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Myths about Cloth Nappies

Disposable nappy companies that would like you to spend thousands of dollars on disposable nappies over the next few years often propagate myths about the use of cloth nappies. Here are some of the more common myths and why they are unfounded.

Cloth nappies waste water

We all use water to dispose of our waste efficiently and hygienically through the sewerage system. Washing a baby's nappies uses about the same amount of water as an adult (or the child once it is toilet trained) uses to flush the toilet in the same amount of time. And the waste goes into the sewer where it can be treated and safely released back into the environment, rather than being left to fester in landfill where it breeds disease and contaminates groundwater.

Cloth nappies cause nappy rash

There is no evidence to support this claim. The most reputable study to date on nappy rash has determined that it is the frequency of changing the nappy that most affects nappy rash.

Cloth nappies are leaky and unreliable

Modern fitted cloth nappies provide comfortable, leak-proof protection against even the most volatile of "accidents". Modern fitted nappies fasten securely, do not fall down and cannot be removed by curious little fingers.

Cloth nappies are bulky, restrict baby's movement and delay crawling/walking

Modern fitted cloth nappies are comfortable for baby and do not restrict leg movement. Cloth nappies provide extra padding against the inevitable falls associated with learning to walk.

Babies sleep better/longer in a disposable nappy

It is certainly tempting to believe this one! This may be true for some babies but equally some babies will sleep better in a comfortable cloth nappy. If you think the nappy is affecting your baby's sleeping, a few nights of experimentation with the different types of nappy should provide a definitive answer.

Cloth nappies are smelly and unhygienic

Dry pailing (see our Care and Instructions) your cloth nappies reduces the smell associated with a nappy bucket. Following a regular washing routine means the longest a dirty nappy will stay in your household is around 3 days, as compared to a week between garbage collection for a disposable nappy. Once the nappy is washed the waste is treated and released safely back into the environment, as opposed to a disposable nappy where the waste is left in landfill to breed disease and contaminate groundwater.

Cloth nappies cause just as much environmental damage in their production and washing as disposable nappies do

There is much debate about this because cloth nappies impact very differently on the environment than disposables. There are two things to consider here. The first is that environmental groups (such as the Women's Environmental Network in the UK) unequivically support the use of cloth nappies. The second is that you can actively reduce the environmental impact of your cloth nappies, whereas the environmental damage caused by disposable nappies is done in thier manufacture and disposal, factors largely beyond your control. Here are some tips on minimising the environmental impact of your cloth nappies.

Always choose unbleached fabrics.

Wash nappies every three days and combine your nappy wash with other household washing (e.g. bath towels and/or cotton whites)

Do not use "Napisan", other nappy soakers or bleach when washing your nappies as these are unecessary, environmentally questionable and will reduce the life of your nappies (see our Care and Instructions for further information)

Install a water saving washing machine and/or a rainwater tank and use the rainwater to wash nappies

Wash in cold water when possible (only soiled nappies need a hot wash)

Line dry your nappies (as well as saving electricity the sun provides natural sanitising and bleaching)

NEVER use the water from your nappy wash as untreated grey water in your garden.

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