Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Best reusable nappies

The Telegraph asked me if I would once again test the best reusable nappies on the market – updating my guide from 2019. I agreed because:

1) I’m a big fan of reusable nappies – 20 cloth nappies have the potential to prevent thousands of disposables going to landfill

2) I now have a second child to test them on.

I don’t usually dabble in ‘consumer journalism’ (because I’m much more interested in our powers as citizens than consumers) but I consider this piece in the public interest.

Lots of consumer journalism feels like it’s recycling press releases. When I tested these nappies, I really tested them. Once again, as in 2019, I tried out loads more nappies than I ended up writing about (for example, I found that Aldi’s Mamia reusable is cheap for a reason, with fraying stitching which made me suspect it wouldn’t last as long as the others). I could also draw on the experience of using reusable nappies on my first child for nearly three years (until he outgrew them) and I consulted many friends who’ve used them too.

The reason I wrote my original piece for the Telegraph in 2019 was because I couldn’t find an independent reviewer who had tested loads of nappies and compared them. My rule as a journalist now is to write the pieces that I want to read, but can’t find written anywhere.

Whilst many of my favourite nappies from 2019 were still available, there had also been lots of changes. Brexit and global commodity prices have changed the market, meaning some companies had folded or were no longer able to sell their nappies in the UK at a competitive price. Meanwhile a few new players and products had taken their place.

The economics have also changed. In 2019 it was clear that using reusable nappies would categorically save you money and lots of it. Once you’d made the expensive up-front investment in buying a load of cloth nappies, you were reaping savings over the next few years, rather than shelling out constantly for disposables. However, with the steeply rising energy costs, some people are now frightened to put on their washing machines. The cost of washing reusable nappies is presently comparable to buying the cheapest disposables. I appreciate the economics are a fast-moving picture, and disposables may soon rise in price too, so I avoided financial comparisons and focussed on the environmental case for cloth nappies instead.

I’m extremely grateful to Wendy Richards, the guru behind The Nappy Lady, for all of her advice and assistance whilst I was researching. She rightly made me try terry squares this time because they’re the ultimate budget option and they absolutely do the job!

I’d also recommend parents ask for reusable nappies as presents – they last far longer than clothes (which are outgrown in weeks or months by babies and toddlers) and they can look just as cute.