Starting out with cloth – what do you need?

A lot of parents want to know how many nappies they need to start their stash. This is a difficult question. But lets consider the different options.

Full time cloth

If you are going to use nappies full time from the very beginning, you will need a fair few and to wash often. Some newborns can use 15-20 nappies a day (this is on the more extreme end, about 8-12 is probably average). Aim for about 24-30 nappies if you want to use full time and will wash daily to every second day to start. If you are just starting to use cloth nappies and your child is older then 10 weeks, approximately 24 nappies will suffice. Some parents have many many more than this, it is really a preference for what nappies you like to use, how often you want to wash (although you really should wash every 48 hours to ensure urine doesn’t erode your nappies) and how often you choose to change your child (ideally this should be about every 3 hours).

Some parents make do with less nappies. You must be realistic about your expectations of a nappy. Using 12 nappies full time, will last half the time that 24 nappies will. So the less nappies you have, the more intensive the use and you may find your nappies start to deteriorate much quicker as can be expected with something you use constantly.

Part Time Cloth

If you want to just use cloth at home, or from time to time (or you want to trial it), try buying 12 nappies. This many is about 2 days supply once your child is older then 10-12 weeks (but no spares for drying time).

Cloth Wipes

If you want to avoid disposable wipes, you could opt to use cloth wipes. I recommend a minimum of 25 wipes if you will use them full time for nappy changes. They can be used wet from the machine, so you do not need to account for drying time. 25 wipes should also give you a few for hands and faces (which you will need!).

Its important to know that most disposable wipes contain soaps and fragrances and chemicals. These should be avoided when your child has nappy rash. So you may want to buy some cloth wipes to use when your child has a rash. You may find your child reacts to disposable wipes (allergies or sensitive skin) and that you need to use cloth wipes regardless.

Swipes by Apikali is a premade system that you can purchase. It consists of wet bags and buckets so you can have ready wipes for changes and clean ups. If you want a wipes system that is organised and simple consider buying one of these kits.

Wet Bag

If you are going to use cloth full time, buy a wet bag for when you go out. Wet bags are neccessary to ensure your wet nappies dont leak through your bag, and that smells are contained. These bags are fantastic for clothes as babies often need changing due to vomitting, drooling etc.

There are lots of different bags around, small, large, wet/dry in one, ones with handles etc. Have a good look around for what most suits you.

Baby Bare provides a wet bag with two sections. So you can use both, or just one small or one large. Other brands supply a single use bag large enough for one nappy.


You can purchase other accessories with your nappies such as a nappy pail (we recommend a bucket), nappy pail liner (so you can empty dirty nappies into your machine without having to touch), liners for ease of clean up (these come in reusable or disposable options), extra boosters for night time (buy good quality bamboo for the best absorbency).