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The STINK on Stinky Diapers

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One common problem experienced by all using cloth diapers is smell. Here are some common causes that can exacerbate the problem. You may not be experiencing problems with your current washing routine, but if you are here are some suggestions to combat the problem.

Waiting too long to wash: Do not allow soiled diapers to be stored dry for over 25 hours. If you store dirty diapers dry, you really need to wash every day; otherwise the stink will dry into the fibers and will be very difficult to wash out. If you are storing diapers in a wet pail, you can wait two or three days before washing, but you should change the water daily. You also must wash the poop off of the diapers before storing wet or dry.

Soaking in Poopy Water: Diapers need to be rinsed or knocked off before soaking. Soaking in dirty water is soaking the stink right in.

Unrolled Dirty Diapers: Make sure to loosen your diapers before putting them in the pale so the air or water can circulate.

Washer Overload: To get diapers as clean as they need to be do not overload your washer. No more than 24 diapers should be washed at a time.

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Vinegar Rinses: Vinegar in the rinse cycle may be causing your diapers to stink. Vinegar and Urine are both acidic. If urine is being left in diapers from improper cleaning, adding vinegar to the rinse might be contributing to their stinkiness. Try eliminating it from the rinse and see if the odor stops.

Too Much Detergent: If detergent is not thoroughly rinsed out, it will hold onto stinky smells and will smell horrible when the baby wets. If the diapers have a heavy perfume smell out the dryer this should alert you to this problem. Your FB should have a faint clean smell or no smell at all once dry. We recommend only using 1/4-1/2 of the recommended laundry detergent for any washing.

Diaper Rash Ointments: Some diaper rash creams contain cod liver oil and could cause diapers to smell fishy. To remove soak in a strong detergent solution and scrub with a toothbrush.

Polyester Diapers and Covers: Polyester is famous for hanging onto stinky smells. Proper and complete cleansing of these products is essential to odor control.

Fabric Softeners: Yes they smell nice, but will leave a residue that is very hard to remove from your diapers and will interfere with proper functioning. This applies to both liquid and sheets.

Mild Detergents / Soap Products: Diapers are soiled with urine and excrement and NEED to be washed with a detergent that is strong enough to get the job done. Mild detergents like Dreft and Ivory Snow are not recommended for diapers. Fine baby clothing yes — diapers no.

This article compliments of Born to Love.

The Diaper Facts column:

How Do I Get Started With Cloth Diapering?
Cloth Diapering With A Diaper Service
How Do I Wash Cloth Diapers?
Expensive to Wash Cloth Diapers?
The STINK on Stinky Diapers
Why are my cloth diapers and covers stinky?
Here's my Stinky Diaper Solution!
Why are my cloth diapers and/or diaper covers leaking?!?
How Do I Make My Diaper Covers Last?

Other articles that might be of interest:

How to Choose the Perfect Cloth Diapering System
Feeling Confused About Your Cloth Diapering Decision?
Diapering Expert Shares Secrets!
Do Cloth Diapers Seem Too Expensive?
Frugal Diaper Washing
Frugal Diapering
Frugal Baby Tips: Make Your Own Baby Bum Sweaters!
Your Choice Does Make a Difference!
What's Wrong With 'Disposable' Single-Use Diapers?
Environmental Concerns - What Do They Mean For You and Your Baby?
Environmental Concerns II - Looking at Both Sides of the Issue


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Last updated - February 8, 2017