Babies, Families

Ending The Cloth Versus Disposable Nappy Debate

cloth versus disposable nappies

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Time has flown around here.  It feels like my youngest daughter should still be a six months old baby, but she is, in fact, two now – two and a half to be precise – and is very much a walking, talking toddler with a very definite mind of her own.  

We have been using reusable nappies on her since she was big enough to fit into them, so I would imagine that our time with reusable nappies and nappies, in general, is drawing to a close soon.

This is our fourth year of using the same set of nappies – I bought the set over six years ago when my eldest daughter was only months old, so I feel we’ve really got our money’s worth out of them.  I paid about £160 for our nappies, which was a HUGE expense for us at the time.  I was so worried that I would never recoup that investment.  Thankfully it turned out those worries were unfounded – these nappies have been well used!

washable nappies

As I have used reusable nappies on both my children, I often get asked questions about reusable nappies from people who are either interested in using them on their kids/future kids, or from people who have no inclination of using reusable nappies but are just curious as to how it all works. 

The chief reusable nappy question I get, hands down, is: “is it not a lot of work”?

I always answer with not as much work as you think.  All that reusable nappies really involve is just popping the dirty nappies in the nappy bucket, which is lined with a mesh bag.  When the bucket is full, just pop the mesh bag in the washing machine, and run on a 60°C wash. Then you just hang them up to dry when the cycle is done.  Job done.

The second question I get is “which is better, cloth or disposable nappies“?

I don’t think though, that it is a question of cloth versus disposable nappies.  Whenever I chat to people about reusable nappies, I’m keen to stress that reusable nappies don’t have to be all or nothing.  The cloth versus disposable nappy debate seems to perpetuate that it is all or nothing, which I think can be a bit of a barrier to getting new parents to think about using reusable nappies.  

My experience is that I don’t use reusable nappies on my daughter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because I’ve found it’s just not practical for us. 

At night-time, I’ve found with both my daughters that we needed to use a disposable nappy (especially more so now that she’s older).  I have tried using extra pads in the reusable nappies, to no avail, and have conceded that disposable nappies at night time it is.

When we go away overnight I use disposables then too.  We mostly use public transport when going away overnight and when travelling as a foursome, especially with a toddler in tow, it’s easiest to travel as lightly as possible.     

Yes, there’s no getting around the fact the reusable nappies are better for the environment than disposable nappies, but disposables are very much a part of our life.  As such, I do prefer to pick ones that have a lighter environmental footprint.  One such disposable nappy brand that I have been used on both of my daughters over the years is Eco by Naty.  

naty by nature nappies

Eco by Naty nappies are latex, chlorine and fragrance-free disposable nappies, which make for a more comfortable nappy, particularly if your little one has very sensitive skin.  The conventional plastic outer sheet of a disposable nappy has been replaced with a GM-free maize starch and cellulose fibre to make a breathable yet waterproof outer layer, and the nappies are filled with up to 65% natural materials.  

The nappies are the first nappies to gain OK Biobased Certification, which certifies products made from renewable raw materials, for extra peace of mind.

All of these fancy words all sound very well, but you’re probably wondering how they perform?  Well, over the last six years, I’m pleased to report we have had no problems with leaks and no real problems with nappy rash or skin irritation, which is the ultimate test, really!  The only times we have had problems with nappy rash is during teething, but I think that’s a given, no matter what nappy you use.

Whilst I am a seasoned Eco by Naty nappy user, I was surprised to learn recently that Naty also has a range of personal care products for the whole family.  From baby bath and skin care to family bath and skin care, each and every product is certified organic by Ecocert.  This certification means that there is a minimum of 95% of plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients (by weight) come from organic farming.

eco by naty baby shampoo

Each product is free of parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, mineral oils, synthetic colours, synthetic fragrances, animal ingredients, and other such ingredients.  Not only that, all of the ingredients are ethically sourced, and cruelty-free.

As a family, we switched to using shampoo bars at the start of this year.  While it’s working out great for my partner and me, what we’ve found is that my girls haven’t taken too well to the shampoo bars.  After a month or so, we kept noticing both of them scratching their heads pretty vigorously. My initial thoughts were “ahh, poop, head lice”, but after going through their hair quite literally with a fine tooth comb, repeatedly and thankfully finding nothing, I realised that the shampoo bars must be irritating their scalp.  I have switched to Naty shampoo, which not only cleans beautifully, but I’ve found that their itching has stopped.  

eco by naty pantyliners

Naty also sell a range of organic feminine care which is made to the same standards of all their other products.  From tampons made from 100% organic cotton – to sanitary pads and panty liners that have a cloth-like feel, and are much more breathable and comfortable than their plastic based counterparts.  

Getting back to nappies, the next step for us will be potty training, and I will be passing on my reusable nappies to another parent.  As well as passing on the nappies, I’ll be passing along the advice that you do not have to use them 100% of the time to make a positive environmental impact.  Even using just one reusable nappy a day will save you from using 365 disposable nappies – which is a simply staggering amount!

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Glass Spray Bottles for Cleaning Products

amber glass spray bottles for cleaning products

My most-asked question of late is where I buy glass bottles and glass spray bottles for cleaning products, specifically for storing homemade cleaning products.

To give you some context, this is some of my collection of homemade cleaning products in said glass bottles:

where to buy glass bottles for cleaning products

Want in on a secret?  I didn’t buy a single one of these bottles especially for storing cleaning products.  I’ve recycled every single bottle, giving each bottle a new use once I was done with the contents.

From left to right, the first bottle is a gin bottle with a screw top (Edinburgh Gin) that conveniently fits a spray nozzle.  It contains my lavender daily shower spray.  The gin was pretty good too!

The middle bottle is another gin bottle with a cork /wood stopper (Lidl), that I use to store my homemade fabric conditioner.

The last bottle is a vinegar bottle that I’ve repurposed to hold my homemade fabric refresher spray.  Some shops have started to sell their vinegar in plastic bottles (hello Sainsbury’s) but glass bottles of vinegar are still widely available in other shops, and at under 70p make a great cleaning product ingredient and then storage bottle when you’re done.

Any bottle will do – just use what you already have. Bottles that have screw tops are especially useful as most will fit a spray nozzle, but as you can see even stoppered bottles have their uses.

For the spray tops, I reused spray nozzles from old cleaning products bottles.  I always find the best thing to do is to pop the stem of the spray nozzle in water and spray it a few times to remove any pre-existing cleaning solution that might be in there before using it in your homemade products.

I store these clear glass bottles in either the cupboard under my sink or my bathroom cupboard.  Sunlight, particularly direct sunlight, can degrade the effectiveness of the essential oils that these products contain, hence the need to keep them someplace dark.

For cleaning products I tend to store on the worktop, e.g. my homemade kitchen spray, I store these products in amber glass bottles to prevent sunlight from affecting the cleaning solution:

amber glass bottles for cleaning products

I haven’t (yet!) found a way to purchase something I need in an amber glass bottle so I do buy amber glass bottles specifically for use for storing cleaning products.  I purchase them from G Baldwin & Co, in the 500 ml size as I find that size the most practical, and at 85p a bottle they thankfully aren’t expensive.

Spray nozzles can also be purchased from G Baldwin & Co, pretty cheaply too if you don’t have enough.

I hope this has helped with your glass spray bottles for cleaning products queries, and, of course, if you are looking for some cleaning product recipes then I can wholeheartedly recommend this book! ;)