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Dirty Work of Cloth Nappies - The Do's & Don'ts

Save the planet 1 nappy at a time.  Is it as easy as it sounds? Dirty yes but definitely for a worthy cause don't you think? My kids are out of nappies for some time now and I really wanted to share the importance of making the switch to cloth and reusable nappies. Can you only imagine the amount of nappies going to land fill only in Bali? Frightening thought!

Today's Guest Blog Post is by a fellow Trash Hero who lives in Indonesia and uses cloth nappies. Fia Tedestam and I met on Instagram, is an avid ambassador to less waste and lives a sustainable and plastic free life where ever possible. 

Are washable diapers dirty work?

It wasn't until I had my baby that I realised how many diapers that kids use. On an average day our boy uses seven diapers, equaling 2555 diapers per year! (No he doesn't give us a day off from this...)

My newly-found interest in babies also made me realise that the vast amount of kids tend to wear disposable diapers. I had not previously paid attention to this as I have seen very little littering of these compared to other single-use plastics. But just because we cannot see it doesn't mean there is not a problem!

Lucky for us there are now more options becoming available for washable diapers. If you can't find reusable diapers near you then you can order them online HERE or find them in store at Zero Waste Bali

Most diaper models have a cover and removable padding so that they can dry quicker after washing. The cover and padding are sometimes sold together and sometimes separately.

Kids grow quickly in their first years, so look for a model that can be adjusted both in waist and height using buttons. Most models online fit kids 3-10kg so you may need a smaller size for your newborn. The cover should be elastic around the leg to keep a snug fit or they may leak. If you want to wash only every other day then I recommend to get around 20 covers.

Note that it will take about a day for them to dry after washing, perhaps longer in the rainy season.

If you decide to wash by hand, and hang to dry immediately after each use, then you can probably get away with a smaller quantity of diapers. However a few spare ones are good in case of rainy/humid weather, if the little one has a bad tummy or if you want to travel somewhere.

I ordered a couple of different brands (not from Zero Waste Bali) and found that although the outside is sturdy, the diaper is kept waterproof only by a thin plastic layer in the middle. If you are not gentle when hand washing or when inserting the padding then this thin membrane might rip. I broke two of mine before I realised this. Washing them in the machine hasn't been a problem at all though. I think they are worth the investment if you think how much disposable nappies cost which get used once and thrown away compared to making the investment in the beginning to cloth diapers and saving you lots of money in the long term. 

So lets get down to the nitty and gritty, how much work is it to wash diapers? I tried a few different ways including hand washing but found this too tedious, being a new mum is busy enough Finally we found the following to work best for us:

You need a washing machine (ours is cold water only), a bumgun (bide water sprayer) a bucket with lid and a spray bottle with mix of water 80% and vinegar 20%.

  1. the baby makes the business
  2. hold the diaper over the toilet and rinse it with the bumgun
  3. spray the diaper with the vinegar mix, this will kill bacteria and neutralize any smell
  4. put the diaper in the bucket
  5. every 1-2 days wash in laundry machine. I mix with other clothes to reduce wasting water
  6. hang diapers to dry. UV rays from the sun sterilises any left bacteria so hang them with inside outwards in a sunny spot. The sunlight also removes any discolouration, like magic!

By using washable diapers you will reduce your carbon footprint, save lots of money and have less smelly trash to handle. And once we got into this routine we found that it really doesn't take that much time to use washable diapers.

I hope this helps make you decide to switch to cloth nappies and ditch the single use kind. You can grab locally made diapers in store or online HERE

If you have a topic you would like to share please send me an email hello@zerowastebali.com and lets inspire others to less waste. Zero Waste Bali is more than just a healthy food store and delivery service. We aim to provide you with organic wholefoods where possible, educate and provide plastic free solutions as best as possible. 

Love and light to all.

Silvija Rumiha

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