Washing & Care
Caring for your Pikapu cloth nappies is similar to caring for many others on the market: most rules for washing your cloth nappies are universal. It is also a matter of individual preference.
Below is a guide to what we recommend you do – with a few rules of what not to do. Over time you will develop your own way and work out what works for your child.
There are many options for preparing your cloth nappies for first use. It's very important that your nappies have been thoroughly washed before they are worn for the first time.
Your fabrics will become more absorbent over their first few washes. To maximise the absorbency you can prepare your nappies. Firstly, put them in the laundry tub, or a bucket of hot water from the tap. Soak them overnight. Then in the morning, wash the nappies on a normal wash cycle with a rinse. The cycle temperature should be 30-40; a cold cycle will work fine for your nappies. Use a full dose of detergent as specified on the detergent instructions.
If you choose not to soak overnight, that is fine. It will take a few washes for your nappies reach their most absorbent, but they are still very useable after their first wash. Just keep in mind that they may not last as long on your child for their first few uses.
Hang your nappies in the sun and wait for them to dry.
Wash your cloth nappies on a cycleof 30-40 degrees with the recommended amount of a detergent that does not have softeners or bleaching agents. Be sure to follow the instructions on your detergent. Use a full dose and the recommended temperature wash for your detergent.
Do a rinse at the end to help remove any extra detergent or leftover waste still in your nappies.
Hang nappies in the sun.
If your nappies do not look clean or develop smells we recommend changing your detergent, washing on a warm cycle, using more detergent and ensuring there is enough water being used in the cycle. Many front loaders do not add enough water to the cycle.
A Tip for Drying
A clotheshorse is a great way to help you make the most of the sunshine. If you hang your nappies on the clotheshorse then you can chase the sunshine around your backyard or balcony as needed. If your nappies haven't dried during the day, then you can bring them to a warm spot inside overnight. Take care in the summer when the sun is strongest not to over expose nappy covers. During extreme temperatures and intense sunlight your nappies will dry extremely quickly and over exposure to the heat may damage your elastics or PUL. It will also make your bamboo inserts hard. You can soften the bamboo by scrunching it to loosen the fibres up.
Using the Dryer
Depending where you live, or the inevitable wet and cold of winter, you may need to use a dryer for your nappies. Although, we recommend you avoid it as much as possible.
If you must use the dryer make sure you take the following into account:
- Inserts: inserts can go into the dryer, even on a hotter setting. You may even want to throw your nappies in for ten minutes after a day of drying to make sure they are really as dry as possible.
- Nappy Shells: the outside of your nappy does not like heat. It has a waterproof coating that can be destroyed by extreme heat and the leg elastics can erode and become ineffective. Luckily, the nappy shell dries very quickly. Overnight on a clotheshorse will often do the trick. You will surprised how fast they dry. If you want to put them in the dryer, you must put them on a cool setting. That is, basically no heat. This is really important because using the dryer on your shells has the potential to destroy them – they will leak and have slack elastic around the legs (more leaks!). Baby Bare will not be responsible for damage caused to your nappies because of misuse.
What can you do to expand the life of your nappies?
Many parents ask how they can help their nappies last as long as possible. There are a few options to do this.
- Rinse nappies after use to dilute the urine in them. Your child's wee will eat at the fabric and elastics, overtime eroding your fabrics.
- Do not wash them on hot or put the shells in the dryer. Heat will erode the elastics and effect the waterproofing on your nappy shell. Putting them in the dryer is also extra strain on the nappies as they are pulled at and tossed around, once again stretching your elastics. (N.B. you can put your inserts in the dryer, see above.)
- Have a larger stash. More nappies shares the wear and tear. Washing them less often will make you stash of nappies last longer as a whole. Consider if you had a t-shirt or pair of pants you washed every second day for two years - that’s 365 times through the wash and thousands of hours sitting in the sun to dry. It would be in a terrible state after 2 years. Reducing the number of washes by 1/3 or 1/2 will mean your nappies will stay looking great for longer and are more likely to last out to toilet training.
- Follow our washing instructions. The process of cleaning the nappies has the potential to drastically reduce the useful life of your nappies. The washing process can add a lot of wear to nappies.
What to Avoid
- Never use bleach.
- Do not soak your cloth nappies.
- Do not use fabric softener. Our nappies will stay lovely and soft without it, and it will make your nappies work less effectively.
- Do not use zinc based creams without a nappy liner. Creams will block the fabric and reduce its absorbency. A great cloth nappy safe cream is CJ's BUTTer. Alternatively, there are lots of options on the market for creams that will easily wash out of your nappies..
If you ever have any questions regarding the care of your modern cloth nappies, please email us [email protected]