Using Cloth Nappies:
Using Cloth Nappies > Cloth Diapering Tips & Troubleshooting

Tips & Troubleshooting


Take some time to get accustomed to your new cloth nappies, and don’t be afraid to play around with folding, stuffing, fastening, etc.

If you are making the switch to cloth nappies from disposables, mixing cloth nappies with disposables in the beginning (for outings or overnight) can make this transition easier. Most parents find that using cloth nappies is easier than they thought it would be, and quickly become avid full-time users.

If you are starting with a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to dive in full-time with cloth nappies. It's pretty easy and you'll get the routine down fast.

By the way, you may find that you will need to acquire baby clothes that can accommodate larger bums!

Important Reminders!

  • Using a nappy cream? Please protect your nappy with a liner! Avoid ointments with petroleum, fish oils or zinc.
  • If using flushable liners, be wary of thick ones if you plan to fold them. Folding may result in a liner that is too thick to allow liquid to penetrate through to the nappy, causing it to leak out the sides.
  • Runny newborn poop? If using prefolds, use the fan fold. And don’t be afraid to try out the bikini twist! It may take a few tries to master it – but it works very well for runny poop. A Bio-Soft liner can also help to absorb runny poop.
  • Be sure the wrap is fastened snugly enough so that it fits well and does not sag. Saggy nappies will leak! You will have to pay special attention to this once your baby starts to walk.
  • Reduce drying time by doing an extra spin cycle and/or throwing a dry towel or dryer balls into the dryer with your nappies.
  • Don’t use dryer sheets, even in your regular laundry – they will leave a stubborn residue on everything you dry in your dryer!
  • Dry your nappies occasionally in the sun – it brightens and disinfects.



Leaking problems?

Level 1

  • Check the important reminders above
  • Did you pre-wash your nappies or inserts and test for absorbance?
  • Do you have the proper size of nappy/insert/wrap for your baby?
  • Does the wrap fit snugly around baby’s legs and belly? Is it fastened tightly enough to create a proper fit?
  • If using a 2-piece nappy, make sure that the insert or nappy is completely contained inside the wrap. Any bit of cloth sticking out can cause leaking.
  • If using a prefold insert or other type of diaper with an adjustable insert, experiment with different ways of folding the insert to create more absorbency where it is needed. As your baby grows, you may have to adapt the way that the insert is folded and/or the way the nappy is adjusted. Sometimes experimentation is the key to success!
  • Don’t tuck your prefold insert into the front flap on the inside of the wrap - it is there to prevent leaking through the sewing line!

Level 2

Is there leaking straight through the fabric of the wrap? Is the suede-cloth on your synthetic nappies repelling moisture completely? Unless you are using diaper creams without a liner, then you have a detergent residue problem. This is caused by:

  • not using enough hot water to wash and rinse or
  • using too much detergent or
  • using a detergent with additives. Please consult our information on residues.


  • Are you changing your baby’s nappy often enough? Newborns need to be changed about every 2 hours! A huge advantage of using cloth nappies is that you know when your baby’s nappy is wet, so you change it more often.
  • Is your baby going through a growth spurt or sleeping more soundly at night? If so, you may need to add a doubler or liner for increased absorbency.
  • Are you reaching the limit of the nappy’s size range? If so, you may need to add a doubler or liner for increased absorbency.

Smelly Nappies or Wraps?

  • Once washed, your nappies should not smell like urine or detergent.
  • If they smell of detergent, wash them again in plenty of hot water and less detergent.
  • If they smell like ammonia once your baby wets them, make sure that you are using enough hot water and enough detergent.
  • Do your nappies smell clean when washed, but utterly horrible after the first pee? This could mean that urine residue is trapped within the fibres of your nappies, and this is always related to washing and rinsing without enough hot water. Urine residue can also lead to nappy rashes. You probably need to adjust the water level in your machine or ”trick“ your HE machine to increase the water level by adding one or two wet towels. Do not overstuff your machine – wash fewer nappies at a time.
  • Are your nappies and wraps stinky or discoloured? Then it is pretty clear that you have a detergent residue problem!

Please consult our information on residues! You will have to get rid of the residue problem and adjust your washing routine to ensure that it does not happen again.

Does Your Baby Have a Recurring Rash in Cloth Nappies?

There is a strong chance that this is caused by a residue. Your baby will react to a urine residue in the diaper fabric. Some babies are also very sensitive to detergent residues. If your baby is rashy and your nappies are discoloured or smelly – please take action to resolve your residue problem. Consult our information on residues.

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