Washing and cleaning cloth nappies properly

Your babies nappies must be cleaned properly, an unsanitary or poorly cleaned nappy can result in excessive levels of ammonia and harsh detergents, causing sickness and infection from nappy rash.

Two popular ways of cleaning nappies are hot water washing and soaking in a nappy sterilization solution.

With either method always try to remove as much of the bowel motion (poo) as possible, and dispose of it in the usual place (the toilet).

With the tap running, rinse the nappy thoroughly, removing as much of the remaining traces of the bowel motion as possible. After rinsing, put the soiled nappy in a clean nappy bucket and soak in either water or your cleaning solution.

Hot Water Washing.

When the nappies have soaked for some time, tip the bucket into the washing machine and set the machine to wash on the hottest and the longest cycle. Your water temperature should be at least 149.0′F or 65′C.

Commercial soap powders, detergents and biological enzyme powders can often irritate a babies delicate skin, so wherever possible use a pure soap powder.

Once the cycle has finished, rinse the nappies again in clean water, removing any traces of the soap. If the nappy isn’t properly rinsed, the residual soap and ammonia will likely cause nappy rash.

It is also a good idea to re-soak the nappies in a solution of white vinegar and clean water, at a ratio of 1 tablespoon per 500ml, this will help neutralize any traces of ammonia. Ammonia is formed by bacterial effects on the urine, sometimes causing a foul and unpleasant odor.

If the nappies become stiff and you use a fabric softener, make sure you completely rinse the softener out of the fabric, despite the recommendations of the manufacturer. Some household detergents and softeners are too harsh on your babies delicate skin. It’s best to use products specifically made with baby in mind.

Nappy Sterilization Solution.

When making use of a sterilization solution, always follow the directions for use as mentioned by the products manufacturer. You will need a nappy bucket with a well fitting lid and always keep the nappy bucket and the solution well out of child’s reach.

You will probably need to repeat this process for the absolute best results as sometimes directed by the manufacturer and always rinse the nappies thoroughly to remove any traces of the solution with clean running tap water.

When deciding on a nappy treatment, it’s important that the product controls the number of micro-organisms at a hygienic level, also check the label for…

  • how long the treatment will be effective for.
  • the minimum time it will take to effectively soak the nappies
  • how many nappies can be treated in a single mix and…
  • the recommended concentration levels.

If the solution doesn’t have all of this information clearly marked on the label, choose a different brand.

Drying Nappies.

The best way to dry nappies is having them outside in the sun. The suns ultraviolet light will also help in sterilizing and bleaching the nappies. When hanging them onto the clothes line, make sure they are hung out flat, give them a good shake to remove any folds or wrinkles.

If you are in a wet rainy season or live in a cold environment and don’t see a lot of sunshine your next best option is the clothes dryer.

Although nappies dried in a clothes dryer come out feeling soft and fluffy, the extended use of a clothes dryer over a long period of time will usually wear out the nappies quicker, cotton fibers are removed from the fabric in the drying process, that’s why you get lint in your dryer.

Another issue with using a dryer, compared to drying them in the sun is, unless your washing machine can reach levels of 149.0F or 65′C or higher to kill the common bacteria found in urine and feces, the chances of your child experiencing nappy rash is greater, unless of course you use a nappy sterilization treatment.

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