Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't just accept that your cloth diapers stink, seek professional help.

This is a very important post and I hope that everyone takes the time to read it.  Cloth diaper odor is becoming a an issue that really affects a lot of cloth diapering families.  The trouble is, it's not normal and no, you don't just need to accept it as a part of cloth diapering.

As the preliminary findings come in from our "Dirt on Diapering Survey" many moms are admitting that diaper odor and/or diaper rash and irritation are the main factors involved in their decisions to take a break from cloth diapers or the reasons they gave up on cloth completely.  *If you haven't already participated in our survey please do so, we'd love to get as much data as possible.

Diaper rash and irritation go hand in hand with diaper odor.  If your diapers aren't getting the proper cleaning then chances are that's what's causing the rash/irritation.  Why are so many moms having trouble getting their diapers clean?  Let's address some common issues.

  • Each detergent is different.  One tablespoon of Charlies may be their recommended amount but that does not mean that you in turn only need one tablespoon of another detergent.  Follow the directions on the package, use the recommended amount for that brand.
  • Are you only supposed to use 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amount?  No!  This cloth diaper myth alone is where I think a lot of moms go wrong.  This may have originated before so many cloth diaper safe detergents came out.  Expensive detergents with heavy fragrances, brighteners, built in softeners, etc. were what a lot of moms were working with and therefore it was not recommended that you use the same amount on your diapers that you would on your laundry.
  • What if my cloth diaper detergent is expensive and I don't want to waste it?  If cost is truly an issue then maybe you should consider another brand.  Trying to save money by significantly reducing the amount of detergent you use for each load is just not going to cut it.  Having clean and odor free diapers to put on your babies is much more important than getting more use out of a bag of detergent and saving a few cents per load.
  • Don't wash too large of a load.  Just because you have a considerable stash and you can go 2-3 days without needing to wash doesn't mean that you should attempt to wash 2-3 days worth of diapers all together.  Use common sense, used diapers are dirtier than regular laundry.  You wouldn't cram your washer full of laundry until there was no room for the laundry to move about freely and wash clean, so don't do it with your diapers.  Experiment with how many you wash and notice whether you think your load size is making a difference.
  • Add a rinse cycle.  It is always recommended that you rinse before you wash.  My personal routine was to put the diapers in, turn on a rinse cycle, leave the lid up (if you have a top loader) and let the diapers soak for at least 15 minutes before closing the lid and allowing the rinse to complete.  Then follow with your wash routine.
  • Don't believe everything you read online.  The worldwide web is FULL of cloth diapering info, forums, blogs, etc.  We recommend that you get your advice from retailers and other cloth diapering professionals.  Many attend classes at trade-shows, are certified Real Diaper Association and Real Diaper Industry Association members, and have cloth diapered for years.  They are the best equipped to help you with your questions and issues.  In fact, they love to help.  Contact your favorite retailer by email or through their FaceBook and ask them your questions.  Anyone can start a blog or share their knowledge on forums but they are not always right so we recommend you seek professional advice.
These are just a few of the issues that cloth diapering families face.  The bottom line is that cloth diapers are not "supposed" to smell.  There should not be an odor that you just have to live with and we'd like to keep babies as comfortable and rash free as possible so we want to help in any way we can.

Please remember your cloth diaper retailers are available to help and they're trained to help.  Don't be shy, contact them any time you have a question.

Also, please take our "Dirt on Diapering Survey" if you haven't already.


Jill said...

Seek help until nothing is working. I tried a bunch of different natural detergents and spent a ton of money on shipping, until I realized that NOTHING was going to work. I emailed a manufacturer and they suggested Tide. It saved me, my nose, and my baby's bleeding tushie. I used plain and 'free and gentle' and both work fine. Thank God! I'd take the CHANCE of have to strip my diapers every couple of months over a bleeding butt baby any single minute you ask me!

Marissa said...

I had been using regular detergent for every load until the cost was more than I could take, and I found a recipe for homemade detergent that made my diapers (as well as my other clothes) cleaner, less stiff and smell fresher than any store bought detergent had. My recipe is posted here: Let me know what you think.

Prov31wife said...

So, I might be able to use the full scoop of Country Save? My microterry inserts don't get clean sometimes and they almost ALWAYS have the stinkies.

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