Taking the easy option with baby nappies does not just mean to avoid washing them. Comfort begins when putting the nappy on the baby. Traditional terry- or cotton diapers are not easy to handle. It takes some skill to hold down the folded nappy with one hand and to pull on the outer woollen pant with the other hand. With baby’s legs merrily kicking all the time, more often than not the laboriously folded nappy parcel will open and you have to start all over again. Parents familiar with this concept confirm that very often this type of diaper will leak, as will another type of washable diaper with ties; with this system, the nappy is tied around baby’s tummy. Therefore, most nappy laundry services are now using new diaper systems. In one case, the nappy is a little cotton panty with Velcro closures. It looks like a disposable and is as easy to put on and take off, but you can wash it. The other type are rectangular folding nappies made from cotton material, which is specially woven in several layers in the middle area; this makes them much more absorbent. These diapers are generally used in the USA, and have become popular in Germany where the Heidelberg Nappy Service uses them.
But whichever washable diaper or nappy service parents prefer, in both instances, an extra waterproof outer pant is needed. This also must be taken into account when we draw up a correct Eco Balance. We have not tested the classic woollen pant, as it is just too impractical (see above description). Instead, we have tested eleven outer pants with Velcro closures, made from wool, plastic or cotton/plastic blend. The woollen pants have to be rinsed in Lanolin regularly, to maintain their waterproof properties.
Three products make our test very complicated: these are diaper pants made from textile material, which have a waterproof layer directly fitted into the outer part. The problem with these nappies is that the entire nappy and outer pant has to be washed together. Not only does this fill the washing machine too quickly, they also take much longer to dry. This is also true for some types of pure cotton diaper pants without plastic foil. Therefore, some nappy services have changed to square cotton nappies. Their other advantage is that the "nappy parcel" around baby’s bottom is not quite so voluminous.