How to use Reusable cloth nappies

All you need to know about how to make Reusable nappies a childs play.

Cloth nappying today is not what it used to be. New choices of materials and high tech fabrics cause an increasing number of parents to reconsider whether disposable nappies are the best choice for themselves, their infants and the environment.

Why Do Parents Choose Cloth:
Parents wanting to use cloth nappies have a genuine concern for the health of their children. They no longer trust the chemical laden disposable with their absorbents and perfumes.
Environmental issues which are always making the headlines, motivate some parents to absolutely refuse to use disposables. Some even cart their trusty cloth nappies with them onto air planes and into hotel rooms.
Cloth nappies are far less expensive than the weekly purchase of disposables over a two to three year period.

The Guide To Cloth Nappies

You are expecting a baby! Congratulations! And you are considering cloth nappies? Wonderful!

As you have begun researching cloth nappying, we are sure you have come across more information than you can get through. It can all be very confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Cloth nappying is actually very simple; the hardest part is selecting which nappy you want to commit to.

Here are a few tips about what to consider when choosing the right nappy for you and your baby:
1. If you are only going to be using reusable / washable nappies, which would be "full time", or if you will want to use washable and disposable biodegradable nappies which would be "part time". This would help you understand how many reusable nappies you will need to get.

2. The size, weight and body type of your baby. Different reusable nappies have different cuts which are better suited to different baby body types. For example the Mother-ease Airflow covers have a wider fit than the Rikki covers which are also suitable for more slender babies.

3. How much you want to spend to build your set of nappies. Even though one-size-fits-all nappies are more economical, you might have to compromise slightly on performance.

4. Which other accessories are necessary for successful reusable nappying. You can find a list of those further down this page.

5. Who else will be using the washable nappies and how familiar / easy it will be for them as there are different options. For example Fitted Nappies need a separate cover while All in One nappies have both parts integrated and make for a quicker nappy change.

Choosing reusable nappies has become a lot easier than it was!
The fabrics are much softer with a great selection, like cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, stay-dry, minky, available.
They dry reasonably quickly especially in a tumble dryer (as long as the care instructions allow the use of it).
Containment is at the least comparable to the most popular disposable nappy brands.

An added benefit of using washable nappies is that your little one will potty train much earlier and easier than if she or he was used to disposable nappies.

With the Mother-ease Guide to Cloth Nappying, you will be introduced to each type of cloth nappy and presented with the pros and cons of each category. Once you know more about which kinds of washable nappies are available, choosing the right system for you, your family and most importantly your baby, will be a breeze.

Types of Cloth Nappies

Cloth nappies can be broken down into 4 basic categories, each of which are talked about and explained below.
  1. Flat, Prefolded, Terry & Contoured Nappies
  2. Fitted Nappies
  3. All-in-One and Pocket Nappies
  4. Hybrid or All-in-Twos
Prefold, Flat and contoured nappiesPrefold, Flat and Terry nappy squares

1. Flat, pre-folded, terry and contoured nappies

Flat, pre-folded, terry and contoured nappies are the nappies your grandmother and maybe your mum used on their babies. They have been around for generations, and while they may be the most economical option, they are not the most convenient.

Flat nappies are rectangular or squares (contoured are hourglass shaped) of absorbent fabric folded to suit the size of the baby. They have a few layers sewn to the middle of the fabric to make the centre more absorbent. Available in a variety of fabric types including unbleached and organic cottons, hemp and bamboo, these are considered a two-step system because they require a waterproof cover as well.
They have no closure systems and require pins, nappy fasteners (like nappy nippas, boingo, snappi) or a very snug waterproof cover / wrap to keep the nappy in place.

Note: Mother-ease makes the waterproof nappy covers for these cloth nappies but not flat or pre-folded nappies.

Contoured NappiesContoured Nappies
Airflow WrapsAirflow Wraps
Pros & Cons

Flats or prefolds or terry squares are usually One Size fits all and are therefore very economical. If you are on a tight budget and don't mind folding some nappies before using them on your baby, these nappies are for you. Some companies make these terry squares in different sizes like small, medium and large.


These nappies require the use of a separate waterproof cover.

  • They must be folded prior to use.
  • They don't contain messes well because there are no leg elastics.
  • Since messes aren't often properly contained in the nappy, more waterproof covers are required.
  • They must be secured with some fastening method: pins, clipped, or a snug

2. Fitted Nappies

These are absorbent contoured nappies shaped to snugly fit a baby, with elastics at the sides of the waist and leg openings.

The additional benefit is that waist closures of some sort (like poppers or velcro) are usually included. They are available in a number of sizes for a customised fit as the baby grows, like the Mother-ease Sandy's, but they are also available in a One Size fits all option.

If you choose the One Size cloth nappy option you will need approximately 15 nappies and 10 covers for stress-free nappying (always taking into account washing and drying time)
If you decide on the sized cloth nappies, like our Sandy's nappies, which are sized for better performance, you will need about 10-12 nappies of each size and 10 waterproof covers.

Fitted One Size and Sandy'sFitted One Size and Sandy's
Fitted Mother-ease NappiesFitted Mother-ease Nappies

Fitted nappies are a very popular choice and are more economical than the next two categories.
Fitted cloth nappies are also part of the 2 step nappying system which means that they require a separate waterproof cover.

Mother-ease fitted cloth nappies are available in a variety of popular fabric choices in our One-Size and Sandy's lines.

One Size nappiesOne Size nappies
Sandys NappiesSandys Nappies
Pros and Cons
  • Because these nappies have elastic at the waist and legs, there is great containment and performance compared to the Pre-fold or terry nappies.
  • The cover is not attached, so you get great longevity with a one-size option.
  • Covers can be wiped down if just wet and a new insert can be used.
  • Depending on the brand you select, these are very absorbent nappies, often touted best for night time, nap times or longer car trips.
  • One or more liners can be added for extra absorbency.
  • These nappies require the use of a separate waterproof cover.
  • Not always suitable for a quick change or for daycare.
  • Depending on the number of layers in the nappy, they may take longer to dry after washing.

3. All-in-Ones

These cloth nappies combine the fitted nappy with the waterproof cover into one product.

The All in One or pocket nappy type is very convenient and a great value for money. Easy to use by everyone and quick to put on baby minimizing the changing time.
There are no separate parts to be put together - just ready to go.
For Mother-ease as for most reusable nappies the All in Ones and Pocket nappies have a liner option for heavy wetters or for night time use.

Extremely simple to use when out and about or when a really quick nappy change is required.
If you choose to use this type as your main nappy you will need to stock up on a few so that you don't run out while you wash and dry the soiled ones. Your baby will require on average 6 per day so a minimum of 15 will be required for a stress-free nappying experience.

An all-in-one cloth nappy is a one-piece system - the absorbent component is sewn in and cannot be removed. It is an ideal alternative to a disposable nappy and considered to be the easiest to use.
All-in-ones and Pocket nappies always include elastic at the waist and leg openings and the waist closes with either a hook and loop (velcro) or snap (popper) closure system.

These nappy systems are available in one-size- fits-all, or sized for a more perfect fit in each size range. They often sport a slim fit and are available in a variety of colours and prints for fashion-conscious parents.

Wizard Uno All in OnesWizard Uno All in Ones Sized nappies

Mother-ease's All-in-one cloth nappy, the Uno and its Pocket cloth nappy, the EasyStuff, can be found in our Wizard Cloth Nappy line.

Pocket Easy StuffPocket Easy Stuff One size nappy
Easy StuffPocket Easy Stuff One size nappy
Pros and Cons
  • An all-in-one nappy is a one-step system, meaning the nappy is put on your baby in one easy step.
  • This nappy is easy and quick to change, so it's great for child care providers and grandparents.
  • This style of nappy is ideal to supplement other cloth nappies when convenience is a factor - like a quick nappy change at the mall or while travelling.
  • They are easy to dry as even thought the back and the front are sown to the cover the middle separates from the cover.
  • They are slightly more expensive as they combine both parts of the nappy (Inner and Cover) which you would have to buy separately otherwise.
  • Can be slow to dry depending on how it has been put together. If the inner part cannot be folded out it will take far longer to dry (luckily for the Wizard Range this is not an issue as the middle part folds out). The attached waterproof cover can impede the water extraction during machine's spin cycles.
  • Different part of the nappy will have a different life span.
  • If the nappy has not been tested well before production, it might not be as leak proof (around the leg area) as the 2 step systems. Luckily the Mother-ease Nappies are all thoroughly tested before production.

4. Hybrid / All-in-Twos

The hybrid cloth nappy, or the all-in-two, is the newest member on the cloth nappy scene.

The absorbent component of a hybrid nappy can be attached to an accompanying cover by a means that makes it removable (usually snaps) and holds the nappy or insert in place. Some manufacturers provide a simple absorbent flat liner that snaps to and out of the cover while others supply fitted inserts (which also snap to and out of the cover) with elastics at the edges to better prevent leakage.

Hybrid / All in Two Wizard DUOHybrid / All in Two Wizard DUO

Fewer covers are required as soiled nappies/inserts are replaced, and provided the cover isn't soiled, and the same cover is reused. Once the nappy is attached to the cover it becomes an All-in-One style that is very convenient to use. Many parents and carers will combine the parts in advance to have the nappy ready in advance.
Both the waterproof covers and the absorbent nappy inserts are available in one-size- fits-all or multi-sized for a more perfect fit in each size range.

If you decide to use this system you will need about 13 inserts and 9 covers. Always keep in mind washing and drying times.

In the Mother-ease range:
Wizard Duo Inserts: These inserts are part and specific to the Wizard Duo System. They will only work with the Wizard Duo Covers. The great thing about these nappies is that you can pre-assemble them and have them ready for use when you need them. They have great absorbency and dry in no time at all. Again the cover can be wiped down if only wet and a new insert can be used.

Wizard Duo Covers: This Is the cover to be used with the Wizard Duo Insert. It has poppers to hold the insert in place and allows mums to assemble and have the nappies ready when they need them. Top leak-proof performance.

Mother-ease's Wizard Duo system is available in combinations for one-size, small and large, newborn and night time.

Pros and Cons
WIzard DuoWIzard Duo
  • An All-in-Two nappy is a one-step system, meaning the nappy is put on your baby in one easy step.
  • Because the nappy is detachable, they dry quickly. They are more cost effective because less waterproof covers are required.
  • Because the cover is not sewn in and there are inserts options which are suitable as a one-size- fits-all nappy, All-in-Twos have great longevity.
  • It is cost effective to replace the covers as required, once expired.
  • These nappies are great for child care providers and grandparents because they can be pre-assembled for as many cover + insert pairs as you have and used as All-in-Ones.
  • The absorbent insert must be added to each nappy before use and removed after use, prior to washing. Removal can be a little unpleasant as with any insert.
  • The waterproof cover component can be the first part of the system to expire due to the material having a different life span.

What else will you need?

You will need some liners and boosters to increase the absorbency of the nappies, especially for night time or when out and about. In the Mother-ease range there are the Snap in liners for the One Size Fitted Nappies, the Sandy absorbent liners for the Sandy's Fitted Nappies and the Wizard small boosters and Wizard large boosters for the Wizard nappy range.

You might also need disposable nappy liners which will help keeping the nappies cleaner as the poo will be cought will not stain the nappy as much. The disposable liner can then be recycled, thrown away or flushed depending on the material. Our Ultra Liners, Small Softy Liners and Large Softy Liners are both biodegradable and flushable.

A wet/dry nappy bag to store fresh or soiled nappies. This is a waterproof bag that is essential when using cloth nappying. Mother-ease does both large nappy bags for 4 or more nappies or small nappy bags for 2-3 nappies when on the go. It is best to have 2 nappy bags: one for wet nappies and one for fresh dry nappies.

A special nappy detergent like Bio-D Nappy Fresh Antibacterial Nappy Cleanser that will ensure your nappies stay truly clean.

Reusable washable wipes made of soft flannel soft and can be warmed in special wipe warming devices. These can be also stored in the nappy pale (bucket) and washed with the nappies.

A nappy pale (bucket) with a lid or special nappy pale with an odour prevention system will also be extremely helpful. Just rinse soiled nappies and put them into the nappy pale - in which there is water and antibacterial nappy detergent. Then once enough nappies have accumulated they can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the tumble drier. Be careful to always read the care instructions as they will differ for each nappy brand and item.

If nappies start looking too soiled you can hang them on the line. This will do wonders especially on a sunny day as it will fade the stains dramatically and your nappies will look (almost) as good as new.

In case you have limited time to wash the nappies or drying is an issue you can consider using a nappy laundering service. These have become increasingly popular and there are a number of them around.

How many nappies will I need?

1. Flat, pre-folded, terry and contoured nappies
If you choose to use this type of nappies you will need around 15 nappies and 10 waterproof covers. The covers can be wiped down and reused if only wet.
You will also need reusable liners, Sandy's liners will work great with these, to increase absorbency during night time or when travelling.

2. Fitted Nappies
For this type of nappies you will again need around 15 nappies and 10 waterproof covers. The covers can be wiped down and reused if only wet.
You will also need reusable liners, Sandy's liners or Snap in Liners will work great with these, to increase absorbency during night time or when travelling. For extreme absorbency an additional layer of a second booster, such as a Wizard Booster, can be added.

3. All-in-ones
This is a very easy nappy to use. If you chose this to be your main nappy you will need to stock up on a few so that you don't run out while you wash and dry the soiled ones. Your baby will require on average 6 per day so a minimum of 15 will be required for a stress-free nappying experience.
Again special liners or boosters can be added to increase absorbency during night time or when otherwise required.

4. hybrid / All-in-Twos
The latest addition to reusable nappying technology. Easy as one-two-three and economical as well! you will need around 15 nappies and 12 covers for a great nappying experience. These nappies can be pre-assembled and used as an All in One, ready for grandparents or Childcarers to put on baby. As covers are separate they can be wiped down and reused. The option of boosters is also available to increase absorbency during sleep or whne out and about.

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