Lesson Learned: A Cloth Diapering Update

5/05/2015

Lesson Learned: A Cloth Diapering Update — a Modern Mrs.
When making the decision to cloth diaper, I read it all. I read my manufacturer's information, checked with cloth diaper stores, read blog posts, and even joined a Facebook group. I was set! Well, I thought I was, but I noticed almost as soon as we began we had this musty smell coming from our inserts. When she would eliminate, and even fresh from the washer. At first I thought, "Maybe this is how it's supposed to be." Surely without all the chemicals of a disposable, you would be able to smell everything once your child has eliminated, right? Wrong! {But more on that soon.} I assumed it was my HE washer, as most of what I had read said HE washers are a pain when it comes to getting your diapers clean. I assumed I wasn't using enough detergent, even though I was following the instructions on the box, and the detergent was made for my diapers, since it was made by my manufacturer. So, I asked in group, read blog posts, and devised a wash routine that looked like this:
  • Rinse and spin, no detergent. {This was to remove the soil from the diapers prior to the wash.}
  • Delicate cycle, with an extra rinse, no spin, and towels added to "bulk the load" and to "trick the washer into adding more water," no detergent.
  • Heavy Duty cycle on warm {per my manufacturer's recommendation}, with one scoop of detergent {per the box's instructions, which is approximately 1-2 tablespoons worth}, with an extra rinse. 
Just to recap, that's three different cycles, with five rinses, and only one scoop of detergent.

Wrong. All wrong. So, so much wrong.

Before I realized how wrong I was, I knew something wasn't right. These diapers weren't getting clean. But everything I read said I was doing it all right, so why aren't they smelling clean? They were absorbent, yes. We didn't have leaks. We didn't have rash. We just had stink. Well, after asking for probably the third time whether I should change detergents {at this point we were using a different cloth diaper manufacturer's detergent, because my original detergent was discontinued}, change my routine, something, anything - just help me get rid of this stink - someone from that group recommended I join a different group. This group is called Fluff Love & CD Science, and if you are even thinking of cloth diapering, I strongly suggest you join this group, and here's why.....

I joined the group, confessed my problem and begged for a solution, and here's what I discovered:
  • Cloth diaper manufacturer detergents do nothing. Not.a.thing! That was my first mistake.
  • You can't really "trick your washer into adding more water," and doing so could void your warranty and damage your machine. Whoops....
  • Extra rinses aren't necessary, nor recommended.
  • One scoop of detergent is not enough.
Well, no wonder my diapers stunk! Turns out I was washing with a scoop of nothing, causing mineral buildup with my ridiculous number of extra rinses, and not cleaning my diapers. I was horrified. I was told to "strip" and bleach to get the diapers back to square one, then begin a new routine with an approved detergent. {They have a nifty chart to find a mainstream detergent that's the right fit for you.} Believe me when I say, if you don't know where to start, this group is full of extremely helpful ladies who will get you set up, and can tell you with science the how's and why's of everything. From what detergent, to what extras {if you have hard water you'll need a water softener, and if your detergent doesn't have enzymes, you'll need an enzyme booster}, to how much detergent to use, to stain removal, to fit checks and more, this is the only group you need to be in for your cloth diapering needs.

So, I "stripped," bleached, bought a new detergent and enzyme booster, and revamped my routine to this:
  • Quick Wash cycle on cold with a half cap of detergent, and a half scoop of Biz added to the drum. {Biz has enzymes, and is also a stain removal/detergent booster. I use it on some of my regular laundry too!} Maximum spin. No extra rinse.
  • Heavy Duty cycle on hot with one and a half caps of detergent {since I use a Free & Clear detergent, I need to use more for my diapers than what's recommended for regular laundry}, maximum spin, no extra rinse.
And that's it! My diapers come out smelling fresh and clean, and believe it or not, even with all that detergent, my diapers feel fine - they don't need any additional rinses - and they're so much softer! My covers get hung to dry, my inserts go into the dryer {no fabric softener - that causes repelling}, and they come out still smelling fresh. My wash routine is shorter, less involved, and when E urinates, I can't smell a thing! Oh, and in case you're wondering, the cost of my new detergent {Purex Free & Clear} plus the box of Biz is still cheaper than one box of a cloth diaper manufacturer's detergent!

I do need to tell you, once I finished the strip process, the water leftover in my tub was a murky, nasty color. That was all in my diapers, which were sitting on my precious girl's delicate bum. I was horrified and disgusted, and furious that these cloth diaper manufacturer's put out a product intended to and recommended for cleaning diapers, and it didn't do a single thing!

So, if you are thinking about cloth diapering, or are having problems with cloth diapering, please, join Fluff Love & CD Science's group on Facebook. This group changed my life! It has made our cloth diapering journey so much easier, and nicer, and I feel confident my daughter's diapers are getting a deep clean every time. Don't worry if you have a HE washer! You don't need to do all the extra bull you see online. There aren't crazy amount of "tricks," and you don't need to buy tons of extra products. With a solid wash routine, you should rarely have a problem, and definitely never have "barnyard" or ammonia stink problems. Save yourself the future {or current} headaches and hair-pulling, and rest assured in knowing you have one place to go should you need anything cloth diaper-related. In fact, swear off any other source. I have!

Now I'm off to stuff my clean, fresh-smelling, soft diapers. Till next time!
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