Sanitise overview for modern cloth nappies and textiles

We want it to be easy to use cloth nappies, so we have developed the Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ methods. With our methods you can remove stains and smells from cloth nappies using minimal effort, resources and money.

The Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ information was developed and tested by qualified Chemists.

Reasons to Sanitise™ cloth nappies

Ammonia and urine go hand in hand, you can’t avoid it occurring, although you can prevent it from causing problems by washing your nappies well to begin with.

Sanitisation removes ammonia and any microbes which can cause problems like redness, rashes and fabric degradation.

Reasons to sanitise include:

  • Second-hand purchases
  • Washing nappies in cold water
  • Using a less-than-great detergent
  • Smells, stinks and stains
  • Mould
  • Nappy rash or redness
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections

Even with the best wash routine and washing machine, cloth nappies and diapers can smell and get stained (after all, their job is to catch poo and urine). The good news is it is easy to fix and get them back to stain-free, and smelling great.

Sanitising within an early childhood education centre

You may also need to sanitise cloth nappies and diapers shared among non-siblings, such as in an early childhood education centre or family daycare setting. Learn more about our single-cycle protocol.

The Clean Cloth Nappies sanitise methods

The two most effective, economical and accessible options to remove stains, smells and sanitise are chlorine bleach or a high heat cycle. These are the only methods that will oxidise ammonia. Learn more about ammonia.

Items made with PUL, TPU and/or elastics cannot be washed in a 90/95°C sanitise cycle because they can delaminate or become damaged. We have PUL safe options in our chlorine bleach table.

What options are included in the chlorine bleach table?

The full chlorine bleach table has 31 different options to choose from, including ammonia smells (mild, moderate, significant), cold water washes, mould (minor and significant), one cycle washes, second-hand nappies, minor stains, major stains, bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Impetigo, Salmonella, Listeria), fungal infections and more.

Stovetop Sanitise

Stovetop sanitising is appropriate for delicate items which need sanitising but cannot be put through high heat or chlorine bleach.

Clean Cloth Nappies Chlorine Bleach Sanitise™

Remove stains and smells from cloth nappies, diapers, clothes and general laundry.

The Chlorine Bleach Sanitise™ table and information provide you with the correct quantities to use to remove certain stains and smells easily. It reduces the risk of user error and it is easy! Why do you need the correct quantities? So that the process actually works and you don’t damage your cloth nappies, diapers, clothes and laundry. Don’t guess, it can result in disaster!

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Before and after of a white t-shirt with a fruit stain. The stain was removed using the Clean Cloth Nappies Chlorine Bleach Sanitise® method
Stains removed from a cloth nappy insert using Clean Cloth Nappies Chlorine Bleach Sanitise® method

Remove mould from textiles

Before and after of a Jamie Kay dress that was covered in mould by a Clean Cloth Nappies Facebook group member using the Clean Cloth Nappies Chlorine bleach Sanitise® method

Sanitise quick reference tables

Use these quick reference tables to determine which method (or methods) is suitable to sanitise your items.

Note: some options output the same bleach concentration. In this situation there is no need to run separate wash cycles. For example, the Second-hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell) option is suitable for PUL covers, AIOs and inserts.

Suitability by fabric
Sanitise method Colours PUL Whites
90/95°C sanitise cycle
Front loader chlorine bleach
Top loader chlorine bleach
Small scale chlorine bleach

*Fabric may fade or shrink, and prints and decals may crack or peel during a 90/95°C sanitise cycle. If you are unsure how the item will react to heat use the Small Scale chlorine bleach method instead.

Suitability by application
Sanitise application Colours PUL Whites
Ammonia (mild)
Ammonia (moderate)
Ammonia (significant)
Ammonia (moderate-significant PUL limit)
Bacterial infection: Impetigo
Bacterial infection: Listeria
Bacterial infection: Salmonella
Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus
Cold wash (prewash)
Cold wash (main wash)
Fungal infections: Candida species
Fungal infection: Tinea/ Ringworm
Fungal infection (non-colourfast safe)
Mould (minor)
Mould (moderate)
Mould (significant)
Mould (non-colourfast safe)
Mould (moderate-significant – PUL limit)
Nuke everything (I have no fear)
Prewash stain removal
Second-hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell)
Second-hand nappies (minor stains)
Second-hand nappies (moderately stained/smelly)
Second-hand nappies (significantly stained/ smelly)
Second-hand nappies (moderate-significantly stained/ smelly PUL limit)
Single-cycle routine
Stains (minor)
Stains (moderate)
Stains (significant)
Stains (non-colourfast safe)
Stains (moderate-significant PUL limit)

Use the Coloured/non colourfast option for fabrics that are coloured or dyed (for example cotton or bamboo). Other options use a higher concentration of chlorine bleach and may result in those fabrics fading.

References and further reading

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chemical Disinfectants: Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008.
  2. K Reynolds, S Boone, K Bright, C Gerba, Occurrence of Household Mold and Efficacy of Sodium Hypochlorite Disinfectant, 2012.
  3. S. Wilson, C Wu, L Andriychuk, J Martin, T Brasel, C Jumper, D Straus, Effect of Chlorine Dioxide Gas on Fungi and Mycotoxins Associated with Sick Building Syndrome, 2005.
  4. M Korukluoglu, Y Sahan, A Yigit, The fungicidal efficacy of various commercial disinfectants used in the food industry, 2006.
  5. Z Mohamad, Stachybotrys chartarum: its identification and response to antimicrobial treatment and prevention, 2018.
  6. Jennifer L. Cadnum, Aaron A. Shaikh, Christina T. Piedrahita, Thriveen Sankar, Annette L. Jencson, Emily L. Larkin, Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, Curtis J. Donskey, Effectiveness of Disinfectants Against Candida auris and Other Candida Species (June 8, 2022) <,0.5%20%C2%B1%200.4)%2C%20C.>.