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December 20, 2012

Washing Cloth Nappies: Removing Smells From Your Cloth Nappies.

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Washing Cloth Nappies: Removing Smells From Your Cloth Nappies.

Discover what to do if, despite your careful washing routine, you get a build up of smells in your cloth nappies. What should you do with smelly cloth nappies?

Smells are a big red flag when you mention cloth nappies to people, but with simple strategies to follow given below, you can manage fresh smelling nappies every time!

Many Nappy Experts are invited to contribute to these cooperative questions so that you get a range of informative and experienced responses about the topic. Enjoy and discover something new, and share with us in the comment box below.

Let’s see what they have to say:

How do I remove smells from my cloth nappies?

Lara from Extremely Nappies (closed):

Every now and then, do a strip wash to remove any soap residue and minerals.  Alternatively, you can add a few drops of ti tree oil to the wash – that helps.

Susan from Nifty Naps:

If your nappies start to smell it may be a build up of washing powder in the nappies as too much powder may trap the smell in. You can strip wash with a little bit of dish washing liquid (10cent piece worth for a full load) and rinse until the water is clear of suds and then sun sun sun and they will be smell free.

Jodi from MCN Lovers R US:

Pre-rinse in the machine, leave the lid off the nappy bucket at all times (let them get some air, lid on just makes the wee smell grow – eww!) and sunshine! If they are still smelly then try out a strip wash by either doing multiple washes with no detergent in warm-hot water or giving the nappies a wash cycle with a cheap, basic dish washing liquid and lots of rinses to get all the detergent out of the nappies (detergent build up loves to hold onto smell!)

Erin from Rascal Rumps:

If your nappies are getting smelly there is a chance that they have a build up of detergent.  To remove this you need to do a strip wash which involves doing your regular pre rinse then wash your nappies at 40-60 degrees with a squirt of dish detergent.  Then just run them through another rinse cycle (or more than one if you are still getting bubbles). Sunshine will also help with smells.

Kate from Bouncing Bubs:

Perform a strip which eliminates smells and detergent build up.  There are several ways to do this but this method works best for us.

  1.  Start with clean nappies, ensure they are washed before starting your strip wash.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of bicarbonate soda to the wash (front loaders) or a dish-washing tablet (top-loaders) and wash on a long (2-2.5hr) warm (60°C is best) wash.
  3. Run a rinse cycle to ensure all the soap suds have disappeared.  You might need to repeat the rinse cycle 2-3 times.
  4. Air dry outside in the sunshine as the UV acts as a natural bleach and steriliser.

Sarah from Billy and the Bow Wow:

Again sunlight is the best medicine, though over time (every month or so, sometimes more, sometimes less) you will need to do a strip wash.

Angie from Piggy Tails Nappies:

If your nappies get a bit smelly you could have a build up of ammonia.

When this happens, you may need to strip wash your nappies. This involves washing your clean, dry nappies in hot water (no more than 60 degrees) without any detergent. After the first wash, wash again with a very small amount of dishwashing detergent or shampoo (no more than a teaspoon) and then wash as many times as needed to remove all the bubbles from the water coming out of your washing machine.

We do not recommend that you strip wash more frequently than every six months.

Rebecca from Bean Sprout Bubba:

If you get smells:
– Soak clean nappies in plain water from time to time.
– If you use a lot of microfibre, squeeze them out in plain water to help remove detergent buildup.
– Occasionally, use a small amount of Canestan wash or similar anti-bacterial/anti-fungal wash and make sure it is rinsed out.
– Use products like Rockin Green Detergent Funk Rock as occasional nappy soakers to get the smells out.

Therese from Bumbly Bootique:

Adding a couple drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender oil will help with the smell of your nappies.  If you’ve notice that recently, your nappies smell more than usual, it could mean you’re due for a strip wash.  In the case of strip washing, you could try adding bicarb or vinegar to your cycle (for strip wash only).  You could also try soaking clean nappies (nappies straight out of the wash) in a small squirt of non-moisturising dishwashing liquid and hot water overnight.  Next morning, drain the nappies and put them through as many rinse cycles (in your washing machine) as it takes to produce suds free water.  Strip washing will not only help with the smell of your nappies, but also improve the absorbency as well.

 Helen from Ezy Peezies:

Prevention is always better than solution! The best prevention to is wash frequently. I recommend not leaving dirty nappies in the nappy bucket any longer than 48hours. Detergent buildup also contributes to smelly nappies. To prevent detergent buildup only add small amount of detergent (around 1/4 to 1/2 of the recommended amount). Not allowing nappies and inserts to fully dry prior to use also can contribute to smells.

If your nappies are smelly the first thing to do is try and determine the cause. If you think its leaving them too long before washing, try washing every second day. If you find it hard to remember to do this, reduce the size of your nappy bucket or bag so it only just fits 1 -2 days worth of nappies at most, and wash as soon as it is full.

If you think it may be detergent buildup that is causing smells, you can do a strip wash to help remove the excess detergent, then continue to wash your nappies with a reduced amount of detergent. To strip wash your nappies, wash them on a long, hot wash cycle with no detergent. this may need to be repeated if there is a lot of detergent.

I have also found Detol Sanitary Laundry Rinse fantastic to help reduce smells in my nappy wash. Just add about 1/8 cup to the fabric softer dispenser in your washing machine.

Jenny from Baby Bare:

Nappies often get a awful odour to them which is hard to get rid of. Make sure your nappies are drying properly between each use. The smell can be a dank smell from not drying. Also try and get them to dry as quickly as possible. I often put my nappies in the sun and finish the inserts off in the dryer for ten minutes (I dont put the nappy outers in to avoid the heat destroying the waterproof coating of the nappy) to make sure they are dry and dried quickly!

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