively breast fed, you’ll need to remove the poo from the nappy before storing it in your Stay at Home wet bag and then washing it. 


Here’s how you remove poo from a reusable nappy

You open up the nappy and use the nappy liner to clean any poo from your baby’s body. This process should remove most of the poo, but you’ll need to use a wipe or bathe your baby to get their bum nice and clean.


Then, you take the liner and nappy to your toilet, where you hold the pooey end of the liner under the flush to wash off any solid poo. If you’re using single-use liners, you can bin the liner and if you’re using reusable nappy liners, you can store it in your wet bag.


If necessary, repeat this process with the nappy and then place the nappy in your wet bag or storage bucket. You can keep soiled liners and nappies in your wet bag or bucket for up to two days before you wash them. Anly longer than this, however, and you risk damage to the fabric from ammonia build up.


Is it safe to wash reusable nappies at 40C?

Yes, it’s quite safe and hygienic to wash cloth nappies at 40C. You don’t even need to add bleach as your machine should get rid of all traces of poo and wee. You can add our laundry cleanser if you feel your nappies could do with a bit of brightening.


Do I need to use a long washing cycle to make sure my reusable nappies are hygienic and safe?

You should use a longer cycle to wash reusable nappies. The cotton setting on your washing machine is best because it’s usually longer and more thorough.

Rapid washing cycles or eco settings aren’t recommended because they’re either not long enough or they don’t use enough water to properly rinse away all the nasties.

Can reusable nappies go mouldy?

If you don’t dry your nappies thoroughly before returning them to your changing station they can stay slightly damp, which could encourage mould. Mould spores can be harmful (1) to your baby’s skin and also to their lungs, so try to make sure your nappies are totally dry before you use them again.

How do I dry reusable nappies?

Line drying is the ideal way to dry cloth nappies, as it’s free and doesn’t use any energy, but an airing cupboard or indoor drying rack will also do the job. You can tumble dry your reusable nappies, but only on a cool setting, which saves energy and is gentler on the fabric and outer wrap.

Is it safe and hygienic to wash reusable nappies with other clothes?

You can wash reusable nappies and liners with other items, but not if they’ve been pooed in. Pooey reusable nappies need their own wash load, just to be on the safe side.


Are second-hand reusable nappies hygienic and safe to use?

Yes, second-hand reusable nappies are quite safe to use. You might want to give them a wash or two and use a booster for your peace of mind before you use them. Modern nappies like our Revolutionary Reusables are designed to last so you can use them with younger children or give them to another family to love.


Citations and References

(1) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Your Quick Guide to: Mould Allergy Advice.’ 2018. Web. www.leedsth.nhs.uk/assets/fa698f54dd/Mould_Allergy_Advice_original.pdf