Cloth nappy type that is best for drying & drying tips

I just love the look of a washing line with sparkling clean nappies drying in the sun¬†ūüėć

But unfortunately, it's not sunny all the time... or drying nappies in a humid climate (like when I went home to New Caledonia - tropical island) can take a bit longer.

So what's the best cloth nappy setup for quickest drying?

And what can be done to speed-up the drying time?



Ummm yes I guess you could do this¬†‚ėĚÔłŹ

What's the best cloth nappy setup for quickest drying?

The part that takes the longest to dry is usually the insert, because it is the thickest part of the nappy.

The thicker or more layers of absorbent fabric something has, the longer it will take to dry.

So based on that, having a look at the different types of cloth nappies on the market (see the Types of Cloth Nappies page), it's easy to see that:


  • All-in-1 (AI1 for short) nappies and fitter nappies will be the longest to dry - because the absorbent insert is sewn together with the nappy cover or the fitted nappies are made of many layers of fabric sewn together.
  • Pocket nappies are the next slowest to dry because the modern cloth nappy MCN) inserts that these nappies are used with are a pad type of insert that have many layers of fabric tightly sewn together. The pad gets inserted inside the nappy cover pocket like this:
  • All-in-2 nappies (AI2 for short) have the nappy cover and insert as 2 separate parts. Real Nappies fit in this category.
Typically, the nappy covers don't have any absorbency to them (just PUL) so they are almost dry coming out of the washing machine.
When it comes to inserts, for AI2 nappies, any type of insert can be used with them so in order of quickest drying to slowest:
flats > terry towelling > preflats > prefolds >> MCN inserts >> fitted 
That's why we love flat nappies and prefolds at Real Nappies to keep the washing and drying process simple.
Check out our traditional flat nappies and pure cotton prefolds HERE!
Newborn prefold angel wing with a Snappi

What can be done to speed up the drying time?

Whichever cloth nappy setup you have, some things can be done to speed-up the drying time.

Using a dryer¬†ūüíł¬†

A dryer will definitely work but still takes a long time and more $$.
Putting a small dry towel in the drier at the same time as your wet inserts can help to speed it up some.
If like me you don't have a dryer, try these other options:

Use a higher spin speed¬†ūüíß

Use a higher spin speed in your washing machine cycle to remove as much water as possible to make it faster to dry.

Encourage air movement¬†ūüí®

Space the inserts further apart and use a fan (or you could try the ceiling fan contraption seen above¬†ūüėā)

Use a dehumidifier¬†ūüęß

They can be expensive to run. Choose a small room where it can be effective more quickly.

Buy more inserts ūüõí

So that you have more inserts in rotation while drying.

Choose inserts made of fabrics that dry faster¬†ūüƧ

Actually, the speed of drying is inversely proportional to the absorbency capacity!
So, for example, an insert of the same size and number of layers in hemp vs a microfibre one: the hemp insert will take much longer to dry than the microfibre one (because the hemp can hold so much more liquid than microfibre).

Choose types of inserts that are fast to dry ūüöľ

Use inserts that are faster to dry.
Conveniently, inserts that dry quicker are usually more affordable. Winning!
Inserts such as terry cloths, flat nappies or any single layer cotton fabric folded into a pad you may already have.
Prefolds are inserts that are made of 4 - 8 of fabric sewn together (4 layers on the outer panels and 6 or 8 layers in the middle section). Prefolds are an affordable option between traditional inserts and modern cloth nappies inserts. They are slightly thicker than flat nappies (so have more absorbency) but not as thick as modern cloth nappies inserts. They fit in all types of nappies. And they dry in half the time!
They are a great option to have as cloth nappies inserts. That's why prefolds are the main inserts in Real Nappies.

Have you got any other drying tips to share?

 Real Nappies orange colour reusable nappy on a baby

Peruse our range of uncomplicated cloth nappies and inserts and find the money-saving bundle that suits your needs.

If you want to take a look, try our Intro Packs.

If you want to dip your toes in the water, then start with a Starter Pack or Mixed Bundle.

If you're ready and want to be set with all you need, then get a game-changing Birth or Infant to Potty Pack. This pack includes a laundry bag, swim nappy, booster pads, Snappis and rolls of disposable liners.