When it comes to cloth diapering, I’m an experimentalist. Trying new things is an adventure. (And it’s blog fodder.) While most of the time, the suggestions I gave in my cloth diaper stripping post work well, sometimes an issue will be so pervasive that it will take multiple attempts. We had really bad nasty barnyard stink inserts. Specifically, it was three microfiber inserts that I loved for their absorbing power. Not coincidentally enough, they were only the inserts that Norton used overnight.
I swear, my son has toxic pee. Marinating those diapers in that toxic waste took a toll.
I’d been regularly doing some sort of strip on my diapers just because of those three inserts and the wretched barnyard stink diapers. It was crazy. And it was not working. Then it dawned on me: why on earth was I treating all of my diapers because of three lousy inserts? I considered just buying new inserts… but for me to purchase those new inserts from the company in the States would have cost me as much as buying two new diapers from them from a Canadian store. No. Just… no. Besides, that would have been admitting defeat and letting barnyard stink beat me. And it was at the point that I had to do something about it: just sniffing them would give me a headache.
Boiling for Barnyard Stink
The first thing that I decided to do was boil an insert as a test. I knew that boiling was a method of dealing with barnyard stink diapers. I knew that it was a smelly process. However, I underestimated the stench: the smell was so awful that (even with open windows), I ended up with a migraine that put me down for the count for two days.
As for the barnyard stink… it wasn’t fixed, but it was better. However, a week later, it was just as bad. I bought a ginormous pot, borrowed a friend’s hot plate, and tried it in the bathroom with the exhaust fan running. No dice: the hot plate wouldn’t get warm enough to boil a stock pot. Sure, the smell was reduced, but still not completely cleared up. Had I owned a barbeque grill with a side burner and done it outside, that might have taken care of it. However, I don’t. So boiling barnyard stink diapers wasn’t a resolution for Norton’s stinky pee.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Neither baking soda nor vinegar are always recommended for cloth diapers. Both can cause build up issues… but at this point, I figured the barnyard stink was bad enough that I’d try anything. Besides, watching the foaming chemical reaction is just too much fun to pass up. I liberally doused my offending barnyard inserts with baking soda and put enough water in to sort of make a paste… and then poured vinegar on top. I scrubbed them together to increase the “scrubbing bubbles” power. I threw in some peroxide, too. End result? The barnyard stinky diapers were less barnyardy. They were significantly whiter. It helped, but not enough. This time, it was two weeks before the diapers were obscenely fragrant.
“Rock a Soak”
I love my Rockin Green detergent. It’s how I’ve managed to beat back the ammonia stink I had early on that nearly caused me to quit cloth diapering. (And the only reason I didn’t give up was because I was stubborn and didn’t want to hear any “I told you so” type comments.) Out of frustration, I took those three barnyard stink inserts (which has, once again, become so strong that sniffing them gave me a wicked headache) and put them in my cloth diaper dish pan. I added a tablespoon of Rockin’ Green, a sprinkle of RLR (maybe half a teaspoon), a steaming kettle of water, and hot water from the tap… so about a gallon and a half of water. I used my hands to agitate and build up a huge lather. Then I left it to soak overnight… and agitated it again in the morning. I meant to rinse then, but life got busy with making breakfast. In the end, they soaked for about twelve hours. Then I rinsed and washed them with the rest of my dirty diaper laundry.
Amazing. They smelled perfect. They smelled clean. They smelled like nothing. I was thrilled.
It’s been three weeks and the stink is starting to come back again… and only on my son’s overnight inserts. Maybe at the top of every month, I’ll treat those inserts. I’ll keep experimenting with something that will get them smelling cleaner longer. And I’ve also gotten more rigorous in how I rinse his overnight diapers. Now I’m starting to ring them out after rinsing and give them a second rinse before throwing them in the wet bag.
Have you ever had pervasive barnyard stink on only a couple of pieces of diaper laundry?