Real Nappies Blog, Real Nappy News

Real Nappies Wales FAQ’s: Environmental Impact

Real Nappies Wales Information and help With Real Nappies 

 

Environmental Impact

 

Each baby will go through around 5,000 nappies in a 2 ½ year period which equates to 156 black bags and will weigh approximatley the same as a family car!

Whatever type of nappy you use it will have an environmental impact. However, disposable nappies do cause a significant problem to our crowded landfill sites, where they take around 300 years to biodegrade and during the process of decomposition release methane gas, a more potent greenhouse gas than Co2. If you wish to use Real Nappies and reduce the environmental impact you can do the following:

  • Choose more environmentally friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo.
  • Use ‘A’ rated appliances
  • Wash at 40, or 60c. Do not boil wash
  • Do not use fabric conditioner – it is unnecessary and reduces absorbency
  • Use eco-friendly washing powders
  • Minimise tumble drying – line dry, or use an airer
  • Do not iron nappies
  • Try and encourage potty training from around 18 months of age.

 

About Real Nappies Wales

cropped-real-nappies-wales-logo-final-small-with-welsh-eyes.png

Buy nappies here: Real Nappies Wales Online Shop

Real Nappy

FAQ’s: Frequently asked questions

NOTTS-NAPPY_929X367PX

Website Blog: News and Information on Real Nappies

croppedimage320210-Nappies

Real Nappies Blog, Real Nappy News

Real Nappies Wales FAQ’s: Fabric Guide

Real Nappies Wales Information and help With Real Nappies 

 

Fabric Guide

 

Real nappy manufacturers use a lot of different fabrics to make real nappies so here is a quick guide to some types of fabrics available.

Cotton

This is the traditional choice of fabric for real nappies, has been used for many years and is still a favourite today. Cotton is absorbent and hard wearing; it can be washed at very high temperatures and is used almost exclusively by nappy laundry services. It can become slightly stiff after washing (a burst in the tumble dryer can sort this out) and it can take a little longer to dry than some manmade fabrics. Cotton comes in lots of different colours, unbleached and organic.

Cotton facts:

  • It breathes easily as a result of its fibre structure and keeps the body cool in summer and warm in winter because it is a good conductor of heat.
  • Cotton has a high absorbency rate and holds up to 27 times its own weight in water.

Unfortunately cotton is vulnerable to a large number of pests so pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers are widely used and residues may remain in the fabric. Organic cotton is grown without chemicals and therefore does no harm to either environment or workers. Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment.

Types of cotton fabric:

Woven – Smooth on both sides and very absorbent.

Terry fabric – Deep pile and very absorbent.

Flannel fabric – Smooth on one side, lightly brushed on the other.

Velour fabric – Velours is a knitted fabric with tiny loops on one side that have been shaved off. Velours is a more ‘fragile’ fabric. Polyester is normally added to reduce shrinkage, increase durability and prevent the fabric from loosing shape but 100% cotton Velours is available.

Muslin – is a type of finely-woven cotton fabric. Muslin is most typically a closely-woven unbleached or white cloth, produced from corded cotton yarn.

Bamboo

Is known as a green crop and so has become a very popular fabric for making real nappies. Bamboo has a very quick growing cycle and needs less water than cotton and no pesticides to grow. Bamboo is a very absorbent material and can hold up to 60% more moisture than cotton. It is a very soft fabric, naturally anti-bacterial and will stay soft after washing. The drawbacks to bamboo are that it can take a lot longer than cotton to dry and it does not like direct heat so drying your bamboo nappies on the radiator is not recommended.

Bamboo facts:

  • It is the fastest growing grass and can shoot up a yard or more a day and does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots.
  • Bamboo fibre is 100% biodegradable

The manufacturing processes where bamboo the plant is transformed into bamboo the fabric are where the sustainability and eco-friendly lustre of bamboo is tarnished because of the heavy chemicals that are often required.

Types of bamboo fabric:

Bamboo Terry – A silky textured terry fabric woven with bamboo loops embedded in a polyester base (usually 90% Bamboo 10% Polyester).

Bamboo jersey – not suitable for real nappies.

Bamboo velour – A knitted fabric with tiny loops on one side which have been shaved to create a velvet-like surface. Cotton adds strength to this fabric and prevents it from going out of shape.

Bamboo fleece – Is super-soft and has been mechanically brushed in order to create its soft texture (70% bamboo; 30% cotton).

Hemp

Hemp is another very absorbent material used to make real nappies and it also has a greener tag than other fabrics. As a crop it requires no pesticides or fertilisers and is one of the most eco-friendly fabric fibres known to us. It is used as a fabric for inserts more than nappies as hemp can become quite stiff after washing. Hemp is also not as quick acting as some fabrics and is sometimes best when mixed with another quicker acting fabric like microfibre. Natural Hemp is a course fibre but combining it with cotton softens the texture without compromising its absorbency.

Hemp facts:

  • Hemp is considered a high-yield crop and produces significantly more fibre per square foot than cotton.
  • Hemp is more water absorbent than cotton and has 3 times the tensile strength.

Types of hemp fabric:

Hemp fleece – The fleece has been mechanically brushed in order to create its soft, fuzzy texture (55% hemp 45% organic cotton).

Hemp jersey – not suitable for real nappies.

Hemp Terry – Hemp Stretch Terry is 47% hemp; 38% organic cotton; 15% polyester with tiny loops on one side. This fabric has a raised nap of tiny loops on the one side embedded into a knitted base which is flat on the reverse.

Microfibre

Microfibre is a manmade material using fibers combined to form yarns. Microfibre is used for real nappies because the microfiber material wicks moisture away from the body, keeping the skin cool and dry. It is also a very quick acting fabric and because of the way it traps moisture in between its fibres rather than on its surface it is also quick drying. Microfibre is used to make nappy inserts and nappies; it is not as absorbent as some natural fabrics but can be used in conjunction with these materials to boost its absorbency.

Microfibre facts:

  • Prevents the growth of bacteria inside the fabric.
  • While many microfibers are made of polyester, they can also be composed of polyamide (nylon) or other polymers.

Microfibres are not made from a renewable resource and they are not biodegradable.

Fleece

Fleece is a synthetic made from 100% polyester fabric. Fleece does not absorb wetness it sucks the moisture away. It is breathable, lightweight and fast drying making it a great fabric for real nappies. Fleece is either used in real nappies as a liner or lining of a real nappy or as an outer cover (wrap). As a liner Microfleece is usually used, this is the lightest version of fleece that is available. Microfleece is a thin and lightweight soft fleece fabric that will wick moisture away from the skin so keeping baby’s skin dry. Fleece is also used as an outer cover (wrap), fleece wraps allow moisture to evaporate and so keeps the nappy area cool. Fleece wraps are best used for night time and are excellent for babies who have very sensitive skin or who have skin conditions such as eczema. Fleece is very easy to care for and dries very quickly.

Fleece facts:

  • Fleece is a vegan alternative to wool that can be made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Microfleece resists staining, and does not hold faeces like other fabrics can. Just shake off over the toilet.

Other advantages of fleece material is that it is very comfortable due to its light weight and anti-perspiration structure and fleece material allows the moisture to evaporate, while blocking the access of humidity from the outside. Among the disadvantages of fleece include its easy flammability and the generation of static.

Wool

Wool is widely used for outer covers (wraps) because of its unique properties. The weave of the fabric allows wool to wick away moisture from the body and release it into the air to leave skin cool. Wool is a natural insulator to keep you warm in winter and naturally breathable to keep you cool in summer. Wool is naturally antibacterial due to lanolin – a pale yellow oil found on sheeps wool. Lanolin also gives wool its water resistant property. Wool wraps come in 2 forms the first being in the shape of a conventional wrap with poppers or a Velcro fastening the other being knitted wool in the shape of shorts or trousers. Wool is best used at night as compression wicking might happen when baby is up and about (moisture pushed through the wool when baby is sitting for a length of time). Wool wraps are not washed after each use but just hung up to dry, once dry the wrap is ready to be used again. They need to be hand washed in olive soap and re lanolised every 3-4 washes.

Wool facts:

  • Wool will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp.
  • Wool is a renewable resource that can be shorn from sheep annually. It is biodegradable and kinder to the environment than oil-based synthetics

Wool is almost entirely non-allergenic although some people do have a natural allergy to Lanolin.

PUL

PUL stands for polyurethane laminate and is used to make wraps, All in One and pocket nappies. This coating is water resistant but breathable. The fabric that it is applied to may be cotton or have various amounts of polyester in it.

It is durable and can be washed and dried many times without losing its waterproof abilities. It can be washed in temperatures of up to 60°c but will last longer if hand washed or washed at 30 or 40°c along with your families other washing.

PUL facts:

  • As a general rule, solid colour PUL is made from polyester fabric, and printed PUL is usually made with cotton.
  • It was originally created for use in hospitals and other medical settings.

You can dry PUL nappies and wraps in the tumble dryer but it may shorten their lifespan, line drying is best. PUL must not be soaked in any chemical solution such as Napisan or oxy bleach products as it can destroy its waterproofing abilities.

 

About Real Nappies Wales

cropped-real-nappies-wales-logo-final-small-with-welsh-eyes.png

Buy nappies here: Real Nappies Wales Online Shop

Real Nappy

FAQ’s: Frequently asked questions

NOTTS-NAPPY_929X367PX

Website Blog: News and Information on Real Nappies

croppedimage320210-Nappies

Real Nappies Blog, Real Nappy News

Real Nappies Wales FAQ’s: Common Misconceptions

Real Nappies Wales Information and help With Real Nappies 

 

Misconceptions

 

They leak

  • There are so many different cloth nappies that you have a much wider choice of fit than with disposables.
  • If you choose the right cloth nappy for you child’s shape, they leak much less than disposables. You just have to get the right one to suit your child.
  • So many people can help do this so you get it right. Just ask any regular user of cloth nappies/or try “The Nappy Lady” or “lollipop” on the web

They cause nappy rash

  • Nappy rash is caused by the contact of faeces with human skin.
  • Independent studies show that frequency of nappy changing is important to reduce rash, but the type of nappy used is irrelevant.
  • You have to soak them
  • You can soak them if you like, but you can store them in a dry bucket if you prefer this works just as well.

They smell more and they have to be sterilised

  • Disposables can smell awful even when just wet, due to the chemicals. Cloth nappies only smell of whatever is put in them!
  • What could be better than your child wearing a natural product?
  • You simply store them in a bin with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Modern washing machines wash well enough that sterilisation isn’t necessary any more.

You have to touch poo!

  • You can use liners inside cloth nappies – with flushable ones you can just drop the liner and poo down the toilet.
  • Your childs poo sitting in a disposable nappy in landfill is the alternative.
  • When nappies decompose, the gas methane is produced, a serious greenhouse gas which contributes directly to global warming
  • Its estimated that at least part of every disposable nappy ever thrown away is still sitting in landfill! The problems created by this will last for years to come.

It’s lots of extra washing

  • You can wash wet nappies with your families normal washing if you like. Soiled nappies can be washed separately or prewashed first.
  • It’s not a big deal. Most families do a nappy wash every 2-3 days. And just think of all those wet or soiled clothes you have to wash when disposables leak!
  • Washing cloth nappies in an energy efficient washing machine even adding up the all soap powder used and the energy in their production comes nowhere near the true environmental cost of disposable nappies. It’s just a convenient myth!
  • Many councils subsidise a local laundry service to wash nappies if you don’t want any extra washing. These are washed to a very high standard.

What about Nurseries/child minders?

  • Many nurseries and child-minders are happy to use modern real nappies. It actually saves nurseries money as they won’t have to pay to dispose of any clinical waste from your baby.
  • It’s great to talk about why you use cloth nappies with your source of childcare. One nursery in Hammersmith & Fulham is already thinking about switching to real nappies as they realised the benefits.

I have used disposable nappies for over six months is it too late to change over?

  • No – it’s never too late to change over from disposables to cotton nappies.
  • Children tend to potty train earlier in real nappies saving you even more money.
  • The quicker you make the change to cotton nappies the more benefits for you and your baby, and you can always use them for a second child/give them to a friend to try.
  • Cotton Nappies have a great resale value and are a reusable item!

 

About Real Nappies Wales

cropped-real-nappies-wales-logo-final-small-with-welsh-eyes.png

Buy nappies here: Real Nappies Wales Online Shop

Real Nappy

FAQ’s: Frequently asked questions

NOTTS-NAPPY_929X367PX

Website Blog: News and Information on Real Nappies

croppedimage320210-Nappies

Real Nappies Blog, Real Nappy News

Real Nappies Wales FAQ’s: Cost

Real Nappies Wales Information and help With Real Nappies 

 

Cost

 

  • On average a baby will use around 5,000 nappies (based on an average use of 50 nappies per week for a newborn and 35 per week for an older baby – this calculation is based on a 2 ½ year period)
  • For a 2 ½ year period disposable nappies will cost around £800*
  • There are additional costs associated with the disposal (usually landfill) of disposable nappies which is paid for through council taxes.

* These prices are based on Mothercare offers 2007 Spring Catalogue

Real Nappies can cost as little as £40 for traditional terry towelling nappies, rubber pants and pins. However, for the shaped and pocket system they will cost in the region of £200.

We would recommend that you contact a local agent, or stockist that will allow you to trial several different types of nappies before you decide which nappy system to choose. A cost effective, and environmentally friendly way to try nappies is to visit NCT nearly new sales, or go to an online nappy auction site such as www.usednappies.co.uk

You may wish to visit In your Area to see if there any incentive schemes to assist with the cost of your nappies, or contact your local Credit Union.

 

About Real Nappies Wales

cropped-real-nappies-wales-logo-final-small-with-welsh-eyes.png

Buy nappies here: Real Nappies Wales Online Shop

Real Nappy

FAQ’s: Frequently asked questions

NOTTS-NAPPY_929X367PX

Website Blog: News and Information on Real Nappies

croppedimage320210-Nappies

Real Nappies Blog, Real Nappy News

Real Nappies Wales FAQ’s: Laundering

Real Nappies Wales Information and help With Real Nappies 

 

Laundering

 

Real Nappies are easy to use. Gone are the days of soaking and boiling. With the use of modern washing machines and flushable, or washable liners you simply dispose of the baby’s solid matter* down the toilet – which is where it should go! The nappies themselves are quite clean so can be washed along with the rest of the families laundry, or a separate nappy wash. There is no need to wash at 90c, 40 or 60c is fine.

Home laundering isn’t as labour intensive as it may seem. If using Real Nappies exclusively you will be doing around an extra 3 washloads a week for a newborn and 2 for an older baby.

*For newborn, or unwell babies you may have to soak to remove any staining that is not captured with the use of liners.

Top Tips

  1. Pre wash new nappies several times before using to increase absorbency.
  2. Use an ‘A’ Rated energy efficient washing machine.
  3. Wash at 40 or 60c, as well as being better for the environment and your pocket it will prolong the life of your nappies.
  4. Use environmentally friendly detergents, or eco balls.
  5. Line dry as much as possible – as well as being better for the environment the sun also acts as a natural bleaching agent.
  6. Don’t iron nappies!
  7. Don’t use fabric conditioner as it will reduce the absorbency of your nappies.
  8. If you choose to soak your nappies you could use 2-3 tbs of white distilled vinegar; 5 drops of tea tree oil; or 1 tbs sanitising powder (not suitable for use on Velcro or waterproof fabrics) to 5 litres of water.

*If in doubt contact the distributor or manufacturer.

 

About Real Nappies Wales

cropped-real-nappies-wales-logo-final-small-with-welsh-eyes.png

Buy nappies here: Real Nappies Wales Online Shop

Real Nappy

FAQ’s: Frequently asked questions

NOTTS-NAPPY_929X367PX

Website Blog: News and Information on Real Nappies

croppedimage320210-Nappies