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They leak, they stink, they cause rashes - HELP!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

DS is 1 year old and he's my second kid in cloth dipes...  thought I would've had this figured out by now!


His diapers all stink horribly the second they get wet.  Most leak in a very short period of time as well, and he has a recurring rash that I suspect is due to the diapers.  (It clears up when we put lanolin on it and let him go diaper-less as much as possible.)


We use pocket diapers - Imagine and Tweedle Bugs - and occasionally some prefolds with PUL covers. Sposies at night.


Top load washer, cold water rinse first, then hot wash with Arm and Hammer Free and Clear and a squirt of BioKleen.  3 drops of Lavender EO in the first rinse.  3 rinses after the Lavender EO.  Inserts and prefolds dried in the dryer, covers on the line.  


We use a dry diaper bag and wash every day.


I've stripped the diapers recently so I don't think there's a detergent buildup problem, and even more recently I deep cleaned them with repeat washing until they smelled absolutely totally 100% clean.  


What am I doing wrong?!  What else can I try?  What would you do to beat this evil combination of diaper curses?  


I'm tempted to start over from scratch with flats but that would kill the budget, especially after all we've invested in the diapers we already have.  

post #2 of 22

Wow, it seems like you have a good system. Nothing seems really wrong with what you are doing to me. I have had similar problems lately. Stinky even after a dawn strip. The only thing I can add is that you could try striping again with something else. I'm trying RLR right now. Also you can boil anything that doesn't have pul or snaps. Like the prefolds and inserts if they are snap free.


I have flats. They are not all that expensive. Now that my dd is bigger I only padfold them and put them in pocket diapers or lay in covers. You can get a dozen from cotton babies for $19 with free shipping. You will probably only be able to pad fold them given the size.

post #3 of 22
I agree with the first poster, your system sounds good. The first thing I would try is to omit the lavender. It is natural but my fiancé was allergic to camomile so natural doesn't always mean 100% free of allergies.
post #4 of 22

I think synthetics are prone to this problem. 


I'm also on my second cloth-diapered babe and after endless laundry battles the first time around we've had much better luck with an all-prefold stash.  I would boil your prefolds for 30 min (change water and do it again if you see detergent residue coming out) and use only those diapers for a while - no pockets.  If the rash doesn't clear after that I think your plan of switching to flats is good.  Flats are pretty cheap.


For prevention we've had good luck with using an occasional scoop of Oxy-Clean in the wash whenever the dipes get a little smelly.  Regular bleach would probably be even better for a resistant stink issue but I notice it takes at least 6-7 rinses until the dipes no longer smell like bleach so I try to avoid going that route.

post #5 of 22
Bleach or boil what you can. I second the move to prefolds with regular bleach use.
post #6 of 22
As far as the smell goes, my dd had really stinky pee. Are u giving your kids any vitamins or other supplements? When we stopped giving dd vitamins w irons her smell was a lot less intense wink1.gif
post #7 of 22
Maybe run a few super hot washes, I turn my water heater up, then run a few hot cycles with no detergent, maybe bleach. Then I'd remove the lavender and biokleen from the wash. Oils can cause build up, especially in microfiber, and biokleen has enzymes that can react to urine and cause rashes.
post #8 of 22

I'd run a bleach cycle.  I use Tide Original Powder detergent.  I used to use a F&C (actually, tried out a couple different brands), tried out two or three natural detergents, and not a single one was as effective as Tide.  I think your diapers just aren't getting clean enough, and I would try bleach, followed by Tide, followed by a couple of plain water rinses.  Stink = bacteria not being removed during the wash.  I also use a scoop of oxyclean in my wash cycle, which seems to help with staining.  I've used cloth diapers for nearly 15 years, on 5 children, in hard and soft water, in top and front loaders, and have found that Tide works the very best.

FWIW, oxyclean works best in hot water, and bleach works best in cold water.  

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the ideas!  smile.gif


I still haven't figured this out...  but here's the latest:  I went back to the cloth diapers yesterday after a few days of just 'sposies and sure enough, the rash is back!  So all of my stripping and deep cleaning was for naught.  Only good news is that the stink is gone.  


I'm afraid that the synthetics are the problem, along with the fact that I can't get the washer to do SUPER hot washes.  (We just moved into a new house and figuring out how to turn up the hot water heater feels like too much of a production for me right now.)  


Last night I made my own detergent from Borax, washing soda and Fels-Naptha.  I used that on this morning's load of diapers but since they've been drying in the sunshine all day no verdict on whether or not the new deterg causes a reaction/gets the yucky stuff out yet.  I skipped the lavender EO and bio-kleen today too, as someone suggested.


Next step will be boiling our prefolds and using those exclusively.  Can anyone walk me through the boiling process?  


(Another thought:  Could the rash be a food sensitivity?  DS has been crazy for kiwis lately - he ate a whole one yesterday, but none the few days before...  so maybe that's contributing?  Argh!  wild.gif)


Ok, and last but not least, if we do wind up switching to flat/prefolds, how do I get DH to convert from the pocket dipes?  He says, "I can change diapers and I can do origami, but not both at the same time."  We need a super-easy method that he can master with minimal stress.


Thanks again for all the help!  You guys rock.

post #10 of 22
Super easy prefolds or flat option is to skip pinning or snappi-ing. Just trifold the prefolds, pad fold the flats, lay in cover and snap on. With the prefolds I actually lay the prefold open in the cover, put baby on top, and just fold in the front, like the angel wing fold, so the back of the prefold is spread out for poo coverage, and the front is padded where needed most. All of my bummis wraps held everything in place just fine. This works best after explosive nb poo stage, as you'll use more covers, but I typically change the cover after a poo every time.
Edited by rtjunker - 10/15/12 at 10:02pm
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

DS is 13 months and really active - crawling, climbing, starting to walk.  Do you think just laying the prefold/flat in the cover would work for such a mobile babe?  I've been using snappis for fear the dipe would bunch up in the cover...

post #12 of 22
Perhaps you need new inserts? My Fuzzi Bunz were doing this after about a year. I put in new inserts and everything cleared up.
post #13 of 22
I am able to trifold a prefold in a cover on my active crawling, cruising 9 month old, it does bunch up some in front, but it still does it's job. I've trifolded in grovia, bummis, jamtots berry plush diapers, and a few others. If you have prefolds and a cover it can't hurt to just try without the snappi, if it doesn't work for you, then you'll know it doesn't work. You could also try stuffing your pockets with prefolds in lieu of mf, or using your pockets like one time use covers, and laying the prefold in it.
post #14 of 22
Originally Posted by wagz View Post

Next step will be boiling our prefolds and using those exclusively.  Can anyone walk me through the boiling process? 


Heat up your biggest pot of water on the stove.  Dump in the diapers (prefolds only - do not boil your synthetics!).  Boil 20-30 minutes.  Eyeball the water - if contains scuzz, repeat with a new pot of water until no scuzz.  When done you can tip most of the water into the sink and dump the soaking diapers into your washer for a spin to get all the water out before you dry. HTH

post #15 of 22

I like to line our pockets with a preemie sized prefold, it helps with leaking and puts a layer between babes skin and the polyester.  Also, I have started swearing by sportswash sold for hunters.  It's Atsko brand and can be found in the sporting goods section of Walmart or on Amazon.  I use bleach too, but it is the only thing that I've found works for my wash habit (every 4-5 days bag.gif) It has made my unbleached prefolds not so squishy soft and definitely wears the cotton out faster, but I'm diapering our third and last and all pfs are destined for the rag bin anyway :p


My wash routine:

1 quick cycle with a splash of bleach

1 long hot wash with a capful of sportwash and a 2hr soak

hang dry


 I wouldn't use this wash routine for fancy fitteds though!

post #16 of 22

Tide w/ hot cycle followed by cold cycle no detergent is the only thing that worked for us when we had a stink problem one year.  I also had to start washing more often and dry longer than usual.  Good luck!

post #17 of 22
I had a similar problem with my oldest. He had a lot of ammonia in his urine. The Dr said it was all the healthy veg he was eating. Anywho, do NOT use free and clear detergents on dipes. Most diaper manufacturers do not recommend them because it will cause a build up. I recommend finding a detergent that works with your water type. At the time when my son was in diapers, we had hard water. Rockin' Green's Hard Rock detergent worked so well then and cleared up all of our problems!
FWIW, I have heard Tide is one of the best diaper detergents, but I am highly allergic to it, so just watch out for that!
post #18 of 22

Stink and rashes often go together -- they are almost always an indication that you need to look at your laundering process.  If diaper have a lingering smell or slightly ammonia smell, this indicated they are not getting completely cleansed.  If they smell clean after washing but develop a slight odor after a while, this indicated that may not have been dried completely (complete drying is an essential part of sanitizing).  If your diapers are losing absorbency due to buildup - you're using the wrong detergent for your water hardness. 


The easy things to check:


1) Recommended detergent doses.  Use what the detergent maker says, not what the diaper manufacturer recommends.  If you low dose, expect low clean!  If you have soap residues after usign the right dose, you have the wrong detergent for your water hardness.


2) Water and Detergent chemistry.  90% of us cannot use boutique detergents all of the time because of water hardness.  If you water is considered moderate to hard, the quick solution is to switch to standard offer from the big brands like Tide, Cheer, All.  These detergents include ingredients that soften water so the cleaning ingredients can clean and rinse to their full potential. 


3) Keep it simple.  Detergent, and in some cases bleach / oxy-bleach are all you need to properly cleanse and sanitize diaper fabrics.  Potions and additives can compromise detergents and introduce variables that make. 


The quick solution I find always works is to use only regular TIDE in the recommended dose for washing, then dry diapers completely on medium heat in your dryer.  Do this for a month and stink should disappear, if the rashes are a result of irritation from residual bacteria or ammonia, that will disappear too!

post #19 of 22

Your washing routine sounds pretty thorough and I doubt that the rashes are happening because of soap build up.


If you are using pockets than your kid's skin is most likely against microfiber or microfleece. Both of these are polyesters and /or polyamides and prone to irritating a baby's sensitive skin.


What you might like to try is either a natural fabric like hemp, cotton, bamboo or charcoal bamboo against the baby's skin.


I have personally seen charcoal bamboo work for kids who have had rashes like second degree burns.


Please let me know if you have any other questions.

post #20 of 22
Stink means bacteria! I would add 1/8 or 1/4 cup of bleach. I add bleach to all my diaper laundry (no wool) and never had any problems with discoloration or fading. I do use pockets and still no problems. I bleach every once in a while. Make sure you are using very hot water too.

I would steer clear of natural laundry soaps and/or homemade laundry soaps. Go with Tide. It works!
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