About Real Nappies…

Everything that you need to know about Real Nappies:


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According to some recent figures from a large national waste management company, currently across the UK approximately eight million disposable nappies are thrown away each day, which accounts for about three percent of the UK’s total household waste.  These disposable nappies currently just get discarded at Landfill sites.

Using real nappies or cloth nappies can dramatically reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and the cost of disposing this waste and can also help to minimise our impact on the environment.

Therefore environmentally conscious parents are now looking for alternatives to using disposable nappies.


Using Real Nappies is a cost effective and environmentally alternative to using disposable nappies:

Real nappies or cloth nappies are a natural and environmentally friendly alternative to disposable nappies.  They are quick and convenient to use and come with speedy fasteners.

There are now well over 30 different styles and patterns ensuring that there is a product available to suit every child.

The use of Real nappies can reduce the rubbish in your bin and the waste that goes in to Landfill whilst also helping to save you money!


The economic benefit of using Real Nappies over disposable nappies:

To get a baby through from birth to potty you will only need to buy around 50 cotton nappies compared to thousands of disposables which will not only cost a lot more, but are also much more impactful on the environment as they cannot be recycled.

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How does using real nappies instead of disposables actually work?

A real nappy or cloth nappy is made up of a number of layers. The outer wrap acts as a waterproof layer; whilst the inner lining provides the absorbent layer. Some cloth nappies will come ‘ready made’ and are quite similar to disposables, whereas others may need to be made up in layers as required.

Each real nappy will require a final layer consisting of a washable or flushable liner; which acts to catch any solids.

At night, booster pads can be added to provide extra dryness over a 12-14 hour period.

Modern real nappies don’t use safety pins, instead they might have Velcro, poppers or an elastic fastening. You can even use traditional terry cloths, but with different folds to suit your baby.

The many benefits of using Real Nappies

Converting to real nappies is easier than you may think and there are many benefits for both you and your baby, as well as the many environmental benefits!

Three benefits of using Real Nappies for the babies:

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that children who use cloth nappies become potty trained much quicker than those using disposables as they are more aware that they have been to the toilet.
  • Real nappies or cloth nappies are made from natural materials, which help your child’s skin to breathe naturally as they do not contain any chemicals or gels.
  • The baby gets to start of its life by having a more environmentally friendly impact on the environment and this is going to help impact the World that they are going to grow up in.

Four benefits of using Real Nappies for the parents:

  • Real nappies could save you up to £500 per child and this price will rise if the nappies are kept and re-used for subsequent children.  Although there is a one-off initial payment required for real nappies at the start of use, as this is only one-off, you won’t need to pay out for disposable nappies as part of the weekly shop. Although the one of cost for real nappies will be between £300-400; parents will end up spending four times this amount over a two and a half year period.
  • There is now a vast network of second-hand nappy suppliers, means that you can reduce the cost of real nappies even further is nappy costs is a issue or concern for any new parents.
  • Washing nappies at home is the cheapest option, but if time is an issue then there are also plenty of real nappy collection laundry services which you can use and these cost around £8-10 per week.
  • Parents are helping to secure the environment and the planet so that the baby they are bringing in to the world has a better place to grow up within.

Three benefits of using real nappies on the environment:

  • It is predicted that a child will use between 4,000 and 6,000 nappies until it is potty trained. These thousands of disposable nappies will unfortunately end up in landfill sites and as they decompose give out a harmful greenhouse gas called methane, which is believed to contributes to climate change.
  • WRAP (the Government’s Waste & Resources Action Programme) have calculated that households which use real nappies or cloth nappies reduce their household waste by up to half compared to those continuing to use disposables, so you might start of with a choice to use real nappies and end up making other similar environmentally friendly shopping alternative which can also help to make an impact on the amount of waste that your household will produce.
  • Disposable nappies use up to three and a half times more energy to make compared to cloth nappies.


Costs and Savings of Real Nappies in comparison to Disposable Nappies:

Real nappies cost as little as £2 each and washing them at home is as little as £1 per week, so you could save over £500 over a 2.5 year period.

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Exploding the myths of real nappies

There are many myths surrounding the use of real nappies but many of wrong, so please find 7 Real Nappy myths as well as our real nappy facts:

  • “Real Nappies can cause a nappy rash”:
    Independent studies show that frequent nappy changing is the key to avoiding a nappy rash and the type of nappy used is not a determining factor.
  • “Real Nappies can Leak more than disposable nappies”:
    Real Nappies or cotton nappies are no more likely to leak than disposable nappies as long as they are fitted correctly.
  • “Real Nappies smell once used and have to be sterilised”:
    Used real nappies or cotton nappies can be stored in either a bucket with a lid or a container filled with water. Both will prevent them from smelling. Modern washing machines clean well enough that there is no need for sanitising cloth nappies.
  • “Real Nappies or cloth nappies create extra loads of washing”:
    Real nappies or cloth nappies can be washed with the rest of your families washing. Heavily soiled nappies can be easily pre-washed or soaked.  On average, families that use real nappies carry out a wash every 2-3 days. Overall the cost of washing real nappies (including the cost of detergents), is extremely minimal compared to the environmental cost of disposable nappies.
  • “Nurseries and child-minders won’t use real nappies”: 
    Nursery nurses and child carers are usually more than happy to use real nappies as they are now so widely used. Real nappies also can help to reduce the nurseries costs for the disposal of clinical waste.
  • “My child is used to disposables; it’s too late to convert to cloth:
    It is never too late to convert to cloth and it will even help to potty train your child quicker, saving you even more money.


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Frequently Asked Questions about real nappies on our website.