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#1 of 42 Old 05-24-2007, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know I read a thread about this before, but this forum moves fast!

I am having a smell issue with my diapers. They smell kind of poopy when they are done being washed. What can I do to fix this? I am doing a cold soak beforehand and then doing the "Sanitary" cycle on my HE front-loader. One night, I even washed them about 3x and it still was there. I use HE detergent (fragrance-free, Kirkland brand from Costco).

Help!
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#2 of 42 Old 05-24-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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It sounds like you may need to strip them. Or you can try doing your regular cold rinse, regular wash cycle on cold/hot with a tiny bit of detergent or baking soda, and throw some vinegar in the rinse cycle. I have a top loader so, I 'm not sure how you can do it with the front loader.
But the vinegar really helps with smells and sanitizing.

Stripping them, if they have been used a lot should get rid of any smells too.

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#3 of 42 Old 05-24-2007, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't been CDing very long, so I don't know that I need to strip them. (What does that entail, btw?)

I will try the baking soda/vinegar thing, thank you!!

Also, would line drying them outside help? I haven't done that yet. I need to get a clothesline set up out there.
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#4 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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We're having stink issues right now so I'm gonna be up all night stripping.

Just lots and lots of rinses. You've got yourself a build up and rinsing is the best way to get rid of that. Hot rinses if you can, until you no longer see any suds.

I don't know what detergent to recommend using after you strip them b/c you have a front loader but maybe someone will know?
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#5 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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I'll differ in my experience Poo smell especially right after washing means too little detergent (amonia smell too much) I''d actuall try washing with a bit more detergent then rinseing well.

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#6 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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nak
we've been dealing with the exact same issue here--what it is is a bacteria issue. what's your water like? the theory on our situation from the great folks at charlie's soap is that certain minerals (mostly calcium) in our water is building up, creating little "coral reefs" in the fabric of the diapers. bacteria are trapped inside, as the detergent molecules are too large to get into all of the nooks and crannies.

the recommendation i was given is to treat the diapers for the mineral deposits with clr or a similar substance, and to also disinfect the diapers. i haven't been able to get to the store for the clr yet, so i went ahead and used a tiny bit of bleach : on everything to clear it up and start from scratch. for the first time in a long time the diapers came out smelling fresh!

they also recommended using peroxide or some other oxygen bleach regularly in the first wash cycle of each diaper load to help disinfect. i have since bought some to try on our diapers.

if you don't think mineral buildup is your issue, maybe try using more detergent with some oxygen bleach for now. line drying in hot sun will theoretically also help disinfect, although i thought a hot dryer served the same purpose, and that never helped our stink.

i'm pretty positive that the smell you describe is due to bacteria, not detergent buildup.

hth! good luck.

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#7 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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nak
we've been dealing with the exact same issue here--what it is is a bacteria issue. what's your water like? the theory on our situation from the great folks at charlie's soap is that certain minerals (mostly calcium) in our water is building up, creating little "coral reefs" in the fabric of the diapers. bacteria are trapped inside, as the detergent molecules are too large to get into all of the nooks and crannies.

That is so interesting and makes great sense. I had semi-hard well water and used Charlies and had stink and buildup issue. But now I have a water softener (YEAH!) so it might be worth going back and giving it a try. I could not understand why my diapers stunk to high heaven washing with Charlies. I am really glad you posted this!
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#8 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very interesting. We live in Arizona and we do get a lot of sediment in our water. If I don't keep on top of our shower, it gets really nasty and I have to scrub for a LONG time to get the silt or whatever it is off the floor of it.

Thanks for all the input!
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#9 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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Anytime we have a smell issue I add some baking soda (that I added some peppermint and lavendar essential oils to) to my hot wash. It has never failed me.
I know some of my dipes say not to use baking soda, but I have not had a problem at all. And after they are dried they smell good enough to sniff.

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#10 of 42 Old 05-25-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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I am using gerber prefolds and they have stink so badly. i cant figure it out either.
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#11 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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I got rid of my poo-stink issues by using more detergent. I have hard water - so I'm using 3 scoops of charlies powder and an extra rinse cycle. Vinegar in the presoak also seems to be helping.
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#12 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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When I stripped diapers in the past I used 1 hot water wash with a spoonful of dishwashing liquid (Dawn is what I have usually seen people say work best). Then I repeat the hot water washes until there are no suds left.

It can be a detergent build up or not enough soap issue. Hard water calls for more soap than the 1/4 dose often rec. Do the diapers smell like ammonia as soon as your dc wets (too much detergent) or is it only in the wash that you smell this. How often are you washing?

Charlie's actually says to use a small ammount of bleach to fight the bacteria though I haven't done so becuse I do not like bleach (it is a neurotoxin). If you have city water it probably has a small amount of chlorine in it already but well water does not unless you add it.

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#13 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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use 1 hot water wash with a spoonful of dishwashing liquid (Dawn is great). Then I repeat the hot water washes until there are no suds left. And add vinegar & TTO or Lav. EO into the final rinse as well (a downey ball is great for this last step!)
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#14 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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I know this isn't a popular idea, but you could try bleaching them.

I have been CDing for three years, and I had tried everything to get the ammonia smell completely out, and nothing was working. Stripping, baking soda, vinegar, more detergent, less detergent. Finally, I started bleaching them, and voila! smell is gone. I don't like that my diapers are starting to show wear from being bleached once a week for this last year, but I truly cannot find another way to get the smell completely out. My kids were getting rashes from the ammonia in the diapers.
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#15 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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Yup, if you have hard water you need something to take care of teh minerals in the wash. I have been using vinegar(BS made it worse!) in my wash and final rinse. It keeps them clean and fresh, no bleach needed.

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#16 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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I also think it sounds like bacteria instead of soap buildup.

Yes, the sun is great for killing bacteria so line dry all summer and that should help.

Also, I sprinkle baking soda in the pail every single time I put a diaper in. It helps absorb the ammonia smell.

We had two different stink issues: ammonia and that poopy smell you're describing. The ammonia smell only happened after they'd been in the pail for a few hours. But every morning I'd wake up thinking dd had pooped but it was just the dipes. I also used a little Oxy and that seemed to help, but we did end up switching to sposies at night. Now that it's summer and I can line dry, we'll switch back and see what happens.
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#17 of 42 Old 05-26-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acupuncturemomma View Post
nak
the recommendation i was given is to treat the diapers for the mineral deposits with clr or a similar substance, and to also disinfect the diapers. i haven't been able to get to the store for the clr yet, so i went ahead and used a tiny bit of bleach : on everything to clear it up and start from scratch. for the first time in a long time the diapers came out smelling fresh!
Isn't CLR a chemical? I don't want to use chemicals on my diapers, but I'm guessing my smell issue is what you're describing.

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#18 of 42 Old 05-27-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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clr is an acid--i think it's really harsh, and like you, i'm hesitant to use it at all! i just found an excellent resource on the pinstripes and polkadots website:

http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.co...basics.htm#RLR
look at the part called "hard water treatments"

it talks about using calgon water softener or a product called rlr. i'm going to try one of those.

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#19 of 42 Old 05-27-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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I would not use rlr, it makes a TON of suds, like seriously took me 10+ washes to get it all out. Calgon and vinegar are both good choices for hard water.

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#20 of 42 Old 05-27-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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I just stripped my dipes and they still smell like pee. The load I just took out of the dryer even smells still. Not bad, but it's definately there. I use a wet bag, but think I'm going to switch to a pail. Does anyone presoak theirs in the pail? If so, what do you use, or should I just try to do a presoak in the washer? I wash mine in Tide Free and use about a quarter of what I should for a large load.

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#21 of 42 Old 05-27-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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Normally I would guess that if they smell coming out of the dryer they are not getting clean and would use more detergent and possibly hotter water on a regular basis.

How did you strip the diapers? Do you have a top loader or a front loader? (washer) Do you have cotton diapers or perhaps hemp or fleece? Hemp and fleece are more prone to stink IMHO.

I do a dry pail, lined with a wet bag, and wash every 2 days. I empty the liner and dipes into tthe washer and do a cold rinse. I often add bs at this point. I then do a hot wash with detergent (currently Sun but the Charlie's is waiting to be opened). My washer only offers a cold rinse. I try to check and make sure it is not too sudsy. If I think the diapers need more rinsing I will set it to fill with warm water and let it agitate for a full wash but then switch the machine to rinse for the spin. Does that make sense? I also sometimes use a downy ball with vinegar as a rinse aid. I have moderately hard water.

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#22 of 42 Old 05-28-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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Howdy Ladies,

I found this useful link on CLR. It tells what's in it and gives instructions for cleaning out hard water deposits. If used to remove hard water deposits from clothes (VERY DILUTED), those clothes should be washed normally several times to remove any residues from the acids.
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#23 of 42 Old 05-28-2007, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So -- if I were to use vinegar, where does that go? In place of detergent, or where the bleach would go? We have this fancy HE front-loader and it's complicated.
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#24 of 42 Old 05-28-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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I put it in with the detergent, but I have a top loader.

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#25 of 42 Old 05-29-2007, 01:25 PM
 
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Wow, great thread! You know you are a cd nerd when....:

There are so many variables with cloth diapering and the smells!!! Seems to depend on the age of the kid, diapers you are using, machine you have, water heater temps, soap, water quality, arrgh!

I know that my dipes can have that mildly poopy smell when ds wets and then I try to make sure I'm washing with hot and doing a double rinse. I think the fleece from FB can get a little stinky, sometimes.

I LOVE the suggestion of some essential oils! Sounds so nice.... I love Mrs. Meyers clean day detergent for a pretty smelling wash. I also like biokleen. I really DO NOT like powders for cloth diapers.

We have hard water with minerals.... I do throw in vinegar every third washing or so and that seems to help keep them fresh. I think one of the key points is to act right away when they start smelling funky, versus when they are really stinky.

I wonder, is it harder to get diapers clean with a front loader? I wonder about that as I watch the water swishing around in my old water-hogging top loader.

Also, I just read a little insert that came with some new diapers that said do a quick cold water rinse, then a HOT wash with a cold rinse. The theory was, why would you want your good hot wash to be swirling with poop and pee. Hmmm. Made sense to me.

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#26 of 42 Old 05-29-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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I read on one of the diaper sites that powder detergent is better for diapers because liquid detergent has ingredients that aid suspension and reduce rinsability. As you said, there are so many variables it is hard to give general info.

I have heard that front-loaders are harder to get diapers clean with because they use less water overall. I am not lucky enough to have first hand knowledge of that problem.

OT - midwest meg I love your children's names.

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#27 of 42 Old 05-30-2007, 07:35 AM
 
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So -- if I were to use vinegar, where does that go? In place of detergent, or where the bleach would go? We have this fancy HE front-loader and it's complicated.
I have a HE washer too. I put vinegar in the fabric softener thing. Then it comes out in the rinse cycle.

I was going to start basically the same thread, but there are so many great responses here I'll just ask another question too. I had heard that you can strip your diapers in the dishwasher, so I tried that yesterday. What a fiasco! It stunk up the whole house (steaming all the bacteria/poo/ammonia/detergent smell!) and then there was the load of sopping wet diapers to contend with. DH put them out on the clothesline, but they smelled worse than they did before! So I put them through our diaper cycle in the washer (presoak, hot wash, 2 rinses) using baking soda instead of detergent and vinegar in the rinse. I think they are better but I haven't used them yet to be sure.

So here's my question: did I do something wrong by putting them in the dishwasher? I didn't use any soap or anything--just hot water. Did it stink so bad just because the diapers were long overdue for being stripped?
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#28 of 42 Old 05-30-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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I just stripped my dipes and they still smell like pee. The load I just took out of the dryer even smells still. Not bad, but it's definately there. I use a wet bag, but think I'm going to switch to a pail. Does anyone presoak theirs in the pail? If so, what do you use, or should I just try to do a presoak in the washer? I wash mine in Tide Free and use about a quarter of what I should for a large load.
I am almost positive I've read bad things about Tide Free for dipes. Check out this link and see if maybe a new detergent would help. We use a dry pail with no problems.
pins and stripes
Hard water, Allen's detergent, a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the tank with the cloths of our front loader.

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#29 of 42 Old 05-30-2007, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay then, maybe we are getting somewhere! I use the Costco brand of HE free, which is similar to Tide I would imagine.

So I am going to try one of the more diaper-friendly detergents!!

I can't believe how much of a science project this is! You are right.
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#30 of 42 Old 05-30-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Amy did you put in prewashed diapers or soiled diapers?

treehugger.gif )O( unschooling, witchy mum to Addy(7) and Niamh(4)
Living with an invisible chronic illness.
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