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Cloth Nappy Questions Answered

Why buy reusable nappies? 

To save a mountain of rubbish. Most toddlers are out of nappies before they’re three years old. Over tha time span, if you were to replace just one disposable nappy a day with a reusable nappy, you’d save around 900 nappies from going to landfill where they would take hundreds of years to decompose. 

Some parents also choose cloth nappies to avoid the chemicals in disposables. One study "detected a number of hazardous chemicals in disposable diapers that could migrate through urine, for example, and enter into prolonged contact with babies' skin."

So why aren’t we all using reusable modern cloth nappies? I know some people are put off by the idea of handling and washing reusable nappies – but honestly, it’s really not that bad. 

The washing is simply adding a few more loads into your routine and once you’re in the swing of it, it’s no different from washing your loved one’s clothes after a poonami (these rarely happen in cloth nappies by the way). 

Are Reusable nappies more expensive?
It's true there is an initial cost to using modern cloth nappies: whilst each disposable nappy sells for a few pence, reusable nappies cost pounds. However, once you’ve stocked up, you don’t need to buy more and they only add a few more loads of washing to your routine. Some councils offer cloth nappy incentive schemes with vouchers or cash back to help parents buy cloth nappies. This can be a postcode lottery so Bells Bumz has launched the FIRST Nationwide reusable nappy incentive scheme regardless of where you live in the UK.

When deciding which cloth nappies to buy, the most important thing is to choose ones which suit your circumstances. We can help you find the best reusable nappy for your lifestyle with our cloth nappy questionnaire. Want to know how much you could save with cloth nappies? Use our savings calculator.

How Many Cloth Nappies Do I Need?

You can start with One! For a full day in cloth I would recommend 6 cloth nappies, to allow you to wash less often or use cloth full time 12 cloth nappies is a good starting number, although for the simplest wash routine most recommend 20-25 day time cloth nappies and 3 - 5 night time cloth nappies for full time use. If you’re using a two-part system, such as a fitted, flat nappy or our innovative z soakers in a wrap then we recommend buying one wrap for every three nappies. Usually the wrap stays clean so can be reused after most nappy changes for up to 12 hours, we recommend having two per daytime and alternating during the day. Our handy calculator below helps you calculate how many cloth nappies you need for your baby.

Use the questionnaire below to find out which of our cloth nappies will suit you and your baby, from newborn to toddler to beyong we have a cloth nappy to suit your needs. You may also find our cloth nappy calculator useful to see how many cloth nappies you will need.

How do I choose the best cloth nappies for my baby?

There are many variables to consider when searching for the right reusable nappy: the size and shape of your baby, whether they’re prone to leaks (although poonami's are much less common in modern cloth nappies), and – crucially – your home washing and drying facilities.


Using cloth nappies full-time, the size of your stash (how many cloth nappies you have) will dictate how often you wash your cloth nappies. Generally, people try to wash their cloth nappies every two or three days, you can find our cloth nappy washing advice here. If you live in a cold, small or damp space, you’ll need quick-drying reusable nappies or cloth nappies that you can put in your tumble drier if you have one, using a dehumidifier can also speed up drying time.

Whilst the choices and types of cloth nappies can seem overwhelming, there are two main options to choose from:

  • One-part cloth nappies involve fastening a nappy around your child in "one piece" much like a disposable nappy. They are convenient and quickest to put on but offer less absorbency and containment than a two-part reusable nappy system because they tend to have one set of elastic and less absorbent material. Some one-part cloth nappy systems take a little more preparation work as you need to assemble them (such as putting the absorbent "insert" inside a pocket opening in the water resistant shell "pocket" nappy) and some are all ready prepared (such as all in one cloth nappies, where everything is sewn together).

  • Two-part reusable nappies involve using a cloth nappy with a separate wrap or cover. They’re unbeatable for absorbency and containment. The whole cloth nappy of the inner layer is made from absorbent material, so they are often used as night-time nappies or for nap times and long journeys. They also form two separate sealed nappies around babies legs, making them likely to contain even the most explosive expulsions, as the wrap or cover which is water resistant goes on in a separate second piece. Historically fitted nappies tend to be slower drying, because they absorb more, but this was worth it when you’ve got a heavy wetter and space to dry the nappies, as they’re a reliable regular option.  However, with Bells Bumz our fitted nappies are designed to be quick drying as you can separate the layers. Two-parters, such as our innovative z swap system using our Z Wraps and Z soakers can work out cheaper because you only need to buy a few wraps to cover a stash of nappies.


Use the questionnaire below to find out which of our cloth nappies will suit you and your baby, from newborn to toddler to beyond we have a cloth nappy to suit your needs. You may also find our cloth nappy calculator useful to see how many cloth nappies you will need. 

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