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. [Read more…]

Scented Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent? #Throwback

I’ve done some experimenting in the last six months of using cloth diapers.  I’ve done cloth diaper comparisons in effort to find something that works better than the FuzziBunz pocket diapers that I started out with.  I’ve tried different cloth diaper safe detergent brands to see if I could find something that worked.

The first cloth diaper safe detergent that I tried wasn’t quite as cloth diaper safe as I’d thought.  I used Tide Free and Clear (or whatever the unscented, perfume free and dye free Tide product is called).  It took about a month and a half of using Tide on my diapers for me to strip them.  I think I used the Tide for about… two or three months. [Read more…]

Buying Cloth Diapers – Co-Op Or Retail?

I’m no stranger to buying cloth diapers.  While I usually stick to buying cloth diapers from my local cloth diaper store, I’ve been known to shop from a co-op.

Buying Cloth Diapers from a Co-Op

When you’re buying cloth diapers from a co-op, you’re getting some diapers at some absolutely amazingly low prices.  Really, the price is the single biggest draw to going through a co-op.  There’s also the sense of community that can be built through a co-op.  Some diapers (like my absolutely gorgeous purple paisley Sunbaby diaper) are beautiful and not readily available from other sources.  Letting the co-op head deal with ordering from overseas instead of having to deal with that headache yourself is fantastic.  If you’re out for a beautiful diaper to wear with an outfit but have no illusions of it holding up for more than a season, then co-ops are a great source for that.  And I’m really fond of RLR, but it’s not locally available.  And I can buy it from a co-op for half the price. [Read more…]

Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine #clothdiaperhop

Cloth Diaper Blog Hop 2013 I’ve noticed through the years that a cloth diaper laundry routine is something that almost everyone seems to struggle with at some point.  I was absolutely one of those people.  Once I finally got my cloth diaper laundry routine down pat, I realized that “keep it simple, stupid” really does apply here.



My Step by Step Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine

My Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine (Cloth Diaper Addicts)1.) Pre-wash cycle.  I use Rockin Green Funk Rock ammonia bouncer as an additive because Norton produces very strong, very stinky pee.  Plus, since we cloth diaper overnight, Eudora’s morning diapers don’t exactly smell like roses.

2.) Extra long hot wash cycle.  I use around two tablespoons of Rockin Green Hard Rock detergent.

3.) Extra rinse and spin.

4.) Hang shells and all-in-one diapers to dry.  Dry inserts on high with some Woolzies dryer balls thrown in to reduce drying time.

Recent Changes to my Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine

1.) Norton has been having issues with cloth diaper rash around the elastics.  That he won’t let me wipe him when we have a wet diaper change doesn’t help.  To counteract that, I’ve been adding a drop of tea tree oil to the wash.  It’s working.

2.) I’ve been toying with the frequency of doing my cloth diaper laundry because I have two in cloth.  So far, every day and a half looks like the magic number, as two full days will be too long for the diapers to get truly clean.  I go through too many cloth diapers in two days.

That being said, there are variables that can influence your cloth diaper laundry routine.   What does your cloth diaper laundry routine look like?  Is it working for you?

Cloth Diaper Laundry – Roll Tide!

Cloth Diaper Laundry - Roll Tide!

Which Tide will you use on your cloth diaper laundry?

Oh, cloth diaper laundry…  You are a cruel and confusing mistress.  You confound even the most seasoned of cloth diaper addicts, particularly when one starts getting into the more mainstream detergents.

We already know that there are so many variables that impact which detergent will be kindest to your cloth diaper laundry.  While I’m a diehard Rockin Green user, not everyone loves my favorite detergent.  Some actually hate it and find that it causes irritation, build up, or any other evil that one does not want to experience when using cloth diapers.

In my local cloth diaper group, we discussed the advice that a mom had received from a diaper company on cleaning her diapers to resolve the leaking issues that she’d had.  This diaper company actually told her that Tide Free was the best to use on their products.  While I wasn’t surprised that Tide Free was considered safe, I was surprised that it was considered to be a “best” option.  FuzziBunz lists it as a safer (but not a first choice) detergent.

Another local mom was surprised by that suggestion.  She had come across some articles lately that said that Tide Free wasn’t the best way to go when it came to cloth diaper laundry.  She’d read that plain old Tide powder was the way to go and she’d used it herself for dealing with the occasional build up issue.  Then I’d learned that the mom who runs a co-op that I’m in uses plain old Tide powder exclusively.

I was actually kind of surprised by that.  I’d heard of someone periodically using the old fashioned orange box Tide on her cloth diaper laundry to resolve build up issues, but to use it all the time?


Tide Free

Tide Free is a liquid detergent that’s free of fragrances and dyes.  Those things are very good for cloth diaper laundry.  However, it has brighteners and enzymes.  Enzymes, while not necessarily a bad thing for the diapers, can be unpleasant on your baby’s bottom if the diapers are not rinsed perfectly clear.  Enzymes work by attacking organic matter (like fecal matter) when wet… but our babies are also organic, so this can cause irritation when they wet the diaper.  Brighteners are actually a chemical residue left behind on diapers.  Residue can lead to build up, which can lead to stink or reduced absorbency.

Regular Tide

The good old fashioned Tide powder has enzymes, brighteners, dyes, and fragrances.  There are those that use it and swear by it.  There are even diaper manufacturers that recommend it and specifically say not to use Tide Free.

My personal cloth diaper laundry experience

All that I can tell you is that I used Tide Free, a detergent that’s on the “it’s okay to use” list at FuzziBunz, and experienced such a stink that I nearly gave up on using cloth diapers all together.  But again, that’s my experience, which will be influenced by a whole bunch of factors.

No wonder cloth diaper laundry can be so confusing.  At the end of the day, though, all you can do is figure out what works best for you, your diapers, and your baby (not necessarily in that order).

Have you used either Tide detergents on your cloth diaper laundry?  How did it work for you?

Time to Strip Your Diapers? Troubleshooting Cloth Diapering Issues

At some time or another, it’s nearly guaranteed that anyone who is using cloth diapers will run into problems.  The three most common problems seem to be ammonia stink, barnyard stink, and repelling.  Whenever these things happen, the advice seems to be “strip your diapers.”  But the thing is, different methods of stripping are designed for different things and different machines.  When I first ran into issues, someone suggested that I “strip my diapers” and I was just so lost.  There seemed to be umpteen different methods of doing it and none explained that the different methods had different purposes.

Fortunately, cloth diaper resources have improved.  I’m going to take a look at the most common issues and tell you how to fix them.  Note: this may not be an immediate fix.  Depending on the severity of the issue, it may take a few attempts.

Ammonia stink

Your diapers come out of the washing machine smelling clean, but when you take them off, the ammonia smell is just overwhelming.

Cause: Urea naturally turns into ammonia and will build up in diapers over time.

How to fix it: Disinfect your diapers.  There are a few different ways to go about this.

A.) You can do the Rockin’ Green method, which is how I tackled it.  1.) Wash your diapers.  2.) Rock a soak in Rockin’ Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer.  (Soak for 4-8 hours.)  3.) Rock a soak in Rockin’ Green detergent.  4.) Finish out with running your diapers through the laundry as per usual with no detergents.

B.) Boil your diapers.  (Caution: Only do this with inserts, as it may cause diapers with PLU or TPU to delaminate, or ruin the elastics in fitted or contour diapers.)

C.) Bleach your diapers or use OxiClean.   (Caution: check your manufacturer’s warranty before doing so.  Most diaper companies discourage the use of bleach.  GroVia specifically says not to use oxygen cleaners.) I personally always reach for OxiClean and have never felt it necessary to use chlorine bleach on my diapers.

D.) Sun your diapers.

Not recommended methods ever: Some people suggest that you run your diapers through the dishwasher.  I’m going to say that this is a very bad idea.  Yes, it may work, but it’s also risky because it is a fire hazard.  As much as I love clean smelling diapers, I love reducing the odds of my house turning to ashes even more.


Repelling is usually caused by something getting on diapers that shouldn’t be, like most diaper creams.  As much as I love Boudreaux’s Butt Paste for clearing up the odd rash, it (and other zinc diaper creams) are not CD friendly.  Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can also cause repelling.

How to fix it: Use a degreasing agent.  Dawn is the most common fix.  However, before you do so, check your machine’s instructions.  My washing machine, for example, says explicitly not to use Dawn.  In my case, I would manually scrub the diaper with Dawn and a toothbrush.  Either way, once you’re done, rinse like there’s no tomorrow.  Run multiple rinse cycles until you have no bubbles.  (If you’re washing by hand, rinse, rinse, rinse, and rinse some more before you put it in your machine.)

Barnyard/Funky Poo Smell

I’ve had a few occasions where Norton’s diapers started to smell like a sweaty horse that had been ridden hard and put away wet.  Gross.  If I wanted to smell that, I’d start mucking out stables.  The cause is that diapers aren’t coming clean enough in the wash.

How to fix it: Run your diapers through the wash with double the amount of the detergent.  Rinse like mad to get out the extra soap.

Other methods that have worked for other people: Consider trying a wash with Tide Free and Gentle Unscented.  I consider Tide Free to be the devil when it comes to washing diapers, as it caused an ammonia funk that almost caused me to give up on cloth, but a friend of mine swears by it.

Need to increase absorbency

Diapers aren’t holding as much as they used to?  Your diapers are probably holding onto residue or have some detergent build up.

How to fix it: Run a couple of hot wash cycles with no detergent to work out the build up.  Or run a wash cycle with RLR and then do extra rinses to make sure that it’s rinsed clean.

Special thanks to Cozy Bums for helping me with my own early diaper stink issues!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small commission from purchases made through those links, which I use to support Cloth Diaper Addicts.

Legal Disclaimer: I am not liable for the results.  This is a list of suggestions.  It is up to the person using the list to decide what s/he is willing or is not willing to try.  Use at your own risk.

My Rockin’ Green Laundry Routine