Following on from the success of our previous Live Podcast, we decided to do another one! Our special guest this week is Megan. Megan is a paediatric nurse, mother to Brielle and Theodore and a Bubblebubs brand rep! She has been using Bubblebubs since her eldest (Brielle) was born and now those Bambams are getting their second run on little Theodore.

Megan had some cleaning related questions so we arranged a special guest, Amy! Amy is a nappy washing expert and owner of Clean Cloth Nappy Hire. Megan asks if prewashes are necessary, how detergents differ and how long your wash cycles will be. There are a few tangents in this one but you’ll be a cleaning expert by the end!

This Nappy Leaks episode is recorded in front of a live studio audience… and by “live studio audience” we mean in the Bubblebubs warehouse with an audience that was 50% babies! But we all had a great time and it was good to be able to pick Vashti and Vicki’s brains in person.

Vicki Simpson is the outgoing President of the Australian Nappy Association and has been advocating for and selling cloth nappies in Australia for over 15 years. 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.

Transcription: Live December 2019

Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How you doing Vicki?

Vicki: I’m good, Andrew, how you are?

Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?

Vashti: Good thanks, Andrew. How are you?

Andrew: Excellent. And we have a guest. How are you, Megan?

Megan: I’m good thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: That’s good. Now, you’ve got an interesting job. You’re a…

Megan: Paediatric nurse.

Andrew: Nice. 

Vicki: Brand rep.

Megan: And I am a brand rep.

Vicki: Amazing brand rep.

Megan: Thank you. 

Vicki: I didn’t know that you were a paediatric nurse.

Megan: Yes, at the Children’s Hospital.

Vashti: I did.

Vicki: Interesting.

Andrew: So you see people having babies just all the time.

All: No, no.

Vicki: No, not midwife, paediatrics.

Andrew: So what’s paediatrics?

Megan: Children. So I basically…

Vicki: Children, not babies.

Megan: I look after kids basically…

Andrew: Oh, children.

Megan: …one until eighteen.

Andrew: Don’t worry, I’ll take the stupid bits out. 

Vicki: Remember, Abbie was in PICU, Bella was in NICU. So neonatal, paediatric. 

Andrew: OK, nice.

Megan: Yeah, so there’s a huge difference. 

Andrew: So how many do you look after at once?

Megan: Myself, I would get three to four patients. But we have 12 patients down one end, and 24 on the ward.

Andrew: OK, gees, do you like that?

Megan: I love it.

Andrew: Because you’re still doing it. 

Megan: Yes. Not that I want to go back from maternity leave, but yes.

Vicki: Have you been back since you’ve had Brielle?

Megan: Since I’ve had Brielle, yes, I went back for 12 months.

Vicki: How did you find that, the whole mum, now I’m a mum and I’m looking after kids, my kids age?

Megan: I looked after a lot of snot, and diarrhea and diabetes. So it wasn’t as bad as what, it wasn’t as much cancer and life threatening things. Well, diabetes is, but it was not as intense.

Vicki: It wasn’t PICU, it was on the ward.

Megan: It wasn’t intensive care, yes. So I didn’t find it too bad. It was nice to go home from those kids. You’re managing them all day and going home, really.

Andrew: So which are easier to look after, your kids or their kids?

Megan: Oh, theirs, the parents do so much more.

Vicki: Yeah, they do. When Abbie was in hospital, you just don’t go. You can’t. 

Megan: No, more parents do their cares than what I would. Occasionally we’d get a lot of kids that we do do cares for, but the majority it was parents doing a lot for them.

Andrew: OK, nice. So you have some questions, and all your questions are around cleaning and washing, aren’t they? And to make sure we get a good answer to that, we’ve actually brought in a washing expert.

Megan: Two years in and I’m still confused. 

Andrew: How are you, Amy?

Amy: I’m very well Andrew, thanks for having me.

Andrew: That’s OK. So ask your first question. Vashti and Vicki will chime in as they see fit.

Megan: Why is a pre-wash necessary?

Amy: A pre-wash is important because our nappies are really, really heavily soiled laundry, and if you just put them into a normal wash, you’re basically, you imagine, you know when you rinse out poo and it’s all yellow and disgusting and really gross. Your whole wash is going to be like that. And it’s really not a very effective way. So you need a way to clear out the…

Megan: The dietary(?) stuff.

Amy: …the excess swirling from the nappies first, so you can give them a really thorough clean.

Vashti: So you’re not washing in poo soup.

Amy: That’s right.

Andrew: Haven’t I said before we’re not allowed to use that term?

Megan: Why not?

Amy: I don’t like it either.

Andrew: Creeps me out. 

Amy: It’s a bit gross, isn’t it?

Vashti: I thought it was…

Vicki: No, I won’t make you go red. There is one word that will make him go red and I won’t say it. I will not say it.

Andrew: It’s live, I can’t cut now because they’ll know all the bits that I take out. 

Vicki: That’s alright, I won’t make you go red. 

Vashti: I think you already have.

Andrew: Did that answer your question?

Megan: Yes, thank you.

Andrew: OK, go for your next question.

Megan: Will different washing powders give better results? And why can’t Napisan be used in all of the washes?

Amy: Different washing powders do give different results because they have different ingredients. What’s the matter there, Thomas? How about you just come and have a cuddle. Alright. So different, they have different ingredients. Some of them have more stain removers and enzymes and things to break down soil than others. Some of them are just a really budget basic formula, and others are a really, really powerful formula. So you’ll probably notice a difference, depending on which one you use. Napisan, you can add it to the wash, you just can’t wet-pail in it, because it’s not very good for your nappies. It can break down the glue that holds the P.U.L. together, not good for the elastics, drowning hazard, among other things. So if you want a stain removing boost in your wash, add some Napisan, that’s what it’s for.

Vicki: Can I tack onto that? So generally as an overall, you would expect with nappies, generally, the higher the price the better the quality. Is that the same with detergents as well?

Amy: Yes and no. There are some detergents…

Vicki: You can find cheapies that are over priced…

Amy: Yeah, you get overpriced, China cheapies… 

Vicki: …rebranded.

Amy: You do, you do. As far as the supermarket detergents go, generally the more expensive ones are better, but then you’ve got a bunch of boutique type detergents that are not necessarily any better than the leading detergents sold in Australia and they can be four times the price. And then you get M.L. and stuff like Norwex, which I think is $40 a kilo and it’s just normal washing powder. But if you’re shopping at the supermarket, generally one of the…

Vicki: Price is a good indicator.

Amy: Price is a good indicator of quality.

Vicki: Does that go for washing detergent and, we have this fight all the time over dishwasher pods. You haven’t gone into that…

Amy: No, I’ve tried a bunch. I’ve got a really, I’ve got a Bunnings dishwasher, so we have to rinse everything off really well before we put the dishes in, otherwise nothing comes out clean. But Fairy Platinum, it’s a winner.

Vicki: Which one?

Amy: Fairy Platinum. My friends got me onto it.

Vicki: That’s funny, that’s that one I didn’t like.

Amy: You can buy it on Groupon, it’s amazing. But we’re using Morning Fresh…

Vicki: But don’t buy the nappies on Groupon.

Amy: No, don’t buy nappies on Groupon. Or Wish.

Vicki: Actually that’s Hayley’s F.A.Q. Are these nappies any good, the Groupon nappies?

Amy: Yeah, I see that get asked every week actually. And sometimes cheap is not great. 

Jenna: That shop has the same picture every single…

Vicki: And you know what, it’s actually a disposable nappy. We should put that in the show notes of this, that it is actually a disposable nappy. I found the original picture of that baby, and they’ve photoshopped the cloth nappy onto that picture and it’s so bad.

Jenna: It’s a really, really bad Photoshop. I use the $4 Shine stuff from Woolworths and it actually washes our dishes pretty well. 

Vicki: Yeah, I like the Kirkland tablets from Costco but he doesn’t…

Andrew: OK, this is not a cloth nappy subject.

Jenna: It’s cleaning, Andrew. 

Vicki: This differs from…

Amy: It’s cleaning.

Megan: It’s cleaning.

Vashti: It’s cleaning.

Vicki: It’s cleaning. It’s relevant. It’s mother’s work.

Andrew: It’s way off topic. Mother’s work! She doesn’t do the washing or the dishwashing.

Vashti: I’ve seen Vicki pack the dishwasher. 

Vicki: You’ve seen me make the children pack the dishwasher.

Megan: How many mothers listening to this podcast do?

Vicki: And then put the tablet in. 

Andrew: Okey-dokey. Alright, ask your next question.

Megan: How long is an adequate wash cycle length for, and prewash with main wash?

Amy: Depends on your washing machine. Every washing machine washes for a different length of time. So I guess as an average thing, a top loader will generally wash for about an hour, for a main wash. And front loaders, two to three hours. But as long as they’re coming out clean, you can experiment with that. I guess a safe starting point is to put them in for the longest cycle that your machine does, but sometimes you might get away with a normal type cycle if you’re washing every day or something. They get harder to wash, the longer you leave them. And so if you’re washing, say if you’re leaving it really long like every three or four days, you’ll find that they really do get quite difficult to wash, compared to if you’re washing every day and you can probably use a shorter cycle.

Megan: Cool, thank you.

Andrew: Nice.  Excellent. So, so many people have…

Vicki: No, I’ve got more questions. 

Andrew: Go for it.

Vicki: So prewash versus short cycle? Difference? 

Amy: You mean inbuilt prewash?

Vicki: Yeah, inbuilt prewash versus short cycle. 

Amy: Yes, different, because an inbuilt prewash is generally always cold water, which is not really as effective as warm or hot water. And also their inbuilt prewash on a front loader, generally it just drains the water out. Sometimes it can do a little bit of a spin, but when you’re using a short cycle, you get the rinses cycle, which is generally two rinses, on a short wash cycle, and that’s going to give you much more effective cleanout of all of the excess soiling than just using the inbuilt prewash. I’ve never had any luck with an inbuilt prewash. I get stinky nappies within a couple of washes. I’ve tried it so many times with different detergents, and no luck. No luck for me. Some people use it fine, but I’ve never had any success with it.

Vicki: So you said a top loader is about an hour, and a front loader is two to three hours. OK, so my brain is saying how is that more ecofriendly, which apparently it is? But why does the front loader take so long?

Amy: Because it compensates. Like a top loader is always agitating, so it uses a lot of water, and a lot of power. And so it gets the wash done in more time, whereas you watch a front loader go and it spins and then it waits. And then it spins and then it waits. So it uses more time to compensate for using less power and less water. So it’s kind of like a trade off, of more power, more water, faster wash.

Vicki: Is there a consistently better machine, top versus front? 

Amy: Yeah, front loaders give better agitation because a lot of the laundry is always in contact and it all rubs against itself.

Vicki: The friction. 

Vashti: Does it make any difference with a top loader that doesn’t have an agitator?

Amy: No, they work in a similar fashion. They’ve got little disc things on the bottom that make the water circulate in certain patterns around the machine. So as long as you’ve got all of the laundry touching against the other laundry in the machine, you can get good agitation as well.

Vashti: Our top loader used to be an agitator-less top loader. So I’m wondering if that’s why we used to get such a great clean with a top loader.

Amy: Yeah, and probably also I think as well, with a top loader you get a lot of dilution factor as well, and it’s much more effective in terms of being a really thorough rinse out than you get in a front loader. So I guess the machines work in different ways and they’ve both got pros and cons. Generally a front loader will give you a better clean, but there are definitely some challenges when it comes to washing nappies in a front loader, and getting I guess the optimal recipe to get the optimal results out of a front loader.

Vicki: Cool, awesome. 

Andrew: Nice, any other questions girls?

Vicki: No, they were the…

Andrew: That was it?

Vicki: Yep.

Andrew: Thank you, Vashti.

Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.

Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you, Megan.

Megan: Thank you.

Amy: [baby crying] Sorry, but it’s not yours.

Andrew: Thank you, Amy.

Amy: Thanks Andrew, sorry everyone. 

 [Music]

Andrew: Bye everybody. Vicki Simpson is a wife and mother to three children, President of the Australian Nappy Association and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 15 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 13 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. She can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com.au. If you would like to give us feedback, go to nappyleaks.com.au. If you are finding this podcast helpful, the way to thank us is to leave feedback in the iTunes store or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson. 

[Music]

Andrew: And of course Vashti and Jenna will, sorry, Vashti and Vicki will chime in as they see fit.

Vashti: Was that your wife’s name you just forgot?

Vicki: They’re watching you, watching me. 

Jenna: Don’t edit that out, Andrew. I’m keeping it in there.

Andrew: That I accidentally inserted your name? No. 

Jenna: Yeah, just checking.

Andrew: Fix it and post. 

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