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How To Use A Terry Nappy

How To Use A Terry Nappy

Terry squares are a marvellous type of cloth nappies and with the cost of living crisis we are seeing their popularity explode once again!

What are Terry Squares?

Terry squares are a traditional and very economical choice for your nappy system. You fold a terry square into a whole host of different ways, so you can get the exact fit and containment your little one needs.

Terry squares are a form of flat nappy.

What do you need to use Terry Nappies?

Terry Square - This is the nappy component that gives you absorbency. It's a square of terry fabric that you fold into a nappy. 

Nappi Nippas - The modern equivalent of a traditional nappy pin. Very simple and easy to use.

Nappy Covers - The waterproof layer that goes over the top of the nappy to keep baby's clothes dry.


Are Terry nappies worth it?

The humble terry square cloth nappy really is unbeatable. It fits from 10-35lbs although if you fold it really small you could start them from 7lbs. 

A cotton terry nappy really is quite indestructible, we frequently hear about customers reusing nappies that they themselves wore as a baby - the prized Harrington Gold Terry Squares that our Mother's and Grandmothers used.  Harrington Golds are no longer available but the White Bots are the closest to them. 

A Terry square costs just a few pounds each and offer amazing flexibility in fit and use.  Daytime or add a booster and you have a night time nappy.



Do I need to use nappy pins for terry nappies?

Absolutely NOT! I can safely say in all my years I have never used a nappy pin. Nappi Nippas have replaced nappy pins, they are safer, easier and quicker to use. My children used to help me set up for a nappy demonstration and put terry nappies on teddy bears. If a toddler can use a Nappi Nippa correctly you can too!

What is the difference between a Terry Square and a Terry Nappy?

A Terry square and terry nappies basically mean the same thing; a nappy made of terry cotton material.

Terry is the traditional fabric used for cloth nappies and is loopy like a bathroom towel.

How to use terry towelling nappies?

Terry towelling nappies are simple to fold, see our full folding guide on how to put on a terry towelling nappy.  They are also washed just like modern cloth nappies. Read our guide on washing nappies.

How do you boost a terry nappy?

If you're finding your terry nappy is not giving enough absorbency or you are getting leaks there are three things to do.

  1. Change your fold. Use a fold that puts the most absorbency where your child needs it. The Bat fold concentrates absorbency along the middle whereas the Ro fold concentrates absorbency more at the front.
  2. Check your wrap still fits and is covering all of the nappy. A wrap that is a bit small is more likely to leak than one that is too tight. Mother-ease Airflows are the best wraps to use over terry nappies.
  3. Add a booster or two. Hemp is especially absorbent while not being too bulky. The Easy Peasy Hemp booster is a favourite.

Are terry nappies bulky?

Terry nappies are bulkier than other more modern cloth nappy systems such as all in one's however a terry nappy is also MORE absorbent than these nappies. With reusable nappies the general rule is the more bulky it is the more absorbent it is. 

Also remember the price difference between a terry square and an all in one cloth nappy is significant. A terry nappy is around £2-£3 whereas the slimmest all in one is over £20

How to make a terry nappy less bulky

There are three ways to make a terry nappy less bulky.

  1. Choose bamboo/cotton blend terry squares instead of pure cotton. Bamboo fibre makes the nappy a bit slimmer.
  2. Choose the right size. If you have a newborn consider using a folded muslin until baby is 12lbs or if you have a very tiny baby the 50cm terry squares are another option up to 10lbs
  3. Try a different fold. Each fold puts the fabric in a different place. The Jo Fold is the best fold for newborns as it concentrates the absorbency in the middle. The Kite fold is slimmer on the bum but positions the fabric further down the legs.

How big is a terry nappy?

Terry nappies are all square in shape.

  • The newborn/prem size is 50cm x 50cm
  • The one size is 60cm x 60cm and is the most commonly used size
  • The toddler size are 70cm x70cm - Don't be fooled that this is "only" 10cm more this makes a significant size difference as it's 10cm bigger in both height and width. This size is only needed for very big toddlers or older children.

To give you an idea of the popularity difference between the sizes we normally keep 100 packs of 60cm one size terry squares in stock. In the 50cm and 70cm we hold around 3-5 packs!

How do you soften terry cloth nappies?

Terry fabric will go harder if you live in a hard water area. If your bathroom towels go crunchy then your terry nappies will too.

After washing if you put your terry nappies in the tumble dryer this will soften and fluff them up. Even if you just tumble dry them for 10-15 minutes and then air dry this will keep them softer and fluffier without with full cost of drying them entirely in a tumble drier.

How do you wash terry nappies?

Terry nappies are very simple to wash, nothing like washing terry nappies 1970s. The good news is they are virtually indestructible as there isn't any elastic, velcro or poppers to wear out. Terry nappies can be washed up to 90deg however this is not required and the usual 40/60deg is perfect. You can find full wash details in our washing guide.

Terry nappies are also suitable if you have to hand wash. Many of our overseas customers in developing countries are using Terry Nappies successfully in some very unusual conditions.

How do you use muslin squares as nappies?

Muslins make brilliant newborn nappies. Muslins are used and folded exactly as you would a terry nappy.

Muslin fabric is thinner than terry squares which is why they are perfect for that early newborn stage. The best muslins to use as newborn nappies are the Muslinz brand, they are the perfect size and high quality.

The best fold to use for muslin nappies is the Jo Fold. The Jo Fold is an easy fold and puts the absorbency exactly where a newborn needs it. The Jo fold is also very easy to adjust to baby's size into a longer nappy or a shorter nappy.

But all that folding I hear you cry!

Really believe me it is super simple.  My children used to help me fold nappies for their siblings and nappy demos. If a 3 year old can master a fold you a grown adult will find it no bother!

Visit our terry square folding guide where you'll find photos and descriptions to get you folding. Start with the Jo fold, i'd then progress to the Bat fold and maybe if you have a large toddler end with the Kite fold.  There are many more folds of course but these 3 are the most popular by far and give excellent containment.

Here is a download link to our PDF of the Jo Fold


photo diagram how to fold a terry nappy into the jo fold