Diaper Laundry, New Stink, and Change (Diaper Advice)

Lately, I’ve seen a whole lot of posts on Facebook groups about cloth diaper laundry routine changes.  The posts are all the same.  Again and again.

“I just changed to x brand of laundry detergent and my diapers STINK!  They didn’t before.  What should I do?”Diaper Laundry, New Stink, and Change (Diaper Advice) - Cloth Diaper Addicts

I am a Rockin’ Green evangelist.  As far as I am concerned, Rockin’ Green is the best detergent out there.  A large portion of my local cloth diapering community agrees.  However, there’s one time that I will never recommend that someone try Rockin’ Green on their diaper laundry: when they have an effective cloth diaper laundry routine already.

So here’s my advice to those who are suddenly coping with a new issue after changing their cloth diaper laundry routine: go back to what you were doing before.  You may need to do some sort of stripping method to get your diapers back in shape, but whatever you add to fix the stink should be added to your old routine.

Seriously, with all of the little nuances that can make diaper advice confusing and conflicting, when you’ve finally found your perfect cloth diaper laundry routine, you should be hearing choirs of angels.  I know that I sure did when I found my Rockin’ Green routine.

I once tried a different detergent at the urging of some of my local moms… even though I had a perfect routine.  It was horrible.  If I used a small enough amount of detergent so that I wouldn’t be rinsing forever and all eternity to get rid of the giant, fluffy suds, then my diapers stank.  If I used a massive amount (double the manufacturer’s instructions) to get my diapers smelling clean and like nothing again, I was rinsing and rinsing for multiple cycles.

I didn’t even finish that detergent before I decided that I just could not continue with this and it was not working with the variables of my laundry room.  I went back to Rockin’ Green.  I used extra detergent and threw some OxiClean in the wash to help.  I did a second full laundry cycle to work out whatever crap was left over.  And then?  I went right back to my laundry  routine.  Whenever someone suggests that I try another detergent, I shoot them down on the spot.

I will not try Tide, no matter how many Tide evangelists leave me a profanity laced “dare” to make the switch.  I will not use Laundry Tarts.  I will not use a detergent made by a cloth diaper company.  You know why?

Because my routine works for me.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If you have a perfect routine, I will not encourage you to try my beloved Rockin’ Green.  In fact, I’ll tell you to keep doing exactly what you’re doing because it works for you.  If you’ve recently made a change and are having issues (and you didn’t before), go back to what you were doing.  Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Have you ever done a diaper laundry experiment with your fluff?  How did it work?

Image credits: Simplyana

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. I LOVE Rockin’ Green. In fact I’m such a fan that whenever I’m unable to order more before I run out, my laundry truly suffers. Considering the cost of store brand upscale detergents I also found it cheaper to use R/G & oxyclean then to buy that more expensive yet chemical laden soup the stores sell. Question, am I the only person that buys sample for OTHER PEOPLE to try the miracle for themselves? YES it’s that good!

  2. I completely agree. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.
    Sarah Jane recently posted…Merry Fluffy Christmas is Coming Again!!!!My Profile

  3. AND this is why I love you. I’m currently washing my diapers in the routine you suggested yesterday on the CDSG. You the best.

  4. I found my perfect detergent in Country Save. I have never had any problems and I love that it is available locally and I don’t have to order it online:)

  5. I’ve heard great things about Rockin Green, my friend is expecting and I’m going to tell her about it.
    Brynn @ MommyDigger.com recently posted…Our Gorgeous, Functional and Fun Family Room Designed by La-Z-BoyMy Profile

  6. I use Rockin Green for getting rid of the ammonia smell. But I haven’t tried the detergent. Still trying to find my groove…
    Shannon recently posted…FaceliftMy Profile

  7. Lately I’ve been having to strip our dipes about once a month. Her poops have been pretty stinky but
    I wash every 2-3 days. It’s almost made me want to try a different detergent, but I’ve been so happy up until now.
    Bianca recently posted…#WordlessWednesday: Santa BabyMy Profile

    • You may need to change up your routine a bit because it’s just not working anymore. Are you rinsing with a sprayer? Have you tried using a bit more detergent?

  8. Chasity Boatman says:

    I love Rockin Green. It’s the best for diapers and baby clothes.

  9. I think I’m the odd ball in the whole world of CD’ing. 🙁 I wasn’t too thrilled with RG, I had a flawless system till I tried RG and then no matter what I did I couldn’t find the right routine. Drove me batty so back to our regular detergent I went. I still have hope one of these days I can love it as much as everyone else does.
    Chelle @ oh just stop already recently posted…Plugged in or out: Where do you stand?My Profile

    • No, you’re not. But you’re kind of showing what I mean: you had a routine that wasn’t broken… so when you tried to “fix it” by changing something, it didn’t work! Never change what works.

      • AGREED! I was all but addicted to the OLD formula for Arm & Hammer laundry detergent (My oldest child is 15 so) and when they changed it, everything went to pot. We’ve moved to foreign countries etc, etc, etc, Through 4 different children we’ve managed to deal with all the changes but yes there are days I wish I could go back to 1998 & STAY THERE & just wash clothes. (now who’s weird)

        On another note, I never NOTICED it so much with our regular clothes until it was too late but with diapers you’re pretty much hit or miss right away. The was I was taught to wash was DESTROYING out clothes. So basically everything gets washed like our diapers do (minus the extra sterilizing & rinse cycles) & the clothes don’t get as linty or destroyed as much. NOT a coincidence. Every time I try to use BIG NAME DETERGENT, I’m reminded of why I stopped the first time. & the 10th time. The tech is not worth the price, for me. Your Mileage May Vary…………………. That’s what we are saying.

  10. Now you tell me!! I just potty trained my last child and gave the last of my stash away and of course true to form the secret to cloth diaper washing is finally leaked….sigh..
    jordyn @ Almost Supermom recently posted…Paleo Thin Mint Style CookiesMy Profile

  11. My family is allergic to most kind of laundry detergent. I am trying to find something besides Tide, because it is so expensive!
    Diana @ NannyToMommy recently posted…Christmas? WW #54 + LINKYMy Profile

    • If Tide works for you, then stick with it… ESPECIALLY with the allergies! I hate Tide for the smell, etc, so we don’t touch it. Have you tried a free and clear detergent? (Otherwise, consider buying Tide in bulk at your warehouse store like Costco.)

  12. I’ve heard Rockin’ Green is great. I admit to being an eco-unfreindly disposable diaper user, but the filth that my child gets all over himself now that he’s eating solid foods has me thinking of changing detergents…
    Anna recently posted…Hanukkah Harry’s Hip & Happenin’ Gift Guide: It’s Caffeine O’clockMy Profile

  13. I may need to try out the rock green detergent for my cloth diapers! Thank you for sharing!
    Trista recently posted…I’m thankful for deployments!My Profile

  14. We don’t use rockin green. We’re All Free and Clear Military Version users. It works great for us! And sometimes we toss in some oxyclean. I have clean diapers too! 😛

  15. Melissa Gomez says:

    My routine wasn’t bad at the beginning.it probably just needed a little tweak, BUT I went through all these detergents just to find the perfect wash routine. I could have just tweaked my wash routine instead of going through soo much trouble -_- I know nxt time

  16. I like my routine but get ammonia smell with just certain kind of diapers in my stash so I am trying Rockin Green Funk Rock ammonia killer – will report back. The diapers smell clean after I launder them with my usual routine, but I thought maybe the funk rock stuff might help me prevent the smell – maybe this is false thinking??? MY BIG DREAD and question is — will all this perfection go out the window when I start feeding my LO solids? I use a tiny splash of a scented Purex Free and Clear and then the rest is totally unscented Purex (really) Free and Clear and have not had issues so far (3 months) – also in HE frontloaders…you REALLY can trick the into giving you enough water 🙂

    • Depending on your machine. 🙂 You can’t trick mine. I use Funk Rock and it absolutely helps prevent ammonia smell. (For me, anyway!)

      • I have an LG frontloader and I realized if I do a speedwash, but turn OFF the spin cycle, it leaves the diapers sopping wet and heavy so when I start the real wash cycle, they are really heavy and it gives me more water. So far, it seems to be working out well. Thanks for the response…I will continue to sniff and see if the smell cuts down some in the morning 🙂

  17. Nettie Larson says:

    What’s your favorite Rockin’ Green scent? I need to get some to try! 🙂

  18. But how do you figure out your routine to start with?

    • You start with the basics: pre-rinse or quick wash cycle of some sort with no detergent, long hot wash, double rinse. From there, you tweak and figure it out to suit you.

  19. Jennifer Tippett says:

    We personally use Charlie’s Soap. We buy it in bulk on Soap.com. It’s $14.99 for a 2-pack that works for 80 loads for non-HE washers and 100 loads for HE washers each. Shipping is $5.99 for orders under $49 and free when over $49.

    UPDATE: I just checked their site and the prices must have doubled because it’s now $14.99 for 1 and $27.98 for the 2-pack. =/

  20. “I just changed to x brand of laundry detergent and my diapers STINK! They didn’t before. What should I do?”

    Go back to your original detergent, duh. Common sense, people, common sense.

    • Yeah, but we both know that common sense isn’t always common. 🙂 Especially when they’re being told that what they were using before kills unicorns/is made of unicorn poop/is suddenly outrageously expensive.

  21. I wish that advice worked for changing your washing machine. I can’t go back to my old routine it stopped agitating. Sigh. Now my old detergent isn’t rinsing out well enough from my diapers so I am 2 months in battling the amonia stinks and in detergent limbo. Gah. Can’t wait for my Rockin Green to arrive.

  22. Bianca Munoz says:

    I’ve never used Rockin’ Green….
    We were using Tide and now we’re using Foca..Works for us 🙂


  1. […] Green.  And as much as I say that if your cloth diaper laundry routine isn’t broken, you shouldn’t fix it… I’ve been kind of going into sticker shock every time I’ve needed to get a new […]

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