How long do reusable nappies last?
Reusable nappies last for a very long time, generally, we say they’ll last around 400 washes before starting to significantly degrade. However, they are not indestructible and will suffer wear over time. Just like how clothes wear a little more every time you wash them, nappies do. See our washing guide for cleaning correctly to ensure your nappies last long.
Babies get through lots of nappy changes per day, no matter if they are using reusables or disposables! Just five nappies a day works out at over 1800 nappy changes nappies a year, and your baby is likely to use a lot more in their first year, up to 2500. So if you do choose reusable nappies, that is a lot of nappies you are saving from landfills and incineration!
Depending on how many nappies you have in your stash, each nappy will get washed around 2 or 3 times a week. By the time you potty train; each nappy will have been washed at least 200 times. If you washed a pair of jeans or a t-shirt that many times, you would expect fading and thinning of the fabric, which is also true of nappies.
If you start using cloth nappies with your first baby, you can get nappies that will last you through to potty training, and these can then be used again for any subsequent children, saving you tonnes of money. If you have just one child, you can also sell your nappies after using them; the pre-loved cloth nappy market is huge and thriving. See our tips on how to sell your cloth nappies here.
How long do reusable nappies last between changes?
Most reusable nappies need changing every two to four hours, or as soon as your baby does a poo. While disposable nappies can last longer than this, it doesn't mean that they should! According to the NHS, young babies may need changing as many as 10 or 12 times a day, while older babies need to be changed around 6 to 8 times.
Nighttime nappies can be left on for longer as babies rarely poo whilst asleep. If a baby is sleeping through the night, you do not need to wake them to change their nappy.
Things that could go wrong with your reusable nappies;
Generally speaking, nappies should last a really long time, especially when they are good quality like LittleLamb nappies. But, there are a few main things which can go wrong that might mean you need to replace the nappies. Here is a list of common issues and how to prevent them;
1. The elastic can wear out over time. It's the same as your knicker elastic going after a few years. Luckily, this is pretty easy to repair if you are handy with a needle and thread or inexpensive to get someone else to.
2. The PUL stops being waterproof. PUL wearing out will inevitably happen over time, but you can avoid a few things to slow the process; First up, neither the elastic nor the PLU like the dryer so while you might tumble the inserts, it's always best to hang out wraps and pocket nappies. Secondly, ammonia can degrade the fabric; this is one of the reasons we advise washing nappies every 2nd or 3rd day. If it is impossible to wash, we recommend doing a quick rinse, and then once you get back to being able to wash, stick them on a 60 degree sanitise wash.
3. Look after the velcro (or go for poppers instead). Velcro can catch on the nappy fabric causing little pulls that will degrade the overall look of the nappy over time and can also get clogged up pretty quickly with fluff. We recommend always doing up the velcro washing tabs, and when washing a wrap of nappy without tabs, do the nappy up and turn it inside out. If your velcro has become fluffy, we recommend using a nit comb to de-fluff.