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It is inevitable…stink.Cloth diapers are wonderful, but in time, many parents have the stink issue.Worse yet, depending on your type of stink issue, it can hard your baby’s skin.No one likes to see a bright red and/or blistered bum, so it is important to diagnose your stink correctly.
So how do I diagnose my stink problem?There are a few reasons why your diaper may stink; ammonia build-up, detergent residue, yeast, or they just aren’t clean.
First of all, are they clean?If your diapers just simply aren’t getting clean, try using a different detergent (make sure it is a cloth diaper friendly detergent) and use lots of water.Remember, when changing diaper detergents, you may need to strip your diapers.And make sure that you are using the detergent according to the manufacturer recommendations, especially if you have an HE washer.I have found that Tiny Bubbles by GroVia works best for us.I have used many other detergents, but this one works best for our water, our diapers, our HE washer, etc.Detergent choice will make or break your cloth diapering experience.
Secondly.Are you washing diapers every 2-3 days?Make sure that you are not letting that ammonia fester in your pail for more than 2-3 days.Leaving your diapers sit for too long can cause serious ammonia issues for your cloth diapers and can be a bear to get rid of!
Make certain that you are only using cloth diaper safe ointments on your baby’s tush.Non Cloth Diaper safe ointments can ruin your diapers and/or cause them to repel.You can use liners in your cloth diapers if you MUST use an ointment that is not CD safe.
Next attempt.Maybe you are experiencing detergent build up.It is quite common for parents not to rinse their diapers enough and the detergent is building up residue in your diapers.This is even more common for HE washers since they use less water.Try running your diapers through the wash a couple of times with no detergent to get any excess detergent out.Peek in from time to time and see if there are bubbles.When the diapers no longer produce bubbles or you have run them through the wash 3-4 times with no detergent, your stink will be gone if detergent build up was the problem.If this cures your problem, you may need to add an extra rinse to your wash routine, add extra water to your machine, or throw a soaking wet towel in to add water.Also, as I said above, make sure that you follow the manufacturer recommendations for amount of detergent to use.Too much or too little detergent can cause diaper problems.
Another reason for detergent build-up to consider; what do you wash your clothing in?If you are using regular non cloth diaper safe detergent on your regular laundry, that detergent can build up in your washer and get on your diapers.This can cause detergent build up, repelling, or ruin your diapers.Just food for thought!
Natural Technology:Sunning.The sun is natural bleaching at its finest.No matter what your problem; stains, smells, ammonia, funk, yeast, etc the sun can naturally bleach it out!Plus, you can save a ton of energy by drying your diapers naturally!Bonus!
Still have stink?If you are having yeast problems, you can boil your microfiber inserts and/or use bleach.Make sure to boil ONLY microfiber, prefolds, or flats.Boiling will ruin PUL.As for using bleach, check your labels first.Using bleach may void the warranty on your diapers.If you chose to use bleach, a little bit of bleach goes a long way and then rinse, rinse, rinse!If you do not get the bleach out of your diapers, it can burn baby’s bum!So make sure you rinse the heck out of them!
Lastly, The dreaded ammonia.If this is your problem…please follow all of the steps above.Wash every 2-3 days religiously.Get a good detergent and follow the recommended amount for your washer.To kill ammonia, follow one of the treatments below.
To kick ammonia, you can always try to soak your diapers.Soaking can get the detergent in there to cleanse and kill ammonia and bacteria.Rockin Green is well known for “rockin a soak” and their “funk rock.”Both are designed to help with ammonia issues.I have tried “rockin a soak” but I found that this was just a bandaid treatment.My ammonia issues seemed to be gone, only to return a week or two later.I have not tried the Funk Rock.Many other brands such as Miss Lily’s, Ruby Moon, and others can be used to soak diapers (I have not tried them as well).Many parents swear by this option.Since using detergent does not void your diaper warranty and the last resort below might, you may want to try this first.It doesn’t hurt to try.And if it works…YAY!
Last resort, use bleach to get ammonia on the run.When I had ammonia issues, I ran a load of just microfiber inserts so that I could use a little more bleach and then ran MULTIPLE rinses.Since most of my stash is made of pocket diapers, I wanted to bleach the microfleece and microfiber too.I ran the pockets in a load of their own and used less bleach and then rinsed repeatedly.This completely cured my ammonia.Just be careful to rinse rinse rinse that bleach out of your diapers!If your diapers are clean, just use the bleach and no detergent.If your diapers are dirty, you can use detergent and bleach.
When using bleach, when you feel that you have rinsed enough times…rinse a couple more!Rinse Rinse Rinse!!!
And, Please Please Please read your diaper labels before performing any de-stink treatments.Many diaper warranties will be voided if you use bleach.I used bleach and voided many warranties, but when you are ammonia ridden, you have little choice but to bite the bullet, void the warranty, and fix your diapers.They are useless if you cannot use them.
If you do not want to void your warranty and none of the other steps worked, contact the specific diaper company for the diaper you are having trouble with.Most diaper companies can direct you on what will work best for their specific diaper and its materials.
To see my first post on the EEK stink issues, you can see my post from a few months back here.