My poor cloth diapers! I (used to be, now I just don’t have the time or inclination) am a bit of a baby-er when it comes to them. I use loop fabric on the tabs to keep them from forming chains in the wash. I hang to dry. I’ve even been known to use a lingerie bag when washing my ‘special’ cloth diapers. How could they survive this? How could I survive this? The SMELL…oh the smell..it wasn’t just ammonia…it was pure grossness that was enough to almost knock me over! How could I have let it get this bad, I mean, I write a cloth diaper blog for goodness sake!?
It’s a combination of factors really…I could make a bunch of excuses…but instead I’ll just be honest. I didn’t feel like washing them.
I couldn’t smell anything and I still had ones I could use on Sophia. The pressure wasn’t really on until I was finally down to my last three cloth diapers. This took a full SIX days. And now you are going to be surprised because then I did it again…I know, I know…
Look…we got a foot of heavy wet snow the day before Thanksgiving and of course the power went out. It didn’t come back on until the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving was already cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday. Then came Black Friday shopping. I’m no crazy shopper, but it gives me a good excuse to spend time with a few of my favorite people. Then came the rescheduled Thanksgiving and then a day of rest. Then guess what? I was planning on doing the diapers Monday night…the electric went out again.
So there we are on Tuesday with that horror show silently contained (thank goodness!) in my Monkey Foot Designs wet bags.
*Disclaimer* Don’t try this at home…
I’m pretty sure that I had way too many cloth diapers and wipes crammed into my Speed Queen top loader. But I had to get these washed because now out of the bag the smell was probably blanketing the entire neighborhood. Anyway, I upped my usual detergent and Oxiclean amounts. This time I used a full scoop of Tide and OxiClean to the 3 line. After the first rinse I stuck my head in the washer and took a whiff. It was NOT that just washed fresh smell. :(
I had to put them through another hot wash. This time I used my normal amount of detergent; Tide to the 2 line and OxiClean to the 2 line. I figured the diapers where like normal dirty now. I did a whiff test again after the wash and first rinse…All was good!
No need to do anything else, just let it finish with the final rinse and dry. Thank God…they really were clean. Sophia didn’t get any redness when I put them on her.
Somehow while I was doing diaper laundry last night, I realized that it had been almost another 6 days since I had washed. Jeez! I’ve really let myself go! I guess I’m in a little rut. And with the holidays and family and the blog and running around… I just didn’t have time.
You know what?
It turned out fine. I’m not saying, ‘Hey only wash your cloth diapers once a week.’ It’s not good. Mold can grow, ammonia can set in. My whole house stunk to high heaven through the entire wash cycle. They were just plain HARD to get clean after that amount of time.
The point of me telling you this is that I want you to know that I’m a normal mom that really doesn’t have my stuff together all the time. I’m just do the best I can.
More importantly than that, I want you to know that cloth diapers are not made of unicorn hair. You can mess up…make a mistake…forget a cloth diaper in the car and usually get them straight again.
Cloth diaper laundry isn’t some secret process guarded up on a mountain top. No secret password is necessary.
It’s mostly just using common sense AND I’m here to help you if you need it! Think about how you handle super dirty clothes. What would you do with them? How much detergent would you use? Would you add anything to the detergent? You should be using the same amount of detergent that you would be using for a same size load of soiled clothing. Wash about every three days: warm rinse, hot wash with detergent, rinse, hot rinse…dry…done.
Here are links to my favorite washing posts, just in case ;)
Have you ever had a cloth diaper laundry disaster like this? How did you get your diapers back to normal?
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.