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

July 1, 2012

Australian Cloth Nappies. How Long Do You Expect a Modern Cloth Nappy To Last?

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Australian Cloth Nappies. How Long Do You Expect a Modern Cloth Nappy To Last?

What is the Overall lifespan of a Modern Cloth Nappy anyway?

For this question we are looking at the overall lifespan of the cloth nappy, rather than how long you can leave it on your baby before they need to have a nappy change. If you have more than one baby in nappies, or know you plan to have more, the lifespan of a nappy means you can massively increase your savings when compared to using disposable nappies.

Our Nappy Experts are invited to contribute to these cooperative questions so that you get a range of informative and experienced responses about the topic. Enjoy and discover something new, and share with us in the comment box below.

Let’s see what they have to say:

How Long Do You Expect a Modern Cloth Nappy To Last? What is the Overall lifespan of a Modern Cloth Nappy anyway?

Lara from Extremely Nappies (closed):

Some of mine have been used or washed every day for 4 years, and are still going strong, still looking good. I generally expect them to start looking a little faded or ragged after a year or so, but still be fully functional. In fact, I make mine with a 12 month guarantee, (18 months on elastic) and do free repairs/resizings at anytime. I want you to be happy with your nappies for as long as you need them, and then be able to pass them on.

I’m always happy to answer your questions personally, even if you use a different brand.

Angie from Piggy Tails Nappies:

I would expect a good quality Modern Cloth Nappy to last two – three babies (using them full time for 2 ½ years for each baby). However, cloth nappies are like any items of baby clothing: if they are not looked after they wont last as long as items that are looked after and after long periods of wear they will become shabby looking.

Your MCNs will last longer the better you treat them. For example, if you wash in warm water or soak them, this could break down the fabrics in some nappies and shorten the life of your MCNs. Also, drying your nappies in the dryer or hanging the nappies on the clothes line so that the elastic stretches can also reduce the life of your MCNs. You should also be careful about how you store nappies between babies (because extended storage can affect the elasticity of some nappies).

Also, having more nappies in your stash will extend the life of your Modern Cloth Nappies (as they are washed less frequently).

Kelly from Nappy Needz:

Modern cloth nappies have a surprisingly long lifespan.  I have nappies in my collection that have been on at least four children and are well over 7 years old, and yet they are still going strong.  As long as you look after them, you should get a great deal of wear out of them.  You might find that some nappies need a little maintenance, such as the elastic replacing after a few years, but it’s a relatively simple job, and even those who are not a dab hand with the sewing machine should be able to find a friend or relative who can.

Melissa from Little Para Pants:

If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, a Modern Cloth Nappy should last at least a couple of years.  Sized nappies (at least smalls & mediums) should last for ages (2-3 children) since babies are in them for so short a time.  Larges & AIO nappies I imagine have a shorter life.

Susan from Nifty Naps:

I think if you were to have the required amount of good quality MCNS in your ‘stash’ to cloth one child full-time without ever running out when washing every 2 days and they are taken cared of then they should last 3 children in a row easily.

Melanie & Diana from Bodeo:

This is a question we are asked often, with the answer being somewhat complex. The same nappy may last for many years, being used on several children with some people, while only just lasting out one child with others! The length of time a nappy will last depends on many factors, such as how many nappies you have in your stash, how they are washed/dried, are they a OSFM which will be in constant use for 2.5 years or a sized nappy that won’t be used as long, what sort of fabric is the nappy made of, and so on.

Increasing your nappy stash to have more nappies than you actually ‘need’ will help to increase the length of time they last for, especially if you have a lot of OSFM or multi size nappies. Using a tumble dryer and washing with hot water can reduce the life span off nappies, as can soaking in chemicals. Hanging nappies so that the leg elastic isn’t strained and line drying in the sun will help with this.

Some babies may have super strong or ‘toxic’ wee, in which case its best to rinse each nappy out before dry pailing to help prevent the wee from eating into the fabric. When choosing fabrics, while Bamboo is super absorbent, it isn’t a very strong fabric on its own. It is often blended with cotton to give it more strength. Hemp and Cotton are extremely hard wearing fabrics.

Jodi from MCN Lovers R Us:

I think when it comes to cloth nappies you get what you paid for. I have plenty of CCs (china cheapies, imported nappies) and then I have WAHM made nappies and brand name nappies. With proper care I would expect the cheaper nappies to last a child from birth to toilet training or longer. More expensive nappies should be good to use for multiple children (and most elastics can be replaced if you’ve got some sewing skills or you can ask a WAHM to do them for you so they can keep going long beyond the life span of their elastic!)

Erin from Rascal Rumps:

That depends a lot on the Modern Cloth Nappy you buy and how you care for them.  Cheap imports will usually see you through one baby if you look after them whereas a good WAHM made one will last through 2 or 3 kids.

Nat and Amy from Little Diamond Bums (closed):

It does depend on the quality of the individual brand purchased. Most cloth nappies will last the use from birth to potty training for two siblings if not more if they are well looked after.  This includes not using a dryer, hanging as to not stretch the elastic etc. You may be able to extend the life of some nappies by replacing the elastic and Velcro. To get the most out of your cloth nappies follow the manufactures guidelines and choose snaps over Velcro.  

– Our Nappy Experts –

Discover Expert Advice About The Modern Cloth Nappy – Information About Modern Cloth Nappies – Advice About Frequently Asked Cloth ‘Newbie’ Questions – Lots of Tips and Tricks to Help You With Your Reusable Nappies – Learn From the Experts in Cloth Nappies –

Discover More from Our Nappy Experts…

Our Comment Question is about Cloth Nappies and their longevity:

Which brands have lasted the longest and in best condition for you? (and in what size of nappy rotation!)


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