Nappy buckets or nappy bags? Our guide to storing reusable nappies
So you have made the decision to ditch the disposable nappies and now what? One of the most frequent questions weï¿½re asked by mums who are interested in using cloth nappies is: where do I store them until they're going to be washed?
Fortunately, there are now various options available for storage, with a wide range of nappy bags, nappy buckets and nappy wet bags readily available. The choice is entirely yoursï¿½ Before storing the dirty nappies ensure you have removed the soiled contents, either by flushing the liner down the toilet or using a sprayer to clean off.
Nappy buckets or Nappy Pail
Traditionally, nappy buckets have been the 'must have' for reusable nappy storage. However, the old-fashioned image of a bucket filled with solution and dirty nappies propped up in a corner is no longer applicable, modern cloth nappies do not need to be left soaking.
Nappy buckets are effectively just buckets with fitted lids and soiled nappies can be stored either wet or dry.
If you opt for wet pailing, pros include the fact that stains on the nappies won't set and you won't need to prewash them. However, by storing wet, the removal of the lid can lead to pungent smells in the house and you'll also need to pour the dirty water down the sink, which may not appeal to you. There's also the threat of the bucket being knocked over, or a small child opening it, and make sure the lid is tight fitting and there is not a foot pedal on the bucket! One of the most popular is the bambino mio nappy bucket, but any nappy bucket with lid will do.
On the positive side, however, the fact that the bucket smells, means that the urine in the nappies has been drawn out and so they'll be a little cleaner when going into the machine.
If you do decide to go for the wet option - and are only washing every other day - then you'll have to change the water at night time to prevent the smell from becoming too strong, but baking soda in the lid may help with smells.. We advise against using essential oils in the bucket as it may void your nappy warranty.
Alternatively, you may decide to go for the dry pailing option. Dry pailing is particularly popular with parents, who aren't washing nappies daily - or even every other day!
Dry pailing simply means that you store the nappies in the bucket - but don't fill it with water or any other agents. Perhaps rather surprisingly, youï¿½ll hardly notice the smell coming from the nappy bucket with dry pailing ï¿½ probably because thereï¿½s no dirty water stagnating in it!
With dry pailing, you'll have to rinse the dirty nappies prior to putting them in the bucket, as this will stop the stains from setting. You will need to line the nappy bin with a laundry bag or mesh bags to capture the nappies, and put this directly into the washing machine, this means you don't have to touch dirty nappies again. Bumgenius recommend a nylon tote to line the bins and these work very well.
Dry pailing is also very popular with parents from a logistical perspective, since a bucket that is full of dry-pailed nappies can be easily tipped into the washing machine ï¿½ particularly if itï¿½s a front loader.
Also, unlike wet pailing, youï¿½ll not have to incur the cost of sanitising agents! However, it can seem another bulky piece of equipment, like a baby bath cluttering up your bathroom, and they are made of plastic which is not a sustainable material. Personally, I'm not a fan of bins for storing baby nappies, I much prefer the convenience of bags over them. I also hated having to wash them out every 2-3 days, whereas bags can be thrown into the machine and washed. Also the bin liners or laundry mesh bags can more or less be seen as bags, so it is another extra element.
Nappy wet bags
If you don't want to have a nappy bucket sitting in your home - wet or dry - you can always opt for a nappy wet bag (also sometimes called a nappy wetbag). These are simply waterproof bags that you can pop your dirty nappies into - similar to dry pailing. The wet bags come in a variety of sizes and are suitable for a range of quantities - from a small version for holding your washable wipes, to the largest size, which can hold up to 30-odd nappies!
Wet bags are particularly popular with parents, who may be a little short on space at home ï¿½ mainly because they can be hung up on the back of a door ï¿½ which obviously keeps them out of the reach of little, inquisitive hands!
Wet bags are also very popular thanks to their versatility. Whether youï¿½re looking for a storage bag at home, want to pop one into your changing bag for when youï¿½re out and about, or want to leave one with your childï¿½s nursery or childminder, thereï¿½s bound to be a bag that will suit your needs!
An added benefit of reusable wet bags is that they can be used for a longer period, for example as swim bags for swim nappies or just for older children's swimming togs! The logan Lenorara bags make beautiful bags which can just be used as general baby changing bags.
Nappy bucket liners
Regardless of whether you decide to go for the wet or dry pailing option, you'll need to invest in a couple of nappy bucket liners. These are fast becoming 'must haves' when using buckets, mainly because they allow you to lift all of the dirty nappies out of the basket without touching them, and, once you've put the nappies into the washing machine, you can simply pop the mesh liner in with them!
Many people think that it's necessary to sterilise reusable or cloth nappies in a sanitising agent, but it's really not! In fact, the Real Nappy Association recommends that it's not necessary at all if you wash your nappies at 60ï¿½.
When it comes to sanitising agents, stay well away from bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, bleach and harsh stain removers as these aren't necessary. Sanitising powders are now also available, although some nappy companies have recently suggested that they may cause 'balding' on nappies.
So what would we suggest using? Well, tea tree oil is great thanks to its antibacterial properties, but it may be too strong for some babies and could cause a rash, so it might be a better idea to go for something gentler, such as lavender, but again check the warranty on your nappies.
Also, remember that wraps shouldnï¿½t be sanitised! Thatï¿½s because the sanitising agent may have an adverse effect on the waterproof layer. If you are wet pailing, simply remove the wrap before you put the nappy into the bucket, and rinse it as soon as you can to avoid staining. Then, simply place it to one side until youï¿½re putting on a wash!
So welcome to the wonderful world of washable nappies (or cloth diapers for our stateside readers), bucket or bin is your choice!