Real Nappies - Frequently Asked Questions

Your nappy questions answered

Why use real nappies
The Jargon Explained
What are the different types of real nappies?
I'm so confused! Where do I start?
What do I need?
How will I save money by using real nappies?
Does Milton Keynes Council offer a real nappy cash-back scheme?
What about biodegradable nappies?

Why use real nappies

More and more MK parents are choosing to use real nappies on their babies

Real nappy green
  • Better for the environment – using disposable nappies creates half a black bin bag of waste per week
  • Save money – cheaper option compared to using disposable nappies (see info below). Use the set again for second baby or sell second hand
  • Easy to use - Real nappies now have Velcro and poppers. There are no pins, folding or soaking
  • Choice - huge variety of styles and colours

The Jargon Explained

Real nappies are also known as washable, cloth and reusable nappies.

Nappy - the cloth part that absorbs the baby's urine. Nappies can be made of various materials are available including cotton, microfibre and bamboo.

Wrap - the waterproof outer cover that prevents the baby's clothes getting wet once the nappy is damp. Modern wraps are made from cloth with a waterproof lining which is breathable allowing air to circulate to the baby's bottom.

Liner - a thin sheet laid on top of the nappy that the baby's poo attaches to aid removal. Most common are paper liners which are then flushed away, but fleece and silk liners are also available. 

Booster - an additional cloth piece that can be added to the nappy to increase absorbency.

Return to the top

What are the different types of real nappies?

There are four basic types of real nappies:

  • Pre-folds are flat nappies that need minimal folding before use 
  • Shaped nappies are sewn into position so no folding is required
  • Stuffable/pocket nappies consist of a wrap with a built-in pocket where the nappy is inserted
  • All-in-one nappies have the nappy and wrap sewn together

Return to the top

I'm so confused! Where do I start?

We provide free Real Nappy On-line Tutorialsto give you confidence using a real cloth nappy and advice to help you choose the right nappies for your baby. There are also local and on-line nappy companies who also provide nappy demonstrations, advice and support.

Return to the top

What do I need?

  • Newborn baby: between 20-24 nappies with 5 wraps
  • 6 months+: between 12-16 nappies with 4 wraps
  • Liners
  • Nappy bucket

Optional: Nappy bucket net, swim nappy, washable wipes

Return to the top

How will I save money by using real nappies?

The average baby is in nappies for 2.5 years and will use approximately 4,000 - 6,000 nappies. Depending on the brand, disposables will cost between £700 and £1,200 per baby, whilst a set of real nappies to wash at home will cost around £300 for the same time period. Even adding on the cost of washing at home, (about £150 over the 2.5 years your baby is in nappies) huge savings can be made. Look after the real nappies well and they may be usable for more than one child.

Return to the top

Does Milton Keynes Council offer a real nappy cash-back scheme?

Our cash back scheme ended in March 2010. The scheme did not encourage enough parents to make the change to washable nappies so instead we now offer free Real Nappy On-line Tutorials as education is a more effective way of encouraging parents to make the switch to real nappies.

Return to the top

What about biodegradable nappies?

Please do not place biodegradable nappies in the clear recycling sack or green wheeled bin, as they cannot be recycled or composted at our facility. Biodegradable nappies may be suitable for home composting.

Return to the top

Last Updated: 1 June 2020