Sun Damage & Cloth Nappies

We are always guaranteed a few scorching summer days living in Australia. Sun is a great natural bleach for our cloth nappies (and it's much better for the environment and your pocket than a clothes dryer!), but you need to be aware of other (less benevolent) consequences of the sun so you can get the most out your nappies.

The sun can be extremely damaging - not just to skin and the plants in our garden - but to fabrics as well. You've seen the sun fade curtains over time, and how about the way it makes plastic toys left outside brittle and bleached? It is really powerful, and that power directed at your modern cloth nappies can cause damage over time. A one time occasion is unlikely to cause any issues, but regular baking of nappies in the sun (especially once they're already dry), will reduce their lifespan.


The primary concern are components like elastic and waterproofing which can become brittle and natural fibres of the absorbent layers which can break down faster under the harsh sun.

Here are some tips to help protect your nappies from sun damage during summer:

  • On those hot summer days, dry your nappies in the shade - a clothes horse you can move out of the sun as required is popular
  • Wash your nappies and hang them out in the evening - they'll be almost dry by morning and you can bring them in before the heat of the day (this is what I do)
  • Hang inserts (without elastic), prefolds and flats on the line, but dry your waterproof shells and covers (which have the elastic and waterproofing) inside out of the sun. They won't take long to dry anyway.

Do you have any tips for keeping your cloth nappies well cared for in extreme temperatures?