Thanks for your email and for your query as to which is better Cloth Vs Disposable.
Being an avid cloth supporter, in my opinion, there is no substitute for cloth nappies. But at the end of the day, it is all up to what works for you and your little one.
You will find that at times, disposables can be convenient, so, like a lot of our mums, you may wish to use both.
My reasons for using cloth are:
- More Comfortable for Baby- cloth would feel so much better than wearing plastic all day.
- Less chance of rashing – the cloth allows the nappy to breathe more especially when using more earth friendly detergents to wash.
- Great Fit! The advantages of a great fit, is the less likelihood of leaking.
- The better the nappy fits, the less chance there is of leaking. The last job you want to be doing is changing bubs clothes every time you change a nappy.
- Look Great! We have Great Prints and colours that will always look Fashionable.
- Cost effective – especially with having twins, or by the time the 2nd baby comes along
- So much better for our environment – last figures I was told is that over
- 1 million disposables go into Landfill every day in AUSTRALIA. They take over 100 years to decompose.
- Very easy to maintain – Just wash the same as a normal washing load..
- No Bleaching, soaking etc. And there are biodegradable liners to use that will easily dispose of poos.
The only advantage of the Disposable that I am aware of is that they are convenient and no washing. But please remember that the messiest part of changing a nappy is wiping baby’s bottom. No type of nappy or wipe is going to eliminate that task.
I hope this information helps you decide what you would like to do in regards to nappy choices. As indicated above, at the end of the day, what works for you and your baby is always best.
I would suggest to try both.. If you decide that disposables are more convenient, there will always be times when you run out, so it would be good to always have some reusuable cloth nappies in the drawer anyway. Times are changing and so are parents attitudes to cloth. We have noticed over the last 5-7 years how more popular cloth is these days.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
We suggest putting your nappies in the sun as much as possible as the UV sanitizes them and bleaches out any stains. Even UV on a cloudy day through a window is better than no UV at all.
A cool or warm dryer is fine every now and then and won’t damage your nappies. Remember it is much better for your nappies to have some good ‘ol UV to kill any nasties and save money on your electricity bill.
During humid weather sometimes mould will appear if the nappies while they are in the bucket waiting to be washed. We have gone through our Discussions on our Facebook page and there are some great tips there for mould. The best remedy seems to be vinegar. Vinegar actually kills mould, whereas Napisan and bleaches just make it white but don’t actually kill it.
We suggest you soak the boosters only (not the PUL shells) in vinegar for a short while, say half an hour, then do a mild Napisan soak overnight to remove the marks from the dead mould. After that make sure you do a strip wash to remove all the Napisan residue and then dry them in the sun as long as possible.
Moisture and heat make mould grow, so I would suggest if at all possible to keep the lid of your nappy bucket open as long as it is not accessible to your baby. A few drops of tea tree oil in the nappy bucket can also be a good mould inhibitor if your area seems prone to mould.
You can read the entire discussion here if you wish.
If you are storing nappies in between children we would recommend a wash in Rockin Green detergent and then an extra rinse. Line dry thoroughly and store in the vacuum sealed bags. Then store in a cool, dark place. Oxygen, heat, and light can all degrade elastic so minimising those things will help.
The rectangle and hourglass soakers are designed for use in our d’lish snap in one nappies, most people choose to use the colour coded snaps, while others prefer to reverse it.
The stay dry suede cloth on the top of the hour glass soaker goes on the top, so it is closest to bub’s skin.
The rectangle booster folds into 3 along the seams and it sits underneath the hour glass soaker.
There is a you tube clip here that will give you a great visual demonstration of how they are set up.
The ‘soaker sets’ are designed for the bitti tutto, ones size shell. Once again, most people choose to use these according to their colour coded snaps, but this can depend on how old your bub is and how much absorbency you need in each nappy.
For a newborn that you are changing frequently often the short soaker with the mini soaker attached underneath is enough, and the long soaker (folded and snapped using the blue snaps underneath) is also enough. Essentially you can get two nappy changes out of one set of tutto soakers.
There are some YouTube clips for setting up your soakers in the tuttos here.
You can use both the d’lish snap in one soakers and the bitti tutto soakers interchangeably in either of the shells. Some people like the rectangular tri fold booster and choose to use it in the tutto shells. There really is no wrong way to set them up in your nappies, unless of course your nappies are leaking, then we need to look at the set up and how we can improve it to get a better fit.
Your soaker sets need one wash before use, and they will build up their absorbency over about 7-8 washes, before they reach their maximum absorbency. If you are using them on a newborn it isn’t usually an issue, as they are changed so frequently that the nappy is often not at full capacity before it is changed anyway. If you are planning to use them on an older baby just change bub’s nappy a bit more frequently for the first few times until the soakers have had 7 or 8 washes. Some people choose to soak their soakers in a bucket of water overnight before washing for the first time, as they believe it helps to speed up the absorbency process. Many people are happy to do this, but we don’t actually have any testing data to tell whether it helps or not. 🙂
We don’t really recommend washing clean nappies 7 to 8 times just to build the absorbency as it is both a waste of water and power both of which are not very environmentally friendly – which is one thing that cloth nappies are!
Prior use wash:
Prewash your nappies at least once prior to use, to remove any traces of manufacturing residues. No need to wash multiple times, simply change more frequently for the first few wears as nappies will gain maximum absorbency after 8-10 washes.
To wash your nappies, we recommend dry-pailing: simply remove any solids, rinse and place the nappy into a bucket or wetbag until you have enough for a load. There is no need to soak or use bleach/sanitising products, as they can irritate sensitive skins and reduce the life of the elastic in your nappies. We recommend you do a cold water rinse cycle first, then a normal cold, warm or hot cycle with half the recommended amount of detergent and no fabric softener (be careful of detergents containing fabric softener as they can reduce absorbency). Should you have any stains remaining after washing, leave the nappy in the sun for a short time and the stains will be naturally bleached by the sun.
WHAT DETERGENTS WORK BEST?
When you use detergent, no matter how little, it builds up on the fabric and can cause a reduction in absorbency. It can also cause odour as the build-up attracts smelly bacteria.
Use 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of detergent that you would normally use for a similar size load of clothes. Environmentally friendly detergents are a good choice as they are free of dyes, enzymes, essential oils, whiteners and brighteners and gentler on the nappy’s fabric and your baby’s skin, as well as being better for the environment.
There is no need to soak or use bleach/sanitising products, as they can irritate sensitive skins and reduce the life of the elastic in your nappies. Soaker pads can be soaked if you deem necessary, please make sure you do an extra rinse.
If you want to use cloth full time, it depends on how often you wish to wash, as to how many nappies you need. If you wash daily and wanted to use all All in Ones, around 15 nappies would be a good number, if you wanted to wash every second day, then 20-24 would be the number you would need. Depending on how big your baby is, the mediums on average will last til around 12-14 months, then the large will see most babies through until toilet training. There will be a few months at least, where your baby will fit both mediums and large. Once your baby moves into large size, you could either keep the mediums for another baby, or they have excellent resale value second hand, if you wanted to sell them on one of the parenting forums etc.
This amount will be the same for the SIO’s or the Tutto’s. The difference being that if you purchase Extra Inserts (booster sets) they will count as more nappies. Eg 5 x SIO’s and 5 x extra booster sets will be the equivalent to 10 nappies. The same for the Tutto’s.
For night time, I would suggest to use either the bitti d’lish Snap in One or Tutto with an extra one or two mini boosters, or the bitti boo, with an extra mini booster. The bitti boo is more absorbent, but it does require a cover, where as the cover is built in with the Snap in One. 2-3 nappies for night time should be sufficient, depending on how often you wash. The Bitti Tutto has also been successful as a night nappy because of its’ versatile boosting system.
The booster is designed to fit flush inside your nappy. They always seem longer than the nappy. But that is fine. They do not need to be folded to fit properly.
You just need to stretch the nappy outer as you bring the nappy around the front of your baby. As you stretch the outer, the booster is pushed inside. Once the nappy is around the front of your baby, ready to snap up, the booster should be fitting nice and flush inside. That way, there will be no bunching or gaping of the nappy.
HELPFUL FITTING TIP:
Our nappies fit directly inside the leg crease of your baby, the same way we wear our underwear. Use your fingers to tuck the nappy into the leg crease of your baby, then snap up. Another helpful tip is after you have snapped the nappy up, pick up your baby, place in a standing position and “hitch up” the nappy. When you lay your baby back down, you will more than likely find that you will be able to snap the nappies up tighter. After all that has been done, there should be no gaping in any area and less chance of leaking.
Please let me know if that works for you. Also, there is a Youtube link here where you can view our video demonstrating how to use and fit the nappies.
It is so frustrating when you bub gets a rash. Rashes are caused by many things such as;
- Switching to cloth from disposables (or disposable from cloth). For some reason some babies’ skin reacts to the different environment of cloth. Rashes from the switch generally don’t last too long.
- General ill health or food allergies
- Reaction to certain washing products – if in doubt try washing your nappies in just water for a while to see if it is the washing powder you are using
- Something totally random and unrelated to anything that is going on in their life:)
There are many ways to treat nappy rashes and if you find nothing is working after a couple of days a trip to the GP would be a good idea to rule out anything nasty.
Below are a few things I have found that have worked on my children but remember every baby is different and they might not work for everyone:)
First thing I try to do is to keep the skin intact. My best solution has been plain old corn flour, every change. Curash and J&Js make a good one corn starch based powder but re-use the container and refill it with corn flour from the cooking section in the supermarket. Talcum powder is generally not recommended for babies as it is very fine and the risk of inhalation is too great.
If you want to use a cream make sure you rub it in to the skin as best as you can and put corn flour over top to keep the cream on the skin and not on the nappy. You can use a disposable/flushable liner but my kids have such sensitive skin they actually caused more rashes rather than helping. There are lots of disposable liners on the market just make sure you buy one that is compatible with your sewage system.
As for creams, we have used Savalon, pawpaw cream, lots of zinc based creams and they all worked about the same. The Savalon was probably the best as it rubbed into the skin, dried fast and zinc cream could go over top followed by some corn flour. It is also an antiseptic cream so great for all kinds of skin irritations. Recently I have also found a cream called Destinin works better than anything I have tried but it is a white tar and not good if you get it on your ittis!
The Snap in Ones do sometimes smell less than the All in Ones due to being all bamboo. Microfiber is a wonderfully absorbent and fast drying fabric but it does not contain the innate antibacterial qualities of bamboo and therefore can get a little smelly. Also, a dry dirty nappy will smell less than a wet dirty nappy so if you can take the lid off your nappy bin to allow more moisture to evaporate, you will notice a difference in smell retention.
I have never actually timed my pre-wash cycle but I would assume it is another whole wash cycle. A rinse cycle would be much shorter and I would even say almost as good as a pre-wash. If you are finding your nappies aren’t coming out clean enough with just a pre-rinse cycle, perhaps try a pre-wash once a week instead of the pre-rinse cycle.
Any washing powder or liquid that does not contain enzymes is fine to use on your itti nappies. Just be aware of how much you use. If you are finding your nappies are getting smelly and your strip washes are getting more frequent then you are probably using too much. As for not using any powder on your nappies – it is a personal choice but you can stop any time. A good idea is to strip washing each load rather than doing your entire stash at once. Just wash your nappies normally and follow it with a hot wash and a squirt of washing up liquid. Even though I don’t use powder, I strip and hot wash every few months or when my husband says the nappies are getting a bit on the nose.
Most stains will fade on their own with enough time in the sun and they usually don’t affect the performance of the nappy. Some pain relief medication can cause pinkish grey stains. Again, these stains so not effect the nappy’s performance and will wash and sun out on their own.
If you are really bothered by the stains you can give them a once off soak briefly in a nappy soaker – just the soakers not the shells or All in One nappies – PUL does not like bleaches.
Strip wash after any soaking and rinse very well. You don’t want any caustic nappy soaker near your baby’s skin.
Stains do fade in the UV but if some particularly nasty stains from a nappy cream for example; you can try a deep strip wash using some dishwashing liquid and an old soft toothbrush. Very gently scrub the areas with the detergent and hot wash afterward. Do an extra rinse to make sure all the bubbles are gone. You can do this every now and then with our bitti tutto and Snap in One shells just the keep them fresh and looking clean.
Removing Zinc based creams
Half cup of dishwashing detergent, a little rubbed into the top of each booster. Then wash boosters in hot water. After that, soak the boosters in White Vinegar undiluted for 15mins. Then give them a rub where the cream residues would be and soak again in the same vinegar for another 10mins. This will lift the zinc from the nappy fabric.
Storing your spoiled nappies in a wet bag until washing is fine if you don’t have a nappy bucket. However, you might want to see if you can leave the zipper open a little to allow for some air flow. That will reduce the smell when you go to wash as some of the moisture can evaporate instead of sweating in the bag. After lots of experimenting with different nappy buckets, the itti testing team has found the best way to keep used nappies is in an open bucket. Sealed nappy buckets can knock you out with the smell when you open up to wash the nappies. The more air flow around the nappies the better because moisture can evaporate and reduce the smell dramatically. Of course it is not always practical to have an open lidded nappy bucket if you have inquisitive pets or toddlers. A great nappy bucket is a swing top rubbish bin – the lid keeps out little hands and still allows for some air flow around the nappies.
If you find you need a strip wash regularly, there is something not quite right in your washing regime. Again, washing nappies is a balance between your detergent, water, machine and the sun. If you are blessed enough to have lots of sunshine, great water and an efficient washing machine you will not have too many problems with your nappies and probably won’t need to strip wash at all.
Your nappies should be strip washed if –
- they are smelly
- leaking due to reduction in absorbency
- causing rashes on your baby
One way to strip wash:
Hot washing can ‘cook’ stains in so it is best to strip wash after a regular wash with clean nappies. Use about 1/8 cup (or a squirt or two!) of cheap washing up detergent, without moisturiser. Hot wash, maximum 60°C and rinse until the bubbles are gone. You can do this with a front or top loader.
The best way to fix a build-up of residue problem is to rub some Dishwashing detergent(Palmolive is great! The Green one) into the Hourglass boosters then wash all your boosters/soakers in a generous amount of dishwashing detergent and hot water. Approx 90 degrees celcius.
You may need to do a couple of rinses afterwards to remove the soap suds. But once the nappies are dry, you should find that they are working much better. If you find that another strip wash will benefit the nappies, please do another one.
Using a front loader put the detergent in the prewash part, use the prewash cycle followed by a long cycle. If you don’t have hot water connected to the machine use a bucket or tub to work the detergent in to the nappies then rinse in the machine.
You will need 2-4 extra rinses until all the bubbles are gone. Front loader users may find soaking the nappies in a bucket with a solution of washing up liquid and water easier and less messy. You can then rinse the nappies in your machine.
This strips any build up on the fabrics and does make the nappies look brighter and cleaner.
Another method is 1/4 cup bi-carbonate soda and 1/2 cup vinegar in at the start of the load. Put it through for a full wash on cold then hang in the sun to dry. However, we recommend the occasional use of vinegar or bi carb of soda as it can destroy not only the PUL and elastic in the nappies but also the seals in your washing machine. You could also soak your nappies (not the components containing PUL) in a bucket of diluted vinegar, rinse then put them in your washing machine. Testing is still underway in the itti bitti product testing department and we will update this note as we receive new findings.
You can also Rock a Soak using Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent to remove mineral build up on your nappies. Rockin’ Green was specifically designed to wash cloth nappies and will not leave build up on the fabrics. See their website for lots more information here. Rockin’ Green soaks should be done in hot water (60°C, no hotter) as per instructions.
Most of the leading brands of washing powders contain fillers that can build up on your fabrics and in your washing machine. They can also build up on your nappies and can cause a reduction in absorbency and attract smelly bacteria. Also, those detergents containing enzymes are best left for your regular washing. Enzymes are chemicals that inert until they are mixed with water, then they being to break down any organic matter it comes into contact with – including your baby’s skin! You do not want those in your nappy fabrics as they can cause terrible rashes. With the eco friendly brands they contain less fillers and no phosphates or enzymes which means you only need a very small amount of product to wash your nappies really well. Look for a washing detergent that actually says; no fillers, no enzymes and no phosphates. If it says you can use the grey water on your garden, it is very eco friendly and a good one for nappies:)
Hot washing and hot drying
Regular hot washing or drying of bamboo fabrics will shorten their lifespan. There really is no need to regular hot wash due to the quality of the modern fabrics used in itti bitti nappies. However, if you are using cold to warm water for most washes, you might find a hot wash or plain hot water soak (60°C max) just once every 5-6 weeks will help keep your nappies clean. This is especially important if you are using Rockin’ Green detergent as it seems to work better in hot water. A cool rather than a hot dryer is best if you can’t line dry your nappies.
Bamboo is an extremely absorbent fabric which is why – among other reasons such as its innate antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities – it is used in modern cloth nappies. The nature of the bamboo fibres means the absorbency increases with the first few washes. You have a choice to wash your nappies about eight times before use or to change frequently until they have been washed eight times. We suggest the latter because washing clean nappies is a bit of a waste of energy. Usually this is not a problem if you have a newborn as you are changing every couple of hours anyway. If you are using them on an older baby we suggest it may be easier to use them during the day so you can change them frequently. Keep in mind that bamboo takes a number of washes to reach peak absorbency so just change frequently until they have been washed about eight times.
Some customers like to soak their new nappies in plain cold water overnight and this seems to speed up increasing the absorbency.
Washing cycles and machines
Washing nappies is a balance between your detergent, water, machine and the sun.
- For the very first wash, you can use a teaspoon of regular eco powder to get rid of any manufacturer’s residue.
- Front loader – prewash cycle followed by a regular wash cycle in cold or warm (30-40°C) water.
- Top loader – short rinse cycle followed by long cold or warm wash.
- Once every 6-8 weeks do a hot wash (60°C max)
Not using washing powder is a personal choice and it does depend on the type of water and washing machine you have, how long you wash your nappies for and how much UV your nappies get. You may be able to get away with not using detergent on your nappies if you have an efficient washing machine, great water (not sort or hard), long washes and lots of sunshine on the nappies.
Front loaders are wonderful water saving machines but when it comes to washing nappies sometimes they need tricking. We suggest adding a towel to a nappy load if it is not a full load. That way more water will be used in the wash and the nappies will have a better chance of being cleaned.
A general rule of thumb – if your nappies are coming out of the washing machine smelling bad, You need to change something in your washing regime. Start with adding a rinse cycle at the start or end of the nappy load.
There has been some talk about making your own nappy detergent using optical whiteners and some washing soda. We do not recommend this recipe. Optical brighteners are fluorescent whitening agents that make fabrics appear brighter – it does not mean they are cleaner. These chemicals can also cause skin irritations and are slow to break down in the environment and can accumulate in aquatic life. We would not recommend the use of them. “Lectric” soda is washing soda, Lectric is the brand. Washing soda is sodium carbonate it does help in hard water areas by binding to the minerals in hard water which allows detergent to foam properly and reduce residues. This may be useful in hard water areas but only in small amounts otherwise it can build up and not help get any fabrics clean. The combination of the two does not create anything special in terms of cleaning and we do not recommend it for washing your itti nappies.
The best way to dry your nappies is outside on a washing line or clothes-horse. The uv rays from the sunshine will remove stains and smells and sanitise your nappies. Most nappies can also be tumble dried on a cool or warm setting; however, it is best not to dry them this way all of the time. Excessive drying in a dryer will reduce the life of your nappies by thinning the fabric and causing elastic to deteriorate, particularly when hotter settings are used. Nonetheless, occasional use of a dryer is fine and has the added benefit of softening your nappies. For this reason many people like to tumble dry their nappies for 10-20 minutes, either prior to hanging them on the line or just before they are completely dry.
In order to maximise the lifespan of your nappies hang them on the line in a way that avoids stretching the elastic. The best way to do this is either to drape the nappy over the line or hang the nappy on its side. Do not hang from the wings, as the downward weight of the nappy will stretch the elastic. Another suggestion is to hang your nappies with the inner facing out. This both minimises fading of the outer of the nappy and ensures the sun can sanitise the inner of the nappy.
It is not recommended to leave the snap in boosters attached for washing/drying as there is the potential for snaps to rip out and elastic to deteriorate quicker than normal due to extra stretching from the weight of the boosters.
Also, please do not hang the bitti d’lish with sewn in boosters by the flap booster, as this will put extra stress on the seam.
Sizing is really important to get right as a number of problems can arise.
Here is our general fit range based on extensive testing on many, many babies…
The bitti tutto
Fits neat and slim from birth – 3kgs – right through to a 20kg child.
The bitti d’lish All in One and Snap in One
Small will fit from approx 3.5kg-7.5kg
Medium will fit from approx 6.5-12 kg
Large will fit from approx 10kg-17kg
The bitti boo
Small size to fit approx 3.5-7.5kgs
Medium size to fit approx 6-12.5kgs
Large size to fix approx 10.5-16.5kgs
The most common reason for the boosters deteriorating so quickly can be a combination of many things including: strong urine, washing detergents used, water types and the amount of time left to dry pail before washing… The most common reason is strong urine (urine will often have a very strong odour and is more predominant when baby is teething). Some strong urines will react with the Bamboo and cause it to deteriorate. This can be a one off situation, but can often reoccur. In this case, we will recommend using the Microfibre soakers. For some reason, the microfibre will not have the same problem.
Some suggestions to help the longevity of the boosters is to give them a rinse as soon as they are taken off to dilute the urine. Also try to not leave the nappies more than 48 hours before washing. This can sometimes help, but may not always.
Because the problem is not a manufacturing problem as such, we are not required to replace the boosters, but do so out of goodwill as long as the boosters are still in warranty, as it can be very disheartening to have this happen.
There may be a couple of reasons why your nappies may leaking.
It may be a fitting issue The nappy may not be fitted as well as it should. This can cause gaping which can lead to leaks. When the nappy is fitted, there should not be any bunching up of the nappy in any places. To try and eliminate this, a suggestion is when you bring the nappy around the front of your baby to snap up, stretch the nappy outer so that the booster fits flush inside the outer.
Also our nappies fit directly inside the leg crease of your baby, the same way we wear our underwear. Use your fingers to tuck the nappy into the leg crease of your baby, then snap up. Another helpful tip is after you have snapped the nappy up , pick up your baby, place in a standing position and “hitch up” the nappy. When you lay your baby back down, you will more than likely find that you will be able to snap the nappies up tighter. After all that has been done, there should be no gaping in any area and less chance of leaking. Another tip! The nappies are a hip nappy, so the back should not be higher than the front. They should be evenly spaced on the hip.
Another possible reason for leaking is that there is something on the boosters causing them to be less absorbent. It could be some form of Fabric Softener or a cream of some sort. A great way to test that the nappies are working properly is to slowly pour half a glass of water on the top (hourglass) booster. If it is working properly, the water will absorb immediately. If not, it will bead and roll off the side, or will take a little while to soak in. This will let you know that there is something on the booster causing it to be less absorbent.
The best way to fix that problem is to rub some Dishwashing detergent into the Hourglass boosters then wash all your boosters in a small amount of cheap dishwashing detergent and hot water. NO HOTTER THAN 60 DEGREES!
You may need to do this a couple of times to get the nappies back to their ultimate absorbency. You may also need to do an extra rinse. This is known as a “Strip Wash”.