How to Get Smell Out of Cloth Diapers

When choosing to use cloth diapers you are making an environmentally friendly selection that may entail some smelly and messy consequences.  Rather than disposing diapers, you will need to clean the cloth of odorous excrement and freshen it for future use.

Fortunately, this guide will help in guiding you through a range of household solutions sure to freshen your babies cloth diaper and have to ready to be placed back within use.  By following the below practices, your child will never be sporting a smelly cloth diaper until your baby decides to do so.

Deodorizing Soaking Solutions

1 Baking Soda Boost

Using a solution of baking soda and hot water can to much to absorb the build-up of ammonia odor. Mix a solution of one part baking soda with ten parts hot water in a large bucket.  Next, place the residue-free cloth diapers within the deodorizing solution to soak for a minimum of  one hour.  Once this time has passed remove the cloth diapers and place them within a normal detergent cycle in the washing machine.

2 Borax Soak

Similar to baking soda, borak can do much in removing the stinky embedded odors lodged within cloth diapers.  Mix a solution of one part borax to 8 parts hot water within a large bucket.  Add in the smelly residue-free diapers and allow for the diapers to sit for 2-3 hours before removing to run through an normal detergent wash.

3 Enzyme Treatment

As yet another pre-wash soaking method, an enzyme cleaner can work wonders in lifting odors from the stitching of a cloth diaper.  Fill a bucket with enzyme cleaner and hot water and place diapers within the product solution for 2-3 hours to soak.  The active enzyme within the solution will work during this time to literally eat though odorous particles embedded within the solution.

Deodorizing Washing Solutions

1 White Vinegar Additive

This household acid is fantastic at adding a boost to any washing machine cycle.  The vinegar directly combats the built up ammonia within the clothing fiber.  Measure a full cup of this compound and pour within the washing machine prior to running an normal detergent wash of the smell cloth diapers.  The diapers may have a vinegar odor once removed from the washer, however this will go away once it is dried away within the dryer.

2 Deodorizing Detergent

There are now deodorizing detergents on the market that are formulated especially for removing odors from clothing and linens.  Febreze makes a detergent that works great at eliminating difficult bodily odors to return it to normal.  As a cautionary note, it may be challenging to find this deodorizing detergent within some grocery stores.

Cloth Diaper Deodorizing Principles

1 Make Sure All Stinky Residues Are Cleaned Before Treating

It keep messiness to a minimum, be sure that all poopy residues are lifted off of the cloth diapers before using any of the above treatments.  If any poop is mixed within some of the above soaking solutions it can potentially make the problem worse.  In short, the above solutions work to remove odors rather than clean the diapers in entirety.

2 Go No Longer Than Two Days Without Washing

Since cloth diapers often never come into real contact  with urine or poop mothers often believe that they can continue to use the containing cloth diaper for weeks at a time without washing.  This is not advised because the relative closeness to your babies wastes has a way of invisibly permiating into the diaper can create a breeding ground for bacteria.  As a general rule, make sure you go no longer than two days without washing it.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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