HELP! my cloth diapers are getting stinky

United States
July 28, 2007 6:12am CST
I just pulled them out of the wash. This is maybe the 3rd or 4th time now and I can smell them. They always just smelled clean before. What can I or should I put in the wash to make them smell better? Someone said vinegar but I have no clue how much.
3 people like this
6 responses
@Flight84 (3050)
• United States
28 Jul 07
Oh no! I have no idea how much vinegar to tell you to use. Is this the first problem with cloth diapers so far?
• United States
29 Jul 07
Yes, and they just smell slightly like pee. I just don't want it to get overboard and have the stinky kid...lol.
4 people like this
@syndibee (799)
• United States
29 Jul 07
i was just reading through posts and noticed that you have recently switched to cloth diapers. generally you need to use only about 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent on your diapers. you want to be sure to not use any softeners or bleach cleaners. you do have to be careful with free and clear detergents because they have enzymes that will add to detergent build up. sun original is a good and rather inexpensive detergent to use on cloth diapers. i have also read where you can make your own detergent using washing soda (which is different from baking soda but made by arm and hammer) and simple green cleaner. i have not tried this as of yet because i can't find the washing soda locally. good luck with your diapering venture and feel free to ask any questions, i read all cloth diapering posts eventually
3 people like this
• United States
29 Jul 07
I have never heard of washing soda. I wish I didn't just go out to the grocery store on Friday...lol. Thank you so much for all your suggestions!
2 people like this
@guss2000 (2234)
• United States
30 Jul 07
I'm learning alot from this thread because I had no idea about 'detergent build up'--- is that all clothes in general or just diapers?
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@syndibee (799)
• United States
30 Jul 07
all clothes will get detergent build up but most don't cause an issue with wearing. the difference with the diapers is they have absorbent layers which can hold onto the soap where regular clothes are usually only 1 or possibly 2 layers thick. i often will add an extra rinse with my towels though because the soap builds up on them.
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@syndibee (799)
• United States
29 Jul 07
i say strip your diapers using dawn dishwashing liquid. not alot, maybe 1/2 a teaspoon. i usually soak them in dawn and very hot water for a while then when i can touch the water i kneed them and scrub them together getting the soap all through the diapers. then i will put them in the washing machine and even add a big pot of boiling water to the already hot water in the washer and let it go thru the wash cycle about 4 times...check for suds before it drains each time and don't stop until there are no suds. then i will rinse with cold water and 1/2 cup vinegar...then rinse again with cold water alone. the diapers should be thoroughly stripped and no longer have any lingering smell. i have directions for stripping on my website at http://www.freewebs.com/trendytush under the cloth diapering 101 tab. smell is often related to detergent build up, to help prevent stink in the future you may need to switch to a different detergent. currently i'm using tide original and only about 2 tablespoons of it per load. it does tend to build up on diapers and i wash them twice each time because i know this about tide. i'm switching to allens natural soap in another week, just waiting for it to arrive as a friend has ordered it for me online. http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com has a great detergent guide on their site. i hope this helps you some. i also find that hemp diapers tend to smell when they get wet. i personally don't like to use hemp diapers and have switched to all bamboo diapers for my personal use. they are rather expensive though so i still sell the hemp diapers though soon plan on being able to offer bamboo instead of hemp for the customers who prefer it.
• United States
29 Jul 07
I believe I am alergic to Tide. I normally use Arm & Hammer but currently using Dynamo. I will see about picing up some Sun my next trip out. I remember someone saying something about Sun but I didn't know why.
3 people like this
• Australia
30 Jul 07
It's not a good idea to use dishwashing liquids though - it might work but they make soaf free baby washes for a reason - babies have really sensitive skin & you shouldn't use normal soap of any kind on the skin!
2 people like this
• Australia
30 Jul 07
oops - soaP - not soaf!!!
1 person likes this
@guss2000 (2234)
• United States
30 Jul 07
I would either bleach them or use vinegar. I know that you can use like a cup of vinegar to a load in addition to soap and that will get rid of smells. I've had to do that with things my cap peed on before-- and cat pee stinks bad! If you are putting them in the dryer, I would add an extra dryer sheet to them too to help. Good luck!
2 people like this
@syndibee (799)
• United States
30 Jul 07
the vinegar is a great idea the dryer sheet is an absolute nono for cloth diapers. fabric softeners will make your cloth diapers repel liquids meaning the urine will run off them instead of soaking in, that is not something you want with diapers.
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@guss2000 (2234)
• United States
30 Jul 07
Oh wow, I had no clue about that. It never dawned on me that the dryer sheets would do that-- I was just thinking about my animals and covering up their smells and how it helped with that. Thanks for pointing that out! Learn something new every day :)
3 people like this
@Gemmygirl1 (2870)
• Australia
30 Jul 07
You should always soak your cloth nappies before washing them anyway, so something like Nappisan, nappy wash is best since it's a soaker. The once they have soaked for a while, put them in the washing machine, & add in some fabric softener. You'll find the main of the smell is gone with the soaking & once they've been washed they'll smell more like your washing powder, if you add in the fabric softener, it'll soften the nappy & make it smell really nice! Just remember, once you take off the wet nappy & change the bum, put the dirty one straight in to a bucket of hot water with a soaker in it - that should fix all your problems! Oh, i've never heard the vinegar thing but i just did what i wrote above & have never had a stinky nappy after it's been soaked & washed!
• Australia
30 Jul 07
Oh & i have found the best way to get the soap build-up someone else mentioned is once the machine has finished - you can re-wash them in plain water - without detergent :) But you should only get the build-up if you use too much detergent in the first place, you wont need what the box tells you. The current washing powder i use says 1 - 1 1/3 scoops - that's way too much - try using 1/2 a scoop - it cleans just as well & you wont end up with stiff anything or build-up.
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@eden32 (3976)
• United States
19 Sep 07
I use about a cup of white vinegar in the rinse water every few times I wash them. I also think sun/line drying helps with the smells and the stains. What do you do with dirty ones before they go in the wash? There are a couple different methods for that that may make a difference. Some people keep them in water (after flushing a way solids) with baking soda or vinegar and some keep them in covered containers, dry but with baking soda dusted through them. Dump the water before throwing them in the washer.
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