Washing your cloth nappies is easy. You have been washing for years with your current washing machine. Washing cloth nappies just needs a few tweaks to your current washing routine. There are a few different angles on the subject and Vicki, Vashti and Jenna go down every rabbit hole.
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.
Our guest, Jenna, is the resident social media guru here at Bubblebubs. She has been using and advocating for cloth nappies in Australia since her son was born two years ago.
If you have any comments about the podcast, you can email us at email@example.com. If you found this podcast helpful, then the way to thank us is to leave feedback in the iTunes store.
Transcript: Washing Cloth Nappies
Andrew: How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m good, Andrew. Are you just taking me, asking me first to get my number count up?
Andrew: Yes, you’re only one behind.
Vicki: UH huh, I see. I see.
Andrew: How are you doing Vashti?
Vashti: I’m good Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Excellent, excellent, because the hosts aren’t complaining about who I ask first. That’s always a winner.
Vicki: Happy wife, happy life.
Andrew: That’s right.
Vashti: How come you’ve asked her first the last three episodes? [laughter]
Vicki: Plant it.
Andrew: No high fives, this is a radio show, they can’t see what you’re doing. And we have a special guest, Jenna.
Jenna: Hi. You should have asked me first that would have solved the whole problem.
Vicki: I tried.
Andrew: So again, thank you very much for listening. Take a moment for me to speak about, from Vicki and Vashti, who are very humbled by the number of people who listen to the podcast, so thank you again. So the next question and answers, is on washing. Now, Vicki and Vashti both have opposite opinions on some of these, so this should be…
Vashti: I wouldn’t say they’re opposite, I think we’re very aligned, but we do have slightly different…
Vicki: We do have some disagreements, so you will get your one-liner in.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: He has a one-liner.
Vashti: He’s got a one-liner.
Vicki: He’s got a one-liner. He’s determined. He’s waiting for the fist fight to throw it out. Can’t remember what it is, but you know.
Andrew: Actually I would have, if I’d known it would be so easy to get you guys to fight about this, I would have spread rumours.
Vashti: Woo hoo, we’re back in high school.
Andrew: So question number one, can I use mainstream detergent.
Jenna: Absolutely. Enzymes help give a better wash. The, sorry. I’m so tired.
Vicki: That’s alright, we won’t edit that out.
Jenna: Don’t edit it out?
Vicki: No. Jenna’s tired.
Jenna: I talk a lot, and suddenly I’m very nervous.
Vicki: Yeah, I was thinking, you’re very untalkative.
Andrew: But you’ve done this before.
Jenna: I wasn’t, Brett’s here.
Vicki: Sorry. I can answer it. Yes, mainstream detergent, you know what? Use what you’ve got.
Jenna: You definitely can use mainstream detergent. What I find is the better detergent you are, you have, the easier your wash is on you. In that, if you use a more, a detergent that’s less strong, you need to have your agitation correct; you need to have your heat correct; you need to have everything bang on to get a good wash. If you use a more mainstream detergent, one of the better quality ones, you can have those a little off, and they’re a little more forgiving. That’s what I find personally.
Vicki: So what you’re saying is the detergent, use a better quality detergent, it will do all the work. Use a more ECO-friendly detergent, and your machine has to do more work.
Jenna: Yeah, essentially. I found that I switched detergent recently because it had a pretty smell, and I wanted to try the pretty smell [laughter].
Vicki: I get that. You know what, I bought drier sheets from Costco, I’ve got a mouthful too, sorry. But I bought the drier sheets because I thought they smelled pretty. I’ve never used them. And I was reading up…
Vashti: That’s because you don’t do the laundry, Andrew does it.
Vicki: I do, I do, I took it back. He wasn’t doing it properly. I’m a control freak. No, no, but I bought them…
Andrew: When she says “wasn’t doing it properly”, all I wasn’t doing was not separating the uniforms from the darks.
Vicki: No, it wasn’t. If I was to wash…
Andrew: Quick, dash in.
Vicki: Yeah, you can use your one-liner on us. What the problem is, is my idea is you wash every day. So put a load of washing on in the morning, which I didn’t do today…
Jenna: I think they’re both misfiring, honestly.
Vicki: I know. And then put one through the drier. We’ve got a heat pump drier. I’m OK with that now. I don’t have time to put clothes on the line. So reality is, we’ve got, we use the drier. That’s just our family. So do the washing every day and it turns over every day, and then the kids are only sorting out one basket of clothes. Andrew…
Jenna: I have a much better solution…
Vicki: …no, he does it, seriously; he does it once a week. He tries to wash for five people once a week, and then he’ll do uniforms on a Wednesday.
Jenna: I wash once a week, and my mother comes up and folds my laundry every Wednesday.
Andrew: How come we don’t do that?
Jenna: Maybe suggest that. Have you tried that suggestion?
Andrew: Like a winner.
Vicki: You have Tuesdays with your Mum. Just bring her here so she can fold your washing.
Jenna: Yeah, see?
Andrew: If I’m having trouble with my nappies getting clean, who do I contact?
Jenna: You can contact lots of people. You can contact the person you bought your nappies from.
Andrew: That’d be number one wouldn’t it?
Vashti: Definitely, go back to your retailer. Get in contact with your retailer.
Vicki: That’s the advantage of buying from a multi-brand retailer, is you can have multiple nappies and then have that one point of contact?
Andrew: If I’m having trouble with my nappies getting clean, who do I contact?
Jenna: Contact your retailer. Contact who you bought your nappies from. You can the other place to go to, which is a fabulous research, resource, is Clean Cloth Nappies Downunder. They have a Facebook group; they have a website with a plethora of information.
Vashti: Isn’t it plethora [change in pronunciation to accent on the O]
Jenna: Plethora, I thought.
Vicki: Plethora, plethora.
Jenna: A lot. I can use a lot if you like. They have a lot of information.
Vicki: Isn’t it tomato/tomato. Why say apple? What’s apple?
Andrew: Girls, girls. When you fight, disposable nappies win [laughter].
Vashti: Is this the line?
Andrew: So the add on to that last question was, what avenues of help are there? But you kind of answered that, didn’t you?
Jenna: Yeah, I did. It’s a redundant question, who wrote that question?
Andrew: Don’t know where that one came from. Something there. Some email.
Jenna: Listen, you retailers will be more than happy to help you. All the brands in Australia have such good customer service and they’ll be happy to help you with your nappy questions. And CCNDU, Clean Cloth Nappies Downunder, is such a great resource. Check out their website, go through all the information, and if you’re still stuck, ask the group. The girls are happy to troubleshoot. It’s a group of volunteer mums who just want to help people have nice clean nappies. So they’re great, and they’re helpful, and so knowledgeable.
Andrew: Why do a pre-wash?
Jenna: Why do a pre-wash? So you’re not washing in poo.
Vicki: See, Jenna is superb at talking.
Jenna: It’s my main talent in life.
Vicki: It’s her thing.
Jenna: Ask my child. Why do you think my child is so verbal?
Vashti: You don’t want to wash in poo soup.
Jenna: You don’t want to wash in poo soup. I got insane one day, and I measured how much water my machine was using, because Electrolux wouldn’t help me, and I couldn’t find it in the manual, so I got the drainage hose out and put it in a bucket, and I saw for myself why you do a pre-wash and why you do a main wash. And the water that comes out of your final rinse from a pre-wash is still disgusting, and by the time you do that second wash, the water that comes out is crystal clear and your nappies are clear. So the idea is to actually wash in clean water, and a lot of machines have a pre-wash button, but most of them don’t do enough agitation, enough rinses. A lot of them don’t do a whole water change. So by doing two separate cycles, you get a much better clean because you’re starting again and you’re starting with fresh, clean water, and you’re getting enough agitation.
Andrew: Did you take pictures of the water?
Jenna: There are pictures available. CCNDU has a great picture. I can put it in the thing.
Andrew: I was hoping the answer to that would have been no. [laughter]
Jenna: Here I am, kicking myself for not doing it.
Vicki: Can I tell you, there are three types of mums. Number one, guess which one Jenna is. Number one is the researcher, and they want to know all the things. Absolutely everything. And then they…
Jenna: Laminate their wash routine and put it in their laundry.
Vicki: That’s it. No, no, that’s number two. So number one, they want to know all the things…
Jenna: The hows, the whys, the how to.
Vicki: That stuff. The number two, the second mum is the one that just goes, tell me what. Tell me what to buy, tell me how to wash it. I will laminate my wash routine and put it in the laundry.
Vicki: And number three is one that wants to know all the things and do all the research, and then they completely ignore you and just do their own thing, anyway. And you know what? I think there’s probably all of us in all three types.
Vashti: There’s a fourth. There’s the one that just sits there and goes, you know what? I will do it my way.
Vicki: No, that is number three.
Jenna: Yeah, but they don’t want to know the why, they don’t get the other things.
Vicki: That’s number one, actually…
Jenna: No, she’s saying no research, just do it how they want to do it and not worry about the rest of the noise.
Vashti: You’ve been washing your clothes for how many years, they wash their nappies the same.
Jenna: And the things is, no one is here to be the nappy police. The point is, everyone should do what works for them. But, if you will come to your retailer, you will come to a Facebook group and say I’m having problems with smells, people will tell you what works for most people. And that’s what CCNDU always works on. What is working for most people? Some people will get a good clean on entirely different recommendations. But what they will tell you be what works for most people, based on their research, based on their trials, based on their testing. No one’s the nappy police. You do what you want with your nappies. But always reach out for help if you need it. If you’re going great, then there’s no problem.
Vicki: And then also your retailer, and this is where I will have disposables win. It depends on your retailer’s ethos too, I would base because the wash retail that Vashti wouldn’t necessarily suggest on a more eco…
Vashti: Well, it’s not our…
Vashti: Well we don’t recommend a wash routine, we have a recommendation of a more ECO-friendly laundry detergent, but we also say to people, you use what you have. So we’re not here to tell you what to do, we’re here to say, this is what we found works. Our environmental ethos says we prefer a more environmentally friendly laundry detergent, and we like to use something that’s not as harsh on the environment. But, use any of your…
Vicki: Yes, you don’t judge someone for wanting to use OMO rather than Earth Choice or something like that.
Vashti: No, most definitely. But my own personal experience is that I always used Earth Choice. I have used other things. I’ve used Bio Zet, I’ve used OMO, I’ve used soap berries. Way back when, when they were saying use none detergent at all, I tried the no detergent. So…
Vicki: I tried that too, it’s foul.
Vashti: It’s gross. Soap berries wasn’t much better. And did you know soap berries are a noxious weed here in Australia?
Jenna: Yes, I did, and…
Vicki: And Choice have said they’re no better than water.
Vashti: But you know, for us, Bio Zet and Omo and all those other big brand laundry detergents didn’t work. We were getting smells; we were getting issues. So I always end up back with Earth Choice because that’s what worked for us and our family. And I pulled nappies out that had been in storage for seven years. I used them on Mikayla, and we pulled them back out again when Kylan was born, to use them, and they were clean. They didn’t smell.
Jenna: The other thing is, you did flats a lot, didn’t you?
Vashti: I did flats for my first, but not for the next two. So Kylan didn’t have flats at all because Brett didn’t like flats. So Kylan was all of your NCNs, all of your fitted. Lots of pre-folds, we had two dozen refolds. We used them regularly. Mikayla was lots of all in ones, because she was a petite little thing, and all in one, and seized all in one suited her better. So yeah, no, it wasn’t a single layer versus a multilayer thing; it was just Earth Choice worked for us.
Vicki: That’s funny, because I pulled one of Gabriel’s old inserts out that I had put away. Now, I was using Bio Zet, it was an ECO-friendly…
Jenna: It’s also not recommended.
Vicki: Isn’t it? But I was using Bio Zet, because it was grey-water friendly, but it was a mainstream detergent. And better, well I felt better than some others. But anyway, I pulled one if his inserts out, and I got Vashti to smell it, and she said yeah, that smells clean. I got Jenna to smell it, and she said no, that smells stinky. Because I think it smells stinky.
Jenna: So the other thing I’ve noticed, and I’ve noticed this…
Vicki: You could smell the fragrance in it.
Jenna: I’ve noticed this from friends, is many people and I’m not saying this particularly to Vashti, because she sees a lot of nappies. But some people, they only see their stash, and they will tell me, no, my nappies are clean, because I’m nosey and I try to boss my friends around and tell them about laundry, because I have little to do in my life.
Vashti: I need to give you more hours.
Jenna: . Therefore I’m trying to ignore my child. On a playdate, so mummies can talk laundry. And they’ll say they think their nappies are clean, and I’ve got the same brands as them, and I look at them. They’re not. They’re really discoloured and they’re smelly. I had a friend come over and she said; she saw a happy in my stash, was like, I miss that print; I loved it and it wasn’t my favourite. I was like, have it, take it home, because I was feeling generous. She got home, messaged me, and said oh, my God, I didn’t realise how dirty my nappies were until I saw yours. She’s like, can you give me some help with my wash routines? So sometimes it is a matter of, you’re not seeing other things. So they seem clean to you, because that’s what you’re used to, until you see a nappy that’s spotless. I had this recently when I switched detergents for the pretty smell. I thought they were coming out fine, and I was like, I have to get the loading so precise to not get stains, so I switched back to OMO, and you know what? I realised then that my nappies weren’t as clean for those couple of months I switched detergents.
Vicki: And it’s funny, because I switched to OMO because I thought you know what? I will give OMO a go. And I’m finding, I am getting wash fade with it. So you know, that, different…
Vashti: And this is the conversation we’ve had a few times…
Vicki: …we’ve had a disagreement about this…
Vashti: …I haven’t noticed the wash fade, but maybe I’m just noticing it. Maybe I’m just not noticing it, sorry.
Vicki: Yeah, and maybe that’s why your inserts are so white. But what I’m getting at is, there is not, it’s like your nappy, there’s no right or wrong. There’s no one…
Jenna: It is like a nappy, there’s no perfect detergent for everyone.
Vicki: There’s no perfect detergent, that’s what I’m looking for. Or like Jenna, with pretty smells. Pretty smells will trump a clean, I’m not washing nappies anymore, that will trump…
Jenna: And if I was just washing normal clothes, I probably would have kept with the Fab because they’ve got all the pretty smells. But it was just, and it was a matter of, if I got my loading bang on, and I used a 60 degree wash, that was fine, everything came out pretty clean. But that OMO getting a little more wiggle room on my agitation, that could be off, and it wasn’t the end of the world, and I wouldn’t get stains. And so it was just laziness. It’s easier, I find, to wash with that.
Vicki: And I think where the disagreement between Vashti and I, and you know what, I agree. It doesn’t have to be, whilst it is a science, it doesn’t have to be a science. If you’re happy doing what you’re doing, just keep doing it. it’s when you run into problems you reach out for help. It’s like, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Vashti: If you find you’re getting smells, or you’re finding that you’re getting rashes, or you know…
Vashti: Your nappies are breaking down or…
Vicki: Degrading fast.
Vashti: …degrading quickly, in saying that, and this is where we have…
Vicki: This is where we disagree.
Vashti: …this is where we have a enormous disagreement. There is a train of thought out there that, well, it’s not a train of thought, acidic wear. It’s been an issue in the past. I was never a believer. I can see Jenna’s face already. She’s like…
Vicki: I don’t think there’s a…
Vashti: I never believed in it. Never ever believed in it. I know Elizabeth [instinct name], she had major problems with it, but she had three girls, and she had the same issues, and it wasn’t until, she thought, that’s how long nappies last, six months and they’re done. Then she’d be buying more. But she had lots of flats and stuff like that. She was a massive flat fan. I never understood it, because with Braith and Mikayla, had no issues. Kylan came along, and I had issues.
Jenna: It’s not the age of the nappies?
Vashti: No, because there were nappies I could use on Braith and Mikayla, put away for several years and bring out with Kylan…
Jenna: I’m nodding on a podcast, because that works really well.
Vashti: But there were nappies that went through all three kids, no dramas. There are other nappies I’ve got, especially when Kylan was in a teething phase or something like that, he would, he killed nappies in six months. Like fully killed them. You can see them breaking down. And it’s not that I did anything different in my wash routine, or anything like that. The only difference I had…
Vicki: Do you think is, maybe tweaking would have helped? It’s too late to go back. We can’t go back in history and do anything.
Vashti: I don’t think so, because I played with things myself. CCNDU was around for Kylan, it wasn’t around for the big kids.
Vicki: It was very different back then though.
Vashti: It was very different, but it was still, I was in the industry. I needed to know what they did, and stuff like that. But the only thing I did different between Braith and Mikayla and Kylan, was with Braith and Mikayla, I had a top loader with no centre agitator. With Kylan we had a front loader. That’s the only difference.
Jenna: And that might be a case of the detergent you’re using working better on a top loader than a front loader or something. It could be something like that.
Vashti: Maybe. But I pull my nappies out. The nappies have been stored for over six months now…
Jenna: And if you’re having an agitation like… I mean, I can’t, I’m not in your laundry, but I disagree. My understanding is that acidic wee is not a thing. If you have acidic wee, you have a health condition, and you need to go get it checked up. That’s my understanding.
Vicki: On that, on that, that, I can understand that, because Anastasia used to talk about that. And, but once, we’re talking about once urine leaves the body and is in contact with the air, the reaction with the air.
Vashti: We know, because it turns into ammonia, it kills nappies and stuff like that. And that’s where if you’re not washing, I did a three day wash routine for a while, because I wasn’t filling it, and I didn’t think to do a daily pre-wash. And the holes that started in my nappies, immediately, in multiple brands. And as soon as I switched to a daily pre-wash, so I wasn’t getting that ammonia built up. I have an area wash pail, everything was fine, But three days was too far. And as soon as I switched to a daily pre-wash, the holes stopped. So.
Andrew: OK, so let’s move on to the next question. And I will get Jenna to read it.
Jenna: Can I use nappy creams with cloth nappies? Why is Andrew smiling at me a little? I don’t understand? What’s the smile?
Andrew: Because you answer the question in the question.
Jenna: Yes. I was being helpful. Because I didn’t know I would be here.
Andrew: So by getting you to read the question, you can’t answer your own question, someone else will have to answer.
Jenna: I can answer it.
Vashti: You can.
Vicki: If you’re using, so what we have to get past is a lot of old recommendations. So historically, I will go through it. When I started 14 years ago, the recommendation was a quarter of a scoop of detergent because we thought the fabrics and the nappies were so delicate that that’s what you did.
Vashti: You wanted none chance of the detergent staying within the nappy and ending up on your baby’s skin…
Vicki: Yes, so that was the belief then.
Vashti: …so that was the whole not rinsing them out properly. And see, that’s the thing. I never, well I tried that small amount of detergent. I never found that was a good idea. I always did an extra rinse on the end to make sure there was no detergent.
Vicki: My nappies just continually were stinky. And do you know what? What you were saying is so correct. I knew none different. OK, well these are my nappies. My kid pees in them, and they smell after he pees in them. You don’t know what you don’t know. But eventually what happened was CCNDU came to Australia and there’s no nice way to say it. It was a full on collision between manufacturers and retailers and all of that stuff. Because we’d been recommending a quarter of a scoop of detergent and acidic wee and all of these things. They come in with all of this science, and they, you know, it was just like a train wreck.
Vashti: I talk about it like Mean Girls.
Vicki: Yeah, it really was.
Vashti: You know an end of Mean Girls where they walk around and everyone’s friends, and it’s all like peaceful and calm? When the ANA and CCNDU got together and they worked on recommendations, and everyone’s on the same page now, and that all, when that happened, it’s like oh, there’s peace in Nappy Land. It’s like the end of Mean Girls now.
Vicki: We were actually working towards the same thing.
Jenna: Everyone wanted babies in cloth, they just had different methods of how you get there.
Vicki: And do you know what? It was that problem. It was the how, and not what…
Vashti: Not the goal.
Vicki: …was happening. And you know what? They came in and they called us out on some stuff. When you think about it, recommending quarter of a scoop of detergent for your dirtiest washing, is ridiculous. If you poo your pants, if you have gastro, this is what I say to people at expos. If you have gastro and you don’t get to the toilet on time, and you’re wearing your favourite pants, apart from throwing them out, because I have had that response, and I’m like, OK.
Jenna: Other people must find pants that look good on them easier than I do, because I wouldn’t throw a pair of pants out which look good on me.
Vicki: Yeah, especially your favourites. What you would do, is you would give them more attention, and you would use more detergent. So it made zero sense to use a quarter of a scoop. So what I recommend is whatever the detergent that you’re using, what it says for a heavily soiled load, but you must take into consideration the size of your washing machine. Because there’s a huge difference between a six kilo washer and a ten kilo washer. And if you’re using the detergent for a ten kilo washer on a six kilo washer, it’s too much, and vice versa. So that’s really how, that’s where we start. And you know, most people can work it out. And it’s the people that haven’t got, are having problems, that would then reach out to the retailers.
Jenna: And it is one of those things, where this is coming from, as Vicki said, I’m a big over researcher, but if you start off on the right foot, it’s easy. You don’t have to correct those problems. You don’t have to ever do a strip and sanitise because your nappies are nice and clean. If you start off laminating your wash routine. OK, you probably don’t have to do that, but I like laminating things.
Andrew: Not everybody has…
Jenna: Everyone should have a laminator. Always.
Vashti: We could put it in a photo frame.
Jenna: I never thought to frame it. I have to leave now, excuse me.
Vashti: We say at Nest now, all the time, here are your wash instructions. Grab a cheap photo frame and throw it up on the laundry wall. When somebody comes over and says what can I do to help? You said, go wash my nappies.
Jenna: That is my number one reason for laminating my wash routine, because when people say, can I do nappies? Can I do laundry? My Mum will come over, and she’ll be like, I had surgery recently. My Mum just stepped in and ran my life for ten days. And it’s all on there. She doesn’t have to think. She doesn’t have to know. It’s all in the bathroom. This is not what I’m saying. What was I saying? My point is, if you start off with a good wash routine and you do that research, you don’t have to troubleshoot. You may have to as things change, and as your kid grows, but you’re starting off on the right foot. And if you’re starting off on the right foot, you don’t end up having to do big intensive things like stripping and sanitising. You don’t have to go near bleach; you don’t have to make it more difficult than it is, if you start on the right foot.
Vicki: But flipping that, making it hard is a barrier for entry, and you know, if we’ve got people listening to this going oh my God, this is just so overwhelming. That’s a problem. That is a problem, so like whilst I get what you’re saying too, my goodness.
Jenna: It depends on the person.
Vicki: I send all wash issues to Jenna. So it’s not like we’re not on the same page. But this is where I lean towards Vashti, because I’m well aware, I’ve seen, I’ve been to so many expos and talked to so many people, and we have to overcome the objection. And the objections are poo, washing, and cost. Usually they’re the top three things that people will object. So if I’m talking to someone who knows nothing about this, and I say OK, well you have to do this, this, this and this. And get your agitation right that’s the objection.
Jenna: You know what? I would never lead with that.
Vashti: No, no, we say do a pre-wash, do a normal wash, then put it on the line.
Jenna: It’s like everything else in life. Making a cup of coffee. There’s a coffee machine right in front of me that made me think of that. You can just press a button and you can use coffee, and you can make your coffee, and that’s fine. But if you get into it, and you’re superb cup of coffee, then you learn more, and you do more. And I think happy laundry can be a bit like that, where it’s like, you start, and this is where groups like CCNDU or your retailers who will do things like help you start off with a wash routine, exactly like Vashti just said, you start off and you just wash them. It’s not that complicated. You do, you use a two-step wash routine; you hang them on the line.
Vicki: So that’s when you have to think of those three different people though. We’ve got the people who just…
Vashti: Will you give me a wash routine and laminate it for me?
Jenna: If there were labels at expos that would be great.
Vicki: But it’s important…
Andrew: OK guys, I will introduce another variable.
Vicki: Oh gosh, here we go.
Andrew: What’s better, a front loader or a top loader?
Andrew: Front? What do you think, Vashti?
Vicki: Don’t care?
Vashti: I honestly don’t care, it washes my clothes.
Andrew: What have you got?
Vashti: I’ve got a front loader now. We had a top loader with the first two kids though, and we had no problems at all.
Vicki: Front loader, because they go underneath the bench.
Vashti: Well yes, there is that.
Vicki: Front loader because it’s more ECO-friendly, uses less water. Front loader because the kids can sit there and watch it go around and around. I’ve got pictures of my children doing that.
Andrew: Every single one of them loved watching their nappies go around.
Jenna: My son loves that. And you can make them put their own laundry in from a very young age. Ryan can put his socks in.
Vashti: But the problem with a front loader, is that they can reach the buttons, and they can turn it off on you halfway through the load.
Jenna: Or you can have, and I love my husband dearly, an idiotic husband who teaches them to push the buttons.
Vashti: Well there is that.
Andrew: We had a child lock on ours.
Vashti: I know, but who puts a child lock on?
Jenna: I leave mine open all day.
Andrew: People who have children.
Jenna: I think they’re saying something. He can’t turn mine on because the door is always open, and he doesn’t have the strength to shut the door, yet, yet.
Vicki: That is, that is a big con, a big con. Because as soon as you shut the door, it traps all the moisture in there, and they can get mouldy.
Jenna: They can get mouldy, and we didn’t know, and we bought ours second hand, and I’ve got to admit, I don’t know what happened because I had a migraine. I was lying on the couch, and my husband told me not to get up. But as far as I know, he was, sorry if anyone’s eating, he was scooping out mould. Scooping.
Vicki: Yeah, you do, yeah.
Jenna: Like I said, I never saw it. I didn’t know you’re meant to leave the door open. As soon as I found out, then that was easy. But front loaders are, they give consistently better results, they’re more energy and water efficient, they heat their own water, so if you needed to do a sanitise on 90 degrees on say pre-folds or flats, nothing with plastic or PUL…
Vashti: Or elastic.
Jenna: …you could do that. Or elastic.
Vicki: Why has it got plastic? Why have your nappies got plastic?
Vicki: So was not thinking of snaps.
Jenna: I was thinking of snaps, I don’t think of elastic in nappies, actually. Point being, they heat their own and so you don’t need, if you’re in a position where you don’t have a hot water hose, they’re useful in that way. The agitation can make a difference, but it’s one of those things you learn.
Vashti: You have to, as you say, get your agitation right, and all of that.
Jenna: Yeah, get your agitation right in a top loader.
Vicki: Yeah, but there’s more play in a front loader.
Jenna: And, yes.
Vicki: What about adding towels too? Because it senses the weight. I don’t know; I used to add a wet towel.
Jenna: A top loader or a front loader?
Vicki: No, front loader, to add a wet towel.
Vashti: They don’t sense weight.
Vashti: Vicki’s drunk, they don’t sense weight.
Vicki: Yes, they do.
Jenna: Some do.
Andrew: Ours do.
Jenna: Ours don’t.
Vashti: You mean to adjust the water?
Vicki: Our top loader had a weight sensor in it.
Vashti: I knew, I didn’t know front loaders had weight sensors in.
Vicki: A lot of front loaders have them, but our top loader had the weight sensor in it, and we actually could override that and change the water level in it.
Vashti: That’s usually what I see recommended to get the right nappy level.
Vicki: I upped the water level.
Andrew: That’s one thing that gets their energy rating up, because they only use the amount of water they need.
Vashti: I’m learning new things.
Andrew: And while we’re on the washing machine…
Jenna: So that’s the things I don’t like about the front loader is I can’t change the water level. I prefer to…
Vicki: You have to do things like add a wet towel, to make it weigh down.
Andrew: So while we’re on the subject of washing machines, do you need a deluxe washing machine?
Vicki: Only if you, you get what you pay for with washing machines.
Vashti: There’re Fords and Ferraris. There’re Fords and Ferraris, I love Vicki’s analogy.
Jenna: That’s mine, that’s mine.
Vashti: I didn’t know that! She’s been spouting it for years.
Jenna: Vicki’s just sitting there a smug, yeah, stole it. I wish we could capture that, can we capture that in sound? Vicki’s smug face right now.
Vashti: I’ve been using that all the time, I just didn’t know it was yours. I’ve been crediting the wrong person. There’re Fords and Ferraris, you get what you pay for with washing machines. So if you’ve got the money, a better washing machine will wash better. That doesn’t mean you can’t…
Vicki: And last longer.
Vashti: …and last longer, yes. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good wash with a cheaper washing machine, but you do get what you pay for with washing machines. So if you can afford a good one, it’s a worthy investment.
Vicki: My Dad always taught me, with everything, buy the best you can afford. Now, you can afford. That is the key there. It’s not buy the best. Buy the best you can afford.
Jenna: You Dad was wise.
Vicki: He was.
Andrew: So last question, which will probably promote most of the discussion, how do you really know they’re clean? [laughter].
Vicki: Who wrote that? That was not me.
Jenna: I think we kind of discussed that.
Vashti: We did.
Jenna: It’s those smells, it’s those stains, if you’re not causing rashes.
Vashti: Smells, stains, holes, rashes, check if ammonia burn can be something kids can get from badly washed nappies, and it looks different to a normal nappy rash, and it is different to a normal nappy rash. But yeah, smells, stains, holes are big, because that’s ammonia burn can damage your nappies. And maybe go sniff your friends’ nappies.
Jenna: Not to be construed with sniffing your friends’ butts. I sniffed my friend’s kid’s butt today. She was like, does she need a nappy change? I was like, is it OK to smell another kid’s butt?
Vicki: Better than putting your hand down and opening and checking.
Jenna: I did that too.
Vashti: Slide your finger in the leg?
Jenna: I did, that was like, that’s a mistake, Ryan’s nearly two. I still haven’t learned that.
Vicki: Did she need a nappy change?
Jenna: No, she didn’t. She did not.
Vicki: Do you know, there used to be a meme that went around, that was like the yes/no with babies and everything like that.
Vashti: Yeah, with nappy changes.
Vicki: It was like, don’t turn your baby upside down, it was like quite a funny one. And one of them was, don’t stick your hand down the nappy.
Jenna: Yeah, my friend always laughs at me. She has two kids, she’s a little wiser mother than I am, and she always laughs at me. It happened at her house like two weeks ago, and she’s like, how have you not learned this lesson, Jenna? And I’m like, I don’t know. My reaction is to just stick my finger down the back of his nappy because I’m an idiot. I don’t know.
Vicki: Yeah, really.
Jenna: The other thing that happens, is because cloth nappies are so good, the elastics hold things in well, and I try to just pull the elastic back gently, but the elastic is just holding it in. And I’m a little smug when that happens, because I’m like, hm, that would have gotten out of a disposable, wouldn’t it?
Vicki: That’s because disposables have got like three lines, three rows of shirring elastic, which is like stretchy string, compared with six millimetre solid elastic. That’s why cloth contains a lot wells.
Jenna: And how I get poo on my finger.
Jenna: Well, I don’t get it all over my house and all over Ryan’s sheets and my clothes, so, win. It’s good.
Andrew: Well, I think we’ve finished. I’ve had to do such a little amount of work in this episode haven’t I?
Vicki: That’s good, I think you’re still embarrassed from was it…
Vashti: He’s still red. He’s still slightly red.
Vicki: It depends what he cuts out, whether this will make it.
Jenna: [coughs conspiratorially] You wanted to ask me a question from the previous podcast where I wasn’t allowed to talk because I wasn’t here.
Andrew: And what was that question?
Jenna: I was doing a superb job of sitting quietly. It was about travelling and staying in other people’s houses with cloth nappies, and I’ve done that. And can I say, the goal is you go stay at someone’s house who has four kids, and did cloth, and hasn’t been bothered to take off her nappy sprayer yet, even though her youngest kid is four. And you go stay somewhere with a nappy sprayer. If you can do that that’s awesome. If not, my best recommendation is call them ahead. Your friends and family will be loving. They will tell you what machine you’re using, and you can look up and check what you want to be doing, so you don’t stress on your holiday. I’m a pre-planner. Again, I might be only for a certain percentage of mothers here, and check what detergents they have, and work it all out before you go on holiday so you’re not stressing and bothering about it on your holiday. It’s all done. And bring with you, I like a hair brush that is clearly not used on my hair it is the poo brush. It has a label on it. Some people like a spatula, or there’s a knife. Again, carefully labelled.
Andrew: Does anybody use that?
Vicki: My friend had the poo spoon.
Jenna: You’ve got to label these things, people.
Andrew: Does anybody say, why do you call your hairbrush Poo?
Jenna: No, no, I have told people before. I’m like, don’t touch that. And there’s a K-Mart scrubby brush thing that many people swear by. But anything like that is portable to bring with you when you’re staying at a friend’s house or travelling. If you have a sprayer at home and you’re used to that, that’s a great option in the meantime, aside from whatever Vicki and Vashti were saying last time.
Andrew: Excellent. OK, I think we’ll finish on that. Thank you, Jenna.
Jenna: You are welcome.
Andrew: Thanks, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.
Vicki: Do you know you always say thank you last? Just saying.
Jenna: I didn’t think, I said you’re welcome. I meant to thank Andrew. Now you will have to count those.
Vashti: Poor Andrew.
Andrew: It’s a lot harder to count, because they’re right at the end of the episode.
Vicki: You have to listen to them all again.
Jenna: Or you could just skip to the bottom of the transcript. That’s an idea.
Andrew: I could.
Vicki: You could ask Jenna to double check on the transcript.
Andrew: Good point, good point. Thank you everybody, goodbye. [laughter]