Podcast Episode 005: Questions and Answers
More questions, this week Vashti and Vicki answer some more questions put forward by long-term cloth nappy users. The questions are things they were concerned about before they became full-time cloth nappy users.
How you wash them?
Do you need to wash every day?
I don’t wanna spend a lot of time in the laundry.
What is the different between POL and minky?
Will the thicker profile fit under clothes and be comfortable to wear?
What are the pros and cons of all in one and all in twos?
Will I need to change the cover every time I change a bam-bam nappy? Do I need to add something, like a booster, for nighttime?
Is cloth less breathable than disposables?
Can I use the dryer?
Her next question is can she use nappy sand or similar products?
How do you get rid of mould?
How do you store nappies between baby?
Transcript: Your questions on cloth nappies.
Andrew: So how are you doing today Vashti?
Vashti: Great, thanks Andrew how have you been?
Andrew: Excellent. So much has happened since the last episode. How are you today Vicki?
Vicki: Yeah. I’m okay.
Vicki: Just okay.
Andrew: Just okay?
Andrew: And what have you done since the last episode?
Vicki: I don’t know.
Vashti: We’ve lost track. It’s been really, really busy.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s been frantic.
Vashti: It’s just been so much happening.
Vicki: [00:00:30] Expos galore, you know, flying around the country.
Andrew: I’ll tell you what I’ve done since the last episode. Pressed record.
Vicki: You just gave it away.
Andrew: That’s okay. I’ll let it be there or maybe I won’t. I’ll keep it in.
Let’s cover a few more listener questions if that’s okay. Samantha wants to know how you wash them. We’ve kind of covered that though haven’t we? Is there anything you want to add to washing besides make sure it does a prewash?
Vashti: Keep it simple.
Vicki: Yeah keep it as simple [00:01:00] as possible and when and if you run into problems, look it then don’t be afraid of enzymes. Within a washing detergent enzymes play a really important part. You want to make sure that your temperature’s under 60 degrees to make sure that you’re not ageing your POL and your elastics prematurely. [00:01:30] Don’t put your nappies out in the super hot sun. Again, it’s a heat thing and when we refer to heat damaging nappies it’s not the inserts. It’s not the bamboo and that sort of stuff. It’s the in particular POL and elastic. Detergents … use what you’ve got. If that is Eco-store or Iron-mo or what ever it is, use what you’ve already got. If, you run into problems then kind of …
Andrew: I can kind [00:02:00] of answer her next question, her next question is, “Do you need to wash every day?” And my answer to that would be if you don’t have enough nappies, yes, but normally you’d have enough nappies to go at least two days.
Vashti: It really does depend on how many nappies you’ve got. I love to recommend have enough nappies to get you through three days and that way you can wash every second day and have that third day for drying. Or if you get a run of cold, wet weather you can wash every day and have two days for drying.
Vicki: But if you have a small amount of nappies, say you’re only cloth nappying part-time. [00:02:30] You’ve only got six to ten nappies to get you through part of the time. Pop your nappies through for a prewash on their own and then top up the machine with your sheets and your towels and what ever other colours you’ve got in the house, so that you can make your full load and ensure that the washing machine works to its maximum ability.
Vashti: Don’t leave it longer than two days.
Vashti: You absolutely need to be rinsing your nappies after two days. Leaving them any longer than that, you’re gonna prematurely [00:03:00] age them. Nappies contain bacteria … Sorry, dirty nappies contain bacteria. You either need to rinse that out or give them a quick 30 minute …
Vashti: Do your prewash, your 30 minute wash once a day if you want to and then pop them in a bucket until you’ve got enough for a full load. I wouldn’t be leaving them longer than two to three days just sitting in a pail.
Vicki: It’s really hard when they start toilet training.
Vashti: Yeah. Been [00:03:30] there.
Vicki: Yeah, where I’ve had two weeks worth of nappies and I can tell you, I ended up throwing out two weeks worth of nappies, because of what grew on the bottom of that bucket.
Andrew: It was a society.
Vicki: I’m no Martha Stewart, in case you haven’t worked that out yet.
Andrew: I see.
Vicki: You could call me the lazy housewife.
Andrew: The next question she’s got, again I can answer this as well, “I don’t wanna spend a lot of time in the laundry and” … I didn’t spend a lot of time in the laundry, do you guys spend a lot of time in the laundry?
Vicki: Nope, it’s about an extra [00:04:00] five minutes a day.
Vashti: Yeah, I’m sorry.
Vicki: When, you break it down to cloth nappy it takes you five more minutes a day. You throw the load in the machine and press a few buttons and walk away, come back a little bit later. If you’d want to use your dryer just separate it out so that your POL or your waterproof shells get hung over a towel rail or a clothes air-er and throw all the absorb bits in the dryer.
I used to set the kids up with their breakfast in the morning and then stand there and throw all my nappies up on the clothes airers.
Vashti: [00:04:30] It’s really nice this time of year, kind of spring, early summer where … As we’re talking the last episode about the A&A and getting mums out in the sunshine, the sunshine is such an important thing.
Vicki: It’s healing.
Vashti: It really helps emotionally.
Vicki: Yeah. It’s really calming and it’s cathartic.
Vashti: Yeah, that’s the word.
Vicki: It’s cathartic to get out there and hang your nappies on line and then when they’re all hung out, you sit there and you go, “Look [00:05:00] at that beautiful rainbow on my clothes line.”
Vashti: I’m missing a pink one. Where’s that orange one, is that stuck in a wet bag in the car?
Vicki: We won’t go into that one.
Andrew: Sometimes when you’re hanging them out though, it’s so windy that by the time you finish hanging the last one, the first one’s dry.
Andrew: You can just go back and take them off. Karen’s got a question, we’ve kinda covered this, but we haven’t covered this in this context. Her question is, “What is the different between POL and minky?”
Vashti: [00:05:30] It’s fashion. Really the POL fabric will have a flat pile, so think of it like a cotton or something like that. It’s got a very smooth finish. Minky has got a pile on it, so it’s super soft to touch, you’ll often find baby toys are made out of minky. It’s purely fashion. The POL is laminated to both fabrics as we discussed before, in case [00:06:00] you missed it, the polyurethane laminate is kind of like a contact and it’s glued onto a fabric. That’s the main difference. They’re both 100 percent polyester. There’s no difference with drying time. I get asked often, “Is minky hot?” And it’s not. It’s no different.
Andrew: Unless, it’s pink.
Vicki: Yes, hot pink.
Vashti: Then it’s hot pink.
Vicki: Oh my god, that’s such a dad joke.
Andrew: Her next question is, “Will the thicker profile fit under clothes and be comfortable [00:06:30] to wear?” That depends on the clothes really.
Vashti: It depends on the clothes. It also depends on the size of your baby. If you’re using a one size fits most, on a newborn baby it can be quite difficult to get some of the trimmer, snugger clothes over the top of them.
Vicki: Or the onesies.
Vicki: That do up in the crotch.
Vashti: Yeah, onesies are notorious because the trim of the onesie will go up into the leg line and can cause what’s known as wicking. That’s where it draws the moisture out, because it actually pulls into the elastic [00:07:00] line. I still remember, my partner brought our youngest into the shop one day and I had a grandmother in there with her daughter, looking at cloth nappies. She had brought up the bulk-ness issue. I said, “Oh no, Colin’s wearing one at the moment.” She tried to have a stand up fight with me that I must’ve been full of it, because there’s no way he was wearing a cloth nappy. While I had no intention of arguing with her, I did actually pull Colin’s pants down to show her that it was a cloth [00:07:30] nappy. It really does come down to the style and type of nappy that you’re wearing. Whether it’s sized or one size.
Vicki: Low rise jeans won’t fit you.
Vicki: I mean, they show disposables as well. That’s what I tended to have problems with, was the low rise jeans, but your leggings and pull up pants and stuff like that …
Andrew: Kids seem to grow out of onesies very quickly though.
Vicki: They do.
Vashti: Do you know what I loved though? In those early days, is the bomb zippies, so your [00:08:00] bonds wonder-certs and things like that have got the zip through the front. You can get the short-sleeved ones and the long-sleeved ones …
Vicki: Are they those easy feet ones that are really difficult to put on?
Vashti: No, no they’re like a normal onesie, but they don’t do the snaps through the crotch. The short ones have got little short legs on them.
Vashti: And they’ve got a zipper front on them.
Vicki: We had some from Next Direct, they’re amazing.
Vashti: Yeah. Those onesies are absolutely fantastic cause there’s so much stretch in [00:08:30] them. We still use the onesies overnight. They go beautifully over a night nappy and that’s a big bulky nappy overnight. Bomb zippies, “The Bomb”, are the cloth nappies.
Andrew: Her last question is, “What are the pros and cons of all in one and all in twos?” Now, I know you’ve covered this, but cover her in this context for me.
Vashti: All in ones are really easy and simple to use. I think the best way to describe them is they’re just like a disposable nappy with the only difference being that you wash them. They have [00:09:00] all of your absorbency stitched in, they have the waterproof shell and they have your closures and they just go straight on.
The downside to an all in one is that it can take a little bit longer to dry, because all that absorbency is stitched in and you are changing the whole nappy every time you change a nappy. Just like you would with a disposable.
Vicki: With an all in two, however, the absorbency comes out of the waterproof shell. That means it makes it a much faster drying nappy, but also gives you the opportunity, cause those absorbent bits, most [00:09:30] of the time, can be bought separately or you can use something else in there. A pre-fold or a terry flat or even an old towel cut up and overlapped as your absorbent bits. You can actually change that absorbency out, which allows you to increase the size of your stash without spending as much money.
If Bobby’s just done a wee and they haven’t soiled the shell of the nappy, just grab a new insert, pop it in and put the old insert in the wash. The downside is [00:10:00] that you don’t have to put it back together after it comes out of the wash, which partners are great for, because when you are in bed at eight o’clock, putting the kids to bed. They’re sitting up watching the TV they can sit there and put all the nappies together for you.
Vashti: It’s another cathartic thing, the whole snapping nappies.
Andrew: Don’t you usually end up with a lollypop or something like that in with the nappy then, if they’re putting them together?
Vicki: Okay, you eating lollypops while you put nappies together are you Andrew?
Andrew: No, the kids, when the kids are putting them [crosstalk 00:10:25].
Vicki: Yeah, okay fair enough. I know I’ve found Lego in [00:10:30] nappies.
Vashti: Me personally, I just like to my storage system of a clothes basket. They come out of the machine.
Vicki: That’s been my [crosstalk 00:10:41] at the moment.
Vashti: Yeah, look let’s be real.
Andrew: Why put them in a drawer when in one day they’re gonna be in a basket anyway?
Vicki: I have to put them in the drawer for the nanny, she hasn’t worked out how to put them all together, so I have enough put together for her.
Vashti: That’s the advantage of having one type of nappy. You know where everything … you [00:11:00] just grab and insert and a shell.
Vicki: It doesn’t matter because they all match.
Vashti: They all match.
Vicki: But if you’ve got a whole heap of different styles and types of nappies.
Vashti: That’s a struggle.
Vicki: Trying to find, which one goes with what. I know this time round, cause with the first two I only had a few different types of nappies. So Brent was able to work it out fairly easily. This time round we’ve got some many different types of nappies, it’s not funny and Brent’s just given up. He’s just going, “You know what? Give me a pre-fold and cover and I’m done.”
Andrew: Something I’ve noticed with the [00:11:30] all in ones though is, they don’t like come apart, come apart but they do come out flat, whereas the …
Vicki: Yeah, so most two in ones will have a tongue.
Andrew: Yeah, it stretches out, so it’s no like you’re trying to …
Vashti: Get six layers dry, no.
Andrew: You’re not trying to dry a folded up towel.
Andrew: It’s gonna come out flat, so it still does dry quickly.
Vicki: It still does dry quite quickly, but not as quick as an all in two or a pocket or a flat.
Vashti: Generally because there’s absorbency in or around the shell and [00:12:00] around the elastic or around your Velcro, they’re the places that take the longest to dry, is where it’s stitched in. So, where you’re little tongue is actually stitched into the nappy, that’ll be the last thing that dries.
Andrew: Okay. Candace’s question is, “Will I need to change the cover every time I change a bam-bam nappy? Do I need to add something, like a booster, for nighttime?”
Vashti: The answer is no and yes. No, you don’t need to change [00:12:30] the cover every time you change a bam-bam. For those that don’t know, that’s a specific nappy, that’s actually a fitted newborn nappy. A bam-bam is completely absorbent, it has a separate cover that goes on the outside. No, you don’t need to change the cover. Usually about four to six fitted nappies per cover is a pretty good ratio. Generally you’ll have two covers on the [00:13:00] go. You’ll change the nappy, air the cover out and then you’ll use it again the next nappy change.
This is one of the big advantages of a fitted and cover system, is you can add extra boosting to make the nappy last longer. Adding a booster to the nappy will make it last overnight and it depends on your baby. How long they’re sleeping for, as to how much extra boosting you’ll have to add that.
Vicki: I loved it when Colin started doing those longer sleeps and I didn’t want to change [00:13:30] him. I would pop my little fitted nappy on, put a pre-fold over the top of that nappy and then put the cover on and the cover would hold the pre-fold in place.
Putting the boosting on the outside of your fitted nappy ensures that you still keep that nice snug fit of the nappy on your baby’s bum and there’s no gaping around the legs or anything like that. When you start boosting on the inside of nappies it can start to push the shell away and that starts getting leaks and gaps and stuff like that. Definitely I love boosting on the outside of a fitted nappy, between the nappy [00:14:00] and the cover.
Andrew: Sarah’s got a question and her question is, “Is cloth less breathable than disposables?”
Vicki: Oh goodness, no.
Vashti: No. You’re talking about plastic versus fabric. Actually, Fiona from Darlings Down Under did a stain test.
Vicki: She did a great … Yes. She did a fantastic.
Vashti: She boiled a kettle and popped it in a cup.
Vicki: She had these glasses, which she poured boiling water in and then she put the shell of a cloth nappy over [00:14:30] one and put a martini glass over that. She tore all the guts out of a disposable nappy and put the shell of the disposable nappy over the other glass and put a martini glass over that. Within a minute, it was very quick, you could actually see all the steam rise through the cloth-shell and condense on the martini glass. Whereas, five minutes later there was still no steam on the martini glass of the disposable nappy.
You can really see [00:15:00] the difference between how much breath ability there is between a cloth nappy and a disposable nappy. Cloth is a lot more breathable, it allows a lot more airflow around your baby’s bottom and it’s gonna hopefully reduce any chance you have of nappy rash or overheating or anything like that. There’s been some studies done in the past where, disposable nappies have been shown that they can increase the temperature in the groyne [00:15:30] by up to two to three degrees. A rise of anywhere over 1.2 degrees can actually have long term effects on reproductive systems in your children. Especially, in boys with their sperm count.
Andrew: Wonder who the pitted poor person was that had to do that study?
Vashti: I suppose disposables are still quite new if you like to think of the time line.
Vicki: They’ve only been around for 60 years.
Vashti: Sorry, common use, you know, the last [00:16:00] 20 to 30 years. Those kids that kind of started off in disposables are only now getting to reproductive age. It’s like smoking, until people started getting cancer, it was all in correlation doesn’t equal causation. It’s kind of the same thing with disposables now, I’m sure over the next ten years we’re gonna see where there is some real data coming out about how that temperature has affected [00:16:30] the …
Vicki: Reproductive …
Vashti: Yeah, absolutely. I expect to honestly see it, but it’ll be nice to have some real data behind that.
Vicki: Yeah. I’m really looking forward to sort of the next five to ten years, so that we can really see some of those issues come to light and some real good information come out from that.
Andrew: While we’re on that subject actually, I saw on a baby forum recently and it was a cloth nappy baby forum. They were talking about crystals on a baby. [00:17:00] That’s not really a cloth nappy problem, is it?
Vicki: No, definitely not from cloth nappies. With your disposable nappies, one of the things that they use to absorb all the moisture, in that disposable, is a polymer. A lot of them will have little gel beads in there that will soak up all that moisture and those gel beads are the same thing that you get in your little silica gel packets in your shoes and your handbags and stuff. It just absorbs moisture and as they absorb moisture, they get bigger and stuff.
Now, sometimes [00:17:30] the inner lining of a disposable can actually leach those little beads through and I do remember when we were using disposables on my oldest, we’d use them overnight at first. Quite often we’d wake up in the morning and he’d have a whole heap of little gel balls all around his anus and on his bottom and stuff like that, because it had leached through. We were using quite a well known expensive brand of disposables, that I would have assumed would have been the best [00:18:00] on the market, but we still got those through.
Those polymers, while they generally don’t leach into the skin, I have to say, some of them were that close to my son’s anus that it concerned me whether or not any had actually gone in and what sort of effect that they would have. It’s not from cloth, it’s from disposables that you’ll get gel crystals.
Andrew: Okay. Rose’s got a couple of questions and the first one she’s got is quite simple, but I think she’s looking at it from the point of view [00:18:30] is there any tricks in this and that’s, “How do you hang them on the line?” Are there any tricks in hanging them onto the line so they’ll dry faster?
Vashti: With shells, we generally say hotdogs or hamburgers and what that means is just lay them lengthwise over the line, whether that be lengthwise or folded in half, that’s your shells. That just puts the least amount of pressure on the elastics. The time you don’t want to be stretching the elastics is when they’re hot or wet, [00:19:00] because they’re a rubber and heat will break down elastic. With the boosters, pretty much, just whatever’s going to get them driest the fastest. Some people don’t like peg marks, so you can just put the peg at the edge of the line and just peg it on or you can fold it over the line and peg it down.
Andrew: I don’t like peg marks at all.
Vicki: We’ve got clothes airers so I just hang them over the clothes [00:19:30] airers, like three tiers and the shells just go over and so do the boosters. The really long boosters I’ll peg up or I’ll fold over and they run down halfway. We love our clothes airers honestly. Get yourself some good clothes airers and that way you can move your nappies around, get them out of direct sun in the middle of the day and then put them back out in the afternoon. When it rains, when those summer storms come through and you’re not expecting them, you can race out there and just pick up the clothes airer and pull it inside.
Vashti: Or you can be like Andrew and just put them all through [00:20:00] the dryer. That’s you dirty little secret, isn’t it?
Andrew: Actually, I was gonna say that …
Vashti: I don’t like peg marks.
Vicki: You’ve never ever used a peg in your life.
Andrew: I don’t like peg marks so much that I don’t peg anything. I just put it over.
Vashti: I’m actually not joking, I will take a photo the next time he does it. He’ll get harassed by me for using the dryer too much and he’ll go and put the clothes on the line. Literally, he puts them on the line, no pegs, no nothing, no flicking of the [00:20:30] T-shirts or anything, he just throws them on the line.
Andrew: Obviously her next question is, “Can I use the dryer?”
Vicki: You can.
Vashti: Andrew, would you like to field this one?
Andrew: My answer to that would be, yes, if it’s raining outside or the wife isn’t home. Yes, use the dryer. If it’ll be finished before she comes home, you’re all set. Or you could do a little trick like I did, there’s a timer on our dryer, so I put them in the dryer and I’d set the time to go off.
Vashti: There’s a timer on our dryer?
Andrew: When she’s asleep, so she’d never know that the dryer had been on overnight, [00:21:00] because it wasn’t on while she was awake.
Vashti: You know we do have solar panels and it’s better to use the dryer, actually, during the day then it is to use at night?
Andrew: Just say then …
Vashti: So many secrets are coming out.
Andrew: I used that trick just a couple of days ago.
Vashti: We’re going to have domestic counselling in the next session.
Andrew: Her next question is can she use nappy sand or similar products?
Vashti: Yes, nappy sand is actually an oxygen bleach. It’s perfectly [00:21:30] fine to use. I recommend only really using on your inserts so your bamboo, your hemp, your microfiber, that sort of stuff. Again, just erring on the side of caution with your shells … If you bought second hand nappies or you’ve had a staff infection go through or you’ve got some staining that you wanna get rid of, by all means do a nappy sand soak, just do it for a shorter period of time and certainly not at any high [00:22:00] heat. We do say to steer clear of chlorine bleach, in particular on your shells. In very extreme circumstance, if you’re dealing with mould and that sort of thing, you’ve pretty much got ruined nappies anyway. Doing a strip and sanitise on mouldy nappies can’t do any harm, but the important thing is, if you are gonna do that, you need to follow the instructions. You [00:22:30] need to follow the quantities, because the amount of chlorine bleach that you’re using in that particular case is minuscule. You certainly don’t wanna be using it neat or undiluted or diluted at a …
Vicki: High level.
Vashti: A high level. Your oxygen bleaches are fine. It’s pretty much just sodium bicarbonate or washing soda.
Andrew: You’ve kind of answered her next question is, “How do you get rid of mould?” And that’s kind of a … [00:23:00] you get mould on anything, you can get mould on clothes, on nappies.
Andrew: From my carpet cleaning days, you get mould on carpet that hasn’t been dried properly.
Andrew: It’s very destructive, I’ve found.
Vashti: Yeah, well it is and that’s what I’ve said. If you’ve got mould on your nappies, they’re pretty much useless. You need to actually treat the mould spores and then on top of that, you’ve got the staining of the mould. Bleach [00:23:30] is quite effective, it works.
Vicki: I’m a fan of oil of cloves, just for that natural … Oil of cloves works beautifully at killing mould. However, definitely recommended not to use it while you’re pregnant and to keep it away from small children.
Andrew: Is there anything that you wouldn’t put in the water?
Vashti: My bras.
Vicki: Yeah, funny. ‘Cause I was thinking probably breast pads.
Andrew: I was actually thinking of chemicals not [crosstalk 00:23:56]. Any [00:24:00] washing detergents or anything like that, that you wouldn’t put in with the cloth.
Vicki: You don’t put vinegar in, that’s very much an old recommendation. Vinegar is …
Andrew: Any other old wives tales you wanna get rid of while we’re here?
Vicki: Only using a quarter or a half …
Vashti: Use the full …
Vicki: Of the detergent, use the full dose for a heavy soiled load and also something to keep in mind to is, making sure that you’re using enough detergent for your size washing machine. We’ve got huge washing machines now and [00:24:30] there’s a big difference between a full kilo washer and a ten kilo washer. You need to be aware of how much detergent you need to use for your washing machine.
Andrew: Basically, check the size of your washing machine and check the instructions.
Andrew: Because one scoop might not be enough for your washing machine.
Vashti: Or for the size of the load that you’re doing.
Vicki: Doing a half load in an eight kilo washer is the same as a full load in a four kilo washer.
Andrew: The last question she’s got, “How do you store nappies between baby?”
Vashti: [00:25:00] Make sure they’re clean.
Vicki: Yes, super clean.
Vashti: Very dry. Make sure they’re super dry. There’s lots of different ways, some people say to store them in vacuum bags, making sure that you lay them flat and that the elastics aren’t stretched in any way. I stored mine in roller tubs and I just had them all folded in the roller tubs beautifully. The biggest thing is probably, make sure they’re out of direct sunlight. In the back of a cupboard or under the bed or something like that, [00:25:30] where they’re not going to be in direct sunlight.
Vicki: Or heat, excessive heat.
Vashti: Don’t put them in a cupboard that’s got …
Vicki: On the western …
Vashti: Electrical cables and on the western wall and all that sort of stuff. You can throw in some silica gel packets.\
Vashti: Just to draw out any excess moisture. Tissue paper’s always a good one as well, if you lay a few sheets of tissue paper in between your nappies, it’s the same as when you’re storing your wedding dress. They always say pop some tissue paper in with your wedding dress, just [00:26:00] to draw out any excess moisture that might build up.
Andrew: Can you use those bags that you suck all the air out of?
Vashti: The vacuum seal bags?
Vicki: The vacuum bags. Yeah.
Vashti: So with the vacuum bags, they’re fantastic. Just make sure that your nappies are flat and that there’s no stretch in the elastics, because if you vacuum seal it, it will stretch out the elastics that little bit more. Then when you go to open it up, all your elastics will have been under pressure for a period of time and won’t have any elasticity left.
Vicki: [00:26:30] Just in my personal experience … You stored yours in tubs.
Vicki: Mine kinda just got stored … just tucked in a pile, like literally, shoved in a Kohl’s green bag and put to the side in the bottom of a cupboard and what have you. We certainly weren’t terribly careful with them.
Andrew: We basically just left them in the baby’s room drawer, until the next baby came along.
Vicki: Yeah, we did in between kids and we’ve got four years between our kids too. I’ve just found over the years that there is [00:27:00] no guarantees that you can store them so the elastics don’t perish, because elastics perish with age, temperature, and bacteria. They’re the three things that will perish your elastics. All you can really do is the best that you can. Make sure that your nappies are super clean, squeaky clean even and kept away from heat. Then you’ve dealt with the bacteria and you’ve dealt with the heat and there’s nothing you can do about the age. If [00:27:30] you do pull your nappies out and the elastics are gone, don’t fret. There are places you can go to get your elastics replaced and have brand new elastics popped in your nappies for like five, six dollars a nappy. Boom, you’ve got a brand new stash that’s gonna do your second child.
Vashti: It’s funny, cause I have some nappies that I used on Bray, nearly 12 years ago, that we have just [00:28:00] finished using on Colin now at just gone three. Those nappies are nearly nine years old, let’s say eight and a half years, maybe. They’ve been through three children and they are still going strong. Some of my nappies that the inserts have finally gone on, they’ve just given up the ghost and said, “Yep, that’s it. I’ve done three kids, it’s time to move on.”
Vashti: We’ve ditched the inserts but the shells themselves are still in amazing [00:28:30] condition. Some of the elastics in those shells are like the day I bought them and I can actually put them against nappies out of the shop and see that there’s still masses of stretch in them and they still feel almost brand new. Whereas, I do have other nappies and they can be the same brand and from the same …
Vashti: Batch as well, but for some reason, those elastics just went really quickly. It might be the fact that we used those ones a little bit more than the ones that …
Vicki: That goes back to the addiction and [00:29:00] finding that print that you love.
Vashti: Finding the print. If there was one with a print that we loved and we made sure it was the first one that got used every time. If it was the first one that got used out of a load, it would generally end up sitting in the dirty pail for two days.
Vicki: That’s a really good point.
Vashti: Which, meant that it was exposed to …
Vashti: Urine and the bacteria and everything for longer than the prints that we weren’t as keen on, so they might have been the last one that was used, so they weren’t sitting there for as long.
Vicki: That would make sense as to why [00:29:30] your favourite nappies don’t seem to last as long.
Vashti: Yeah, because you’re using them as soon as they’re clean. So, they’re sitting with the bacteria on them for a lot longer.
Vicki: That makes sense.
Andrew: My answer to that would be have more favourite nappies.
Vashti: Definitely, yeah.
Andrew: So, while we’re on the subject of nappies failing and nappies getting old, what do you do with a cloth nappy when something’s gone wrong with it? When the elastic has given out or something like that? Do you destroy them away or can you get them fixed.
Vashti: You can definitely get them fixed, there’s lots of places that [00:30:00] will do snap replacement. If one of your snaps breaks on your nappies, you can get that replaced. You can get your elastics repaired. There are plenty of tutorials on the internet, if you’re handy with a sewing machine and you wanna give it a go yourself. You can jump online and jump on YouTube and have a look at one of the tutorials and try and do it yourself for most of the brands. You can contact your manufacturer and see whether or not they have a tutorial for replacing elastics and stuff. There are also [00:30:30] work-at-home mums around Australia who will replace the elastics for you, they’ll replace the Velcro for you if your Velcro has died on your nappies and you wanna get … the rest of the nappy is still in perfect condition.
Vicki: If you’ve decided that you want to replace them all or that’s your last child, you wanna get rid of them, lots of places take them for a donation to overseas. Nappies On a Mission is one of them.
Vashti: I accept donations.
Vicki: Technically, I’ll be accepting [00:31:00] donations. Nappies On a Mission is actually run by my mum and she’s moving from … you don’t know this.
Vashti: Yes, you told me.
Vicki: Oh good, I told you. She’s actually moving soon.
Vashti: Vicki’s gonna have her mum nursing clothes.
Andrew: We don’t wanna date this, so we can’t say the date.
Vicki: Actually, mum’s here. She moved from Dowan down to Brisbane.
Andrew: Been here for weeks.
Vicki: Yeah, months, years even, but I’ve got bucket [00:31:30] loads of donation, Vashti keeps giving donations to me. They go over to orphanages …
Andrew: She also fixes them too, doesn’t she?
Vicki: She does.
Andrew: Does she have a website?
Vicki: She does, nappiesonamission.com, there’s a link on our blog anyway to that. She repairs quite a lot and sends them over to Fiji and Vanuatu, that sort of thing. It’s actually become so popular that she has done up tutorials herself. So she sends everything ready to go [00:32:00] over to ladies over there that are fixing them. Which, is really good.
Vashti: It allows women and they are making a living for themselves as well, because they’re learning how to sew and they’re learning how to repair items.
Vashti: I know your mum sent over a shipping container recently that actually had sewing machines and sewing supplies in it. Plus all the nappies, that some of them needed repairs, others were brought to go straight away, but she did those tutorials and that allowed those women to make a living and they had the sewing [00:32:30] machines so they could start repairing other things in their communities. It allowed them to stay home with their babies and still provide for their families.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s kinda the beginning to the end. Kinda helping mums as we go.
Andrew: It was handy finding sewing machines they could run by just plugging them into a …
Vashti: Palm tree?
Andrew: They ran on coconuts.
Vashti: The other thing to remember though, is with your nappies … don’t have an infinite lifespan. They will breakdown [00:33:00] with repeated use and depending on how many children you get out of them. If your nappy has gotten to the point where the elastic’s gone, the Velcro’s gone, the snaps are broken, you’re getting holes in the inserts, it’s leaking and stuff like that. Throw it in the bin, put it in the compost.
Vashti: Not for profit organisations like Nappies On a Mission don’t want something that you wouldn’t use on your own child.
Vicki: We will accept donations that are in usable condition, [00:33:30] even if they do need some slight repairs, but if it’s got no absorbency left in it and it’s definitely on it’s last legs … Because it’s not fair if you think that somebody needs your rubbish. It’s funny when you’ve got cloth nappies, it’s really hard to actually throw them out.
Vashti: It is.
Vicki: A single use nappy goes in the bin after one use, but you’ve had this nappy for three for four years, it’s really difficult to kind of put [00:34:00] it in the bin. The other thing, if you’re using pre-folds or fitted nappies or all in twos or flats, use those absorbent bits as cleaning cloths around the house. They make fantastic car washing rags, great for cleaning up spills off the floor. Your old flats, you can use them as change table covers or for the kids as bibs, tie them up around their neck at the dinner [00:34:30] table.
Andrew: I think that’ll be enough for today. Thank you Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you Vicki.
Vashti: Thanks Andrew.
Andrew: Vicki is the current president of the Stray Nappy Association and has been making and selling cloth nappies for 13 years. You can contact Vicki through her website bubblebubs.com.au or call 1300-792-232.
Vashti is the member secretary of the Australian Nappy Association and is the owner of Australia’s first bricks and mortar nappy [00:35:00] store, Nest Nappies in Brisbane, Australia. She has been using cloth nappies for 12 years and currently has one child still in nappies. You can contact Vashti through her website nestnappies.com.au or phone 07-3217-5200.
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I am your host, Andrew.