Stinky Diapers? Use More Detergent

Laundry DetergentsDo you use cloth diapers? Do you find yourself dealing with diaper stink? Recently I have seen the topic of stinky diapers on a number of Facebook groups. Different fluff users will offer various solutions to diaper stink. As with all things cloth, the key to keep in mind when dealing with stinkiness is that a one-size-fits-all solution will not solve the problem for every cloth diaperer. However, when I am asked about dealing with stink, my initial response is always the same: Use more detergent.

When I started cloth diapering, I used Dreft as my detergent. I personally had no problems with Dreft, but, after hearing rave reviews about Rockin’ Green from fellow cloth diaper blogger Cloth Diaper Addicts, I decided to make the switch. More recently, I have also been adding OxiClean to my diaper laundry to help brighten stains and kill germs. Depending on the size of my laundry load, I use two to three tablespoons of Rockin’ Green Classic Rock and one-half to one tablespoon of OxiClean. My diapers come out smelling fresh each and every time, so I have found a good laundry detergent routine that works for me.

However, I will admit that, when I started with cloth diapers, I did have a few loads come out smelling less than fresh. Instead of taking drastic measures to “strip” my diapers, I started searching for an answer to my problem by using more detergent in each wash cycle. Instead of a tablespoon or two per load, I increased to two to three. Simply adding a little more detergent to my laundry solved my stink problem — and all without any fuss or muss! Thus, whenever a fellow cloth diaperer inquires about diaper stink, I always suggest using more detergent as an initial troubleshooting solution.

One solution that I would never recommend for diaper stink is stripping with bleach. First, stripping removes excess buildup on cloth diapers. The only time that I have ever stripped my diapers is when I have gotten some non-cloth safe rash cream on my inserts or pockets. I used a little Dawn to spot-treat the residue with great success, but I have never stripped my entire stash — and especially not for diaper stink. Bleach also will not fully strip residue off of diapers. Instead, some residue will remain but will just be whitened. I also never recommend bleach because bleach is a caustic chemical that can cause a number of short-term and long-term health problems. Plus, why use bleach when using a little more detergent can solve many diaper stink problems? (For information on stripping diapers, I recommend “Time to Strip Your Diapers? Troubleshooting Cloth Diapering Issues” from Cloth Diaper Addicts.)

If you still find yourself dealing with diaper stink even after using more detergent in your laundry, then the next step that I would recommend is trying a different detergent. Different detergents work differently for different cloth diaper users for a number of reasons including water hardness and quality as well as the diaper output of individual babies. Cloth diapering a very personal experience. For me, however, simply adding more detergent to my laundry solved my diaper stink problem. Thus, if you are struggling with stinky diapers, try using more detergent in your cloth diaper laundry!

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Laundry Detergents © 2014 Heather Johnson

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