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Do Cloth Diapers Stink?

A concern I know some people have about cloth diapers is the smell. No one likes their home to smell like dirty diapers.

On the whole, they don’t stink up a house any worse than disposable diapers. That is, if you take care of washing them regularly (3 days apart is about my maximum), they won’t stink up the whole house. Leave them sitting around too long, and of course they’re going to stink!

Wash them properly and you’ll control the odor most of the time. I use Country Save HE Laundry Detergent on mine, and so far that seems to be doing quite well for my cloth diapers as well as the regular laundry. I also recommend line drying, as the sun can help break down stains the washing machine fails to get out, and naturally kills germs.

But eventually they do tend to build up an odor. Considering what goes into them, it’s hardly a surprise.

But all you have to do is a special wash called stripping, and the smell should go away.

Start out with freshly washed diapers. They need to be clean for this process.

Wash the diapers again in hot water, with a teaspoon of original Dawn dish detergent (not the newer varieties and not other brands) for a HE machine, a tablespoon for a top loading machine.

Run through the wash two more times with just water. This will get out the rest of the soap and should take care of the smell. If suds continue to appear by the rinse cycle of the second wash, you may need to do another cycle.

Dry as usual. I really do recommend line drying if at all possible.

This is also supposed to help if your cloth diapers are starting to leak.

The long and short of it is, if your cloth diapers stink either you’re letting them sit too long before washing or it’s time to strip them.  You should not be getting a worse stink than what you get from disposables.

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