If you are new to cloth nappies you might be wondering how many nappies you would need to use cloth full time; in fact this is one of our most frequently asked questions.
More importantly, you’ll want to know what the cost will be when you decide to use cloth nappies full time. Before we answer that question, remember that even one reusable nappy will save a disposable from the landfill every time you use it. It’s so much less waste in your rubbish bin too!
And even if you switch slowly, maybe just using washables for night nappies or still having disposables for nursery, you will still save money and reduce waste by using cloth nappies.
How Many Reusable Nappies You Need Depends on a Number of Factors
It can be hard to work out how many cloth nappies is enough nappies, but we do have some handy tips to help your build your nappy collection.
To use reusable nappies full time the general consensus is you will need anywhere from 15 to 25 nappies. We recommend running a nappy wash every other day, this should equate to a full load.
However, a number of factors will affect how many cloth nappies or hybrid nappies you will need.
How Often You Are Washing Cloth Nappies
If you are washing your cloth diapers daily, it goes without saying that you will get away with having less nappies. A regular laundry routine will help you keep on top of things even if you do have fewer nappies.
Many parents like to run a cloth nappy wash every other day; in this case you will need enough cloth nappies to cover two full days, plus a few extra nappies to allow for drying. It’s likely that you will need daily washes during the newborn stage however.
How You Will Dry Your Cloth Nappies
If you will tumble dry your nappies, naturally this takes the pressure off drying time.
When buying cloth nappies, consider drying time. There are so many styles to pick from. Normally extra absorbency equates to a longer drying time, but clever design can get around that rule.
Flat nappies and pocket nappies will typically dry faster than all in one nappies, so if you plan to have a smaller stash choose carefully. If using a tumble dryer though, this is less of a concern.
How Many Cloth Nappies Your Child Goes Through Each Day
For your newborn baby, you will need more nappies and 25 is a better starting point for a full stash. For older children, 12-15 day nappies and 3 night nappies should be adequate for washing every 2 days.
Within this number, you will need some nappies that are super absorbent and suitable for night-times. These often take longer to dry so you might want 4 or 5 of these to be on the safe side although 3 should do if you have good drying facilities.
Babies will have different needs on this factor- for example, as with disposable nappies, modern cloth nappies should be changed immediately once soiled to avoid nappy rash- so if you have a baby who poops at every feed, you may need some extra nappies for your baby (or to wash more often).
The Type Of Cloth Nappies You Have In Your Stash
As you may or may not know there are different styles of reusable nappies that basically fall into two categories. Nappies where you change the whole thing at each change (all-in-one nappies) and nappies that have a separate inner absorbent layer and out waterproof wrap where you only need to change the inner nappy (two-piece nappies).
If you use a two-piece system you will probably only need 1 wrap to every 2-4 nappies as they can be reused a few times and dry quickly.
For days when you’re sending your child to grandparents or childcare, you may find that an all-in-one nappy is preferable at least to being with unless you have carers that are used to using cloth nappies.
However, if you prefer a two-piece system you can always set these up ready to go so they can be changed in one piece like an all-in-one.
Can I really Save Money Buying So Many Cloth Nappies?
If you are worried about the upfront cost, we would recommend that you gradually build up your stash- this also allows you to try out different kinds of washable nappies on your child. There’s such a huge range of modern cloth nappies out there that it’s a good idea to try different types out with your baby.
Over time, you can buy extra inserts and build your reusable nappy stash.
Finally, the key is to try to avoid buying too many cloth nappies, tempting as it may be! A solid nappy washing routine will help you keep costs down, minimising environmental impact in the process.