Moving from disposable to reusable

By Tennille Graham, Apikali

You can make the transition from disposable to reusable at any stage of your baby’s development. As a parent, you can easily be overwhelmed by all of the baby stuff available and how much of it gets thrown away – but there are alternatives!

PBC Expo asked Tennille Graham, The Cloth Nappy Doctor from Apikali to talk us through the transition from disposable to reusable.


The downside of disposable items is that you have to keep buying them, and this is an ongoing cost that you could save towards your child’s education. Disposable nappies can cost up to $5,000 from newborn to toilet training and disposable wipes can cost up to $1,000 for the same period of time.

Your parents used washable wipes and cloth nappies, so did your grandparents. But unlike in their day, you have it easier and you have a choice. Cloth nappies are modern, funky and a wide range of styles are available to suit the chunky-monkeys or the skinny-minnies. There are no pins or soaking, they go on like a disposable and can take less time to care for. Not to the mention the money savings, never running out and less landfill or stinky bins.

We need to get modern about using washable wipes. If you choose to use disposable or cloth nappies, washable wipes are a perfect place to start to switch from disposable to reusable. Washable wipes are perfect for change time and messy fingers at meal time.

Top tips for a perfect system:

  1. Have one set of wipes for bottoms and one for faces
  2. Use plain water for babies under 6 weeks
  3. A few drops of essential oils (such as lavender or chamomile) are perfect to add perfume, they are soothing on a baby’s skin, and have no nasty chemicals that can be found in disposable wipes
  4. Wash your wipes daily for best hygiene
  5. If using wipes for bottoms, you’ll need at least 20 wipes to get started from newborn

An unspoken benefit of washable wipes is that it can assist new parents in not touching poo, which, if we’re honest, was something we all had to get used to. Unlike disposable wipes which are smooth and can ‘smear’ poo around the bottom area, washable wipes have a terry surface. This terry surface is like lots of little tentacles that grab the poo and don’t let go. It makes clean up quicker and the less likelihood of touching poo, plus less wiping!.

If you become addicted to the perfumed wipes for your little ones bottom, why not consider using them yourself? Washable wipes have multiple purposes including make-up removal, toilet paper free and general clean up. There is a multitude of ways to be reusable instead of disposable.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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