I recently interviewed my sister about her experience with reusable nappies. Her first child is nearly 3 and she has used disposable nappies for him. Her second is now six months old and has been in reusables from birth.

Choosing which to use

Modern nappies come in two types: All in one where you wash the whole nappy OR two part ones that you remove the inner part to wash it.

My sister uses all in one nappies from UK Company 'Bambino Mio' with some extra booster inserts. There is a ton of information written about reusable nappies but the key thing is to give them a try and if you have trouble ask for help. The important thing from a waste perspective is avoiding the single use nappies but you could also consider things like where the nappies are made and what they are made of.

There is a lot of information online to help you choose and once you have read this article you may want to explore [here] or [here].


Where to get them from and to ask for help?

Nappy Libraries: They are spread across the country and give you a chance to try before you buy coupled with lots of advice. [find one]

Facebook Groups: There are preloved groups where you can get advice and buy second hand. There are local ones and brand specific ones e.g. Bambino Mio [here].

Cloth Nappy workshops: Often run by local councils. Look out for these to get in the know and also check them for discount vouchers.

Starter Packs: Some of the nappies are sold in starter packs, look out for these.

Brilliant Nappies: Bambino Mio nappies are widely available in supermarkets/stores and online. The cheapest I could fine the all in one nappy was [here].


Why use them instead of disposables?

  • Reduce Waste: Huge reduction in waste for an item almost impossible to recycle

  • Ease of Use: Very easy swap and as easy to use as disposables

  • Effective: They hold poo better, very rare to have a leak.

  • Washing: Easy to wash and quick to dry

  • Fun: Pretty, attractive patterns with matching change mats and wet bags

  • Convenient: Always have enough wipes and nappies as you don’t run out

  • Clean: No leaks and less smell as they contain everything better and its disposed of quickly so no smelly rubbish bin

  • Cleaner Clothes: As they contain the poo then there is a lot less clothing washing needed as they don’t become soiled

  • Unisex: Most nappies are unisex and can be used for all your children

  • Cheap: For one baby they could save you £270 and with additional children this increases


Any challenges?

  • Absorbency: Less absorbent for urine but you can change them more frequently or use with a booster insert.

  • Washing: This is some extra work. Taking about 25 minutes every 2 days.

Top Tips

  1. Week 1: Use disposables for the first week as the baby still has the umbilical cord attached.

  2. Starting Out: Start slow and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves.

  3. Time: It is not nearly as hard or time consuming as you think it will be.

  4. Washing: Research good washing practices (long wash with pre wash beforehand, don’t use fabric softer or conditioner, just use detergent, 10 nappies at a time is a good number). Try the washing power from Bambino Mio. Pre wash 2 to 3 times before use.

  5. Questions: Ask on the facebook support pages where there are loads of people who want to help.

  6. Drying: Peg driers work great for nappies, wipes and boosters. Dry in the sun to have a bleaching effect. [buy]

  7. Getting Others to Change: All in one nappies are easy for other people to use e.g. your less sustainable partner.

Are they cheaper?

  • Disposables: £600 for two and a half years.

  • Cloth nappies: £250 to buy initially.

  • Washing: £80 for two and a half years.

  • Total: £330 overall cost of using reusables, saving you £270.

NB: You will add £100 or so to your bill if you tumble-dry your baby's nappies.

Why use washable wipes?

  • No Chemicals: Natural cloth and only soaked in a little essential oil and water

  • Effective: Much better at cleaning the baby by removing dirt rather than moving it around

  • Versatile: Can also be used for weaning and hand/ face cloths etc.

  • Renewable: You can use bleach or vanish to revive them

  • Compatible: They go hand in hand with the reusable nappies

  • Cheap: They will save you money

Any Challenges? You can't leave them wet for more than a couple of days so cant pre pack change bag with them etc. Disposables may need to be used here. [buy]

Where to Buy: Cheeky Wipes are available in a trial pack and you could try with a tupperware box before investing in one of their easy to use boxes. [buy]

Bambino Mio Baby