Cloth Nappies Parenting

My Cloth Nappy Wash Routine

I’ve been asked by a few mates new to cloth nappies about my wash routine. That’s a funny thing to type, makes me feel like an influencer! *tosses hair* “I’ve been asked by my fans about my skincare routine!” Like that, but for baby poop.

Some of my cloth nappy stash, which is a much nicer picture to pair with this than grubby nappies!

Anyway, let’s talk shit:

My washing machine is a Bosch Series 4 8kg front loader. It heats it own water to the requested temperature. I got it in July and I love it. So the following routine is for a front loader. Read it any way if you have a top loader, but scroll to the bottom for a couple of tips that I used when I had my top loader.

Step One: after removing the nappy from baby, I stick it in what’s called a dry pail. This is just a basket with a ton of air holes. Mine is metal, but you can use plastic too – as long as it’s got lots of airflow. 

My setup. Here’s my lovely machine, and my two dry pails. Front one is for dirty nappies, back one is for nappies that have been prewashed and are waiting for main wash.

Step Two: Either immediately after removing the nappy or later on when you’ve got time, scrape any solid poops out of the nappy and into the toilet. (This doesn’t apply to exclusively breastfed babies – their poop is water soluble and can dissolve in the wash, so no scraping necessary!) Ideally the poop will be ‘ploppable’, which means it rolls off the nappy pretty easily, but there are plenty of poops that aren’t that easy. Teething poops and ‘just starting solids’ poops are super annoying like this, they have a peanut butter/straight kumara texture. To clean these off, I use a butter knife (clearly marked and NEVER brought into the kitchen, lest it be confused with the other knives!) and a silicon brush. Usually I will only need the knife, but occasionally the brush is warranted. I clean these with diluted bleach.

Step Three: Once I take off baby’s night nappy in the morning, I put it in the machine with all the previous day’s nappies. I do morning washes because ideally it’s good to wash a night nappy as soon as it’s off the bum, and because I benefit from a strict routine and doing nappies like this helps me to not forget. You can do night washes if you don’t use cloth at night though. When chucking nappies in the wash, take the inserts out of the pockets, so everything can swish around properly. 

This is called the prewash, but it’s actually a proper wash. Ideally you should do a hot wash between 30-60 minutes with half the usual amount of detergent. I wash at 60 degrees Celsius on a quick cottons cycle, which is 1 hour 6 minutes. The reason you only do half detergent is because it’s not a full load of laundry so you don’t want a manic amount of suds, and because you don’t want to add any other items to this one – just the nappies.

Step Four: Once the wash is done, stick the nappies into a second dry pail to wait until you do a main wash. My second dry pail is right next to the first one, as seem in the above pic.

Step Five: Once you’ve done a couple days’ worth of prewashes, it’s main wash time! I do mine every 3 days, sometimes every second day depending on my plans. I never leave it longer than 3 days – I think you can go up to four days but my pails aren’t big enough and personally I’d rather not leave it that long, as I don’t want to risk ammonia developing.

Anyway, for main wash I chuck the three days’ worth of nappies in, and do a 40 degree wash with full detergent dose. The wash needs to be full, so I bulk it up with baby clothes, flannels, handtowels etc if i need to. I use Persil on nappies, but there are a few options you can use. Eco detergents aren’t always as effective unless you do hot washes for both pre and main. You’ll soon get a vibe for what works though. I use persil for nappies and ecostore for my other stuff.

And that’s it! If you want to use your dryers, just use it for inserts. Shells dry super quick on a rack. Try to dry them out of direct sunlight so you don’t damage the PUL.


Okay, when I had my Fisher and Paykel top loader, I did stuff a bit differently. You can’t get precise temperatures in a top loader, because they fill up from your hot water cylinder and my thermometer indicated that my hot washes were about 55 degrees Celsius. So I did both pre and main washes on hot. I did a heavy duty cycle for both, and often paused the main wash to allow items to soak for half an hour. That’s pretty much the only difference.

Anyway, I hope this guide helps you developing your own wash routine! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, and sites like Clean Cloth Nappies are a godsend! Their science-based strategies are what I used to develop this routine, and they can help with all sorts of issues.

Information source: 

Mental Health

ADHD and Me

People don’t tend to believe me when I say I have ADHD.

I don’t fit the stereotype at first glance. I’m a grown woman in her 30s. I have a first class honours degree. I hold down a challenging job. I was a smart bookworm at school. I was a Good Kid.

But then, when you read about adult ADHD in women, and you know a bit more than the basics about me, it becomes more apparent.

I’m impulsive. I want to do what you just suggested – right now! Are we shopping? Buy it! Buy it in every colour! You want to stage that play one day? Let’s do it! Quick!

I’m disorganised. My teaching desk was always stacked with paper. I got frazzled when I couldn’t find things. It earned Comments from my superiors. I would tidy it up occasionally, and within a day it would be stacked again.

I have problems prioritising. I start one task, then drift to another before the first task is done, then switch again. Or I lie on the couch unable to move. All while avoiding the biggest and most imminent tasks.

My time management sucks. I have half an hour to finish marking? Well, I’m going to spend at least half of that going through my sticker collection and choosing stickers for my students based on what ones suit their personality. 

I have trouble multitasking. If you’ve hung out with me while I’m doing something you’ll be familiar with the traditional tune-out – when I stop talking mid-sentence and literally can’t hear what you’re saying.

Restlessness. Yep. When I’m resting I want to be doing something. But when I’m doing something I want to be resting.

Problems focusing on a task? Heck yes. That’s why this blog exists. To actually give me something to attempt to concentrate on. It’s not working, but every now and then I get a burst of hyperfocus.

Poor planning. Yep. Just ask all my mentor teachers why I can’t submit my planning on time. Every. Single. Week.

Frequent mood swings and hot temper? Temper yes, mood swings not as much. But those might be hormonal anyway.

I have low frustration tolerance. I work better in groups when I have to do stuff I don’t like, because I can talk out issues and I can’t skip out.

Problems following through and completing tasks. Hello, giant google drive full of half-finished play notes and random scenes. Hello, screeds of teaching ideas. Hello, this half-assed blog that I barely contribute to. Hello, Leo’s baby book that I was supposed to fill with letters to my beloved son.

Trouble coping with stress. Ooh! I have a whole chronic illness that is exacerbated by my inability to process stress. I can handle any stressful situation at the time, but then crumple with a migraine in the days following. I’m good in a crisis. But give me some standard university forms or creative arts funding paperwork? Hahahahaha I will sit on that for months, completely unable to do it, even if it’s for a scholarship or grant that will literally give me free money.

I hope no future bosses read this. I’ll never get hired.

But I’m a good teacher. I really am. I can improv on the spot, I explain things well, I’m flexible with interruptions or changes, and I build amazing relationships with students and parents, especially the quirky ones. I’m just sucky at the paperwork side.

It’s the same when you know me in a non-work capacity. I’m a good friend, I swear. I will help you with whatever you need. My love languages are words and gifts. I don’t know how else to show people I love them, because I’m basically useless at the “acts of service” love language. 

When you tell me things about yourself, I chime in with “me too!” It probably sounds like I’m trying to one-up your story, but I’m not. I’m just trying to tell you that I can empathise because I have experienced something similar. Except sometimes I’m excited to tell you and scared I’ll forget, so I’ll cut you off. Sorry about that.

My main trouble here is that I struggle to keep in contact with people. The fun side effect of ADHD is it comes with extreme rejection-sensitivity. This is worsened in my case with a shitty first-half-of-high-school experience that has left me with fun trauma scars that take the form of me thinking people don’t actually like me. It’s incredibly self-indulgent and stupid, but I tend to not contact people first because I think I’m unwanted. So I don’t always want to offer to video chat or meet up, or drop by, because my default mode is thinking that people don’t want to hang out with me. I’m aware that this is absolutely cooked, but I can’t really help it. My biggest fear is being a burden to others. So I hide away, but then I get sad and miss people and cry to my partner and he pushes me to contact people.

Maybe that’s why I’m writing this. So you know why I am the way I am. At least social media comments offer me a way of telling people I love them without feeling like I’m horning in on their personal time.

One way to treat ADHD is through routine. Intense, regular routine. Something that’s really hard with a baby. Another way to treat it is with meds. Which I can’t currently take, because I’m breastfeeding my baby. So I don’t know what to do, and I just muddle through with the help of my husband, who is also ADHD. Another way is with therapy, which I suck at.

It’s funny, my husband and I bonded originally because we had so much in common, and really felt like we “got” each other. In hindsight, it was probably the ADHD commonalities. It might be why it took us both so long to get diagnosed – because both of us had the same traits, we thought they were normal. We didn’t realise we might both be broken in the same way.

Several of our friends have been diagnosed as adults with ADHD. Maybe that’s why we’re all friends. Like attracts like. 

The tough thing with diagnosing ADHD is how many traits are just traits of being human. Everyone’s restless sometimes. Everyone hates boring tasks. But the executive dysfunction is really tough. When I figure out how to overcome it, I’ll let you know.