When Eliana was a wee baby, I used cloth diapers and took good care of them. Every two-to-three days I would wash them and sun dry them. Fast forward passed cloth diapering a toddler to now, and you will find at least one week old dirty diapers in their wet bag, waiting to be washed.
You guys, I don’t have my laundering habits together. When I can start to smell those dirty diapers, I know it is time to wash them. Actually, at that point, it is way passed the time I should have washed them. A normal three-cycle wash won’t do the trick to get that built-in stink out, so what will?
One way to help get the smelliness out of cloth diapers is soaking them, preferably overnight. It is as easy as throwing them in the wash, filling it up, and walking away. When morning comes, add your cloth diaper safe detergent, and wash as you normally would. In case you are wondering, my usual cloth diaper washing routine is a warm wash followed by two hot washes with Econuts.
If you happen to have a washer that prevents you from soaking, or just don’t have the time to wait overnight, you can instead add extra hot cycles to your washing routine. In this case, two extra cycles normally does the trick for me. You’ll easily be able to tell if the stank is gone the minute you walk into the laundry room. Yes, I just used the work stank.
The sun is not only great at bleaching out stains, it is also amazing at leaving diapers smelling fresh. My backyard is a stinky chicken paradise, but my diapers still manage to leave the clothesline anew and fresh. If I get diaper laundry started early, even my microfiber inserts will dry on the line during a sunny day.
If after all of this, you still have smelly diapers, then it may be time to strip the diapers. There are various ways to do this; one is running hot cycles until any built up soap is washed away, another is using bleach, Dawn dish soap, or RLR Laundry Treatment. Although there are more ways to strip diapers, I have successfully done so using those methods.
Keep in mind that if you have hard water, stinky diapers can be very common without a laundry additive. Some water softening additives are Calgon, Oxi-Clean and RLR. To find out if you have hard water, refer to this site.
So if you have stinky diapers, rest assured that they aren’t permanent. And although it is best to wash them every two-to-four days, not washing them in two weeks or more won’t be the end of the world, trust me.
How long have you gone without washing cloth diapers? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for treating smelly diapers?