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Terry Nappies - The Versatile Cloth Nappy or Diapers

Updated on February 21, 2011

How to use terry nappies

If you use terry nappies, you will save money and learn how to do something which is traditional.  It is a little like cooking from scratch or making your own furniture in that it is a long-standing skill that many people before us have had.  It is not a difficult skill like learning how to cook a traditional meal or making up a bed with sheets.  In fact it is dead easy when you think about it.  The fabric nappy towelling square is already woven and all you have to do is fold it up, use a Snappi (Australia) or Nappi Nippa (UK) to fasten the nappy with their simple pull-tab and grippy thingies, and velcro or snap a cover over the top if you want waterproofness.  Most cloth nappy retailers and vendors have nappy covers that will fit over terry nappies, or else you can use Fluffies available from most department stores or knit pilchers or soakers to go over the terry nappy.  Pilchers or soakers are usually knitted (sometimes they are made from felted wool instead) woollen covers that go over the nappy, and then soaked in a mixture containing lanolin to make them waterproof.  You can knit them yourself easily following a pattern, get your granny to make some or buy them ready made.  You can get long ones for winter that are like a nappy cover and leggings in one and these are called longies.  In any case what you want to do it get the terry nappy, lie it flat on the table or the bed or the change mat or wherever, and fold it into a nappy fold that is suitable for the size baby that you have.  There are also special folds for boys and girls, if you want to utilise them, and there are folds for newborns and for walkers, and for heavy wetters.  Just ask your mother or grandmother to show you some nappy folds or check it out on the internet.  That’s about all there is to using terry nappies, they may take a tiny bit longer to put on than a disposable or an MCN but you get the satisfaction of knowing how to nappy a baby using just a simple piece of cloth.  If push ever comes to shove you will be able to use old towels etc, whereas people who don’t know how to use terry nappies are liable to get really stuck for a nappy solution!


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    • purpletiger profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Consider pointing them to some online stores and websites about Modern Cloth Nappies - granted, these are much easier - with a fitted shape and velcro in the same place as a disposable, they make cloth nappying very easy. Terry nappies have their place, but if people just don't want to try it out, then Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN's) bridge the gap. Even though they are more expensive they still work out vastly cheaper than disposables, you can use the same set on the next child, and if you want you can get your whole set of MCNs on eBay or Craigslist as they tend to hold a reasonable resale value and you don't need to pay full price for modern cloth nappies. I'm a terry nappy fan but if it's a question of cloth or disposable, don't give up yet. It's so much better for the environment and for babies' skin to use cloth.

    • joncento profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      We used terry nappies many years ago when our kids were babies but now we are about to become grandparents we'll have to get used to disposable because I can't imagine our kids using these old style nappies

    • Zee Candler profile image

      Zee Candler 

      8 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      I wish we'd used these with my children, as it certainly could have saved a lot of money - the spouse wouldn't go along with it unfortunately! But if I had it to do all over again...

    • purpletiger profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      That's right Lady Rose, not to mention that some third world countries don't use diapers at all - they use something which here in the west we call "elimination communication" - it's gaining popularity in the US, Europe and Australia/NZ again lately. , ,

      And yes vinegar can get the detergent out. of course, only ever do this with flats like terry nappies and prefolds. Never use vinegar in the wash with MCNs (modern cloth nappies) - it can damage the special fabrics used in them.

    • Lady Rose profile image

      Lady Rose 

      8 years ago from Taiwan

      This is a very useful hub. Nowadays people have forgotten that only 30 years ago everyone was still using cloth diapers.

      Disposable diapers are such a luxury! In many third world countries you can see dozens of cloth diapers hanging nicely on the clothes line to dry in the sun and fresh air. Babies that use cloth diapers are less likely to suffer from diaper rash, specially if you are careful rinsing them well and maybe even adding half a cup of vinegar to the rinse water to make sure there arent any remainings of detergent.


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