My Green Nappy Discovering Modern Cloth Nappies and Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

May 5, 2010

Why NOT to Use Cloth Nappies: Haven’t You Heard Of Disposables?

Cloth Nappies? Haven’t you heard of disposables?

When hearing ‘cloth nappies’, many people have an image spring to mind of squares of smelly towelling nappies soaking in bleach, even to go further and think about fabric squares being rung by hand through a ringer and possibly boiled in a copper before being hung to blow in the breeze!
Obviously this is an outdated yet entrenched myth, as washing machines and driers have been around for quite some time! Nevertheless, snap reactions remain, and are frequently based on old ideas. Or rather, out of date ideas. Old ideas, like hanging nappies on the line to dry actually prolongs their use, sanitizes and bleaches them, reducing their environmental impact while giving you a bit of sun; an important part of feeling bright and refreshed. For this topic we’ve asked Your Nappy Doula’s the simple question:
Why NOT to Use Cloth Nappies? What’s the ‘reason’ that you hear the most & why is it wrong?

Why Not to Use Cloth Nappies: What’s the ‘reason’ that you hear the most & why is it wrong? As advocates of modern nappies, they talk to mums a lot, meet you at fairs, expos and markets, and pretty much hear a similar range of reasons why people don’t want to consider using cloth nappies. Although the fact that they are inquiring means they likely are still wondering anyway, as you can save a LOT of using modern nappies over disposables! The responses here will highlight the usual comments, and often explain why they are not precisely accurate…

I’m pleased to have contributions from many friends of My Green Nappy included in this article. We have Emma from Brindabella Baby, Melinda from Avanappy, Mel from Little Para PantsLouise from Scamps BoutiqueEva from Oz Baby Trends, Inge from Earth KidzCassandra from New Age Nappies, Annette from Iish Fly, Michelle from Issy Bear NappiesAlisha from Baby Safari, Cindy from Ticklefish TotsAshley from Cheeky Creations, Carli from MiniLaLa, Tracey from Flattery, Bec from Baby Chilli, Julie from Cloth For Comfort, Chris froBaby Bullfrogs, Kate from Nappy DaysMichelle from Sustainable Hemp Products, Karen from Baby Blossom.

Let’s see what they have to say:

“What’s the ‘reason’ that you hear the most & why is it wrong?”

Emma Davidson of Brindabella Baby:

“But doesn’t it waste water and use dangerous chemicals to wash cloth nappies?”

Quite a lot of water and chemicals go into making single-use disposable nappies. It’s better to buy a cloth nappy made from a waterwise fibre crop like bamboo, hemp, or organic cotton. And with dry-pailing wash methods, there’s no soaking or chemicals required – so it takes on average 1L of water to wash a cloth nappy.

Melinda of Avanappy:

Too much washing & you waste water washing them all the time.
Mel of Little Para Pants:
It’s too expensive.

So wrong.  Sure, the per-nappy cost is higher, but given you can reuse a cloth nappy for years, it’s almost not worth mentioning.  And who really wants a landfill full of disposable nappies still sitting around in 1000 years?  Eww.  What is that going to do to our water supply by then?

Louise of Scamps Boutique, NZ:

Too much work involved in washing them.

I don’t understand this comment as everyone washes clothes, towels, sheets etc, cloth adds 1-2 extra loads a week which is nothing when you are washing every day which most families do anyway.
Eva of Oz Baby Trends:
The excuse we hear most often is that people don’t want to clean poo off dirty nappies, but the fact is, even disposables should have the poo flushed from them first.

Inge of Earth Kidz:

Most people don’t even realise how much they spend on disposables. Hard work. What work? Turning your washing machine on?

Cassandra of New Age Nappies:

Too much washing.

Hello? 2 extra loads a week and the machine does it. Welcome to the 2000’s!

Annette of Iish Fly:

I don’t want to touch poo

Well then why are you a Mum? I hate vomit, but as a mum it’s hard to avoid it. You still have to clean up from blow-outs from disposables so why not scrub the odd cloth nappy!

Michelle of Issy Bear Nappies:

Too much work!

We wash our childrens’ clothes – why not wash their underwear just like we wash ours? Rinse, dry pail, then wash. EASY!

Cindy from Ticklefish Tots:

Disposables are so much easier!

PFFFFFT! Modern cloth nappies are JUST AS EASY to use as disposables, without having to worry that the tab is going to rip off due to shoddy mass production, or that the inside is poorly or unevenly filled which renders the disposable useless before it has even been used! The quality of disposable nappies has certainly declined over the years.

Ashley of Cheeky Creations:

Most people say: “It’s too hard.”

They say they can’t be bothered washing them and hanging them out. But once you use them you love them so much that a lot of people actually enjoy washing and drying their nappies! For me it’s a nice break!

Carli from MiniLaLa:

The main excuse I hear for not using cloth is that people think:

“It is such hard work…”

Myth! It really couldn’t be easier! You put it on, take it off, pop it in a bucket, wash and dry. I always tell people that the tiny amount of extra work involved is worth it and more when you see how gorgeous your baby’s bot looks in a cloth nappy!

Tracey from Flattery:

What do i hear all the time…

“Awwww they’re cute but you have to WASH them”

It’s only 1 extra load per day – it’s not like we have to wash them by hand. Oh and my sister thought cloth nappies were expensive until I pointed out how much she spends on disposables every week!

Bec from Baby Chilli:

“Washing, I cant be bothered to wash then all the time.”

I figure you have to wash anyway so whats another load every few days, you don’t need to soak them or do anything special to them. They use much less detergent to clean them and if you put them in a wash bag then you don’t have to touch them again till they are nice and clean.
Julie from Cloth For Comfort:
“It would be too much work”
I hear this comment EVERY market I attend and make sure that person at least leaves with one of my brochures to explain the concept. I am going to launch my new website in the coming months and my new slogan will be Cloth for Comfort – Modern Cloth Nappies. Hard work? Think again!
Chris from Baby Bullfrogs:
“Oh it’s too time-consuming” or “It doesn’t really help the environment any more than disposables, there’s a lot of water wastage, detergent use…”
Kate from Nappy Days:
Waste of family time” and that “Washing and folding them takes forever
It takes no longer to use and wash cloth nappies today than it does to use and dispose of disposable nappies.
Alisha of Baby Safari:
I have been told it will increase nappy rash, in my case that has not been true as neither of my children suffer from nappy rashes.
“Too much work.”

Wrong because you don’t soak anymore and the washing machine does the work!
Karen from Baby Blossom:
“Cloth nappies are way too much work.”  “Cloth nappies give nappy rash.”
I guess these are the two biggest myths why people won’t use cloth that I come across.
Thank you to all our nappy doula’s for their contributions,
P.S There is a question at the bottom of each of these features. Join in the conversation and share your own experiences and stories with us…

– Your Nappy Doulas –

This is part of a regular series of articles that offer you an insight into the beliefs, concerns, knowledge and wisdom of Mums making and selling modern cloth nappies in Australia and New Zealand.

Discover More from Your Nappy Doulas…

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A question to you about reactions you get about using cloth nappies…

“When You Say “I use cloth nappies”, what’s the most common reaction you get? Is the reaction beginning to change where you live?”


  1. It’s not common, it’s actually rare to hear people using cloth nappies where I live. People are likely to say I love or I need my Huggies!
    Cloth just sounds too hard to most people and they don’t understand the bother. My MIL thinks it’s too hard and suggests I should make it easy on myself and just use disposables.

    The general consensus is that it’s all too hard and time consuming, and I am a supermum for using cloth. I am not!

    I find mcn easy enough, it was fun at first so I could deal with the change but now it’s just normal to use cloth. And much cheaper and nicer too.
    I did start with cloth flats and soaking and that was too much work at the time. So I guess that is what people think of when they think cloth.

    Comment by kymmy — May 5, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  2. Oh and the other one is that it takes too much water to wash. Not thinking about how much water it takes to make a disposable, that may make sense. I had a few people say that to me, especially with water restrictions.

    Comment by kymmy — May 5, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  3. People look a me like I’m from another planet using cloth with twins. We’ve been making the switch from disposables the past few months, and the amount we save is huge- not to mention missing a rubbish collection is no longer a major tragedy.

    We’ve always flushed solids down the toilet whatever nappy we used , so there’s just the extra loads of washing, and using a mix of A12’s, pockets and traditional flats I get to have fun with origami too! 🙂

    Comment by Ange — May 5, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  4. Hmmm… I get the ‘why?’ and ‘too much work!’ and ‘ewww’ re dealing with poo & the worst was my sisterinlaw & her sister who were just plain horrified!! Not sure why? I assume the ‘effort’ & ‘mess’ involved…

    But I have alternatively had lots of positive comments in parents rooms about how cute they are, how different to what they expected & how easy they seem to use so the more of us out there in the parents rooms who r willing to chat/show off the nappies the faster the word will spread!

    Pity we can’t put posters up in mall parents rooms! (or can we??)

    Comment by Gabrielle — May 5, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  5. It really is funny what peoples misconceptions are! I got the 1950’s response from most people when I told them I was going to use cloth. So I brought out my stash at my baby shower and I think I managed to convince everyone there to at least consider that cloth nappies aren’t the hassle they used to be. I’m looking at my washing pile in the lounge at the moment and it consists of clothes and towels, not a nappy in sight! My nappies are already dry and in my nappy bin (I don’t bother folding) ready to be used and I don’t need to wash nappies for another day or two. But I still need to wash more clothes today…

    Comment by Kyra - Modern Cloth Nappy Shop & Parties — May 10, 2010 @ 8:56 am

  6. Wow, that is very good information, thankyou.

    Comment by Arianne — May 13, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  7. It makes such a big difference if you use cloth nappies over disposable ones. Just think of the ecological footprint you’ll avoid and helping the environment get better by it NOT using disposable nappies.

    Comment by Nick from Todae Eco Store — May 24, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  8. […] Why NOT to Use Cloth Nappies: Haven’t You Heard Of Disposables? - My Green Nappy […]

    Pingback by New Age Ideas About Disposables | Baby Shower Site — July 15, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

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