Monday, September 6, 2010

Learn from others mistakes! Don't ruin your diapers.

Contributed by Heather of Cloth Diaper Outlet & Knickernappies
I knew the title would get your attention. :) I've ruined not one but TWO stashes of diapers and I'm going to share exactly how I did it.

The first stash was our daughter's original diaper stash. We had about 25 diapers that we'd been using for about 3 years. They worked great! Then I made the first mistake...she was on antibiotics for a sinus infection and the antibiotics gave her diarrhea. That led to a rash which led to heavy use of Desitin. Now I'm a diaper retailer, I KNOW how to care for diapers. Of course I used a heavy-duty fleece liner to protect our diapers. My mistake was washing the soiled fleece liners with the diapers. Doing it once might not have made a difference, but over the course of a week with heavy diaper cream use, it made a huge difference. Our diapers began to leak and repel like crazy. Since they were pretty much unuseable anyway, I started to experiment. I tried all kinds of tricks, anything I read on the internet. Dawn, orange hand cleaner, bleach, vinegar, Oxyclean, lemon juice, lime juice, on and on. Eventually, the Desitin did wash out and the diapers were saved.

But in the meantime, the diapers developed an ammonia odor. Here comes mistake #2: I used bleach. Everyone always said to never ever ever ever use bleach, but I tried it and you know what? Nothing bad happened. And herein lies mistake #3: I started using bleach with every diaper load. Never were my diapers whiter or fresher!

About 6 months later, I noticed that the PUL layer (the shiny laminate inside the pocket) looked funny. Closer examination revealed tiny cracks all over the entire laminate layer. On every diaper. Then the diapers started leaking. Crud. All that experimentation, something was bad for the diapers. I tried to save the cracked PUL, but it didn't work and I ended up with a whole new stash of diapers. This time, I used ONLY detergent. And maybe a little bleach now and then. After all, the bleach didn't hurt diapers. It was more likely the vast experimentation I'd done, the overnight soaks in lemon juice perhaps.

Here it comes, Mistake #4: I kept using bleach. Since bleach didn't seem to hurt the diapers, I kept using it, about 1/4 cup in every wash load. And you know how this is going to go...after about 6 months I noticed the same funny PUL. The same cracks. Some of our newest diapers had just tiny pinholes in the PUL. Over a few more weeks I watched those pinholes turn into tiny cracks. Eventually, the laminate layer would disintegrate and be completely gone, as though the fabric had never been laminated. This time, I knew the reason for our stash's demise: bleach.

By this time, our daughter only wore diapers at night. It felt silly to get new diapers, but she wasn't ready for underwear. So I bought stash #4, thankfully just a few diapers by this point. I ONLY used detergent and Bac-Out and these diapers remained pristine and waterproof the rest of our time using them.

The moral of my story? Don't use bleach! In the end, I found that even a few uses could eventually cause the pinholes and cracking. Only one brand allows any bleach use at all and that's BumGenius. They do allow 1/4 cup once a month to a full load of diapers without voiding their warranty. But just to be on the safe side, I wouldn't use it unless you're completely desperate and your diapers are pretty much ruined anyway.

-Heather

18 comments:

Carly said...

I made the same Bleach mistake..I no Longer own any Bum genius,plus they would not cover them because I recived then as a gift and did not have a original recipt:( Maybe I will get some of the new 4.0 someday. It's so sad to see your beloved Diapers crack and leak:(

Anonymous said...

I ONLY use bleach on my inserts and that's ONLY if I am changing detergents because of issues or thought I might have had yeast issues! Good info though!

Mindy said...

When I used bleach, I only used it on my inserts. But I read about vinegar from a cloth diaper maker since then and I add it to my rinse cycle every once in awhile. I find that this helps without hurting the diapers. I've never tried bac out, but will be sure to check it out. When we struggled with diarrhea, I had to find cloth diaper safe creams and I've used disposable liners (or even diapers when things are really bad) because I am afraid of ruining my diapers. I could not invest in them again!

hannah said...

Good to know! We've been starting to get a little lingering ammonia smell in the diaper pail. What is Bac-Out?

krdickinson said...

Super helpful advice to a new cloth mama like me, thanks Heather!

Katie and Steph said...

This is GREAT info! Thanks! If you really wanted to bleach your inserts- that would be fine right? If you bleached the inserts separately from your diaper covers.

Sarah R said...

Yikes!

Yeah, I just use 1 TBSP. of Lulu's in every load, and sometimes Calgon if need be (hard well water).

If she gets a rash (which is rare, but she did have one when she was teething), I use cornstarch with every diaper change until it clears. I will not risk rash cream, even with a liner because with my luck, the cream would probably end up on the diaper somehow (I don't trust DH's methods of changing -- LOL -- he's not as anal as me).

Audrey- The 3am Cloth Diaper Mama said...

Wow, i thought we went to use bleach on any cloth diapers. lol :) Really great info thanks Heather!!

Anonymous said...

Bac-Out is made by bi-o-clean
http://www.bi-o-kleen.com/general.htm

I can get it in the grocery stores here.

I have not quite had my first child yet -- but have used Bac-out quite a bit to get cat urine out of, well, too many things. It is awesome! It also will get the stink out of long forgotten, musty towels and such.

I am sure it will do wonders on diapers. I like their laundry soap, too.

Anonymous said...

i've only used Bleach when I am stripping my inserts.. just to make sure anything that could be lingering is killed gone..vamooosh.. other than that.. My diapers are great.. and I always Use vinegar in my rinse cycle.. senstive skinned Kids here... all of them..it goes for all their clothes not just diapers.. and I use it on towels too.. ..I've forgottena load of towels before and i simply filled the washed back up put vinegar in and let it go thru.. and they came out smelling GREAT

kristin said...

Good info-thanks! I will also be looking for Bac-out asap!

Suz said...

Oh, I've been doing the bleach thing once a month...I will no longer! Thanks for the advice.
Incidentally (and a whole other topic) what detergent did you use?

Momma K9 said...

Yikes! So, Cotton Babies says occasionally you can use bleach in your wash on everything. I have only done so once. I'm thinkining I should never do this again on my covers. I only used it on my BG 3.0's, none of my other dipes. :(

momof5boys said...

I've never used bleach on my dipes. I put vinegar (1/4 c more or less) in a short soak before I wash. I only let them soak for at most an hr, because vinegar is acidic and I'm always afraid that if I leave it soak longer it'll cause damage. Vinegar is a good bleach substitute, it kills about 90% bacteria, cheap and easy to find (can't find Bact-out near me except online) I've had yeast and smell issues with my dipes that vinegar fixed. Thanks for the info!!

Knickernappies - Heather said...

Thank you everyone for your comments!!

Bac-Out can be found mostly in "natural" grocery stores or in the natural section of regular stores. Also online at lots of cloth diapering stores and at the link someone posted.

We mostly used Country Save detergent. I switched to that a few years ago and love it for diapers. We wash all of our laundry with Country Save now.

Bleaching inserts is fine. I haven't ever had a problem bleaching inserts and I do recommend it for certain situations. Just not the diapers!

Tif said...

I have to wonder something. Clorox bleach is safe for fabrics meaning it won't weaken them. Were you using Clorox? Thanks so much for sharing this!

Tif said...

bumGenius does not recommend the use of Bac-Out because of it citrus oils.

Tierney said...

So I can totally verify that bleach will indeed ruin PUL!!! Ahh. So sad. I used it wayyy too much and now my diapers ALL need to be replaced. I seriously won't even keep it in the house anymore because I don't want ANY temptation!

 
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