Why can’t I use fabric softener, soap flakes or Napisan?

Of course, it’s totally up to you what you use on your nappies. This information is designed to help you extend the life of your nappies, and limit any issues you may experience (such as leaks, smelly nappies or droopy elastics).

Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners contain chemicals and materials that are designed to cling to the fabrics in your clothing and make them feel soft. The catch is, they coat the fibres in your nappies and affect their absorbency. So after a while of using them, they will build up in your nappies, coating the fibres and you will experience leaks.

Soap Flakes

Soap flakes have been used for generations on the older style terry squares and still today are a favourite for baby clothing. It seems a bit odd that there are recommendations against using them on modern cloth nappies. The reasoning is this. Soap flakes are not like washing detergents. They are fatty, and they coat your nappies. They stick to them and line the fabric, blocking it from being as effective at absorbing.

Soap flakes actually work well to make clothing nice and soft, this is because it leaves a coating on it, that same coating can block your nappies. Some nappy users will complain their nappies go yellow from using soap flakes. This is because those flakes are sticking to the nappies and also collecting bits and pieces from the nappies. So eventually, they start to affect how clean your nappies are getting.

Some people use soap flakes with no problems, this is true. But if you want to get a really thorough clean, tackle smells and avoid soap build up, we recommend you use a MCN safe detergent. See our list here.

Napisan or other soakers

These generally contain chemicals like bleaches, designed to whiten and brighten. They will, over time affect the elastics and waterproofing. They may also destroy the absorbency in your nappies as bleaches are made from strong chemicals that can deteriorate fabrics.

These products aren’t really necessary. You will find the sun is the best stain removing assistant for your nappies.