Help! My cloth diapers stink!

You’ve probably already heard that if you’re using the right cloth diaper wash routine then your diapers should never smell.  While that is true, let’s be honest - at some point everyone will have a load or two of diapers that just don’t come out smelling very nice.

If left unchecked this could turn into your “clean” cloth diapers coming out load after load with a lingering stench. Yuck!  But fear not - it is indeed possible for your diapers to come out smelling squeaky clean again!


5 Tips on getting your diapers to smell fresh again

Take a look at your wash routine

If your diapers are still coming out stinky you may have to take a deeper look at your wash routine.  Are you using the right detergent? Too much water? Not enough water?  It doesn’t have to get TOO complicated, but sometimes if something isn’t working then it’s time to tweak it.  Have a look at my article on How to Improve Your Wash Routine.

Dry your diapers in the sun

Air drying out in the sun helps to kill odour causing bacteria, naturally bleaches stains, and leaves your diapers with that fresh outdoor smell.  Living in Canada myself, I know this isn’t always possible for everyone all year round.  Just focus on sun drying your diapers when you can and praying for sunny weather when you can’t. 

Soak your diapers in a vinegar (or bleach) bath

Start with clean diapers. Soak your diapers in a bath of vinegar (or bleach) and water for about 30 mins.  This can be done in a bathtub or a top loading washing machine.  Use 1 C of vinegar (or 1 C of bleach) for a large washer load.  
Rinse and drain well, and then follow that up with a regular wash cycle.

** Some families have done the above method using bleach with much success as well.  If you decide to use bleach, be sure to do a test strip first, and to fully rinse the bleach out of your diaper to prevent contact with your baby’s skin.

Strip your diapers

If you’re experiencing detergent build up, stubborn odours, your diapers are less absorbent, or you have build up from hard water you may need to strip your diapers.  

To strip your diapers, start with clean diapers.  I really like using GroVia’s Mighty Bubbles every once and a while.   Just pop a pod in the washer on a regular cycle and add a second rinse.  

Get to know you washing machine and your water

Understanding how your washing machine works is the first step to getting clean clothes and clean cloth diapers.  Have a look at your owners manual for instructions on the different settings and wash loads.  

While you’re at it, if you suspect you may have hard water, now would be a good time to find out!