How Do I Wash Roam Reusable Cloth Nappies?

Here are our recommendations on how to wash your reusable nappies. They are meant as a guide and this is what works well for us (and has done for three years of cloth nappy use). If you have your own way of doing things and it works for you - stick to it. If you're new to reusable / cloth nappies, it's a good starting point!

The condensed version is in our printed fit and wash guide, sent out with all new orders. You can view it digitally by clicking here. 

Washing Reusable Nappies

Image shows a minimal wooden clothes horse with an assortment of cloth nappies hung over it to dry.


  1. We think that the best method for storing nappies in-between wash days is in a lidded nappy bucket (pail), lined with a mesh bag. You can store the bucket under the sink, in the bathroom — whatever works for your routine and household. Our XL wet bags are useful for smaller spaces or if you'd prefer not to have a bucket.

  2. For wet nappies and cloth wipes, simply put them into your bucket or bag after each change. Pull out the inserts so everything is loose, then on wash day you just pop everything in the machine with minimal handling. Place bags in the machine, too. If using one, give your bucket a rinse with hot water and cleaning spray/soap.

  3. If a nappy is soiled, always flush poo down the toilet. It should just peel away from a fleece-lined nappy. If needed, you can use the loo as a sluice. As a rule, anything solid that can be removed needs to be put in the toilet. If you choose to use a disposable liner, always bin it. You may want to quickly rinse soiled nappies before placing in the bucket (on wash day, you’ll run a rinse cycle before the main wash, so don't overthink it). Poo from breastfed babies is liquid and biodegradable, so can go into the machine until they’re eating solid food.

  4. Aim to wash nappies every 2-3 days, or when your bucket/bag is full. Just empty everything into the machine, along with the mesh / wet bag. Aim for the washing machine drum to be 3/4 full when loading. Firstly, set to a cool rinse cycle with no spin and no detergent. A standard rinse cycle is usually around 30 minutes.

  5. Secondly, use your longest, standard 60°c cotton setting (about 2 hours) and add your detergent. Non-bio fragrance-free laundry powder is the industry recommendation for laundering cloth nappies. The dose will depend on water hardness, soiling and drum size, but you probably don’t need as much as you think. This is where you can add in other household laundry that can be washed at 60°c — small towels, pyjamas, underwear... 

  6. We prefer to finish with an additional rinse cycle, with the spin set to 1000-1200. If you do this, turn the spin off on the previous main wash, they don’t need two spins! Some modern machines allow you to add rinses on to the main cycle. We also recommend an additional rinse cycle if there’s lots of suds or the nappies smell heavily of detergent. If this happens, use less detergent next time.

  7. It’s best to air or line dry nappies. Sunshine can help with stains and kill any lingering bacteria! Clothes horses, clip/sock hangers and racks that pop over radiators are useful for a reusable nappy household. You can tumble dry inserts and wipes, but avoid tumble drying covers, as it could damage the waterproof membrane. If you have a cool setting on your dryer, occasional use should be fine.

Notes & Tips:

+ Unless you have a setting on your machine that’s between 40°c and 60°c, we recommend washing nappies at 60°c, especially for younger babies. This ensures a hygienic clean. Of course, this is entirely up to you and washing at lower temperatures may suit your family.

+ We recommend non-bio washing powder for nappies, but use whatever you have and don’t overthink it, unless you’re experiencing leaks, rashes or other issues. Our advice is meant as a guide.

+ Eco eggs and soap nuts may not be effective when washing cloth nappies, but you can always try.

+ Weaning, teething and illness can all affect baby's poo and make nappies a bit tricker to deal with. At these times, ensure you're thoroughly washing nappies every 2-3 days to prevent build up issues. You can also use disposable liners to help with poo clean up.

Please get in touch with us if you're having any issues with the washing or fit of your nappies, we'd love to help.

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