Frequently Asked Questions

What's in the kits?

Description of what's in each kit is listed on each kit's page. There is also a Facebook album on our library's Facebook group that have a more detailed description of each nappy in the variety kits. You can also check on the manufacturer's websites. A written kit list will also be included in your kit when you borrow.

Which kit should I choose?

For most families new to cloth, we recommend you borrow the variety kits so you get a feel for all the different styles available on the market. Sometimes what looks good on paper, isn't necessarily practical to use. Choosing the right nappy that fits your baby and lifestyle will reduce your chances of leaks and frustration. Keep in mind that newborns are incredibly hard work. It is perfectly fine to forgo learning to use cloth until other priorties are settled. Many families choose to start the trial from 3 months on with our birth to potty kit. On the other hand, families that have experience with previous babies may be happy to start from birth with our newborn kits. Our librarians are always happy to support you throughout your cloth journey whatever your choice may be.

Why is it not advised to borrow birth to potty size nappies from birth?

Most adjustable size (commonly known as birth to potty size) nappies on the market are rated for babies between 8lbs - 35lbs, we don't generally recommend you try them from birth. Btp nappies are designed to fit babies until potty training, although they can be poppered down to a small size, this can make the nappy incredibly bulky and unruly to fit on a tiny newborn. Poor fit will result in leaks. It may also be frustrating for both you and baby to be at the change table fiddling with tucking and folding everything in. Therefore, we highly recommend that you use newborn size nappies until your baby is roughly 12lbs before attempting to fit a btp size nappy on. 

What's the best nappy?

This is a difficult question to answer. Cloth nappies are similar to clothing and everyone have their own favourites. The nappies in our kits were selected out of hundreds of brands to give you a taste of what the options are. The majority of the nappies in our kits are widely available to purchase in the UK (new or preloved), robust, one size fits most, and are affordable on an average budget. We hope that you will find at least one in the kits that you love. If you would like specific recommendations to your needs, please feel free to ask our volunteers!

Do you do postal loans?

Unfortunately, we do not offer postal loans. Our kits are funded by the Oxfordshire County Council thus only Oxfordshire residents are eligible to hire them as per our terms and conditions. The cost of posting and insuring the nappy kits, which cost around £300 each to buy, is simply too expensive. If you are in other parts of Oxfordshire, there are other kit holders who may be closer to you. Please check the council website here and contact them directly. Or if you are in other parts of the UK, you can find other libraries (including some that offer postal loans) here.

Do you take nappy donations?

Yes, we take donations of used nappies in good condition. Before you bring it to us, please check that the PUL is intact, elastics are in good condition, defluff any debris in velcro so that they are sticky, and the fabric isn't too worn/thread bare. We may occasionally sell surplus nappies to raise funds, thank you very much for your support. Unfortunately, we are unable to take failed PUL, heavily stained, or bleach damaged nappies. If they are still usable, please feel free to offer it up for free on our library's Facebook group or the UK Nappy Network donation group. If it isn't in usable condition, please bring it to the Redbridge textile recycling center or shops that collect textile for recycling.

How are the hire fees used?

OCNL is completely volunteer run and not for profit. The hire fees go back into library operations including insurance, venue hire, the Lend Engine subscription fees, card payment fees, maintainance of the kits (repairs and sanitising wash between hires), and new nappies when necessary to restock kits. 

How do you sanitise the nappies between hire?

OCNL follow the UK Nappy Network's recommended wash and sanitise routine. All kits are washed on a 60 degrees cotton cycle with a dose of regular detergent plus a scoop of nappy safe sanitiser (eg. Mio Fresh) plus an extra rinse. The nappies are then line dried. If there are any minor stains after this wash, it is usually spot treated with olive oil soap, rinsed again, and sunned until stain is gone. We never use chlorine bleach on any of the nappies.

How to avoid leaks?

Some people worry about urine leaks with cloth nappies. It is possible but is preventable and rectifiable. Firstly, fit is key. There should be no gaps at the legs (the waist should be looser) and none of the inner absorbent or stay dry layers should be visible from the outside. See below about asking for a fit check. Secondly, make sure urine is not wicking onto clothes. Vests in particular should not touch the inside the nappy. It can be helpful to use vest extenders, size up or use brands cut for cloth nappies. If there has been a leak and the absorbent parts of the nappy are fully saturated, the nappy needs to be changed sooner or more absorbency added with a booster eg of hemp, bamboo or cotton. 

'Poonamis' are much less common and rarely happen with cloth nappies compared to disposable nappies.

Can I get a fit check?

You absolutely can! Please drop by one of our meets with your nappies, and one of our volunteers will be happy to help you. There is no need to book. If you cannot come in person, please also free free to use our library's private Facebook group for advice from other cloth families in Oxfordshire. Or email the library at and we will get back to you as soon as we can.