Troubleshooting Your Cloth Diapers

Troubleshooting Your Cloth Diapers

Between our two boys, we’ve gone through our share of troubleshooting cloth diapers in the newborn stage of life. This is not to say cloth diapers are so difficult you need a guide to get through those first few months, but that these are common issues that many families encounter, all of which usually have straightforward solutions.

Newborn stains: Maybe it’s the many bowel movements per day or perhaps just something in the poop, but newborn stains often stick around wash after wash. You might prevent some of the stains by washing every one or two days. You can also spray or rinse the diaper if you feel particularly strong about preventing stains. A natural stain fighter, like Buncha Farms or Bac-Out, can also penetrate some pesky marks.

For stains that persist, sunning diapers (even if cloudy or cold out) can allow the sun to do the hard work. Adding a little lemon juice to the stain before sunning can help. Additives like bleach may help, but be aware this might void warranties or unnecessarily wear out your diapers.

Sensitivities: A red bum is enough to keep a parent up at night. If a rash concerns you, please consult your pediatrician. Redness often is associated with detergent left behind in the diapers. Consider if you need to lessen your detergent, change to a detergent with fewer additives or fragrances, or add a second rinse to ensure they are clean. Also consider if your babe may have sensitivity to either synthetic or natural fibers. Don’t fret! You need not replace all your diapers. Natural fibers are often associated with wetness, so a fleece or stay-dry liner can help. If the issue is synthetic fibers, a cotton liner might solve the problem.

Time: Every parent knows time is a valuable commodity. If you don’t have a washing machine in your home, consider using prefolds and flats as they wash most easily and dry quite quickly compared to most all-in-one diapers. Also, keep your routine simple! I know poop (In. Your. Washer!) seems a little scary at first.  All you need is a rinse to get most of the muck off, a full wash cycle to clean them, and a second rinse to ensure all detergent is washed away. Warm to hot water is ideal, but keep it under 120 to 140 degrees (manufacturers vary) and make sure there is enough water for the diapers to agitate against each other but with enough space that the water can get in and rinse away the muck.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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