I am going to drop some truth on you guys here.... cloth diapers sometimes get a case of the smells. How will you know when it strikes? It should be easy to detect... An ammonia smell that takes your breath away or a poo smell that no amount of washing can get rid of. If this happens do you know what to do about it? What about how to prevent it in the future?
The cause of these smells is often buildup on the diapers. The buildup can be caused by a number of things: detergent that did not get rinsed out completely, issues with your wash routine or cycle or even diaper creams that are not safe for cloth. If you believe detergent buildup is the culprit there are a couple of fixes. First is to make sure that you are using a detergent approved for cloth diapers- Country Save, Rockin' Green, Thirsties Super Wash and Planet just to name a few. If you are using a mainstream detergent brand make sure it does not have added scents, whiteners, brighteneners etc that can build up on the diapers. When it comes to washing your stash the more basic the detergent the better. You should also be doing an extra rinse (or even two) at the end of your wash cycle to make sure that all the soap is being rinsed away. Another important element is the way in which you wash your diapers. Most experts recommend doing a cold prewash with or without a soak (I soak mine in BioKleen Bac Out overnight to help combat the smellies), then a hot wash with more than enough water. My average diaper wash load of 10-12 covers and inserts is considered a large load. When it comes to cloth diaper washing- the more water the better!
You may need to "strip" your diapers to get the buildup off. One popular method utilizes Dawn dish soap (just the plain blue kind). Just a little squirt (key word being LITTLE.. the more you add the more you will need to rinse)in a hot wash with clean diapers will help remove any built up detergent. RLR Laundry Treatment is another option for stripping diapers to remove buildup. This economical option is available on our website and in the store: http://www.softandcozybaby.com/item_375/RLR-Laundry-Treatment.htm. After you have stripped the diapers you might consider adding Rockin Green Funk Rock to every load. This "ammonia bouncer" is very popular and seem to do the trick for lots of people: http://www.softandcozybaby.com/item_426/Funk-Rock-Ammonia-Bouncer--30-loads.htm.
Another important factor in keeping your diapers smelling fresh is washing at least every 2 to 3 days. Too often I put off doing diaper wash because I have enough to get through but this inevitably causes issues. Think about it.. the longer the wet and dirty diapers sit the harder they are to get clean. When I wash every other day I find that smell is not even a factor anymore.
Are you fighting the good fight against smelly diapers? What has worked for you??