Washing your nappies at 60°C will ensure they are clean. Boil washing was common before people had washing machines. However, boiling can reduce the life of the nappy, so is not generally recommended by manufacturers. It is also costly to your purse and to the environment.

Some people add domestic borax or sanitising powders to nappies waiting to be washed. These are germicides, so if you choose to use them, you may not need to wash the nappies in detergent after soaking – just rinse thoroughly.

Rinsed soiled nappies and nappies that are only wet can be added to the rest of the household washing at 40°C.

If your baby is under one year old their rinsed soiled nappies should still be washed at 60°C (while he or she is developing resistance to infection).

Wraps should be washed at 40°C. They don’t have to be washed each time they are used if they haven’t been soiled and can be quickly rinsed under a tap if you feel this is necessary. Most are very quick drying.

Biodegradable liners can also be washed once or twice if they are wet and not soiled.


Wet nappies and rinsed soiled ones can be placed in a dry lidded bucket while waiting to be washed. If soiled nappies need to be stored for longer than a few days, fill a bucket with enough water to cover the nappies and add a few drops of tea tree oil or vinegar or a tablespoon of borax if you have it.

Don’t soak wraps, all-in-ones or pocket nappies as this shortens their lifespan.


Dry nappies out on a washing line if you can. Sunshine will deodorise, sanitise and naturally bleach them. Otherwise line-dry indoors. Avoid tumble drying, as this uses a lot of energy and therefore costs more, reduces the life of the nappy and is not good for the environment. Some washing methods may not be suitable for some nappies – if in doubt call the helpline or your supplier.

Out and about

You can use your reusable nappies when out and about, simply take a spare nappy, with you, plus a bag to hold your wet nappy. At nappy change time remove soiling as you would normally and put the nappy in your nappy sack to take home.