In our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, Rebecca and I recommend the “slacker” method of cloth diaper laundering. It doesn’t involve intensive prewashing or excessive toilet dunking, and it should keep your nursery smelling fresher than it would with disposables. (Remember that with cloth the feces is properly disposed of in the toilet rather than smelling up your home.)
So, what happens if your cloth diapers seem to give off a distasteful odor of fermented waste? Try these handy tips.
- Baste them with Bac Out. Every so often, squirt a dose into the diaper pail. It has a lovely lime scent and it’s live enzyme cultures go to work on odor right away. You can also use it for stains and odors on any of your other laundry.
- Blast them with Baking Soda. This odor fighting technique is far less expensive than Bac Out and will also work with the detergent when it comes time to dump diapers into the wash.
- Beware of Build Up. If your diapers smell like dirty socks even when your baby just wets them, they are probably coated in oils and fragrances from your detergent. This prevents them from absorbing as well and makes them particularly smelly. Diapers made of polyester are especially prone to build up. To strip them, wash them for one to two loads in hot water (no detergent) and see if it makes a difference. Also remember that your regular loads of diapers should be washed with half the normal amount of detergent you’d use on a load of clothes. Check out products like Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder or Biokleen Laundry Detergent to see if a different soap will help.)
- Fill it with a filter. Several companies make charcoal filters for compost bins that also work well for diaper pails. If you’ve tried everything else, it’s worth a few dollars to check out this option.
Any other ideas? Are you also struggling with smells this summer?