#72 Nappy Leaks Podcast: How to Strip and Sanitize Cloth Nappies

One of the most useful tools you that you can have in your cloth nappy skill toolbox is how to strip and santitise or S&S for short (and no, it’s got nothing to do with a stretch and sweep!). A strip and sanitise is a straightforward process of deep cleaning nappies that you can use on secondhand nappies or to resolve a prior insufficient wash routine that was causing issues with your nappies. This big, deep clean resets nappies to being spotless and fresh again.
One of the most useful tools you that you can have in your cloth nappy skill toolbox is how to strip and santitise or S&S for short (and no, it’s got nothing to do with a stretch and sweep!). A strip and sanitise is a straightforward process of deep cleaning nappies that you can use on secondhand nappies or to resolve a prior insufficient wash routine that was causing issues with your nappies. This big, deep clean resets nappies to being spotless and fresh again.
Amy, Vashti and Vicki also discuss how easy it is to wash nappies and troubleshoot some frequently asked questions, such as: how to identify unexplained damage on nappies out of the wash, how to stop nappies feeling crunchy and is vinegar or bleach safe to use?
It’s hard not to feed off Amy’s excitement to do the laundry after listening to this episode! So sit back and listen and have that laundry, detergent and washing machine at the ready!


Transcription: How to Strip and Sanitize Cloth Nappies

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

Vashti: Good thanks Andrew, how are you? I wasn’t expecting that, and then I realised, oh no, the short episodes you say Vicki first. 

Andrew: This is an even number. You get all the even numbers.

Vashti: Yeah, I get the evens. Sorry, I was just drinking my coffee.

Andrew: Yeah, it was good how I waited until you had a cup of coffee before I said hello.

Vashti: Yeah, I know. You did it on purpose.

Andrew: I really did actually, yes. How are you doing, Vicki?

Vicki: I’m really well.

Andrew: Excellent.

Vicki: And really lying, but anyway. Really, really well.

Andrew: Just think the opposite of everything Vicki says. And we have another guest. Hello Amy, how are you?

Amy: Hi Andrew, I’m really well thanks. 

Andrew: Excellent. Now, you may remember Amy from our previous podcast. We’ve asked her back on the show because she’s still in the room, to talk about another subject that we get oodles and oodles and oodles of questions about. And that is strip and sanitise. And I won’t spend time introducing Amy again. Let’s just say that she’s an expert on the subject. Because she’s a chemist.

Amy: Yeah, I’m an environmental scientist. 

Andrew: Environmental scientist.

Amy: I’ve done a lot of chemistry in my time.

Vashti: And she writes recipes.

Amy: And I wrote the recipe, it’s true. 

Andrew: Wrote the recipe? There’s a recipe?

Amy: For strip and sanitise. 

Vashti: You are like the original strip and sanitise queen, I believe.

Amy: I guess so. If that can be a claim to fame in life. It’s mine.

Andrew: Wait a minute, there’s actually a recipe?

Amy: Yeah, well you know, there’s some instructions to follow that you can use to do a strip and sanitise. 

Andrew: No worries.

Vashti: Can we explain what a strip and sanitise is first?

Amy: I think that’s probably a good place to start, yeah.

Andrew: OK, well what is a strip and sanitise?

Amy: So a strip and sanitise is just a really deep clean that’s used to resolve problems with nappies. So if you’ve got, sometimes you might buy second hand nappies or you haven’t been cleaning your own nappies very well and they get super stinky, and you just can’t budge it with normal washing. So in those circumstances you can do a strip and sanitise and that will basically give your nappies a super thorough clean and reset them so they’re fresh and lovely, and smell free. Which makes using cloth a much better experience.

Vicki: Yes, well nobody wants poopy or wee smelling nappies.

Amy: Nobody wants smelly nappies, no. 

Vicki: If your nappies are smelly, there’s a problem.

Amy: That’s true.

Andrew: If your nappies are smelly after you’ve washed them, yeah, you’ve definitely got a problem. 

Amy: Definitely something not right. 

Andrew: Are there any other reasons you should do it? Like the child is sick, should you do it then?

Amy: No, it’s, you know, really should be used in pretty specific circumstances. So if you’ve had gastro or something like that, just a hot wash is fine to kill those bugs. You don’t need to strip and sanitise for that.

Andrew: What about a rash, if the child’s had a rash?

Amy: Yeah, so nappy rash you might look to, usually the causes of that are moisture and soiling. So leaving the kid sit in a poopy nappy is a pretty sure fire way to cause nappy rash. So change those poos asap. Moisture, so you can use nappies that have stay dry layers against your baby’s skin, and you can use some nappy cream as well, to provide a barrier, and that should help you to prevent rashes. But you know, if you’ve got stinky nappies, they can definitely give your baby a rash. So if you’ve got smell problems that you just can’t resolve, then a strip and sanitise can be a good way to fix that up.

Andrew: Would you do it on a schedule? Would you do it like every six months or something like that, or just when you think you’ve got problems?  

Amy: No, definitely not. Just as needed. So pretty much if you’re washing your nappies pretty thoroughly each time, you’ll never need to strip and sanitise them. But if you buy second hand nappies, you might like to strip and sanitise them when you get them, so that you know they’re really, really clean for your baby.

Vicki: And what about, I know a lot of people ask about the live vaxes, so after your polio vax, that sort of thing? Again, just hot wash?

Amy: Yeah, hot wash, and wash your hands. Hand washing is going to be the biggest thing.

Vashti: 2020 is all about hand wash.

Amy: It’s a good year to be washing your hands. Get your sanitiser out.

Andrew: All those people that shake your hand and they sanitise their hand. They were right. All those people out there going see, we were right. 

Vashti: See, I don’t think I’ve shook a person’s hand this year. 

Andrew: We had politicians here.

Vicki: That was going to be my big thing. I was like, well I had the State Treasurer here and our local member and it was all social distancing. Didn’t even elbow bump or anything. It was actually really weird, that you’re talking with politicians and you’re not shaking their hands. They were just taking photos, lots and lots of photos. Can you stop, please, we understand this is a politician thing for you, but…

Amy: It’s amazing how quickly you get used to talking at social distance. If you go back to what was your previously, what you felt comfortable with as a social distance, that now feels really, really strange.

Vashti: Well there’s been a few times I’ve had meetings this year and I’ve gone to put my hand out, and they’ve gone to put their hand out, and we’ve both realised at the same time, and pulled our hands back in and gone, oh no. The wave. The hand comes out, back up and a wave. Oh yeah, we won’t be shaking hands this year.  

Andrew: I did get an elbow bump though.

Vicki: Did you?

Andrew: I’ve had an elbow bump from, first politician I’ve ever met, I’m going to get to shake a politician’s hand. And I couldn’t…

Vashti: No.

Andrew: …2020 screwed it up for me. 

Vashti: Love it, yes. Anyway, hand washing, it’s important.

Amy: Hand washing, yep, definitely.

Andrew: So after you’ve washed your hands, after you put your nappies in the washing machine, how do you strip and sanitise? What are the steps you need to take?

Amy: Yes, so you can get instructions and the recipe at clothnappyhelp.com.au. and so generally the strip part is just the deep clean part, so that’s got detergent and some stain remover powder like Vanish, and in a bucket or your laundry sink for the hot water. And then you rinse…

Andrew: Or a Strucket?

Amy: Or a Strucket if you want to.

Vashti: For a smaller strip and sanitise. If you’re only doing a few.

Amy: A Strucket, or a mini Strucket.

Andrew: This episode is not brought to you by Strucket. I just think they’re cool.

Amy: The Strucket is pretty cool.

Vashti: The mini Strucket came out the beginning of this month, end of last month. I don’t know. And it launched just after my last cycle, and so I’ve been waiting since it came out for my next cycle and I got it this week and I was like, yes, I get to use my mini for my pads. Sorry, completely off topic.

Amy: Fan girl over there.

Andrew: [sighs] I’m going to have to take that out. All the guys that listen to this, they’re not going to like that.

Amy: All the people who use it for going fishing and cleaning prawns.

Vashti: I love my mini Strucket. It is amazing. It’s just… yes. Kelly, you did well.

Amy: I’ve only got a big one. 

Vicki: That’s who was ringing me before. [laughter]

Andrew: So you soak them. How long do you soak them for?

Amy: Yeah, so you just put the inserts in.

Andrew: In hot water?

Amy: In hot water, yeah, just like tap water is fine.

Andrew: OK, and just the inserts? 

Amy: And just the inserts. Covers aren’t absorbent, so they don’t need to be stripped.

Andrew: I have a silly question. What if you have nappies that have the inserts built into the nappy? Do you just drape the insert into the nappy and leave the rest of it out?

Amy: You can do that, or if they’ve got real, that wasn’t very good English, real inbuilt absorbency that’s all sewn in and it doesn’t fold out, then you just limit the time. So you might want to only strip them for a couple of hours. As long as they’d normally spent in the washing machine. But inserts, I’ve always just done mine overnight because it’s easy. So put them in the bucket, put it in the laundry sink, away from the kids and anyone who can get to it. 

Vashti: Baby bath works really well for this.

Amy: Or the baby bath, yeah.

Vashti: Baby bath is fantastic for small strips, or even soaking nappies, brand new nappies, to prep them. 

Amy: Nice, good tip.

Vashti: Like the baby bucket. 

Amy: Yeah, so I can’t remember what I was saying now.

Vashti: Sorry.

Andrew: You soak them.

Amy: Soak them overnight. I always put mine in overnight and then come back in the morning and start the rest of the process. So the rest of the process is obviously to wash that mix out, so just give them a rinse to wash that rinse out. The sanitise part is usually bleach. So it’s really dilute bleach, it’s not super strong bleach, and it’s designed just to remove any residual bacteria. They’ve already had a strip, so they’re pretty clean. And remove any fungi or any leftover bits of ammonia or whatever’s in there. And then you rinse that out, and then you just give them a wash, and they’re done.

Vashti: So if you’ve got coloured inserts, say something like the bamboo delight, which is a coloured bamboo velour, what’s the bleach going to do to that?

Amy: Yeah, so bamboo delights will fade in bleach.

Andrew: Turns them into cotton. Cotton tails.

Amy: They turn into… I’ve been there done that too many times. And then you’ve got a white nappy and it’s still got blue stitching. And you’re like, this doesn’t look good anymore. What did I do to this poor nappy?

Vicki: That’s just the joys of natural fibres I guess.

Amy: That’s right.

Vicki: It’s not going to hold.

Amy: They’ve got the vegetable dyes in them, and they’re beautiful nappies and 100% worth it, but you should be cautious about bleaching coloured things. So nappy covers if you need to sanitise those for whatever reason, they’re generally colourfast and so you don’t need to worry about them fading in the bleach. But if you’ve got coloured cotton or velour nappies or bamboo velour, then definitely be cautious about that.

Vashti: And your more natural fibres like your bamboos and your hemps and your cottons, they’re not going to be affected by the bleach in any way?

Amy: So sometimes you might see then end up a little bit brighter. Especially the oatmeally coloured things like hemp might end up a brighter shade of oatmeal. But you’re never going to, in the concentration that you use in the strip and sanitise, you don’t really affect the colour much at all for natural fibre inserts. 

Vashti: And how does bleach go when you’re washing it out? How does that work in our waterways? Is it affecting our waterways in any way?

Amy: Not at all actually. Bleach is, because it’s so reactive, it probably doesn’t even make it to the water treatment plant, because it reacts with oils and things in the drain. But bleach also, because it is so reactive, it degrades super rapidly. And it degrades to salt water. And so there’s really, as far as residual chemicals out of the wash, bleach leaves you with salt water. It’s made from salt water, it turns back into salt water. And so from that perspective, everybody thinks bleach is terribly unenvironmentally friendly, but it’s actually probably the opposite, in that you’re not left with anything residual after you’ve used it.

Andrew: That’s how they sanitise beaches, isn’t it? They pump salt water out of the ocean and then treat it…

Amy: Yeah, I’ve no idea.

Andrew: I saw a documentary on it, where they sanitise the beach.

Amy: The salt water chlorinator…

Andrew: Yeah, they basically, hose goes into the ocean, they pump it into the machine, it turns it into chlorine. They spray it onto the beach and it turns back into salt water.

Vashti: Is this for oil spills and stuff like that?

Andrew: No, just beaches that have lots and lots of people on there. They kind of do it to sanitise the beach.

Amy: It’s a bit scary that they need to actually, a bit gross. And you really feel, there’s not much that lives on the beach after that, on the beach.

Vashti: Bondi and Brighton, from what I’ve heard this year, need that.

Amy: Really? Wow.

Vashti: Bondi and Brighton have had lots and lots of people, even during COVID. There’s been a couple of cases where Bondi, it was technically closed, but it as shoulder to shoulder. There was images…

Amy: People still went there.

Andrew: That was a hot spot at one stage, too.

Amy: You have to wonder. 

Vashti: Yeah. And it’s the same over in the UK, I saw some images over in the UK of some of the beaches over there that were just, literally towels were touching each other, and I’m like, how are people social distancing when you’re that close? 

Amy: It’s just impossible.

Vashti: The cleaners couldn’t even get in there to empty bins and stuff. But that’s totally off topic. We’re talking strip and sanitise, sorry.

Andrew: So that whole process doesn’t sound overly complicated to me.

Amy: No, it’s actually really straightforward. I think people can get confused because there’s a lot of steps, but if you just take a minute to read through and plan in advance for what you need to do, you’ve probably already got all the products at home, and it’s pretty straightforward.

Andrew: Yeah, and what was your website again?

Vicki: Clothnappyhelp.com.au. 

Andrew: Excellent.

Vashti: Can we link that in the show notes, Andrew? The strip and sanitise page?

Andrew: Sure.

Vicki: Jenna. [laughter]

Vashti: She’s on maternity leave. 

Andrew: Actually no, this episode will publish just before she comes back. 

Amy: I think Jenna’s made a blog about it as well, hasn’t she? 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Vicki: I think she has. If not, Kat’s been doing a lot of our podcast stuff. 

Amy: And I think you guys have got a video as well. And I’ve got a video too. 

Vicki: Yeah, and look…

Amy: YouTube, strip and sanitise.

Vicki: …I’m going to give a huge shout out to my staff, because they’re amazing, Kat and Keren. And that person over there…

Andrew: Because they’ve been taking up the slack.

Vicki: …he’s pretty good too.

Andrew: No.

Vicki: Kat, Keren and Rachel are amazing staff, and as the customer service, they’re really on board. We do send people your way quite a bit.

Amy: Thank you.

Vicki: Because it’s not complicated, but I think there’s this, especially on Facebook, there seems to be this whole culture of oh my God, I can’t wash my nappies. And it’s…

Amy: It seems to be, I’ve noticed as well, people are terrified of doing it wrong. And it’s like, you really can’t do it wrong. Just try it and see what happens.

Vicki: We’re not the nappy police.

Vashti: That’s right, there’s no nappy police and you’ve been washing clothes for years. Yes, nappies are a multilayered product, and yes, they’re a heavily soiled product, but if you can wash your clothes, you can wash your nappies. 

Amy: You can wash your nappies. 

Vashti: You definitely can do it. Just treat them like a heavily soiled load, because that’s what they are, and you’ll be fine.

Amy: And that’s why we wash them twice. 

Andrew: OK, so soak them. Wash them. And wash them. 

Amy: So soak them in the strip mix, wash it out, sanitise them, wash it out, wash them. And it’s done.

Vicki: And did we actually cover, because I was busy texting, sorry, I’ve got children, not going to school during exams.

Amy: That’s OK. 

Vicki: Did we, when they come out, they’re not as absorbent, did we cover that?

Amy: No.

Vicki: The absorbency changes back to, like it resets.

Amy: And to be honest, after many years of strip and sanitising, I haven’t personally experienced this, but I’ve heard other people say it happens and they need to change a bit more frequently until they get their nappies up to their usual fluffiness again.

Vicki: It’s weird. It’s one of those things that makes zero sense. 

Amy: Chemically, I don’t have an explanation for it, but obviously if enough people have said that they’ve experienced it, there’s obviously something that goes on that…

Vicki: Hey look, as a manufacturer, let me tell you, we see some stuff come through. Especially with elastics. And you look at it and you go, I just don’t know. It makes zero sense when you see some stuff. We’ve got at the moment, we think the customer must have something in their bowl.

Amy: Getting snagged?

Vicki: Yeah, yeah, getting snagged on something because she has got a dozen inserts that are relatively new that have all got hole. And it’s like well there’s nothing wrong with your wash routine and all of this sort of stuff. There has to be…

Amy: I’ve seen the same lately actually, sorry to interrupt. Another person contacted me about something similar because they sent their lovely bamboo fleece night nappy through the wash and it came out with all these holes on it, and they figure out it was the zip from their wet bag that had damaged it in the wash.

Vashti: Oh my gosh, because we’ve got one at the moment where she’s done about seven or eight snaps. It’s getting snagged on something. They’re going into the washing machine fine, but they’re coming out and they’re all broken and scratched and twisted.

Amy: That’s really strange.

Vashti: That’s also causing damage to the PUL on the shell. We can replace the snaps, but there’s no point in us constantly replacing the snaps unless we can work out what’s going on.

Vicki: Well Jenna had two completely different nappies snap together, in the wash. That was like, OK, how does that happen? 

Amy: They must have just been in love.

Vashti: The wet bag, the zip on the wet bag. That’s really interesting. 

Amy: And we only figured out with this lady because I said to her, what else have you sent through the wash, thinking you know, sometimes people send their jeans or something through the wash and it trashes the laundry because it’s really harsh and it’s got zips and studs and all sorts of things. But she found bits of the nappy in the zipper. So then she knew that it was the zip from the wet bag.

Andrew: So the zip was open and it was catching in the nappy.

Amy: Yeah, the zip had caught on the nappy and obviously whatever happened in the machine, it got stuck. Same again, it’s not a problem I’ve ever experienced personally, but obviously something that can happen.

Vicki: But wet bags turn inside out. 

Amy: Yeah, they turn inside out in the washing machine. 

Vicki: Yet another thing that is…

Amy: I heard about that on the internet the other day and I was pulling my wet bags out the dryer, and I’m like, I didn’t put it in that way, Vicki was right. 

Vicki: I can’t answer you why. It’s one of those ridiculous things.

Andrew: I turn the wet bags inside out when I put them in the wash, because that’s the part that’s dirty.

Vashti: Same here. I always put my wet bags in, inside out.

Vicki: Yeah, but they’ll turn in the other way.

Vashti: They turn right side out.

Andrew: No, they come out the same way. 

Vicki: They do, I did actually use to wash nappies, many, many years ago. And it was just one of those things that I noticed. I’m like, why are these wet bags turning inside out? I couldn’t… and it didn’t matter how much, because I was testing it. I’m like OK, well I’ll close the zipper, you know. 

Amy: Try it. 

Vicki: But yes they’d turn inside out, don’t know why.

Andrew: So have you had any other disasters in the washing machine? Anything else that’s gone wrong for people that you’ve picked up?

Amy: Sometimes you see people who have ripped the wing off the nappy or something like that. Usually in a front loader. And that’s often because they fill the machine too much. And so it all gets squashed against the door and gets stuck in the door gasket. 

Vicki: Oh, who would do that?

Andrew: Doesn’t happen with ordinary clothes though.

Vicki: Just one more, just one more.

Amy: So I’ve seen that happen. I see that happen fairly often. It’s unfortunate that…

Andrew: Really, the whole wing ripped off a nappy? 

Amy: Yeah, I think it gets stuck in the gasket, it just gets pulled.

Vashti: We’ve had that a couple of times.

Andrew: Because they’re strong. 

Amy: Yeah, so it obviously…

Vashti: But if it gets caught in the door, it’s being pulled and twisted and turned.

Vicki: Basically it’s being spun at 1400 or whatever.

Amy: It doesn’t have much hope.

Vicki: And ironically it’s always the favourite nappy. It’s never the crappy ones.

Amy: They’re all the favourite nappy, right? 

Vicki: True, true.

Andrew: You’ve got 24, oh no, it was my favourite one. And I think, didn’t you pick the other 23? I’m sure they were your favourite ones too. 

Vashti: There’s one question I didn’t ask and it maybe should have been covered in our last podcast about detergents, but how does vinegar work? If you’re finding that you’re getting a bit of a stiff, crunchy load or something like that, can you use vinegar as a softener?

Amy: So I guess sort of like, this is one of those things that’s like an old wives tale remedy. And the reason, vinegar is an acid. And laundry detergent is a base. So if the laundry detergent hasn’t washed out properly and you add the acid or the vinegar in, then you make an acid base reaction and an acid plus a base, equals salt plus water. So I guess the theory behind that is it will cancel out any remaining detergent in the load. But as to whether there’s remaining detergent in the load, unless you put way too much powder in, I don’t think you’re going to have remaining detergent in the load. And it’s not an issue. So I think around crunchy nappies, usually it’s just line drying and they get super dry on the line. And of course they’re not really moving when they’re on the line, and so scrunching up the fibres again, just give them a rub between your hands, will soften the up again.

Vashti: Sleep on them. 

Amy: Sleep on them, sit on them. 

Andrew: Yeah, well…

Amy: Anything to make them warm. 

Andrew: When you put them on the baby’s bum they warm up and soften anyway.

Amy: They do, they get soft and with my first baby I used terry flats when he was a newborn and I used to actually prefer it when they were crunchy because they were easier to fold. 

Vashti: Yes, much smoother.

Amy: When they’re tumble dried, they get all slippery and it makes it hard. So scrunching up and tumble drying. But don’t use vinegar, because your chance of having leftover powder is really low because modern machines are pretty good at rinsing out your washing.

Vicki: And vinegar aint great for PUL anyway.

Amy: Yeah, I don’t think it’s good for the fabrics, and also can degrade gaskets and things like that, so depending on the composition of the rubber components of your washing machine, it could be bad for those too. Avoid the vinegar.

Vashti: Most washing machine manufacturers say no vinegar.

Amy: Don’t use vinegar, yeah.

Vashti: Your old borax and vinegar as your wash…

Vicki: And your bicarb, what is really funny is that people do put, or think that bicarb does something in the wash. Have you every put bicarb down the sink and seen how fast it dissolves away, before it even has a chance to do anything, it would have dissolved. Completely and utterly dissolved.

Amy: Yeah, bicarb is just a buffer, so it just sits there in the middle and doesn’t do anything. It’s not really active, and how much bicarb would you need to put in a washing machine anyway to actually achieve anything? It would be kilograms.

Vicki: I don’t know, but a teaspoon of bicarb when you have really bad heartburn when you’re pregnant is amazing. That’s when it’s good. Tastes awful.

Amy: A bit salty.

Vicki: Oh no, it’s awful. You actually feel it. I used to get really bad heartburn with Gabe, and I used to just feel it go sh-sh-sh, and because it’s that whole alkaline…

Amy: Acid base reaction.

Vicki: It is so much faster.

Amy: You actually felt it working.

Vicki: I did, it was almost bubbling away.

Amy: It probably was.

Vicki: And it was like such relief, instant.

Vashti: Is that like, aren’t antacids made from a bicarb base or something?

Amy: Yeah, they are.

Vicki: But it worked so quick because it was basically a pure…

Amy: Liquid. 

Vicki: But trying to get it down. It’s easy to get down, but instant relief.

Vashti: Like the castor oil. Trying to get castor oil down. Yuck.

Amy: Can’t imagine that would be…

Vicki: That’s an old wives tale too.

Amy: Yeah, that’s an old wives tale.

Andrew: We’re on washing, not stuff you drink. Are there any other old wives tales that you want to squash right now? 

Amy: Can’t think of any off the top of my head. Unless you can, and then we can chat about them.

Andrew: Are heat pump dryers better?

Amy: I love my heat pump dryer. 

Andrew: Oh, that was true? 

Amy: I think we all have the same dryer as well. Bosch heat pump dryer. Get one, 100% worth it.

Vicki: It’s like the next level, isn’t it? There’s no fluff in the laundry, they’re ecofriendly…

Amy: It’s amazing. It’s got a seven star energy rating. It’s like the most efficient appliance in my entire house. 

Andrew: I thought it only went up to five.

Vashti: No, it’s got a second row of stars.

Amy: It’s got a second row of stars. Seven stars.

Vashti: I did buy a new fridge earlier this year because ours decided after 18 and a half years it was finally going…

Vicki: Did you buy a black fridge? 

Vashti: No, well it’s pewter. Our last one was pewter and we didn’t have an issue with fingerprints. This one is pewter and we do have an issue with fingerprints. But then again, I do still have half the plastic protector on it.

Amy: That’s probably a good idea.

Vicki: Keep them on, keep them on, otherwise you will lose that pewter colour.

Vashti: I know, some of them are starting to peel off and stuff. But it’s a French door, it’s beautiful. It’s actually a four door French door, and one of the freezer doors turns into a fridge. You can actually adjust the settings on one of the freezer, which is so good because we’ve already got an upright freezer out the back, so we don’t really need lots of freezer inside. But anyway, this is washing. Bought a new fridge, it’s only got two stars, which is really disappointing.

Andrew: A brand new fridge only had two stars?

Vashti: Yeah, I was looking at a lot of them and one of the things we were trying to find was a decent energy rating but also have the features that we wanted. And there’s so few. Fridges are all like one, two, maybe three stars if you can.

Amy: Yeah, we found the same when we replaced ours.

Vashti: So I ended up sitting there going well, it might be low energy rating but it’s got all the features I love.

Vicki: And if you buy a better quality one, it’s not going to end up in landfill anywhere near as fast. So then that outweighs the… that’s how I see it.

Vashti: That’s the thing. Our last fridge was 18 and a half years old, and it’s moved across three states with us. I’m pretty happy with that. I think it did well, and probably I could have got it repaired because it was just the thermostat on the freezer was playing silly buggers, and I got sick of the constant beeping as it changed temperatures. And I…

Andrew: After 18 years, you’ve got to expect if you change that part, another part is going to go.

Vashti: That’s what I kind of figured.

Amy: If you can even get a part, either.

Vashti: And the crisper drawer had broken and we hadn’t been able to replace it. A couple of the plastic shelves had broken. We’d replaced those, but we couldn’t replace the crisper drawer.

Vicki: And aren’t they expensive, $60 for a plastic shelf. A little, in the door. It’s ridiculous.

Andrew: Considering how brittle they are too.

Vicki: Yeah, exactly.

Vashti: We just weighed up the benefits of a new one versus a repair and went we’re getting a new one.

Andrew: So off the subject of fridges, washing machines. What tips would you offer somebody who’s looking for a new washing machine. Say their washing machine has failed and they’ve got to buy a new one. What tips would you give them, what to look for. Other than just buying a Bosch. 

Amy: Buy a Bosch. 

Andrew: This show is not…

Vicki: You know what, they’re expensive and they’ve got a good reputation for a reason. 

Amy: They do.

Vashti: The German made ones though. Get the German made one, not the…

Amy: The bottom of the line one is made in China. I don’t know if that’s quite the same, but the medium to top line Bosches are made in…

Vashti: We did a lot of research when we were buying our Bosch and it was like all of the ones that were made in China did get really bad reviews, but the ones that were made in Germany got great reviews.

Vicki: Hop onto productreviews.com.au.

Amy: And Choice. Yeah, product review is good. And Choice.

Vicki: I tell you what, and this comes from experience, if a customer has a bad experience, they will tell you. That’s the first thing they’ll do is they’ll go to Google Reviews or any of those review sites, straight away. 

Andrew: Sometimes before they even talk to the manufacturer. 

Vicki: Yes, of course.

Amy: I don’t doubt it.

Vicki: Very much so.

Vashti: Would you go a top loader or a front loader? What do you think is the benefit of either?

Amy: They’ve both got their benefits. So top loader is obviously easier to put your washing in, easier to soak stuff in, easier to add stuff in. Although you can do that with some front loaders now. Shorter cycles, so if you’ve got heaps of, loads of laundry to do then a top loader can be more efficient in that sense.

Vicki: Does the shorter cycle then mean not as clean? 

Amy: Yeah, front loaders I think you get a better clean. I think because you just get better agitation because they’re horizontal and so all of the washing is just sitting on all of the washing and it’s always rubbing together, whereas in a top leader, it doesn’t quite happen the same way. But front loader is more energy efficient, more water efficient, able to control the temperature. Whereas on the top loader, generally you’ve just got warm, medium, hot, whatever your tap water temperature is as well. So there’s pros and cons of both. I’m one of those crazy ladies that’s got two washing machines. So I’ve actually got one of each. 

Vicki: Well that’s because you said that you enjoyed washing. 

Amy: And I use them both for different things.

Andrew: You must be able to… no, you’ve only got one dryer. That would be a bit of a…

Amy: I am actually in the process of getting another dryer and a commercial machine as well. 

Andrew: Wow, before we…

Amy: Come to laundry land, I tell you.

Andrew: One of your businesses is washing nappies.

Vicki: How big is your laundry? Or you just put it all on the deck?

Vashti: It’s under the house.

Amy: It’s under the house, so it can be…

Andrew: So it’s the whole under the house. 

Amy: Well it can be, I guess. It’s not, but yeah…

Vashti: You need to get some more taps.

Amy: I did actually already. The plumber came and rigged it up for us already. 

Andrew: So do you say I’m going home, or do you say I’m going to the laundromat?

Amy: I’m just going downstairs. The boys know what I’m talking about. 

Vicki: You’ll have to get them and teach them how to…

Amy: Train them up, definitely. They’re pretty good. When they’re toddlers anyway. When they’re five they don’t really want to help out so much. My little one, he loves cleaning things. He goes and gets a cloth and a spray bottle and cleans heaps of stuff for you, so I’m like thank you, you keep that up. I’m not going to stop that.

Vicki: I can assure you that 12 and 16 year olds don’t.

Amy: My five year old was the same when he was two and he doesn’t want to clean anything anymore. But hopefully when they’re adults they’ll remember and then it will come back to them and they’ll keep a nice house. We’ll see. 

Andrew: That’s funny. Unless you’ve got any other little things anybody wants to get. OK, I think we’ll finish up there. Thank you, Vashti.

Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.

Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, Amy.

Amy: Thanks very much.

Vashti: Bye, Amy.

Amy: See you later.

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