How To Wash Newborn Reusable Nappies The Right Way

So how the heck do you wash newborn reusable nappies the right way? Is there a right way or is that all just a myth!

Can reusable nappies truly be easy to clean, save you money, and be just as easy as disposables? Totally and cleaning newborn nappies vs after they start solids is a completely different ball game.

By the end of this post, you will know exactly how you can clean your newborn’s reusable nappies perfectly.

The Best Reusable Nappies For Newborns…

There are a range of different options when it comes to choosing any sort of reusable nappy for your family. You are going to be armed with everything you need to know in no time.

Newborn Sized Nappies

Newborn-sized nappies are a great option but of course, come with their own set of pros and cons.


  • Perfect size to use right at the start no matter how small your squishy wee newborn is
  •  Newborn nappies are small enough to not add bulk to your little baby in the early days
  •  They are an overall practical size and this makes them easy to wash


  • They don’t fit them forever so you generally sell on newborn nappies
  •  You will have to get a new set as your baby gets bigger
  •  Newborn nappies are tiny and may not hold enough when your baby is ready to transition to OSFM

OSFM Custom Nappies

OSFM – One size fits most are my favorite nappies! But in our early days, we used disposables as that was what worked best for our baby who pooped 12-15 times a day!

We then moved into the OSFM pocket nappies when she was 2 1/2 – 3 months old and didn’t look back!

The OSFM are very versatile nappies and save you from having to have two separate sets of nappies at different times.

Their fit is adjusted by plastic cam snaps and this means the nappies can last from right when your baby is 2-3 months old right up until they are potty trained.

Being able to always adjust the size helps with tricky-to-fit times when your baby might be between sizes and makes your baby’s comfort a number 1 priority.

How Many Do You Need?

The million-dollar question…

A million dollars you ask? No!

Honestly, the amount of nappies you need 110% depends on your intentions.

12-15 Nappies are suitable for part-time use. Really the thing that decides how many nappies you should buy is how much you want to be doing the washing.

20+ Nappies are good for full-time use!

The best way to decide is by how much washing you want to do. If you are feeling like you are doing too much washing then start adding more nappies to your collection.

The Best Brand?

So what is the best brand?

Honestly, if you ask 10 different people you are bound to get 10 different answers.

The answer for your family is going to be different than every other family. You want to look at the options which will work for your family.

Some points that different families may like.

  • Leg flaps
  •  Adjustability
  •  Thickness of inserts
  •  The shape of the nappy
  •  Type of inserts
  •  Nappy prints
  •  Inner nappy material

Do You Need Liners?

Liners are an amazing addition to your reusable nappy collection. But liners aren’t the best thing when it comes to newborns from my experience!

Liners are fantastic when your baby’s poop comes a bit more solid. It catches it and makes it easy to remove and throw out and avoids the mess of trying to knock certain ones in the toilet and so on.

But newborn poo is water soluble. If you didn’t take chemistry in school means it dissolves or disappears in the water.

how to wash newborn reusable nappies bio liners

It does make sense as it is only made up of your milk, or formula! So with newborn nappies, you can actually do without liners.

The liners generally hold a wet mess against your newborn and can make cleaning them up a nightmare, liners are so much more useful once you get to the 5 months + age.

In the end, you can always try, it just may work for your family. We never had issues just putting the nappies straight in the wash though.

How To Fit A Nappy On A Newborn

Nappy fit is so so important as it directly affects your baby’s comfort and therefore their happiness.

Make sure you do your research on how to fit a nappy correctly and cover all your bases, a happy baby means happy parents.


The legs must fit snugly…. or you are in for an explosion. Or 10.

The basics are common sense. You don’t want your babies’ circulation in their legs cut off or to be sore and leave marks.

But you want a nice snug fit that is going to hold in anything unwanted. But keep your baby as comfortable as possible.

I don’t feel that any finger guideline work here, you will just figure out what works for your baby depending on fit and if it lasts or not.

Reusable nappies are a whole lot of trial and error and once you’ve got it, it’s worth the $5000 in savings.


For the waist, you can stick to a more general rule of thumb. Being able to fit two fingers comfortably into the waistband of your nappies is really important.

This means when your baby sits up their nappy isn’t cutting into their belly. This is so important for comfort.

No worse feeling than a grizzly baby realizing that their nappy wasn’t fitting nicely!

Use your common sense and keep an eye out for marks when you are changing nappies, any indents on the skin can give you an idea of where your fit may need to change.


The front is similar to the waist make sure that you can fit two fingers into the waist. But also make sure that none of the internal fabric of the nappy is sticking out.

Water travels through the fabric meaning if the internal is sticking out you could have leaks. No one likes a leak…

Make Sure To Use The Right Amount Of Inserts

Another important fitting feature is using the right amount of inserts for use. During the day when I am changing her every 2-4 hours depending on one, insert is more than enough.

If she is wearing nappies overnight she is more likely to need 2-3 inserts depending on what the inserts are made out of.

making sure to use the right amount of inserts as well as placing them in the nappy correctly will save you when it comes to leaks.

Clean Cloth Nappies Wash Routine

How to wash newborn reusable nappies is so much easier when you have a routine. So what sort of routine works well? Any routine you discover that works for your family is best.

Every Two Days

My favorite routine is every two days. This means I am not washing every single day but I also have a pretty steady round of clean and dirty nappies happening.

How often you choose to wash can also depend on how many nappies you have. For me when my daughter was a newborn we only had about 15 nappies.

This meant I washed every day, it is nice to have a routine in the early days. you just have to wash enough so there are clean nappies as much as possible.


If you want a wash routine that is longer than 2 days. There are a few must-know tips!

  • Use a wet bucket if waiting longer than a few days to wash your nappies, this stops mold and nasties and can prevent staining.
  •  You will need to have enough nappies to use so making sure your collection has enough 20-25+ is really important.
  •  When leaving the nappies longer I would be more inclined to do a rinse wash first, then a proper wash cycle after that.

How To Wash Newborn Reusable Nappies

There is a process when washing nappies! Newborn reusable nappies have their own process, in the end, do what works best for you! Here is the best way I found to do them…

Dry Bucket

The first step in my routine is putting the dirty nappies into a dry bucket (I usually place this next to where I change them).

The dry bucket ensures you aren’t getting poo everywhere keeps them all in one place, can use a lid to contain smells and!

The best feature is the handle that makes postpartum taking your bucket of nappies to be washed super easy.

The first step in the washing routine is popping your dirty nappy into your dry bucket to later be washed. If you are using liners you have to throw this out first.

You can pull the insert out and place it inside or you can wait and do this as it goes into the washing machine.


The best thing I swear by when it comes to using reusable nappies with your newborn is a routine.

I washed every day, every night as I prepared for her nighttime routine. I would take our dry bucket of nappies down to our bathroom.

Our laundry was right beside our bathroom so by doing this I would always put the nappies on before our night routine and set them on a timer to start an hour later. No one likes weak shower pressure after all.

By habit stacking, putting the bucket in the bathroom where I was headed for my nighttime routine meant I always remembered to put them in the laundry next door.

Next, I would get up head to the toilet first thing and grab the clean ones and hang them on the rack in the hallway as I headed on to start my day.

I made things beyond easy for myself and this stood me in great stead to stay on top of washing the nappies!

Washing Machine Settings

Being great as learning how to wash newborn reusable nappies is made so much easier by having a great washing machine.

Get to know your washing machine settings and what options are going to be best for you!

Warm washes are great if you do a pre-rinse. I used to love the soak option on my first washing machine but my new one doesn’t have it! So I am thinking I will put the used nappies each day into a soak bucket and transfer from there.

A normal wash after either soaking or a pre-rinse/wash should be sufficient to clean your newborn nappies!

Luckily newborn nappies are some of the easiest to clean, just wait till you get to solids… Anyways mess around with the settings and figure out what works best for you.

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Soaking is hugely beneficial and if you have a soak option on your washing machine 110% use it.

I have washed on the soak option from newborn to six months and only ever had to do one wash! It is fantastic.

Sometimes I do a double wash and a bit of a heavier wash to give my nappies a good reset.

I will be experimenting with soaking in a bucket now, soaking is a great option to soften everything up and make cleaning way more efficient!


Knowing how to wash newborn reusable nappies also means knowing how to dry them!

The best way to dry your nappies is with the inner shell facing out and the liners separating and hanging out the same.

Drying in the sun helps get rid of any staining that there might be. Drying in the sun is really healthy for your nappies so should be done regularly.

Plus airing them out is always beneficial.

Top Tips For Washing Reusable Newborn Nappies

Here are the top tips you need for washing your reusable newborn nappies!

Soak Option

Make the most of any soak option you may have on your washing machine, or pre-soak in a bucket before and then wash!

Use A Stain Bar

A stain bar is a great option for your nappies if you are struggling with staining! We use the Little Genie stain bar and love it!

*image of stain bar*

how to wash newborn reusable nappies stain bar

Dry In The Sun

Dry in the sun! Airing out your nappies plus avoiding stains with the sun is such a great way to keep your nappies fresh and healthy! Plus it makes them last longer = more savings for you!

Have Enough Nappies

Make sure you get enough nappies to be able to create a routine that works for your family and is easy!

You don’t want to be making heaps of extra work. The goal is to save money and energy! Important in the newborn days…


Again I can’t stress enough how good it is to get into a routine for you and your family’s sake. Make your life so much easier by stacking habits and chores together.

So That Is How To Wash Newborn Reusable Nappies

It is as easy as that! Now you are totally ready to delve into the world of reusable nappies when it comes to keeping them clean and good to go for your newborn.

There are so many different tips and tricks out there do your research and find out what works for you and you will be the best in no time!

Reusable nappies are great, they save you money, and trips to the supermarket, and save our planet from another 7000 nappies per baby!


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