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

January 13, 2011

The Modern Cloth Nappy: How to Destroy Your PUL Lined Nappies…

Filed under: News — charndra @ 7:00 am

The Modern Cloth Nappy: How to Destroy Your PUL Lined Nappies – 3 Strategies to Avoid Doing This!

Modern Cloth Nappies are easy to care for once you know these simple yet key tips for washing them. Discover the 3 main ways to destroy the effectiveness of your PUL lined nappies – and how to avoid them. Ensure your nappy stash will last for more than one baby, maximizing your already considerable savings. PUL is short for Polyurethane Laminate, a thin plastic film applied to fabric in order to make it waterproof. This is a great boon to the modern cloth nappy industry of today – waterproof cloth nappies that do not leak.

Here are 3 mistakes you can make that will soon destroy your nappy’s waterproof PUL lining, leaving them leaking, peeling and far less than stellar, and what you should do instead, put very simply…

1. Soak Your Nappies in Bleach and Wash with Full Strength Detergents Every Wash.

The bleach will quite effectively deteriorate the PUL lining. Instead, pop the nappies in a lidded bucket until your washing day, no soaking is required. Full detergent will leave a residue build-up that will make the nappy less and less absorbent, and contribute to smells! Instead, use a 1/3 of the usual amount of detergent, and also use vinegar and bi-carb as natural yet effective and cheap cleansers.

2. Wash in Hot Water Each Washing Day.

Washing your nappies in very hot water will contribute to their deterioration – not to mention the cost and eco-impact. Instead, favour a warm wash, with only the occasional hot wash.

3. Tumble Dry on the Hot Setting After Each Wash.

Tumble drying regularly on the hot setting will actually melt the PUL lining – it is plastic after all, contributing to splitting, perishing and leaking of the lining. Instead, favour line drying, and tumble drying on the lowest setting – do an additional spin cycle to remove extra water, this extra spin can reduce drying time by 25%!

So, modern nappies are easy to care for once you know these 3 top ways to destroy them. On washing day, simply remove any ‘solids’ to the toilet, do a rinse in cold water then a wash in warm, and favour line drying, for the most eco-friendly washing regime. Easy!

Have fun expanding your modern nappy stash as you save money each week at the supermarket checkout. Simply chuck them in the wash, press a few buttons or turn a dial and put them out on the line with your other washing.

By Charndra Josling

And now Charndra invites you to win some modern cloth nappies by registering now to play in one of the regular giveaways held here on My Green You’ll discover great tips, secrets to finding bargains, and everything you need to know about the modern cloth nappy and using any sort of green nappies in a more environmentally friendly way.



  1. Love the tip about doing an extra spin cycle! Will definitely give that a go! thanks

    Comment by Caro — January 31, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  2. #4 – do what i (accidentally) did, and when stuffing pocket nappies, scratch the inside with sharp/rough fingernails. This effectively creates a hole in the PUL lining…

    Comment by Alison Keen — January 31, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  3. Hey awesome, thanks for this. I love the title, it got me to click the link rather than delete the e-mail! I have a problem still with PUL nappies just randomly becoming not water-proof. It happens overnight and I wondered if it happens to anyone else, or if you have any other suggestions? I store up a load, rinse poop off in cold water, do a cold machine rinse then cold or 30degree (coolest warm wash on my machine) wash in the machine. I use Ecostore wool wash liquid but only a fraction of what they say to use. Same issues happened when I used fractions of ecostore front loader powder. Nappies work great then one day BANG, the leak like a sieve. Usually when I’m out somewhere 😉 Any advice? Thanks, Kari

    Comment by Kari Beaven — February 1, 2011 @ 8:07 am

  4. Caro – Yes, I’ve been doing the extra spin too – it works GREAT!
    Alison – Dang! That’s one I hadn’t thought of!
    Kristie – great tips! I’ve really seen awesome tips come through, hope they help you all too…

    Comment by Charndra — February 1, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  5. Kari,
    I’ll ask our nappy doula’s and do a post about what comes back…

    Here is the post: Insights into Leaking PUL Nappies….

    Comment by Charndra — February 1, 2011 @ 9:10 am

  6. Hi Kari – I have experienced your problem in the past too – I find having some extra boosters in there helps (I think it’s an absorbency problem more than a PUL problem?). It also generally only happens with nappies that have a cotton outer – for night time (or other times when your bub will be in the nappy for a while, ie. outings, car trips) try usually nappies with a polyester outer, like minkee or polar fleece. Hope that helps 🙂

    Comment by Kyra — February 1, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  7. I have found that too much direct UV can also cause the PUL lining to deteriorate. While my nappies get as much sunshine as possible on the clothesline, I now dry my covers on an airing rack on the porch, where they are out of the direct sun. They dry in no time and last so much longer.

    Comment by Anne — February 1, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  8. Charndra wanted me to shed some light on anything that I thought might help in this situation so here goes…

    There are 2 main reasons why PUL nappies randomly start doing this and that I can see might apply here.

    Firstly, because the nappies are washed in wool wash, there will most likely be a build up of detergent in the nappies causing them to become less absorbent. I recommend doing a strip wash

    ** Step 1: Start by washing your nappies as usual, its best to do a strip wash on clean nappies. A cold wash with a very small amount of detergent is best.
    Step 2: Run your nappies through a HOT wash with NO DETERGENT. Note that with PUL nappies it is recommended that you do not wash above 60 degrees, so set your machine on about this. (you can use a small amount of cheap dishwashing liquid in this wash if you wish, make sure there is no moisturiser in this liquid. You could also use some Bicarb instead)
    Step 3: Run your nappies through an extra rinse with a little vinegar (the vinegar removes the odours and detergent residue)
    Step 4: KEEP RINSING! do as many rinses as it takes for the suds in the washing machine to be completely gone and the water to become clear. (this will probably take about 3 or 4 rinses)
    Step 5: Put your nappies out in the sun to dry. (if its not a sunny day then its okay to hang them elsewhere) **

    The strip wash will help your nappies to become more absorbent, which will help with your random daytime wee leakages. I recommend either strip washing once a fortnight or using a detergent free nappy wash such as rockin green or soapnuts (I have tried both of these and they are both great options) There are other detergents strictly for nappy washing that I haven’t tried also.

    The other thing that might be causing the PUL to leak, especially in overnight instances, would be that the nappy is simply not containing the wee. A brief description of what I mean…

    PUL is a micro-porous fabric, this means that while the fabric is waterproof, it is breathable (which is why we use it on our little ones’ precious bottoms instead of PVC pilchers). Because it is breathable, when your bub has filled their nappy to capacity and is wearing something on the outside (such as cotton shorts) you will have “wicking” problems, this is when the polyester fabric that is your PUL is against an absorbent fabric such as cotton and the absorbent fabric pulls the wetness through causing damp or sometimes just plain old wet pants. Another thing your nappy might do is “pressure leak” so when they sit it might leak on their bottom, or if they are in the car seat it might leak where the strap goes through their legs.

    So the way you can fix this, is (as per the other cause) do a strip wash on your nappies as it will improve the absorbency or add more absorbency to your nappy. Overnight, I’d recommend getting a wool cover (this will act as a second layer of waterproofing for the nappy) and maybe adding another booster to their nappy to add absorbency.

    Either way, Id recommend the first course of action would be a strip wash. If this doesn’t work, perhaps look at some more absorbent nappies, extra boosters etc.

    If you have any more questions about anything I’ve said, please email me to

    – Amy Grant
    WeePantz Cloth Nappies

    Comment by Amy Grant — February 2, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Kari,
    It sounds like you care for your nappies very well.

    Unfortunately PUL nappies are not the most durable nappies on the market. After much of my own research before the birth of my son, I decided that a cover separate to the nappy was the most durable and economical.

    You see PUL covers (and material) do not have as long a life span as the nappy itself. It is the least durable part of the nappy and once it wears out the AIO or pocket nappy is unusable.

    So Kari your problem is very common when it comes to AIO’s (nappies with PUL covers all together). It has nothing to do with the way you care for them – they are just not designed for full time use. Especially over night a two cover system is more reliable as it has 2 layers of containment rather then one.

    Having said that, AIO’s are good to have for the occasional wear, especially on outings or when someone who is not as experienced with nappies is caring for the baby. I myself have a few that I take as spares when we go out for the day.

    Comment by Amanda — February 3, 2011 @ 11:45 am

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