Caring for night nappies

Night nappy treatment is based on the amount of urine in the nappy. They can require a little more effort to remove the heavy urine load. A good wash routine will prevent smells and ammonia.

Each night nappy needs to be washed on the same day that it comes off the bum.

What counts as a night nappy

A night nappy is a nappy that has been on the bum for more than 4 hours and includes a significant amount of urine. This is usually a nappy that is worn overnight.

Dedicated night nappies have a greater absorption capacity than day nappies. Many dedicated night nappies are on the bum for 12 hours.

Washing night nappies

Adding night nappies directly into your prewash cycle (alongside other items) saves time and makes using cloth easier. We trialled this extensively before updating our advice.

There are three ways to wash night nappies:

  • hand-wash in hot water with a small amount of laundry detergent, spin in the washing machine and dry pail until prewash; or
  • add to a daily 60+ minute 60ºC prewash cycle; or
  • add to a daily 45+ minute prewash cycle, any temperature*, using bleach in addition to detergent.

* If night nappies smell after washing in cold water with bleach increase the water temperature to 40ºC.

The daily 60+ minute, 60ºC prewash option works best in front loaders. If you have a top loader you should hand wash night nappies or add bleach to prewash to limit the formation of ammonia. Learn more about our updated night nappy recommendations.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Additional information about caring for night nappies, and our updated recommendations.

Will adding the night nappy to my daily prewash work for me?

The daily 60ºC prewash option works best in front loaders as they are capable of washing at this temperature.

Top loader owners need to add bleach to prewash night nappies in the washing machine.

If you are unable to run a 60ºC prewash and also do not want to use bleach you will need to hand wash the night nappy.

Can night nappies and day nappies be washed together?

Yes, the night nappy and all the day nappies can go into the morning or evening prewash together.

It makes the most sense for water and power use to prewash all the nappies together.

Why did Clean Cloth Nappies update night nappy recommendations?

We actively look for ways to make things quicker, easier and cheaper for people so that they try cloth nappies and continue using cloth nappies.

Adding night nappies directly into your prewash cycle saves time and makes using cloth easier. We trialled this extensively before updating our advice.

My child wears a night nappy and wakes up dry, what should I do?

Night nappy treatment is based on the amount of urine in the nappy. If the nappy is dry you can:

  • add it straight in the main wash, or
  • add it to your next pre wash

Keep an eye out for smells and adjust as needed.

I use a day nappy overnight, should I treat it as a night nappy?

If you use a day nappy for overnight and it’s very wet, you may still benefit from night nappy style treatment. This is not likely to be as important as it will be with dedicated night nappies that are designed to take 13 hours of urine.