Storing cloth diapers long-term for future use
Cloth diapers are meant to be reused. If your second child is on the way before the first one is out of cloth nappies, then you have nothing to worry about! Just keep using them :) If your child is already toilet-trained and you are thinking of keeping your existing nappy stash for your next child, then here are a few recommendations to ensure you are storing them properly. Any period of time over 6 months is considered long-term storage so make sure you follow these simple steps to keep your nappies in the best possible condition!
#1 Ensure the nappies are thoroughly clean
This may sound obvious. You might want to consider doing a strip wash (which consists of doing a normal wash followed by further hot washes without detergent) to ensure you have removed any residue from the diapers. Try and give your nappies as much sunshine as possible to remove any stains as any stains that are left behind may darken as they sit in storage and become impossible to remove down the road.
#2 Ensure the nappies are completely dry
If the nappies are not completely dry, mould and other bacteria will be encouraged to thrive. Make sure you give your nappies plenty of air time before storing them away.
#3 Store in a breathable container
Use bags, containers, or boxes that will not degrade and will seal out dust, insects, and moisture. Stay away from vacuum bags as this is likely to damage the elastics and PUL.
#4 Pack loosely
This will allow air to circulate. Airflow is very important and is required for natural fabrics to maintain structure and integrity. Adding tissue paper will help absorb any moisture.
#5 Store in an area that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature
Large variations in temperature are not good for the elastics, PUL and delicate fibres. Therefore store your cloth diapers in an area that has good air circulation and that doesn’t experience dramatic temperature changes such as in a bedroom. Keep your nappies out of direct sunshine and also avoid basements that are likely to be more damp than other areas in the house.
#6 Wash again before using
Once the time comes to use the diapers, give them a wash as usual and use!
When cared for properly, cloth nappies have a long lifespan and can be used for your second and even third child. If you are not intending to use your diapers again for a good few years, you might be better off giving them away or selling them second hand.