In the second episode of Nappy Leaks Vicki and Vashti discuss fabric types. The type of fabric used in your nappy is really important and can make a huge difference to your success with cloth nappies. Different fabrics have different uses and pros and cons and getting your head around them can help you work out the best option for you and your family. Listen to find out more!
Vicki Simpson is the current President of the Australian Nappy Association and has been advocating for and selling cloth nappies in Australia for over a decade. She is the owner, creator and Chief Nappy Nerd here at Bubblebubs. Vashti Wadwell is the outgoing Member Secretary of the Australian Nappy Association and is the owner of Australia’s first bricks and mortar nappy store, Nest Nappies, in Brisbane, Australia. Both Vicki and Vashti have used cloth nappies for more than a decade each over three children and turned their passion into a business.
Transcript:Different types of fabrics used in reusable nappies
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell.
How are you today, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good, Andrew.
Andrew: Excellent, and how about you, Vashti?
Vashti: Very well, thank you, Andrew. How are you?
Andrew: I’m doing fine. Last week, we spoke about all the different types of nappies. Now, I know that [00:00:30] the quality of everything these days is made up of its parts. Am I right in assuming that the quality of the fabric, or the fabric that’s used to make the nappies, makes a difference in the quality of the nappy?
Andrew: Okay. Are there different types of fabric?
Andrew: Lots of different types?
Vicki: Well, it can be broken up into, essentially, absorbent and non-absorbent fabrics, or naturals and [crosstalk 00:01:00]-
Vashti: You’ve got your [00:01:00] natural and synthetics. That’s probably the easiest way to break them down.
Andrew: Okay. Absorbent fabrics are obviously the one that are going to be on the inside of the nappy, and the waterproof ones are going to be on the outside of the nappy. Let’s start with what’s your favourite absorbent fabric for inside the nappy.
Vashti: It really comes down to the sort of nappy that you’re using and your baby, as well. [00:01:30] You can get a whole range of different sorts of fabrics for absorbency. If you’re living in a colder climate, a lot of people prefer a synthetic fabric, because it dries a lot quicker, whereas your natural fibres will take a little bit longer to dry. But if you’re after something very natural and organic for your baby, then you’re more inclined to go for the natural fibres over the synthetics.
Andrew: Is that what the trade off is? The unnatural fabrics, the manmade fabrics [00:02:00] dry faster.
Vicki: No, no, you’re mixing those two up. A natural fabric is not a manmade fabric. A synthetic fabric is a manmade fabric.
Andrew: Okay. The synthetic fabrics, they dry faster?
Andrew: But they don’t absorb as much.
Vashti: Well, it’s not so much that they don’t absorb as much, it’s just that you find that they are generally more prone to what’s known as pressure leaks. Your baby can’t wear it for as long, because [00:02:30] with it being compressed up against their skin, it can tend to-
Vicki: Act like a sponge.
Vicki: If you think of a sponge, it’ll absorb really, really quickly, but as soon as you touch that sponge, it lets it all go. That’s a compression leak, it’s like pushing a sponge on a table.
Andrew: Basically, a baby who’s learning how to walk, lands on its bum, water’s going to come out the sides. Is that what you’re saying?
Vicki: Well, not water. And not necessarily, it depends how [00:03:00] full their nappy is and that sort of thing, but that’s-
Vashti: And also how snug fitting the cover is for it. If they’re using a two part system, so your flats fit is in prefolds with a separate cover over the top, there’s a lot more chance that that will contain over an All-In-One or All-In-Two where the fabric is part of the nappy.
Andrew: Okay. What about microfiber? Talk to me about microfiber.
Vicki: You can talk about microfiber. [00:03:30] I’ll be fair, my specialty or knowledge is definitely in the natural fibres and how they’re all made and that sort of stuff. You can take …
Andrew: Microfiber is a manmade …
Vashti: Yeah. It’s a synthetic.
Vicki: It’s a synthetic.
Andrew: It’s a synthetic. Okay.
Vashti: The microfiber that we use in nappies is very similar to, say, for example, your microfiber cleaning cloths. It just depends on how thick they make that particular fabric. It is a very synthetic fibre. It’s generally [00:04:00] recommended not to put microfiber directly against a baby’s skin, because it will draw the moisture out of the skin. It is very thirsty, but very prone to pressure leaks, as well.
Vicki: And it absorbs very quickly, as well.
Vicki: That’s one of the biggest benefits of microfiber is it absorbs really quickly.
Vashti: A lot of the microfiber that you’ll find in nappies has been topped with microfleece. It’s [00:04:30] the same chemical makeup, so to speak. But-
Vicki: It’s a polyester. They’re both polyesters, but …
Vashti: But it’s just slightly cut differently, so it’s a lot softer and it doesn’t draw the moisture out of your baby’s skin as much.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s move on to bamboo, and I know bamboo is one of your favourites, Vicki.
Vicki: It is. Now, first of all, everybody thinks that bamboo is a natural fibre, and it is a naturally derived [00:05:00] fibre, so it is an ecologically friendly crop to grow. But during the process, bamboo is actually made into a rayon, which is considered a manmade fabric, so there’s a little bit of misconception out there about bamboo. But from an eco-friendly perspective, bamboo is certainly …
Vashti: Well, I think we need [00:05:30] to discuss the fact that bamboo, while it is derived from a natural substance, the chemical treatment in the processing-
Vicki: Makes it a rayon.
Vashti: … of it-
Vicki: Makes it a-
Vashti: … makes it a rayon. And so therefore, while it is an eco-friendly fibre to produce-
Vicki: It can be considered-
Vashti: … it can be considered as a synthetic.
Vicki: Manmade, yeah.
Vashti: Yeah. The beauty about bamboo, as you said, is that it’s a quick growing crop. It’s not [00:06:00] water thirsty, it’s not a thirsty crop, so you can grow it very quickly and turn that crop over very, very quickly, which means that you’re not having as big an impact in the environment with the production of it.
Andrew: Because I know a bamboo crop is ready in four months.
Vashti: Whereas a cotton crop takes a lot longer to grow, it’s a very thirsty crop, and it takes a lot of pesticides to ensure that insects don’t get into it and destroy the cotton as [00:06:30] it’s growing. To get an organic cotton is very difficult, because you’ve got to go through a lot of testing to make sure that you maintain that organic compliancy. It is extremely water thirsty, so it has a very big impact on the environment. It also takes up a large space of land, whereas bamboo can be grown in very small spaces of land, so it doesn’t have as big a footprint on the Earth.
Andrew: Yeah, and from nextdoor neighbour, it grows very thick. [00:07:00] Just in case you’re wondering where I got that fact that it grows within four months, I read that on the side of my toilet roll.
Vashti: I know what toilet paper you use, Andrew.
Vicki: Who gives a crap?
Vashti: I think the other thing that you need to remember is bamboo is a very fragile fibre. You’ll find that a lot of people use bamboo in their clothing. It’s a very soft and very silky fibre to wear, but it is very fragile, so [00:07:30] it generally gets mixed with other fibres to give it its hardiness and to make sure that it’s going to have more longevity, especially when it’s being exposed to rally harsh things like wee and poo from babies.
Vicki: Bacteria. It sits there for a couple days between washing. Yeah, I completely agree with you there. If you’re seeing 100% bamboo, to be honest, you’d actually want to steer clear of that, because it’s [00:08:00] just not anywhere near stable enough for a nappy.
Andrew: Okay. Now, I know also the thickness of the fabric makes a difference. And what do they call that? They call that-
Vicki: That’s GSM.
Vicki: That stands for grammes per square metre. To get an idea of the quality of a fabric, let’s say a bamboo fabric, you’ll see things like 80/20, 70/30. That is actually the bamboo [00:08:30] to cotton content. A 70/30 would be 70% bamboo, 30% cotton. From there, you’ll see a figure with GSM. Now, that is just the physical weight per square metre, so a 450 GSM is really quite thick. A 280 GSM is, well, obviously, half the thickness. [00:09:00] To give you an idea of what that feels like, 200 GSM would be about the weight of a t-shirt, and 400 odd GSM would be about the weight of, say, jeans or track suit pants. Something like that.
Andrew: Okay. Now, I know you’ve both been to China and you’ve both been-
Vicki: Did you see the pictures?
Andrew: I saw the pictures, yeah. Sometimes I do, I go on Facebook even though I don’t have a profile picture yet.
Vashti: [00:09:30] There’s some pretty good videos, as well.
Andrew: Ah, videos. Oh, videos.
Andrew: Oh, excellent. Now, I know you went over there to make sure that … to look at the factories, basically, and make sure that everything was on the up and up in the factories. You saw these fabrics being made over there, did you?
Vashti: Ah, yeah.
Vicki: It was way cool.
Vicki: Yeah, yeah. The …
Vashti: The knitting machines!
Vicki: Yeah, and remember I didn’t get a video of it, but one of the threads … I’ve actually got, [00:10:00] on my blog, a picture of how the fabric is actually made. It’s actually knitted into a tube. When I was there, I really wanted to make sure that I had everyone’s permission to video them. They didn’t seem to care in the factories, but I did. We walked into a room where a lady was threading a needle, because it had come out, and I stopped recording, because I didn’t have her permission to take the video. And I’m so disappointed, because it was so cool.
Vashti: It was very, very [00:10:30] cool, but the language barrier was really hard to get past.
Vicki: It was, it was. They were just like, “Just video, just video.” And I was like, “Do you understand, I want their permission?”
Vicki: But, here, what she did was, she threaded … It’s really hard to explain, but she threaded-
Vashti: You should have seen it.
Vicki: … it like in a needle, and-
Vashti: Yeah, but she’s using an air hose.
Vicki: She has an air hose to-
Vashti: Push it up-
Vicki: … push it up.
Vashti: … through this thin pipe to get it into a position. And it was a whole room, it was like the size of your bathroom-
Vicki: [00:11:00] Yep.
Vashti: … for this one tube of fabric-
Vicki: Of fabric.
Vashti: … that they were knitting. And there was needles that threads going everywhere-
Vicki: And dust. Oh, my God, the dust.
Vashti: Yeah, there was the fibres-
Vashti: … from the fabric. As they go through it pulls all the excess off and everything like that. It was almost like a spiderweb.
Vicki: Yeah, it was. That’s actually a really good way to-
Vashti: Yeah, this room.
Vicki: … explain what it was like.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s move on to hemp. How is hemp helpful in cloth nappies?
Vicki: [00:11:30] Hemp is one of your more absorbent natural fibres, so hemp is incredibly environmentally friendly. It’s, again, a low water crop, grows relatively fast, and it’s very durable, too. Generally in fabrics, you won’t see more than about 45-50% hemp to cotton. Anything more than that and it’s just way too stiff, because it’s [00:12:00] quite a fiberous material, oh sorry, a fiberous fibre, so it’s mixed with cotton to make it softer. But even at 50% it kind of rivals bamboo, a 70% bamboo fabric, for absorbency.
Andrew: Okay. Well, you talked about cotton, let’s move on cotton.
Vashti: Cotton, as we’ve said before, is it’s quite a … [00:12:30] I suppose you could say it’s almost a strain on the environment with how thirsty it is as a crop and the pesticides that they use for it and stuff like that, but it is a very absorbent fabric. It can be very soft, especially when mixed with things like bamboo, so it’s very cushy on your baby’s bottom.
Vicki: And it’s durable.
Vashti: Yeah, it is very durable. You’ll generally find that your cotton materials [00:13:00] have that real … they’ll last. They’ll last for babies upon babies.
Vicki: Hence, why you get your terry flats that my mom used on me a few years ago. [crosstalk 00:13:14]-
Vashti: I’ve actually had customers come in and tell me that their mother-in-law, or their mother, still kept the flats that they or their partner had used, and they were-
Vicki: And they were treated pretty roughly, too.
Vicki: You know, chlorine bleach-
Vicki: … and all sorts of things.
Vashti: Soaked for days on end, and [00:13:30] put in one bucket of water and poured into another bucket of water.
Vashti: To be perfectly honest though, I think that cotton is probably not quite as absorbent as when it’s mixed with bamboo or hemp. Cotton on its own isn’t the thirstiest of fibres.
Vashti: I find that a lot of the 100% cotton prefolds that I’ve got, people get a little bit disheartened that [00:14:00] they’re not getting the absorbency that they would get with a bamboo cotton prefold, or [crosstalk 00:14:06].
Vicki: Well, that’s right, because bamboo is like six to eight times more absorbent-
Vicki: … than cotton for the same density. What that means is the same thickness of the fabric. Which is why to get the same absorbency in a cotton nappy, it’d be so big that you could barely get it on-
Vashti: Pretty much.
Vicki: … on bum.
Andrew: Okay. [00:14:30] Let’s move on to the last one I’ve got on the list, and that’s charcoal bamboo.
Vashti: There’s a lot of misconception in the community that charcoal bamboo is a natural fibre, that it’s made from bamboo and that it has the same qualities as bamboo. I did a video earlier this year where I actually cut apart a couple of charcoal bamboo inserts and compared them to some bamboo cotton inserts. Charcoal bamboo, [00:15:00] you will generally find is a dark colour, normally a black or a grey, and that’s quite a fleecy, soft material. When you cut it open, though, it’s a very, very thin layer of, pretty much, microfleece, and your inserts will have a couple of layers of microfiber inside that.
The thing about charcoal bamboo is it is a synthetic. The way they make it is they get some bamboo, and they burn it to the point where it’s charcoal, and then they grind it down and impregnate [00:15:30] it into-
Vicki: The nanoparticles-
Vashti: The nanoparticles, yeah.
Vicki: … into the microfleece.
Vicki: If you remember earlier, we said that microfleece is not absorbent at all, and they’re impregnating it with burnt nanoparticles of bamboo. You can just imagine, you don’t even have to do any testing on that. It’s pretty straightforward that there is no bamboo properties left whatsoever by the time you’ve burnt it to charcoal. It’s not absorbent [00:16:00] whatsoever.
Vashti: No. And you can see when you cut it open, when you look at the material. It’s paper thin. There’s nothing there to be able to absorb. And what is absorbing when you get your charcoal bamboo inserts is the microfiber. But microfiber, while it’s thirsty, won’t hold the urine in for long periods of time, whereas your natural fibres will hold it in until it gets to the point where it’s flooded.
Andrew: [00:16:30] It’s got a lot of the properties that microfiber has, except those-
Vicki: All of the properties.
Andrew: All of the properties.
Vicki: All of the properties.
Andrew: Except for it’s just called a different name.
Vicki: It’s marketing. I have contacted all three of my manufacturers, and I sent them pretty much the same email. I spoke to one of them on Skype. They pretty much came back with, almost word for word, that it’s a marketing ploy, in particular by China cheapy type companies. It’s [00:17:00] just a case of being aware of what you’re buying.
When you’re buying charcoal bamboo and you’re comparing it to a bamboo nappy, and kind of going, “Well, why is this booster $5, and this booster is $10? They’re both bamboo.” Well, they’re not. One’s charcoal bamboo, which has no absorbency, mixed with microfiber, and the other one’s bamboo, or hemp, or something like that. It’s about just being [00:17:30] aware of, essentially, not falling for the marketing.
Vashti: And I’d say what they do when they’re getting those bits of bamboo that they turn into charcoal, it’s all the off cuts that they haven’t been able to use.
Vashti: It’s all the waste product from when they’ve turned their bamboo stalks into bamboo fibre.
Vashti: I just think it’s a waste product that they’ve made something out of.
Andrew: Which is a good thing if they make something out of it, but [crosstalk 00:17:58]-
Vashti: I think it’s a great thing, and-
Andrew: … shouldn’t have used it in nappies.
Vashti: [00:18:00] No. Well, don’t get me wrong, I think it …
Vicki: It has its place.
Vashti: Everything has its place.
Vashti: I think if you’re paying $20 to $30 for a nappy that has bamboo charcoal inserts in it-
Vicki: That should ring alarm bells.
Vashti: It really should. Bamboo charcoal inserts are very cheap to produce and they don’t have the absorbency or … What’s the word I’m looking for? They’re just not to the higher quality [00:18:30] of a bamboo cotton, or a hemp, or a plain cotton, or anything like that, which means that you don’t want to pay as much.
Vashti: You really, you want to be looking at $15 or under for a nappy that is made with bamboo charcoal inserts.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s move on to some of the waterproof fabrics, then. Let’s talk about PUL.
Vicki: PUL, it stand for polyurethane laminate. PUL is what is [00:19:00] laminated to a range of fabrics to make them waterproof. The best way to explain it is polyurethane laminate, itself, is like contact. It’s like an unsticky piece of contact that is then glued or chemically bonded to a fabric. That can be minky, polyester, cotton, pretty much anything. That’s pretty much what makes PUL. You can get minky PUL, you can [00:19:30] get what is referred to as normal PUL, would be a polyester PUL.
Vashti: And that’s your-
Vicki: You can get-
Vashti: … your hard PULs.
Vashti: Where it’s the smooth stuff.
Vicki: The smooth PULs.
Vashti: Yeah, the smooth, rather than the furry. The minky is the furry one-
Vashti: … that’s soft and cushy, whereas the standard PUL is the smooth one.
Vashti: It’s almost like a, I suppose you could say, a place mat.
Vicki: I’ve even seen bamboo PUL.
Vicki: I don’t know how … [00:20:00] That probably wouldn’t … Well, I mean, sure, it works. It’d be similar to your cotton PUL. Without getting into it too much, it can be prone to wicking, because it’s an absorbent fabric with a waterproof layer. I’ve even seen PUL fleece.
Vashti: Oh, wow. I haven’t seen PUL fleece.
Vicki: Yeah, yeah. Tiny Tush-
Vashti: Oh, yeah.
Vicki: … used to sell that one quite a while ago.
Andrew: I’m not getting whether it’s a manmade fabric or a naturally occurring-
Vashti: It is. It’s a synthetic.
Vicki: It’s a synthetic, yeah.
Andrew: It’s a synthetic. Okay.
Vashti: [00:20:30] I’m sorry.
Andrew: No worries.
Andrew: Let’s move on to microfleece.
Vashti: Sorry, I just want to pop back, because there is another form of waterproof fabric, and that’s TPU, or thermoplastic laminate. They’re the same product, they’re just bonded differently.
Vicki: That’s the chemical bonding.
Vashti: You have a heat bonding or a chemical bonding between them. It’s just when you hear of your waterproofing, if you hear TPU, you know [00:21:00] it’s pretty much the same thing as PUL.
Vicki: And also on that, too, I’d like to address the eco-friendliness of PUL and TPU. Neither are biodegradable. The glues and the adhesives may well be, but it is a polyurethane laminate, so it is actually made from polyurethane fibres, and they don’t degrade, so there’s no such thing as an eco-friendly [00:21:30] PUL or TPU.
Andrew: Okay. So, microfleece?
Vashti: Microfleece is generally … You get microfleece liners. It’s like a soft, fuzzy, sort of material. It can be on the inside of nappies or on the toppers of inserts and absorbent bits. It’s a-
Vicki: It’s like track suit fabric.
Vashti: Yeah. It’s a synthetic material.
Andrew: It’s waterproof, is it?
Vashti: No. It is a synthetic [00:22:00] material and it’s manmade, but it’s Stay-Dry. It will actually draw the moisture away from your baby’s bum and keep them feeling nice and dry and allow that moisture to then absorb, or soak into the absorbency underneath.
Andrew: Okay. Suede cloth, is that a waterproof fabric?
Vicki: Again, it’s a Stay-Dry fabric, so it’s generally a little bit thinner than microfleece and doesn’t tend to have [00:22:30] the brushed feel that a microfleece will have. It’s just that little bit, I suppose, a bit of a flatter pile. Do you know what? Six of one, half a dozen of another. They’re pretty much the same. They’re both designed to be as Stay-Dry as we can get in a cloth nappy.
Vicki: I will note, there isn’t actually any natural fibres that are Stay-Dry.
Vicki: [00:23:00] The two are separate. You can’t have both.
Andrew: I’ve also got a [inaudible 00:23:05] of wool.
Vashti: Oh, wool!
Vicki: That’s Vashti’s favourite fibre.
Vashti: I love wool! Wool’s natural, it’s shorn from sheep. Yes, there is some concern out there about the way sheep are treated during the shearing process, but there are moves in that industry to make it a more friendly process for the sheep. Wool is a fantastic [00:23:30] natural fibre, though. It will absorb up to a third of its weight in moisture. If you’re using it as a cover, it will allow that moisture to evaporate off throughout the night. You can get wool boosters-
Vicki: Boosters, yeah.
Vashti: … as well, which are super, super thirsty and super absorbent. It naturally has lanolin in it. Lanolin is a product that sheep produce to keep them dry out in the field.
Vicki: A bit like ducks.
Vashti: [00:24:00] Yeah.
Vicki: Duck’s feathers.
Vicki: That’s kind of how lanolin works on a sheep.
Andrew: Sheep are waterproof, so that means that wool is waterproof. Is that it?
Vashti: It’s not waterproof.
Vicki: No, it’s waterproof.
Vashti: But it does have that, sort of, waterproof ability to it. The issue there is you need to relanolize your wool if you’re going to be using it as a cover. You can get solid lanolin from most baby shops, most cloth nappy suppliers. I don’t actually [00:24:30] sell it myself. I’m a bit of a fan of selling you-
Vicki: The spray stuff?
Vashti: Well, you can get spray. I’m not a fan of the spray, because it leaves coating on top of the fibres, rather than impregnating the fibres, and you really want the fibres to be impregnated.
I think [Lansinoh 00:24:45], though. It’s a little purple and green tube. Most moms get given it in the hospital, a little sample tube. It works great on your nipples when you first start breastfeeding. But, it then gets thrown in the bottom of the drawer and gets forgotten about. [00:25:00] If you can pull that out, and you only need a pea sized amount to soak your wool covers in, it will help lanolize them and provide you that waterproofing.
Excuse me, I’ve got a tickle in my throat.
I love wool for overnight, because it is so breathable, and if you can get a really good night nappy and pop a-
Vicki: It’s like an air conditioner for your nappy.
Vashti: Oh, it is. It’s thermoregulating, so warm in winter, cool in summer, absorbs a third [00:25:30] of its weight in moisture, and allows that to evaporate off without wetting the bedding or the clothing.
Andrew: I’ve seen these before, because we had some. And they’re basically-
Vicki: You’ve felted many of them.
Andrew: I’ve felted, yeah, I’ve changed many of them. It’s basically like a little pair of pants, aren’t they?
Vashti: Yeah, pretty much.
Vicki: You can.
Andrew: Putting a little pair of pants over the top of the night nappy-
Andrew: … and then anything comes out of the night nappy, it basically hits the wool cover and then evaporates.
Vashti: Yeah. You can get wraps, as well.
Vicki: You can get … yeah.
Vashti: And they’re like a standard nappy cover, that they close [00:26:00] with either Velcro-
Vicki: It’s a wool fabric.
Vicki: Yeah. The wool is made into a fabric or you can knit.
Vicki: If you’ve got a mom, or yourself, that’s handy to knit, there’s plenty of …
Vashti: Oh, grandma. Grandma-
Vicki: Grandma, yeah.
Vashti: … loves knitting for the great-grandchildren.
Vicki: There’s crochet and knitting patterns for nappy covers. Ravelry.com-
Vicki: … is a great resource for lots of free patterns. You just need to make sure that you’re using 100% wool.
Vicki: Don’t use any acrylic in there. 100% wool and you can knit yourself a-
Vashti: And [00:26:30] we normally recommend stay away from Merino wool, as well. For some reason, I don’t know what it is about the Merino wool, but it just doesn’t work the same way as-
Vashti: … other wool.
Vicki: I just learned something today.
Andrew: Why can’t we put the nappy on the baby and then put a wool cover over it, and if evaporates out, why do we ever have to change another nappy?
Vashti: Because the nappy is still going to be wet.
Andrew: Ah, okay.
Vicki: Urine is sterile until it leaves the body.
Vashti: Once the urine leaves the body and hits [00:27:00] air, it mixes with the air and changes the bacteria components. I’m sorry.
Andrew: Things you didn’t want to know.
Vashti: That’s why you can get you some … That’s just a dad thing. “Why do I have to change the nappy?”
Andrew: That’s right.
Vashti: “I just did it three hours ago.”
Andrew: I thought I’d discovered a ground breaking thing. We never have to change nappies, now.
Let’s tie all these fabrics together. We’ve got an overview of all the fabrics, we know how they’re made, we know how they’re absorbent. There’s obviously more than one fabric that goes into the average [00:27:30] All-In-Two nappy. What would be the ideal All-In-Two nappy?
Vicki: Well, an All-In-Two is, if you remember from last week, is the shell and the nappy all in two pieces. You’ve got on your outside, you’d have some form of laminated fabric, so that would be either a PUL or a minky on the outside. Then, on the inside of that, you’ll have usually a suede cloth or [00:28:00] a microfleece that kind of goes against the skin. Any parts of the shell that is actually touching the baby will generally be suede cloth or microfleece. Then inside that, you’ll have boosters. They could be anything. They can be your microfiber, or bamboo, or hemp-
Vicki: … boosters.
Vicki: Cotton. Anything that is going to be absorbent within the nappy.
Vashti: I think the biggest thing to remember is [00:28:30] you definitely get what you pay for. If you’re going to be spending a smaller amount of money, you need to be aware that it’s going to be mainly made up of synthetic fabrics and may not have the absorbency, which means that you’re going to have a change a lot more frequently. There’s a good chance, and it doesn’t happen to everyone, some people manage to get away with the lower priced nappies very easily, but a lot of people do end up [00:29:00] with leaks and poor fitting and stuff like that.
If you do spend a little bit more and get a better quality nappy, or a higher quality nappy, that has your natural fibres in it for your absorbency, you’re going to find that you’re going to be able to use it for a lot longer, you’re going to get more than one child out of it, you’re not going to be changing as frequently, and you’re going to be happier with your cloth nappy journey.
I think that’s probably the biggest thing to remember, here, is [00:29:30] natural fibres take longer to dry, but are more absorbent. Synthetic fibres dry a lot quicker, but you end up having to change a lot more frequently.
Andrew: I think also knowing what your nappy is made out of, too, because just because it’s a higher price, doesn’t mean it’s all higher priced goods.
Vashti: No, definitely not.
Andrew: So, giving the customer an understanding of what fabrics are the best [00:30:00] ones would give you more information when you go to choosing a nappy to make sure that you’re not going to get something that’s not going to suit you.
Vicki: And also on that, too, if someone’s listening to this and they’ve gone, “Oh, my God. I’ve just spent $300 on a whole stash of nappies. I thought I’d done it,” and they’re struggling, and they’ve got leaks and stuff like that, try doubling up your boosters.
Vicki: It’s about making your nappies work for you, especially when you’ve already invested the money. Is it-
Vashti: Oh, no. I’m definitely a big fan [00:30:30] of using what you’ve got.
Vicki: Absolutely. Add a bamboo booster-
Vicki: … to that microfiber … Or the bamboo charcoal booster that you’ve got, add a bamboo booster, and all of a sudden your nappy works for you.
Andrew: So, basically you’re saying if you’ve shelled out the money for some cloth nappies and they’re not working for you, reach out to you guys so you can help them find out what’s going wrong-
Vicki: Tweak it.
Andrew: … and work out-
Vashti: Oh, most definitely.
Andrew: … how they can fix it. Okay.
Vashti: We regularly [00:31:00] have customers come in who’ve gone out and bought a whole stash off alibaba, or somewhere like that, and they’ve come in and they’re going, “It’s not working. I can’t get the right fit. I’m getting leaks. I’m changing every hour.” Stuff like that. And we just do a little bit of tweaking. Sometimes it’s just simply a matter of adjusting the fit. Other times we need to add in some extra boosting or something like that, or we double up the boosting they’ve already got, and we get them working.
Vicki: Something really popular are Elly [00:31:30] tea towels, from Ikea.
Vicki: They’re a really cheap, easily accessible booster that you can add to your nappies.
Vashti: Yeah. And as we said last week, using something as simple as what you’ve got lying around the house, like-
Vicki: Face washers.
Vashti: … your face washers, cutting up old towels and overlocking the edges of them, and then folding them and laying them inside your nappy. Or if it’s a pocket nappy, popping them into the pocket, you’re going to be able make the nappies that you have work for you.
Vicki: Yep. It’s not like all of a sudden you have to go and spend [00:32:00] all of this money to get this amazing stash. It’s about being educated and understanding what you need to create the right amount of capacity inside the nappy and to get it to work for you.
Vashti: And another thing to remember, as well, is that babies change.
Vashti: You may be going along really smoothly and then all of a sudden your baby is flooding their nappy, and it could just be a growth spurt. Around most growth spurts, we generally find large increases [00:32:30] in urine output. That can be short lived. Sometimes it can be long lived, as well. Just because something was working perfectly for you, or not working for you yesterday, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you tomorrow.
Andrew: If you’re having trouble with your nappies, reach out. It’s not you, it’s the nappy, and you just need a little bit of help.
Vashti: Vicki and I love helping.
Vashti: We’re both really passionate about it, and we’d love to see your cloth nappy journey be really successful.
Vicki: Yeah. Bums in cloth, that’s [00:33:00] kind of the number one priority.
Andrew: Cool, because you’re also both members of the Australian Nappy Association, aren’t you?
Vicki: That’s correct.
Vashti: We are. Sitting board members, as well.
Andrew: Excellent. And that’s the goal of the Australian Nappy Association?
Vashti: Very much so.
Vicki: Yeah, pretty much. If we could sum it up in one sentence, it’s bums in cloth. Doesn’t matter what you’ve got, it’s more bums in cloth.
Andrew: Excellent. Thank you, ladies.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Vashti: Thanks, guys.