Real Nappies

Real (cotton) nappies are a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable nappies.

A wide range of stylish, modern and well-fitted washable cloth nappies are available for parents, which are easy to use and can be washed on their own with the rest of the laundry or via a laundry service who can deliver a supply of clean cotton nappies.

Real nappies are generally made of three natural parts; the liner, the nappy and an outer waterproof wrap. In contrast, disposable nappies are complex products containing paper pulp, plastics and chemicals and will not biodegrade for up to 300 years.

Buying guide

There are a huge variety of real nappies to choose from. For each of the following nappy types you are likely to find a number of different makes:

Shaped, fitted nappies; All-in-ones; Pocket or pouch nappies; Flat nappies; Waterproof wraps; Booster pads.

The standard advice for using real nappies would be to order some trial packs from a selection of companies and then try them on the baby. Some parents will probably stay with one style whilst others may find it easier to mix and match different styles and makes of nappy.

Cost factors

Research has shown that parents could save up to £500 using home laundered nappies for a first child alone.

Washing nappies at home is the cheapest option. If cared for properly real nappies could potentially last for several children.

How many nappies?

The number of nappies you need very much depends on your chosen washing regime. For example, if you laundered and dried each day then you would need 6 nappies and a wrap. Washing every couple of days would mean you would need 18 nappies and 3 waterproof wraps.

The environment

The difference between real nappies and disposables in environmental terms are stark:

• The UK throws away nearly 3 billion disposable nappies a year

• Merseyside alone counts for around 60 million

• 50 percent of the rubbish from a single household with a baby is made up of disposable nappies

• 90 per cent of disposable nappies end up in landfill

• Estimates show that the plastics in disposables take about 300 years to fully decompose.

There’s more information in our guidebook (please bear in mind that some of the contact information in the leaflet may now be out of date).

Local Laundry Services