Reusable Nappies on a Budget by Emma Button
Thanks to Emma who has a cool and informative blog at Mellow Mummy This is a really useful guest post. I’m over at Emmas today talking beauty on a budget come and find me too!
While most people acknowledge that using cloth nappies almost always works out cheaper than disposable nappies, lots of people are put off the idea of using reusable nappies by the initial cost of buying the nappies, covers, buckets, bags, liners and detergent. Reusable nappies don’t have to be expensive and Emma Button from Mellow Mummy shares some tips on reducing the costs.
Birth to Potty sets sound like a good idea but what happens if you buy a set and end up hating the nappies? Reusable nappies are a personal preference and if you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on a full set then you are more likely to give up and move to disposables than experiment to find the right brand of reusable nappies for you and your baby. Instead, try to get your hands on some second-hand examples of several different types of nappy to try out before investing in the brand of your choice.
Don’t be afraid of using second-hand reusable nappies. Just because eBay have stopped people from re-selling reusable nappies doesn’t mean that you can’t get hold of clean, well-loved, hygienic nappies. A second-hand nappy is often a blessing; someone else will have gone to the effort of pre-washing the nappies and you will find that people who pass on their nappies pass on their experience too. We got 80% of our nappies and 10% of our nappy covers from friends, from recycling websites and from nearly-new sales. This gave us more money to spend on accessories.
Remember that you don’t NEED all of the kit to start using reusable nappies. You can get by very well with a small set of nappies and covers and a single nappy bucket. Lots of the other accessories make your life easier, but aren’t essential. If you want to buy bucket liners, nappy inserts or fun nappy covers then don’t feel pressurised into buying the ones to match your brand of nappies. There are lots of cloth nappy websites who sell unbranded nappy accessories which are as good, if not better than the big-named brands.
Reusable nappies make great cost savings over disposable nappies if you are able to use the same set of nappies again for future babies. If you are planning on doing this, you need to take a few easy steps to ensure that your cloth nappies and covers will last. Don’t use too much detergent (and never use fabric softener) when you wash your nappies as this will build up on the fabric and reduce their effectiveness. Occasionally you may want to put your nappies through a ‘strip wash’ to remove some of the build-up of detergent and bring them back to life. A strip wash is a cold wash with your normal detergent, followed by a hot wash with no detergent at all and then a repeated rise until the water from the nappies becomes completely clean with no suds. You can also increase the life of your cotton nappies and nappy covers by avoiding soaking (dry-pailing).
And finally, without wanting to get into the eco-nappy versus disposable-nappy argument, here are a few sensible tips for reducing your energy usage when using reusable nappies. Don’t tumble dry your nappies unless you really need to – this is the biggest single cost of using reusable nappies. Most brands these days use fabrics designed to dry in record time so you can save your need for the tumble drier by thinking ahead and planning washes to fit your nappy usage. Use as little detergent as you need to get the nappies clean – this saves you money and reduces build-up on the fabric. Wash on as low a heat as it takes to get your nappies clean. Nappies don’t need to be washed at high temperatures if you add a good nappy sanitiser to your wash – 40 degrees will usually be hot enough.
All photos are courtesy of Bambino Mio. Thank you Bambino Mio!