Adventures in how to wash cloth nappies on a boat…

I have been doing a bit of research lately around how to wash cloth nappies on a boat and the washing regimes of other cruisers, as having a one year old on a boat is going to render some added laundry, to say the least.

Image from
Image from

Water on a boat is generally a valuable commodity, sometimes a luxury unless you have the ability to make your own, which we currently do not.

Ocelot did have a substantial watermaker on board when we bought her (it took up half the bilge on the port side), plus she had a massive generator to run this (along with a small house) however; this just seemed unnecessary to us, as it mainly added weight and extra expense before we took the time factor into consideration to actually make water. We did originally plan to replace this with a 12v system, however; this is not currently a priority but is, of course, still on the list.

We have worked out our daily allowance for water to include drinking water, showering/bathing and washing and working that on a 3 weekly cycle to ensure we will have enough water and won’t have to go into marinas unless we have to. We based this on our water usage last time when it was just Damon and I and have added in extra for Cid. (Guess who will use the most water per day?)

Our new friends at Sailing with Sophie shared this link with us recently which has given me some ideas on washing methods. Since reading this I have stumbled across a few more blog posts and have in mind a similar strategy.

I’m working on either, the two bucket theory: one for soaking then agitating, then another bucket (fresh water) for rinsing or; the hang a mesh bag of nappies over the side instead of soaking (and hope they don’t get eaten!), then use two bucket theory with fresh water. But we shall see what works best.

The method may be the easiest part to figure out once we are on board; what will be trial and error, is how long the water can be recycled for before it needs changing and hopefully this falls within out water budget. But I dare say we will work it out as we go.

Here are some links to other blog posts I found that are to do with dealing with laundry on a boat:

Cloth diapers a-float (linked above)

Doing laundry on your sail boat

On location cloth diapers

How to care for cloth

Laundry on a boat – there are lots of blog posts linked here @ the Monkeyfist


Do you have any tips or tricks about washing on a boat you can share with us? Or any thoughts or info on using cloth nappies on board?


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