How to Wash Reusable Nappies *Spoiler Alert* It’s Easy!

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To celebrate the launch of TotsBots reusable nappies at JoJo, the Little Extras blog is bringing you plenty of useful information and tips to get you started on your cloth nappy journey. Earlier this week we shared ‘How Reusable Nappies Work & Why You Should Try Them’. So, now you’ve decided to give them a go, you’ll want to know the best way to wash and care for them to make the most out of their excellent quality and be able to use them on your next child(ren). Find out how below.

Contrary to popular belief based on the original cloth nappies, you do not need to soak your TotsBots reusable nappies before washing them. Many people may be put off using cloth nappies because the original designs were a bit of a hand full. Having to pin and wrap them multiple times a day, soak them, wash them and then hang them to dry couldn’t have been easy but it’s much simpler these days! In fact, according to a recent TotsBots survey, 90% of parents found it much easier than expected to use their nappies.

Step by Step

1. Lift the nappy liner out of your reusable nappy (if you used one) and shake off the poo into the toilet. If you used a disposable liner, throw it away. TotsBots biodegradable nappy liners can be tossed in the compost heap if have one.

2. Put your dirty nappy (and reusable liner, if you used one) inside a nappy bucket with a tight-fitting lid. As mentioned above, there’s no need to soak them.

3. If you place a mesh nappy bag inside the bucket first, you won’t have to touch poopy nappies each time you put on a wash load. It also makes it easier to put them into the machine!

4. If you’re out and about, it’s a good idea to take a wet bag with you to keep used nappies separate from the rest of your changing bag.

5. When you’re ready to machine wash, you can use any non-bio powder (not liquid) and avoid putting fabric softener in the machine as this can affect your nappies’ performance.

6. Use a 60-degree wash (or lower if they’re only wet, not soiled). Some antibacterial washing powders do a great job at getting your nappies hygienically clean at 30 degrees.

7. TotsBots nappies can be tumble dried on a cool setting, but drying outside in the sunshine is better for the environment and does wonders for potential stains!


Reusable nappies undergo quite a bit of laundering in their lifetime – we suggest familiarising yourself with these Do’s & Don’ts to ensure you get the best performance from them. If cared for correctly, you should be able to re-use your nappy on your 2nd and maybe even 3rd and 4th child!


Do’s & Don’ts


✔ Follow the wash instructions on the care label (also above).

✔ Pre-wash your nappies a few times before you use them. TotsBots recommend washing their nappies 10 times for them to reach full absorbency. If you can’t wait, they can still be used after a couple of washes but bear in mind they may not be as absorbent.

✔ Fold back the hook & loop laundry tabs before you put them in the machine to avoid damage. It’s easier to do this straight after the change, before you put them in your dirty nappy bucket.

✔ Use a nappy liner. This will not only protect your baby’s bottom by keeping it dry, but will protect your nappy too.

✔ Use a mesh laundry bag. As already mentioned, this makes getting all the nappies into the machine a doddle and will save you from having to touch them!

✔ Use non-bio powder. There is an enzyme present in some bio detergents which is corrosive to the bamboo fibre and cotton that TotsBots nappies are made from. Plus, non-bio is better for your baby’s skin.

✔ Dry your nappies on the line as much as you can. Sunlight will help keep stains at bay and UV radiation can also help kill bacteria! You can tumble dry the nappies on a cool setting if you must, but line drying will help save you money and the environment.



✖ We’ve said this a couple of times now but it’s worth repeating – don’t use fabric softeners or liquid detergent as these leave a residue which will decrease the absorbency and water resistance of your nappies.

✖ You don’t need to soak your nappies but if you have a bad stinker on your hands and feel the need to, don’t use harsh stain removers or soak them for any longer than 12 hours. You just can use water or a mild solution of TotsBots own powder, Potion, which has been specially formulated for use with their nappies.

✖ In addition to the above, avoid bleach – this is a harsh stain remover and will shorten the lifespan of your nappies.

✖ Don’t be tempted to use pastes of wash powders and apply directly to stains, this is too concentrated and will again shorten the lifespan of your nappies.

✖ Do not boil or use the ‘baby’ wash cycle on your machine. Please follow the washing instructions carefully. We know it can be tempting to put them on a hotter wash when they’re so stinky but 60 degrees will suffice. If you are worried about bacteria, leaving your nappies in direct sunlight will kill it off, even in winter!

✖ More products to avoid when washing – Bicarbonate of Soda and vinegar can dissolve cotton and bamboo fibres, drastically affecting the performance of TotsBots nappies.

✖ Always use a liner if you must use barrier creams like Sudocrem and other oil based products. These can also affect the fibres of the nappy and reduce absorbency.

✖ When drying nappies, don’t place them directly on radiators or similar. The heat can damage the PUL and elastic, affecting the functionality of your nappies.


If you have any unanswered questions, be sure to visit the ‘Reusable Nappies Guide’ on our website, where we answer some FAQs.



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