Cloth nappies make comeback

Shaakira Matthews and Ruf-qah Abbas Hoosain aim to make organic cloth nappies affordable and fun.
Shaakira Matthews and Ruf-qah Abbas Hoosain aim to make organic cloth nappies affordable and fun.

Two mothers from the southern suburbs are on track to ensure that reusable nappies are brought back into family homes.

Shaakira Matthews and Ruf-qah Abbas Hoosain aim to make organic cloth nappies affordable and fun to use.

“The cloth nappy is much cheaper and safer for the environment,” says Matthews, co-owner of Nappy Ever After. “There are no chemicals in modern cloth nappies and they are 100% natural and organic. The plastic that lines a disposable doesn’t allow air to circulate, which can cause heat rash and skin irritations in babies, especially eczema-prone babies. Some babies are allergic to the gel inside the nappy, resulting in chemical burns. The cloth nappies are environmentally friendly and don’t contribute to landfills. Disposable nappies take at least 500 years to decompose,” she explains.

The full-time mothers want to bring modern cloth nappies to the community, making them accessible, affordable and available to everyone. Their local business has been in the pipeline since last year and they officially took ownership on 1 May.

“Starting our range was a labour of love with a lot of trial and error. Our friendship, love and passion for this have evolved into this initiative. There was a lot of research done before the establishment. We are currently only online, but we’ve started popping up at the various mommy markets in and around Cape Town,” she says.

Matthews says there are many benefits of moving to the cloth nappy.

“For disposable nappies it would be the cost. Yes, it’s convenient, but the cost is in excess of R12 000 till potty training, whereas with cloth nappies you will spend about R2400. The challenge with starting cloth nappies is the initial layout, but this can be managed the same way most parents do with disposables – buying monthly in the months preceding the birth of the baby,” she explains.

“With using cloth, the long-term financial benefits far outweigh the financial implications of using disposables. A stash of cloth nappies can also be used for more than one child. Some moms have successfully clothed up to three children using the same stash.”

Many mothers ask what they should do with a dirty nappy, she says. By using disposable liners the solids are disposed of in the toilet and the wet nappy is stored in a dry bucket until wash day, with no soaking required. The nappies are washed every two to three days, either in a washing machine or by using a bucket and plunger method with normal washing detergent, and hung out on the line to dry.

The mothers manage two brands named Sugarbums and Little Lamb and say finance is a big challenge as they’ve had to fund the business out of their own pockets.

They have also manufactured their own cloth-safe bum cream which is 100% natural and organic.

They will be showing off their range at the Mama Magic expo from 27 to 29 October.V For more information contact the women on 076 960 0646 or

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