Reusable cloth nappies are steadily gaining in popularity as the more cost effective and environmentally friendly option over disposable nappies, and as a result have come such a long way since the days of terry towelling squares and safety pins.
Modern cloth nappies are now easy to use, super absorbent and surprisingly pain free to wash and dry ready for the next use. Made from modern absorbent fabrics, they are designed to fit much like disposable nappies with poppers, or press studs, to secure snugly to your baby’s body.
Whether you want to use cloth nappies full or part time, there are lots of benefits to your choice. Firstly, they are better for the environment. Even when you take into consideration the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, cloth nappies still win over disposable nappies, with each disposable nappy estimated to take 150 years to break down.
The second benefit is cost. Although the initial cost might sting a little, when you consider the amount of use you’ll get out of each one with the proper care, cloth nappies are certainly the more economic choice over their lifespan.
Types of modern cloth nappies
There are several different types of modern cloth nappies and the type you ultimately choose will depend on several different factors, as well as personal taste. Here’s a quick run through of the common types of cloth nappies on our list.
- All in one nappies. As the name suggests, everything you need is contained in the one piece – outer cover, absorbent layer, and lining. The easiest to use of all cloth nappies, however they take the longest to dry so you may need a larger stash of them ready to go.
- Pocket nappies. A pocket is built into the nappy between the outer cover and the lining, and this is where you insert your absorbent layer/liner. Simply pull the liner out to wash and dry. Pocket nappies dry faster than all in ones as they come apart into several pieces, and are generally the better choice for heavy wetters or overnight as you can add layers of absorbency as needed.
- Prefold nappies. More advanced than the traditional terry cloth nappy yet not as fancy as modern cloth nappies, prefold nappies are multilayered rectangles with panels, the centre panel being the most absorbent. Quite easy to use once you get the hang of it, they are used underneath a cover for a secure fit and optimal protection.
- Swim nappies. For use when swimming, the idea is to avoid any poos escaping the nappy and soiling the water, which is a big problem especially in public swimming pools. The inner layer will catch any solids, while the waterproof outer will contain them. Swim nappies are designed so urine can pass straight through, so they shouldn’t be used in place of regular cloth nappies.
- Nappy covers/shells. The outer, normally waterproof layer which is used with different liners, absorbent layers, or prefold/terry towelling nappies. If not soiled, they can be reused without washing, and they can also be used over another nappy to provide even greater protection.
Now let’s get straight to our top 10 best modern cloth nappies currently available in Australia.
best for heavy wetters
1. Bambino Mio Miosolo
Extra absorbent core for heavy wetters
The Bambino Mio Miosolo is an award winning, all-in-one cloth nappy. One size fits most will see your baby all the way from the newborn days to potty training as a toddler, with both poppers and hook and loop fasteners for easy adjustment, even for beginners.
Mums around the world have described these nappies as some of the softest cloth nappies they have come across, gentle on baby’s delicate skin and leaving no red marks or irritation.
Extra stretchy and water resistant, the nappy is also slimline offering minimal bulk. Most importantly, they feature a concealed, super absorbent core for maximum protection against leaks so you can be confident in changing less often, making this the best cloth nappy for heavy wetters.
Its unique pull out core is simple and as mess free as possible, improving wash quality as well as speed of drying. The outer layer is resistant to staining so your nappies will look better for longer than many competitors.
2. Oceanclear’s Snappy Nappy
Unique charcoal liner actively draws away moisture in these all-in-one nappies
These all-in-one, one size fits most cloth nappies are a great choice to get you started on your cloth nappy journey and come in lots of cute and colourful designs. The waterproof outer and close fitting leg openings help to prevent leaks and multiple rows of poppers ensure the best and most comfortable fit.
Our favourite feature is the unique charcoal inner liner that actively draws moisture through it and away from the body to the absorbent layer, helping to keep baby feeling dry and comfy and to combat nappy rash.
If you’re not too sure how you feel about cleaning poo off nappies, you can use the included single use bamboo liners by placing them on top of the nappy to catch solids which you can then bunch up and throw away for the best of both worlds.
The deep double gusset provides extra protection, however this also makes the Snappy Nappy a little bulkier under the clothes than some of its competitors.
Popular all around the world with a huge choice of designs
From one of the world’s leading reusable nappy brands, Alvababy Pocket Cloth Nappies are popular with parents everywhere and are easy to use, even for beginners.
Plenty of poppers mean you’ll always be able to adjust the nappy to perfectly fit your baby or toddler and there are added hip poppers to reduce wing droop. The waterproof outer layer is still breathable and soft to touch, and the inner polyester blend absorbs moisture quickly to keep baby comfy.
Three layer microfibre inserts are included which you can use by placing inside the large pocket or simply laid inside the gusset of the nappy. You can even use them both ways at once for the ultimate in protection and absorption.
Simple to wash and care for, Alvababy reusable nappies are suitable for both machine washing and tumble drying and are guaranteed to maintain their quality for at least sixty washes. You’ll really be spoilt for choice as there’s an absolutely massive array of cute and classic designs to choose from for girls and boys.
4. Mama Koala One Size
Adjustable inserts allow you to increase absorbency where it’s needed most
These one size fits all pocket nappies come with their own super soft and highly absorbent three layer microfibre inserts so you’ll have everything you need from the get go. The inserts slide very easily into the generous back pocket and are adjustable so you can add extra absorbency where it’s most – at the front for boys, and at the back for girls.
The gentle leg elastics are soft on the skin and prevents leaks effectively with no red marks, and the soft inner lining wicks away moisture to help keep baby dry. High quality stitching means these nappies will last years and perhaps even for multiple children, but although it doesn’t affect function, the colour will fade over time.
Mums have noted that these nappies are a bit smaller than average however still provide adequate coverage and you should have no problem fitting them to your chubby toddler either. Because of their slightly smaller size they fit more snugly and there is less bulk under clothes, so they look more like undies and less like a nappy which might be preferable to you and your grown up toddler!
best for overnight
5. Simple Being
The best cloth nappies for overnight with double protection
With a high, ruched back and double inner leg gussets just as you’d expect from your most absorbent disposable nappy, Simple Being reusable pocket cloth nappies offer a high level of protection, making them ideal for overnight use or heavy wetters.
The interior lining is light grey in colour rather than the usual white, which cleverly hides staining and discolouration over time, helping your nappies look new for longer. The inner fabric actively wicks moisture away from the skin into the ultra absorbent liner for minimal irritation and to help fight the dreaded nappy rash.
The included microfibre insert slips out easily for washing and faster drying times and as a bonus, these nappies come with a coordinating wash bag to keep everything together and organised.
Adjustable for all ages with the easy to use poppers, there are extras placed on the hip area to help prevent droop and ensure the nappy stays in place no matter the activity. No nappy cover is needed as the outer fabric is 100% waterproof and available in many designs to best suit your baby’s personality.
6. Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply
These classic prefold nappies are super versatile
These 100% cotton prefold nappies are made of a soft, breathable fabric that won’t irritate or rub on your baby’s skin with a weave that is loose enough to be breathable yet tight enough to provide maximum absorption.
By far the most affordable cloth nappy solution, you can afford to keep a few in your nappy bag, the car, and everywhere else you might go so you’re never caught out.
Generous in size at 50x35cm and with folds already sewn into the design at the optimal width, changing your squirming baby’s nappy the old fashioned way is easier than you might think.
They are super versatile in that they’re also great to use as burp cloths, washers or rags to wipe up spills and as they are plain in colour with no cute design you won’t be afraid to “ruin” them by getting them a bit dirty. Whether you intend to use them as nappies or as multi use cloths, it’s always worth having some of these around as let’s face it, babies are messy!
7. Sarah Jane Collection Swimming Nappies
Swim nappy for the stylish bub with poppers for the best fit
These swim nappies are seriously stylish and perfect for little fashionistas with a great range of designer prints. Whether at the beach or in the pool, they are specifically designed to contain any solids so there’ll be no nasty surprises or embarrassing pool evacuations.
Suitable for tiny babies all the way to toddlerhood, you can easily adjust the height, waist and legs with the popper system so you’ll always have the closest and most comfortable fit at every stage.
The 100% PUL outer layer is both waterproof and breathable with the inner lining made from a strong and soft nylon mesh for comfort. Easy to care for, simply rinse after use and throw in the washing machine. They’re also suitable for tumble drying.
8. Bambino Mio Miosoft
Slim fit, wipe clean nappy cover
Compatible with any cloth nappy insert, the Bambino Mio Miosoft cover is water resistant and can be wiped down quickly, so as long as it isn’t soiled you can continue to use it after multiple nappy changes.
The slim fit ensures no bulk under clothes and the fabric is surprisingly stretchy to move comfortably with your baby.
The double elasticised leg cuffs are both comfortable and protective against leaks, and simple hook and loop fasteners make these nappy covers fast to pop on and off. Available in two sizes to ensure the best fit, these are a great all round choice to have in your nappy drawer for their versatility and easy care.
9. Bambino Mio Reusable Swim Nappy
This award winning swim nappy is super simple to use
Bambino Mio Reusable Swim Nappies are perfect for the pool, beach, or even just messy outdoor water play and ensure no little accidents are left behind. They can be used alone with no other nappy needed and are our best reusable swim nappy due to their great function and ease of use.
Simply pull on like a pair of undies and adjust easily and snugly with the drawstring waistband, it couldn’t be any easier! The clever leakproof legs and concealed water resistant layer ensure everything is contained with no nasty surprises, all while being comfortable for your baby. The nappy is constructed with a super soft terry inner lining that won’t rub or aggravate your baby’s skin even when wet.
The lightweight fabric won’t weigh your baby down in the water and dries relatively quickly. Machine washable, they can also be tumble dried for your convenience and are available in four sizes so you’ll always have the perfect fit.
10. Bambooty Basics
Versatile outer shells to fit any liner
Made of a soft, fluffy minky fabric, these versatile nappy shells will suit all babies from birth to toilet training thanks to the adjustable poppers.
You’ll find that almost any brand or style of liner will fit in these Bambooties so you’re able to mix and match depending on your preferences. These nappy shells can also be used as an extra layer of protection over the top of disposable nappies which is great for overnight or heavy wetters.
The minky fabric is fast drying so you can rotate through your nappy collection quicker, and able to have fewer overall nappies. Soft and comfortable for baby with snug elasticised leg openings, they won’t add too much bulk under clothes and are available in many adorable prints and block colours.