Reusable Nappies on a Budget

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.

reusable nappies budget

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.

resusable nappies on a budget


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.

 cloth nappies

All photos are courtesy of Bambino Mio. Thank you Bambino Mio!



  1. March 14, 2011 / 10:00 am

    This is a really useful post with great ideas-thank you!

  2. March 14, 2011 / 6:28 pm

    Reusable nappies really are not as bad as people think!! You really should give them a chance (2 children and we have NEVER tumbled dried ours).

    I could giveaway my new baby sized liners and covers if anyone is interested? Contact Becky and we can exchange email address through her!


  3. Becky
    March 14, 2011 / 8:10 pm

    What a lovely offer Mathis x

  4. March 15, 2011 / 6:56 am

    I am intrigued by the idea of using these… but isn’t the scraping poo bit just icky? Seriously, expecting my first in August & feeling kinda clueless even (especially?) being a “geriatric” Mum-to-be.

  5. Emma Button
    March 15, 2011 / 8:48 am

    We used liners which you just flop off down into the loo. If there’s still poo there you can sluice the nappy by holding it under the running flush. With a very young breastfed baby liners don’t work so well and to prevent staining I used to rinse out all the nappies after use. It sounds disgusting but trust me, given all the other things you gave to cope with as a new mum, a bit of poo scraping pales into insignificance!

  6. March 15, 2011 / 9:45 am

    Maggy/Becky, I would definitely be interested in the liners and covers 🙂

  7. LJayne
    March 15, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    I’ve used reusables with all 3 of mine. The best it is that they are mostly the same set of nappies! Bought a few more for my 2nd child as she was a girl (first was a boy) and I fell in love with some Rainbow Bots. My youngest child, 2nd girl, is now wearing these too 🙂

    Kanga-Rue, I use liners that I can flush down my toilet and so you just literally tip it out over the loo and it is taken care of.

    Love them, love them, love them 🙂

  8. Heather Bolden
    March 20, 2011 / 9:20 pm

    Fab article. Disposable nappies cost most famillies £1000 in the first two years. Reusable nappies will save at least £500.00 and more if you get the cheaper brands, buy secondhand, use for a second baby or are lucky enough to be given nappies.

    I agree and would go with fast drying nappies such as bumGenius and flip. Birth to Potty nappies are good because you don’t have to buy a second set. We often find that parents who have to buy a second set at around 8 months don’t get round to do it because they have gone down to maternity pay and can’t afford the outlay.

    Screaming Green are just about to launch a preloved nappies service. We also have a borrow before you buy option. We also have a pay by installments option. Checkout our website Sorry for the plug!

    I would always use paper liners so I don’t have to deal with poo or sluicing. Soaking nappies is also a thing of the past. Just pop your nappies in a lidded bucket with a mesh laundry bag inside. When it comes to washing just lift the laundry bag out and throw it in the machine. No need to touch each smelly nappy.

    Hope this helps.

    Heather x

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