“I appreciate your evidence-based approach.” I said recently, in a heated discussion about washing nappies, “But while the NHS recommends using non-bio detergents on baby clothes, you aren’t likely to convince the whole country to change its view.” “Yeah,” said a colleague, “getting the NHS to change their views on anything is like trying to get a baby to sleep on demand.”
“Change has to start somewhere,” replied our conversation partner.
I run a citizen science project for parents who use reusable nappies. Our aim is to question received wisdom on the topic and look for actual evidence. Believe it or not, there are a lot of persistent myths about the best way to wash cloth nappies. And a lot of contradictory advice.
One thing that almost everyone agrees on though is that you should wash your nappies in non-biological detergent. “Why is that?” some of our volunteers kept asking. We asked experts, and they told us that biological detergents wash better. And nappies are the dirtiest thing you will probably ever wash. We kept asking, and it all kept coming back to the fact that the NHS recommends using non-bio on baby items, and nappy libraries and manufacturers want to align with that advice.
“Why, though?” some of our volunteers carried on asking.