How to wash cloth nappies using a single-cycle routine (daycare protocol)

Overview

Our single wash protocol is a long hot wash with detergent and chlorine bleach. This method oxidises stains, breaks down ammonia and removes the fungal load from nappies. No pre wash is required using this method.

We often refer to this method as our ‘daycare protocol’. It is suitable for washing cloth nappies and diapers that are shared between non-siblings in a childcare setting, such as early childhood education or family daycare centres. This can also be used in households with limited water resources.

In Australia and New Zealand, hygiene items such as nappies shared between children/people need to be sanitised to the AS/NZS 4146:2000 laundry practice standard.1

This method has not been trialled long-term. Including chlorine bleach in every wash may add additional wear to your nappies.

Prepare the nappies

Nappies should be washed at the end of each day or within a maximum of 48 hours. Do not leave dirty nappies over the weekend or public holidays.

Keep nappies as dry as possible until wash. Do not soak.

Remove soiling. Hand rinse and treat with laundry stain remover or bar soap if dealing with stainy poo.

Calculate required chlorine bleach amount

Calculate the amount of chlorine bleach required using the Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ table. Note the amount of bleach (and water to dilute if applicable) for future reference.

Wash method

  1. Load dirty nappies into the machine
  2. Add quality detergent, dosing for heavily soiled laundry and your machine size (increase detergent by 25% for every kg above 7 kg)
  3. Select your long/heavily soiled cycle (use the main wash selection for your machine)
  4. Set the wash temperature to 60°C (hot/very hot in a top loader)
  5. Start the machine
    1. For front loaders wait the detergent to be washed down the drawer and add chlorine bleach via the detergent drawer approximately 10 minutes into the cycle
    2. For top loaders add chlorine bleach after the machine has finished filling
  6. Continue the cycle as normal
  7. Add an extra rinse at the end of the wash if items smell of bleach
    • This step is optional as the smell of chlorine bleach will dissipate when drying
  8. Dry the nappies
    • If sharing nappies between non-siblings, you must dry using a method approved under your country’s laundry standards

Front and top loaders have different cycle lengths and loading requirements. Machine specific information is detailed on the Front Loader Wash Routine, Traditional Top Loader Wash Routine or High-Efficiency Top Loader Wash Routine pages.

References

  1. Standards Australia, AS/NZS 4146:2000 Laundry practice (January 28, 2022) <https://www.standards.org.au/standards-catalogue/sa-snz/manufacturing/tx-016/as-slash-nzs--4146-2000>.