Holiday cloth use guide

It is the holiday season and many of us are heading away from home. This presents a problem, how to best wash your cloth nappies when you don’t have access to your regular machine?

Remember, you won’t ruin your nappies if they are not washed perfectly!

  • If you are camping, opt for flats and covers which can be hand washed and will dry easily.
  • If possible, do a daily prewash cycle in hot (60°C) water. If you can’t, Sanitise your nappies after, that will remove any smells and stains.
  • If you are using someone else’s machine and are worried about washing nappies in it, remove as much poo as possible prior and either use chlorine bleach in the main wash to Sanitise it, using the appropriate option listed on the sanitise tables or clean the machine after.

Using a different machine

Front loaders, traditional top loaders and high-efficiency (HE) top-loaders operate differently from each other. They all rely on the four cleaning factors of time, temperature, chemistry and mechanical action, but in different proportions.

If you need to use a different machine, see the Machine Index for prewash and main wash cycle suggestions. We provide machine-specific advice and loading videos to help you make the most of your washing machine type:


Use whatever is convenient, a wet bag or bucket is fine.

Only cold water is available

That is okay, either bucket in hot water or add chlorine bleach to each cycle. Our bleach in prewash calculator steps through how to do this.

Using a different detergent

If you don’t have access to your usual detergent or need to use a different brand, there are lots of options listed on the Detergent Index with quantities for pre and main wash.

If you need to use a detergent that isn’t listed on the Detergent Index, wash in hot (60°C) and use enough to create adequate suds. Check the suds level one-third of the way through the cycle and add more if necessary.

Don’t DIY, it doesn’t work unless you’re happy to scrub flats on a washboard.

Smells or stains

If items are not coming out clean, consider:

  • Increasing the wash time
  • Increasing the wash temperature
  • Using more detergent, or adding additional stain removal products 
  • Adjusting your machine loading

Enjoy your holiday break 🙂