Cloth Diaper Care Quick Troubleshooting

Worried about how to care for your cloth? Do you have leaks? Stink? A little bit of troubleshooting can help!  I made a quick guide to cloth care with bullet points. Some day I hope to expand upon each of these topics in longer posts, but if you need to know anything right now, this should help!

Proper care goes a long way

  • Store used diapers in open container—closed containers trap odor and make it worse!
  • Wash at least every two days. The longer it sits, the more it stinks.
  • Always use a cloth-diaper safe crème or ointment on baby’s bum (no petroleum) to protect your diapers and keep them from becoming waterproof! If you use a petroleum-based cream, you will have to scrub the area with Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush to get it out!
  • Keep your laundry routine simple. One cold pre-rinse, followed by a warm or hot wash and an extra rinse is all you need. Use the full amount of a good strong detergent like Tide and your diapers should be fine. Complicated routines and not enough detergent cause extra wear and stink.
  • Never dry shells in the dryer—air drying helps protect the elastics and keeps them waterproof for longer

Absorbency and leaks

  • How is the fit? Be sure to check your brand’s website for fit instructions, and GroVia actually has several videos on fit for each style of diaper. Generally, there should be no gaps when you lift up baby’s legs and the diaper should fit snugly around the waist, with the rise falling right at the hips. Extra fabric from snapped down rises should be folded upward. You can always hop onto GroVia Families and crowd-source your flip as well!
  • How many times did you prep? All diapers (even no-prep) gain absorbency with continued use and washing. Cotton and hemp diapers should be prepped a MINIMUM of 6 times before use, and if you are using a diaper for nighttime, 10 washes is your best bet.
  • Change more often. Cloth diapers are not meant to last all day like disposables, and that is a good thing (keeps the ick away from baby) most kids will need changed AT LEAST every 1.5 -2 hours. Newborns may need changes as often as every hour.
  • Add more absorbency. The truth is, some babies pee a lot, which means you may need to add a booster or even an extra prefold for absorbency. Just keep fiddling with it until you find the right combination, and remember that things change as baby gets older!
  • Try different fabrics. Synthetics are more absorbent than cotton, which means you may wish to try a cotton-covered microfiber or something like that to get better absorbency!

Odors and other issues

PROPER STORAGE and CARE—remember, open air container and washing every two days is the best way to avoid funk

Barnyard or ammonia smell—probably ammonia build-up. Do a regular wash, followed by mighty bubbles treatment. If the odor persists, do the routine again, followed by a hot wash with a quarter cup bleach. This should be done very infrequently since bleach can wear diapers down!

Fish smell, repelling issues, other odors: Probably mineral build-up. Do a regular wash with RLR. If smell persists, do again followed by hot wash with quarter cup bleach. (Again, use bleach rarely!)

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