Did you ever take a cloth diaper cover or insert out of the wet bag, pail, or washer only to discover that it’s covered in small black or brown spots? It could be mold! Mold thrives in wet, humid conditions. It’s not the end of the world though. I’m going to show you a few simple steps to kill the mold and then get rid of the stains that it leaves behind.
Here’s a few photos of what mold stains look like on a cloth diaper. Yuck right?
STEP 1: KILL THE MOLD
Method 1: Bleach Wash
A bleach wash will do the trick. You can do this right in your washer and soaking is not necessary. Add the bleach via your bleach cup or tray along with your usual detergent and then wash on regular in warm or hot water.
Use bleach that is not expired and is at least 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Here are the dilution amounts.
Top Loader (Non-HE): Small- 1/3 cup, Medium – 1/2 cup, Large/XL- 3/4 cup
Top loader (HE) Small- 1/4 cup, Medium- 1/3 cup, Large- 1/2 cup
Method 2: Oxygen Bleach (such as Oxiclean) Soak
The main ingredient in oxygen bleach is the powder form of hydrogen peroxide which can also be used to kill mold. I personally use OxiClean as it is readily available in most grocery store aisles.
Soak the affected diapers in hot water and OxiClean solution. Use 1 gallon of water and a scoop to the 4 line of the OxiClean (using the scoop that comes with the container). Soak for 6 hours. Wash in a tiny bit of detergent after soaking. If you are JUST washing the cloth diapers you soaked, don’t over do it on the detergent, remember you are washing an already clean insert.
STEP 2: GET RID OF THE MOLD STAIN
The above steps killed the mold, but even after a bleach wash or oxygen bleach soak, you will be left with the stains (which are purely an aesthetic issue).
To remove mold stains you will need to make a paste from oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean).
- Wear gloves to protect your hands.
- Mix a 2 to 1 ratio of OxiClean and cool water. (Basically it’s 1 tablespoon of water to every 2 tablespoons of oxi.)
- Take the paste you created and with a plastic utensil spread on all mold stains. You want a nice thick layer of the paste.
- Leave overnight. (6-8 hours)
- If stain is gone go ahead and give the diapers a short wash with a tiny bit of detergent to wash away the OxiClean.
- If the stain remains, repeat steps 1-4 again.
I’ve had to do this before and it’s taken me two nights to get the stains to completely disappear.
Please be aware that both bleach and oxygen bleach can fade non colorfast items. This includes knit fabrics such as cloth wipes or wahm diapers made with a knit outer.
If mold becomes a recurring issue you should take steps to stop it from happening again and again.
- Store your dirty diapers in a cool, dry place. Bathrooms and laundry rooms are places to stay away from. They tend to have higher humidity and less air flow than other rooms in your home.
- If your home is prone to mold, you may find an open pail method works better for you. The air flow that the pail receives keeps the moisture down and mold at bay.
- Wash your diapers more often. Sure! You have enough to go a week. But that makes them harder to get clean and also has them sitting in pretty wet conditions for long periods of time. Shoot for every 3-4 days at the max.
- Wash your washing machine! Mold can grow inside if it isn’t maintained properly Leave the door open after washing a load to allow it to dry inside. Run a cleaning cycle monthly as well.
If you gotten rid of mold on your cloth diapers and used a different method, let us know how!