A baby lying on the floor wearing a blue cloth nappy with ducks on.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Switching to Reusable Cloth Nappies

Reusable cloth nappies are a great choice for parents wanting to reduce their environmental footprint and save money. This beginner's guide will provide you with all the tips, tricks, and information you need to make the switch from disposable diapers to reusable nappies for your baby.

How do reusable nappies work? 

All reusable nappies are made from two parts; an absorbent material and a waterproof outer layer. This can take the form of all-in-ones, all-in-twos, pockets or two part systems.

All In Ones (AIOs) - In these nappies, the absorbent parts are sewn directly to the outer waterproof shell to create one piece. These can sometimes be put straight on the baby, and sometimes the absorbent part has to be folded first. The advantages of these nappies are that they are the most similar to disposables and are usually quick and easy to fit. The disadvantage is that they take longer to dry because they are all one piece. They also sometimes need boosting with more absorbency, or may require a nappy liner.

All In Twos (AI2s) - These nappies are made of a waterproof outer shell and an absorbent inner that usually pops to the shell with poppers. This means that, unless your baby has pooed, the shell can be wiped down and reused. These can be a cost saving option for many parents as only the inside layer needs changing at every nappy change. They also dry more quickly than AIOs as they can be taken apart. However they have the same disadvantages; they also sometimes need boosting with more absorbency, or may require a nappy liner.

Pocket - Pocket nappies are made of a waterproof shell with a stay dry lining, usually made of fleece or athletic wicking jersey, with a pocket. They need absorbent inserts stuffed into the pocket. The advantages to these nappies are that they are very customisable; you can use as many inserts or boosters as you need for your baby, and that they dry very quickly. The disadvantage is that they do take a bit of time to prepare as they will need to be stuffed before use. 

Two part - Two part nappies are made of a waterproof shell and a seperate absorbent nappy. The absorbent part could be a folded flat (think terries like your grandma used) or prefold, or a shaped nappy. These nappies are great for heavy wetters or for night time as the absorbent part can usually hold a lot of liquid. They also usually dry very quickly, and, unless your baby has pooed, the shell can be wiped down and reused. A disadvantage is that folding flats or prefolds can be time consuming and some people find this tricky.

How many do I need?

If you want to use cloth nappies full time, we recommend having between 15-20 daytime nappies and 5 night nappies to allow for washing and drying time. This would save up to 8000 disposable nappies from landfill!

What do I do with poo?

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, their poo is completely water soluble so you can put the whole nappy straight into your washing machine! If not, poo must be flushed in the toilet. You could do this by shaking, scraping or spraying. You should never put it in the household bin! 

How do I wash them? 

Cloth nappies can be cleaned in any washing machine! 

Check out our washing instructions for help on our recommended wash routine. 

How do I get started? 

All it takes is one nappy! You can start how you feel comfortable. Some people only use cloth at home and disposables while out of the house, some people only use cloth during the daytime. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing so I would say to give it a go and find what works for you.


Ready to make the switch? Shop our nappies and bundles.


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