If you’re considering using reusable nappies, you might be wondering how long do reusable nappies last? After all, you don’t want to have to replace them every few months!
In this post, we’ll take a look at how long different types of reusable nappies can be expected to last.
We’ll also discuss some tips on keeping them in good condition for as long as possible.
How Many Years Can You Expect Your Reusable Nappies to Last?
This isn’t a new idea, the likelihood is your mum used reusable nappies for you when you were a child and your grandmother certainly did. The more nappies you have, the longer they will last as they will be used less.
Reusable nappies (provided you look after them) will last for a really long time. However, they are not indestructible and will suffer wear over time. Just like your clothes wear a little bit more every time you wash them nappies do too.
Babies get through a lot of nappy changes, 5 nappies a day work out at over 1800 disposable nappies a year and your baby is likely to use a lot more in their first year, up to 2500. That’s a lot of nappies you are saving from the bin by choosing to reuse.
Depending on how many nappies you have (the patterns are gorgeous and it can be tempting to buy more) each nappy is going to get washed around 2 or 3 times a week. Which means by the time you potty train each nappy is going to have been washed at least 200 times. If you washed a pair of jeans or a t-shirt that many times you would expect fading and thinning of the fabric and the same is true of nappies.
If you are starting using cloth nappies with your first baby you can get nappies that will last you through to potty training and can then be used again for any subsequent children. If you have a new baby before the first is potty trained you might need a few extra when baby number two comes along, or you might just find you have enough to fill the machine and wash more often.
Things that might go wrong with your nappies
There are a few things that might go wrong and mean you need to replace your nappies rather than selling them on when your babies are all grown up into preschoolers, but generally speaking, providing you look after them, good quality reusable nappies last a really long time.
1. The elastic can go over time. It’s the same as your knicker elastic going after a few years. Luckily though this is pretty easy to repair if you are handy with a needle and thread, or inexpensive to get someone else to.
2. The PLU stops being waterproof. This will happen over time but there are a few things that will speed up the process that you can avoid. First up neither the elastic or the PLU like the dryer so while you might tumble the inserts it’s always best to hang out the wraps.
Ammonia can degrade the fabric so it’s best not to leave for more than a couple of days maximum before washing and if you need to for any reason, for example, you are on holiday, do a quick rinse wash.
3. Look after the velcro (or go for poppers instead). Velcro can catch on the nappy fabric causing little pulls that will degrade the overall look of the nappy over time and can also get clogged up pretty quickly with fluff. Defluffing the velcro can be a great meditative activity.
Reusable Nappies FAQS
How long do reusable nappies last?
Reusable nappies can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years, depending on their quality, care, and frequency of use.
It’s important to use the correct wash cycle for your nappies, and it’s also best to hang dry.
What factors can affect the lifespan of cloth diapers?
Factors such as the material quality, washing and care practices, and the number of nappies in rotation can all impact how long a cloth diaper will remain effective.
Cloth diaper fabrics also play a part, for example prefold diapers are known for longevity while pocket diapers or diaper covers can have issues with failed PUL.
Typically, diapers will last longer if you have a large stash. It makes sense that this would increase the life span, since a smaller number of diapers means more wash cycles and more wear.
Can reusable nappies be used for multiple children?
Yes, reusable nappies can often be used for multiple children if they are well-maintained, extending their overall lifespan and providing cost savings for families.
If you aren’t planning to use for multiple children, one size diapers may be a better option, so that the same modern cloth nappy can be used until its time for your child to potty train. Sized diapers will mean buying more diapers overall, which may be less of a concern if you can store them for future babies.