The Ultimate Cloth Nappy Dictionary – Part 3: Accessories

What exactly is a liner? Wipe? Wet bag? A comprehensive guide to cloth nappy accessories.

Need a glossary of common terms used in cloth nappying? Or a comprehensive list of nappy fabrics?

The ANA is deeply grateful to Jannine Barron of Nature’s Child for her time in compiling this series.


Baby Powder

Used instead of a barrier cream. Dries baby’s skin quickly and provides comfort for a wet bottom if you need to put a nappy on quickly.

Barrier cream or nappy cream

Not always necessary but useful for preventing nappy rash. The balm creates a barrier against urine sitting against baby’s skin for too long. Some barrier creams or nappy balms are not suitable for cloth nappies. Check with your retailer for a suitable brand for your nappy. Some nappy creams are skin conditioners and do not work as a barrier, but as a skin healer.

Bottom wipes, cloth wipes or baby wipes

Cloth nappy wipes are used to clean baby’s bottom at change time. You simply wash and reuse, just like your nappies. They are inexpensive compared to disposables wipes.

Change area and change mat

It is helpful to have two change systems. A fixed area at home and a simple going out system that fits in a nappy bag. A change table is essential for good back care at home and keeping you organised. A change mat preferably has a waterproof mat underneath a soft layer for baby to lie on.


A much-loved accessory for any cloth nappy user. Disposable or cloth options available. Designed to make cleaning cloth nappies easy and to reduce nappy staining. Poo is collected on the liner and you simply remove the liner for flushing poo, then place wet only nappies in your nappy bucket or machine. Disposable liners are made from biodegradable materials like bamboo or corn-starch. Cloth liners are usually made from polar fleece, micro fleece, polyester, wool or silk. Many liners allow the moisture to wick through to the absorbent part of the nappy. This is known as a “stay-dry” feature.

Nappy Bag

A nappy change bag is for when you leave the house and need to keep organised for nappy changing on the go. It needs enough compartments to make sure you are not fumbling for the basics. Be prepared and find a bag that is practical, not just beautiful. The best bag is one that best suits you and your lifestyle.

Nappy Bucket

May be used to put your dirty nappies in at change time. Store dirty nappies in a bucket using dry pailing method. Buy a proper nappy bucket for sturdiness and safety. Should have a lid that only adults can open if you have toddlers around. A 20 litre bucket is ideal as it keeps smells in and holds a full day’s nappies easily.

Wet bag

Wet bags are used to hold nappies when you are out and about. Usually made from PUL with zip closure or drawstring for easy handling, wet bags also make great storage for the dry paling method at home.

Washing Powder

It is best to choose a washing powder that contains no bleach, fabric softeners, optical brighteners or perfumes. Even if your baby doesn’t display sensitivities to these products, they can build up on the nappy, inhibiting absorption with some fabrics. It is not recommended to make your own washing powder for use with cloth nappies.

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