Oh please help! I am so frustrated with these diapers!
We are using a combo of Sandy's and hemp diapers with fleece liners. We used them for a couple of months before getting the stink, but they were used for my oldest son before that. Our washing machine is a front loader with a lack of washing options - hot/cold, cold/cold, warm/warm. I normally start with a cold/cold prewash, then do a heavy load on hot/cold with an extra rinse. Since the stink started I've been adding a big wet towel to the machine to increase water. We use Allen's detergent, a small amount.
The smell has improved. I washed washed and washed without any detergent and it did improve, but it's still an issue. We can't increase our hot water temp because of a problem with the hot water heater. I don't want to use the dishwasher because I'm concerned about fibers in the filter, it's new, and I don't want to mess it up. I've tried washing with baking soda, vinegar and an oxygen cleaner. No improvement.
I don't like bleach, but I'm almost desperate enough to try it. My concern though is that my washing machine/hot water won't be good enough to get rid of it from the diapers! I mean that's why I have a residue to begin with, right?? I'm considering boiling a few diapers on the stove to see if that works and then if it does do them all that way. Any other suggestions?
The diapers also have old stains on them - any way to get rid of stains that have been heat dried in there and the sun won't touch?
Soaking? Wouldn't have to be in the machine - maybe try out with just a few to see if it even makes a difference. Just in warmish-hot water, and maybe some of your detergent, overnight in a bucket. Rinse out a bit, then wash like usual.
For a period, I was separating my diapers into natural fibers and unnatural fibers (like micro fleece inserts & etc) - and it helped whatever issues I was having at the time (all my pockets & micro fleece stuff was stinkier and needed 2 washes each time, keeping it all separated helped keep the problem from getting worse). If it seems like you can do something like that (I know it can be a pain ) it might help you identify whats going on better.
Sounds like you need to strip...could be detergent build up.
Do they smell right from the wash or after they've been peed in?
I second the soaking - even in the bathtub with a kettle of hot water added if you can. If that alone doesn't work I use something called BacOut (by BioKleen) and it's AWESOME. I get it at whole foods but if you can't find it local I believe soap .com doesn't charge a heavy shipping fee. You can add that to the soaking water. I use it once in a while to soak the diapers overnight just make sure you rinse REALLY well after. You can use it for cleaning too. I use it in the bathroom and on pet stains and kid accidents (like sheets and stuff).
Adding the towel is a good idea. If you use powdered i recommend dissolving it in hot water before adding it to the machine.
As my babies have gotten older I have started rinsing out their morning diapers and (when I can) their nap time diapers because they're the most concentrated and it seems to help.
For the stains, the diapers have to be wet when you sun them to work (I know some people don't know that). If they still persist you can try lemon juice right on the stain and then sun them. Think of the wonders of sun in from jr high HAHA. (obv. rinse the diaper before using it though!)