Q&A: Are second-hand cloth nappies safe to use?

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Question & Answer

Tiny little tooshies spend a great deal of time bundled up in nappies. And disposables nappies, while super convenient, are expensive in the long run and not the best choice for the environment.

For this reason, many eco-conscious parents are opting to kit out little bots in cloth reusable nappies and even consider buying them second hand. But are second-hand cloth nappies safe and hygienic? We’re here to help.

Are second-hand cloth nappies safe?

Generally speaking, yes. There are no safety concerns for your baby surrounding this use of second-hand cloth nappies. The only condition is that the nappy has been well washed and cared for. Raising Children actually recommends that cloth nappies are reused for a second child to further reduce their environmental impact.

Regardless of how well cared for a cloth nappy appears, you’ll want to make sure they have a good wash once you get them home. This will not only ensure the removal of any residual smells or stains but also get rid of any nasty chemicals the previous owner may have used to clean them.

How do I clean them?

The first option is a “deep clean”. This process involves a good soak with a baby-safe laundry detergent, followed by a heavy-duty hot wash in your washing machine.

You can then opt to follow this up with a full sanitise if you really want to be sure you’re getting rid of any hidden nasties. This can be done with bleach, or just with your washing machine if it has a hot enough temperature setting.

For some brands, there may even be the option to buy completely new inserts. It costs you a bit more but may give you that extra peace of mind.

What else should I know about second-hand nappies?

If you’re considering purchasing second-hand cloth nappies, it’s a good idea to decide which brand or type you want. There are a lot of different options on the market, and they all have slightly different features.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred brand or style, then you can start looking.  Most importantly, you’ll want to be aware of what each nappy costs to buy brand new. That way you’ll know you’re getting a good deal.

Other things you’ll want to look out for include:

  • Size
  • Stains or smells
  • Overall condition of the fabric
  • Condition of any elastic or fastenings
  • Delamination of any waterproof fabric treatments

Purchasing second hand gives you the chance to try a few styles out and figure out what works best for you and your baby.

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