Four Ways to Fasten Nappies

If you’re new to cloth nappies, you’ll notice there are different types of fasteners. You may be wondering which one is best for you, or you may already have a favourite.

Hook & Loop

Hook & Loop, more commonly known as the original trademarked name Velcro, is a popular choice for modern cloth nappies. It’s easy to use, cheap to buy, and requires only a sewing machine to attach it. You can buy it in different widths for different projects. You can cut it to a particular shape – for instance, to fit with a curve on the nappy tabs. If you do nappy changes in the dark, hook and loop nappies are a good choice. It’s also a bit easier to get the right fit when you have a full strip of loop tape on the front of the nappy.

However, many parents find that because it’s so easy to use, it’s also easy for their curious toddler to pull the nappy off and do a nudey run. It’s also easy for the hook side to catch on every fabric it comes in contact with. Many nappies now have a ‘laundry tab’ where you can anchor the hook side during a wash, but the hooks can also catch on your sleeves during a nappy change. The hooks also tend to catch fabric fluff and get filled up, so you’ll need to clean them out once in a while. A Snappi (see below) is useful for this.


Most modern cloth nappies these days use polyacetyl resin snaps like the ones from Snaps Australia. These require a snap press to attach them, which makes the initial outlay a bit pricey, but many nappy sewers say it’s worth it. It’s much trickier for a young toddler to take off a snapped nappy. However if you’re in the middle of toilet learning, snaps may not be your Webbing Tourniquet best bet if you want your child to be able to take the nappy off.


Nappy pins, which are larger safety pins with plastic heads, have fallen out of favour with cloth nappiers because, basically, they’re sharp and pointy. Most of the time you won’t poke your child – just yourself – but when you do, you’ll hear about it, and you’ll feel like crap. They’re still around – in fact I have a set of them – but they’re mainly used for things other than nappies now.


A Snappi is a T-shaped piece of rubber with hooks on each of the three ends. These are mainly used with flat terry nappies. You’ll need to stretch your Snappis before using them the first time, and the hooks at the ends are quite sharp, but the newer ones have a safety loop you can flip over to keep the hooks covered. My husband and I used them extensively for the first two years of our son’s life, and caught our own skin with them several times. They’re also useful for cleaning out the hooks on hook and loop nappies. Just drag them along the rows of the hooks and you’ll be amazed how much fluff comes out of them! Snappis are inexpensive and last for ages.