In 2018 the last nappy washing service closed its doors in WA, so in 2019, Little Green Steps WA approached 2 Nappy Laundry Services over East to explore how they support Early Years Services with a modern cloth nappy washing service approach.
Conder House in the ACT and Lavenderia in Springwood, NSW are the two services approached.
Both have expanded their laundry chains in the ACT & along the NSW coast because the demand for using modern cloth nappies in childcare settings is driving them to expand.
Both use industrial washing machines which adhere to the Australian barrier standards needed for sanitisation and these machines can wash cloth nappies (terry and flannelette) at 71 degrees Celsius for 3 mins or 65 degrees Celsius for 20 mins without any need for other chemical sanitation.
Modern cloth nappies (with wool, cotton and natural fibres like hemp) cannot be washed above 60 degrees or lese the elastics degrade, so chemical sanitisers are used to adhere to hygiene standards.
The process for Lavenderia is a bit different from that of Conder House, however Conder use a biodegradable peroxide bleach in the wash which is not as harsh as the chemical sanitiser.
Both use industrial dryer systems that can control the temp to 60 degrees and for a much shorter burst than home dryers and the dryer is needed to ensure bacteria does not form in wet conditions.
Nappies in these systems are washed once and are never soaked. For business clients (ie Early years services) the process is as follows;
- Laundry Services collect either every day after hours or 3 x time a week dependent on numbers of children in the service – a larger service of 2 rooms per age group with maximum educator to child ratios (ie 6 rooms) – might be supplied with x1580 modern cloth nappies of the ‘one size fits most’ nappy type and training pants.
- They supply 2 bins – red = soiled and blue = clean
- They do not offer a reusable nappy liner washing service but encourage a process to remove the solid waste immediately before putting in the red bin. They charge more for cleaning nappies that are badly soiled. They discourage the use of disposable nappy liners.
- They are looking at investing in more washing machines and processes as the need is growing.
- The cost of their modern cloth nappy service for businesses is more than supplying the disposable nappies but effects on the environment far outweigh this.
IN 2022 LGSWA TRIALLED WASHING NAPPIES IN PERTH ... Associated Laundry Services (ALS) in Welshpool are a Hospital Linen Service who had never washed nappies before but when approached by LGSWA & partner the Nappy Guru to support a trial of washing, pick-up and delivery of nappies to Wind in the Willows Child Care Centre for a set period of time, were willing to give it a go.
It was a great success!!
To begin with, Associated Laundry Services (ALS) provided the Childcare centre with an outside collection bin system, a delivery and pick up service day and dissolvable red bags to collect used nappies, liners and wipes which lined the inside bin before being transferred to outside one, a couple times per day.
According to Geraldine from ALS, “Our washing ladies found the little nappies adorable and would ‘fight over’ who got to fold them”. Geraldine & Cathy from ALS also gave feedback for moving forward, stating that the whole process had been very much easier than expected and that they felt honoured to have been chosen for the trial: ‘We would happily keep servicing Wind in the Willows if they requested this and would be happy to service any other early years sites and welcome more as our washing machines handle large volumes’.
Early years Services wanting to wash cloth nappies in your care settings should contact Geraldine Minogue at Associated Nappy Services via email.
To learn more about the Wind in the Willows trial - click on their case study here
SEE Associated Laundry Services washing process below: