Welcome to Clean Cloth Nappies®

We are the Cloth Nappy experts. Our information has been developed and tested by qualified chemists and professionals.

Our wash recommendations make it easy to learn how to wash cloth nappies and diapers and keep them clean!

About Clean Cloth Nappies

Our website is a science-based education resource. We aim to encourage best practice to ensure success in getting reliably clean laundry with each and every wash.

The team behind the website

We are a group of parents who got tired of smelly, stained nappy laundry that gave our children rashes. We knew there must be a better way to keep our nappies clean.

What is a Clean Cloth Nappies routine?

Nappies are some of the dirtiest items you will ever wash. Modern cloth nappy inserts often consist of multilayered fibres. They are absorbent and require thorough washing to remove soiling and urine.

We recommend a two-step wash routine. A short wash with a half dose of detergent, followed by a longer wash with a heavily soiled dose of detergent. All washes should be done in warm (40°C) or hot (60°C) water.

Ensuring your nappies are washed thoroughly prevents ammonia from forming and prolongs the life of the fabric.


Choose a detergent

Our favourite detergents and dosage recommendations are available to everyone. Our full list of 218 different detergents is available exclusively to our website members. Choose a detergent.


Remove soiling

Remove the majority of soiling (poo) once children are eating solid food, and flush.

This does not need to be done immediately, nappies can be treated together at the end of the day.

Do not rinse wee only nappies.


Store in an airy basket

Keep cloth nappies as dry as possible until it is time to wash, ideally in an airy basket without a lid. This is known as dry pailing.

Do not soak your cloth nappies. Soaking nappies degrades the PUL and elastics prematurely, forms a bacterial breeding ground and is a drowning hazard.


First wash to remove bulk of soiling

Run a wash cycle, with detergent, every 24 to 48 hours. We call this the ‘prewash’ cycle. This cycle removes excess soiling, and means the main wash is done in clean water.

Loading does not matter for the prewash cycle, only for the main wash cycle. Many people run a daily prewash cycle.

Each nappy needs one prewash. Place prewashed nappies in your dry pail until there are enough nappies to run a main wash.


Second wash to get the nappies clean

Run a long wash every two or three days with detergent. We call this the ‘main wash’.

It is important to load the washing machine properly for main wash. Many people add small items (light-coloured to prevent colour run) to their main wash to ensure optimal agitation. Aim for items smaller than 60x60cm, baby and children’s clothes are an ideal size. Large items such as adult bath towels will wrap around nappies and reduce agitation.

Cycle length and machine loading recommendations vary based on your machine. Learn more.


Dry all items thoroughly

Dry outdoors on a washing line, indoors on an airer, or in the dryer.

Avoid hanging PUL shells, covers and wet bags in direct sun. Use low heat if drying PUL items in the dryer.

Loading and cycle length recommendations

Front Loaders, Traditional Top Loaders and High-Efficiency (HE) Top Loaders have different cycle lengths and loading requirements. No matter what machine you use, getting the right ratio of water to laundry is fundamental for optimal cleaning.

We have cycle recommendations for 58 different washing machines and detergent information for 218 different detergents across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Learn more about wash cycles.

Select your machine below

Front loaders use less water and have longer cycles than traditional top loaders. Front loaders in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe heat their own water and wash at a range of temperatures. We recommend washing at 40-60°C.

Front loaders in North America do not usually heat their own water.

Loading and cycle length

A front loader pre wash cycle needs to run for at least 30 minutes. Many people run daily 60 minute+ pre wash cycles using hot (60°C) water. Loading does not matter for pre wash.

The main wash cycle needs to run for 2.5 to 3 hours and be rated for the full capacity of the machine. This is often the Cottons cycle.

Load the machine loosely full dry, this will be between 2/3- 3/4 full wet. Pre washed items count as dry. Add small items as needed to bulk the load.

Too little in the machine results in inadequate agitation and excess suds. Too much in the machine prevents items from moving freely and inhibits agitation.

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Clean Cloth Nappies resources

Buying a new washing machine

Our tips for choosing a new washing machine. We delve into cost, size, cycle options and energy and water efficiency.

Video resources

A collection of sanitising, stain removal and cloth nappy videos.

Cloth nappy index

We want to simplify and demystify the world of modern cloth nappies. Experienced members of our community test all items prior to inclusion.

Washing machine index

The Clean Cloth Nappies Washing Machine Index lists pre and main wash cycles to use for washing your modern cloth nappies.

Popular topics

Latest posts

Introducing our ‘bleach in prewash’ calculator

You may have noticed we’ve been promoting using chlorine bleach in prewash these days. This is because it is a fuss-free way to ensure clean nappies and to help reduce cost of living pressures.

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Clean Cloth Nappies acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of Australia and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.