Liz Iudakhina

Liz Iudakhina

Apr 6, 2024. 4 mins read

Sustainability

Here’s Why You Should Use Cloth Nappies: 4 Myths Debunked

For modern busy parents, the promise of convenience often trumps everything else – which is why it may seem rather surprising that the humble cloth nappies are making a big comeback! 

Close up of mother hands put on a baby orange diaper to her newborn

Monash Council conducted a feasibility study into the uptake of reusable nappies and found that 34% of participants used a combination of reusable and disposable nappies with as many as 90% of expectant parents open to assistance to make the switch to reusables. The gradual resurgence is not just a nod to nostalgia, but a conscious choice by those interested in eco-conscious parenting, as well as families simply looking to save money. 

The rise from the ashes

Once upon a time, cloth nappies were all there was – so using them wasn’t a choice, but a necessity. Then, disposables came along with the allure of convenience and the promise of a leak-free existence. Fast forward a few decades, with sustainability and cost of living front of mind for families, the tides are turning and while the initial outlay for cloth nappies can seem steep, as cost per nappy is significantly higher compared to even the most luxurious disposables, reusable nappies save money in the long run – a LOT of money, in fact. 

A set of cloth nappies can last from infancy to toilet training and can even be used for subsequent children, so the initial outlay of approximately $500-$1000 depending on brand (or even less if you go second hand) is all you spend. In contrast, disposable nappies cost in the realm of $3000-5000, and have to be repurchased for each child. 

Note: for easy and fair comparison, the above costs are ballpark averages and exclude things like wipes and cost of washing; but the savings still prevail. 

With many types and even more adorable designs to choose from, it’s a movement that’s gaining momentum! However, it’s also one shrouded in myths and misconceptions! So, it’s time to separate facts from fiction to help you make an informed choice.

Myth #1: Cloth nappies are a massive hassle

Many believe that cloth nappies cleaning are labour-intensive relics of the past, and washing them takes half of one’s day. However, modern cloth nappies are designed with convenience in mind. They come in easy-to-use designs that are as simple to change as their disposable counterparts. With the advent of washing machines, they’re not much of a hassle to clean either. Alternatively, parents can use a nappy laundry service such as Little Droppings in Adelaide!

We would be insincere, of course, to say there’s no learning curve involved – but fortunately, there is an abundance of incredible resources online to help you get started, such as this one

Myth #2: Cloth nappies waste too much water

Some even go as far as stating that water use negates the environmental benefits of using cloth nappies – but the math simply isn’t mathing! The water used in domestic washing routines is nothing like the water and raw materials used in producing disposables. Plus, modern washing machines are incredibly water-efficient. If you’re committed to green living, ditching disposables is only going to contribute to your lifestyle positively.

Myth #3: Cloth nappies aren’t absorbent enough

Busy parents, rejoice – turning to reusables doesn’t mean drowning in leaks and extra nappy changes! Today’s cloth nappies come with super absorbent materials like bamboo, microfibre, and hemp. With the right insert, they can be just as absorbent, if not more so, than disposables – and you can also mix and match different inserts and boosters, customising them to your liking. 

Myth #4: Cloth nappies cause nappy rash

Nappy rash is caused by wetness against the skin, bacteria, or yeast, not the type of nappy used. As such, when cloth nappies do not pose any additional risk compared to disposables – and anecdotally, many parents note that reusables helped reduce the occurrence of nappy rashes, especially in little ones with very sensitive skin. Just be sure to change them regularly of course!

The great cloth nappy comeback is more than just a trend; it’s a movement towards more sustainable, thrifty parenting. Whether you’re a parent-to-be trying to make sense of baby products, a seasoned parent looking to make a change, or simply curious about this resurgence, there’s no denying that cloth nappies are making a splash…and it’s a comeback story we can all get behind, one nappy change at a time! 

So why not make a leap towards sustainable living, and maybe even have a little fun with the cute patterns along the way. Reusable nappies are back, and hopefully they are here to stay.

Liz Iudakhina

Liz Iudakhina

Researcher . Dietitian . Crazy cat lady . Toddler mum

When she’s not decoding the universe or negotiating with a tiny human over juice vs. water ratios, you’ll find her cuddled up with two meowing furballs. A true plate-spinning pro, she turns broccoli into superhero snacks and threads various facets of motherhood into delightful stories.

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