Real Nappies Problem Solving

Are Your Real Nappies Suddenly Not Waterproof? Are Your Diapers Smelly Even After Washing?

Find out how to solve these problems and many others…

I have damaged my Diaper covers what can I do?

Products that may have been damaged by natural cleaning products can sometimes be saved! Repeat the following process twice:

  • Run your covers and cloth diaper prefolds through a wash with hot water (if allowed by manufacturer's washing instructions).
  • Run a second wash using 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar in the wash - and 1/2 cup vinegar again in first rinse cycle.
  • Run a second rinse cycle with plain water.

How can I look after my covers?

  • Don't use laundry detergents that contain perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleaching agents or any stain guard ingredients
  • Do use the highest water levels in your washing machine to ensure complete rinsing of diapers and covers. Any detergent residue will affect the performance of diaper products!
  • Do unfold your reusable diaper pads before soaking or washing to allow complete cleaning.
  • Do add occasionally a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle in order to remove any residual detergent. This deodorizes, sanitizes and brightens.
  • Don't overuse or use in final rinse, as this will have the opposite effect! Your diapers may become smelly.
  • Don't use any natural cleaning products that contain oils or softeners which may coat the fibers of your diaper pads or covers.

Can I use Fabric Softener in my wash?

No, we do not recommend using fabric softeners, these can build up a residue on the cloth diaper cover and affect the waterproofness. Even using dry sheets in the regular laundry can leave a waxy residue in the dryer, which can affect your cloth diaper pads and covers.

My Diapers are stained can I use bleach to whiten them?

Don't use bleach of whitening agents. The will breakdown the fibers of fabrics and destroy the waterproof membrane on your diaper covers.

When washing or soaking your cloth diapers, a good alternative to chlorine bleach is the environmentally friendly oxygenated bleach. But be careful, not all are created equal make sure the product you choose contains no additives beyond sodium carbonate. Our choice is Nappy Fresh (see accessories page).

Remember sunlight is an excellent natural whitener and sanitizer – it’s amazing to see, you can literally see the stains disappearing in the sun!

How can I strip my covers of detergent build-up?

The easiest way is to simply do several really hot washes without soap.

As a last resort at trying to strip your covers from detergent build up, you can use vinegar. PLEASE NOTE: This is a one time solution and is only for when you are trying to strip detergent residue off, as vinegar will eventually harm the covers.

How can I strip my cotton prefold Diapers of detergent build-up and stop the amonia smell?

If your diapers have suddenly lost their absorbency or your diapers are smelling strongly of amonia each time bubs pees, or if your diapers do not smell fresh when you get them out of the washing machine, chances are you have detergent build-up.

The easiest way is to simply do several really hot washes without soap.

OR If that does not work:

  • Try doing an overnight cold soak with a cup of baking soda
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the final rinse.
  • Rinse really well to make sure tea tree oil does not affect babies' skin.

OR Recipe from a customer:

  • Prewash diapers to rid any detergent residue. 
  • In the wash cycle use small amount of detergent (when washing diapers you should only use 1/4 of recommended amount), 1/2 Cup of Baking Soda, 1/2 Cup Borax,
  • Add 1 Cup of Vinegar in the rinse cycle. 
  • Then second rinse. 
  • If you can machine dry the diapers on a high heat.

Are you already using vinegar on your cotton prefolds?  If yes and no luck, stop using it!  If you are not using it, try it!  Vinegar can help the smell with some and not with others, so give it a go, White vinegar or Cider vinegar are the best to use, try switching between both types of vinegar too if one has not worked.

Hanging your diapers or covers out on the line on a really hot sunny day will bleach out the stains and the odors too.

If all else fails try washing your cotton prefolds with oxygenated bleach which is environmentally friendly.  This should only be used as last resort as bleach breaks down the fibers on your cotton and as a result the diapers wear out much quicker.  Make sure you rinse several times to get rid of the bleach.

Always try and use the highest water levels in your washing machine to ensure complete rinsing of diapers and covers. Any detergent residue will affect the performance of diaper products!

My covers are stinky even after washing!

Don't use too much detergent in your wash as this can lead to stinky ineffective diapers and covers and skin irritations. A little goes a long way!

If they smell stinky or of detergent - wash them again with less detergent and more water.

An occasional hot wash is also recommended.

Ammonia smell can be caused when diapers have sat for a while between washes - urine gradually turns to ammonia as it sits.  A great preventer is to give the diapers a rinse before popping them in a dry bucket till wash day.   If the problem persists try stripping your cotton diapers (see above section: 'how can I strip my covers of detergent build up?')

Keep your dry bucket smelling fresh by adding a few drops of tea tree oil each time you empty it - a few drops on a piece of muslin or fleece on top of the cotton diapers is the best idea. Tea tree oil has excellent antibacterial qualities that will help to keep your diapers sanitized, however, proceed with caution as small babies may be sensitive to tea tree oil.

If, when you take the diapers out of the laundry they do not smell clean, then you need to use more detergent, or a different detergent, or hotter water.

Detergent ingredients to avoid:

  • optical brighteners
  • fabric softener
  • bleach, including color safe
  • enzymes
  • fragrance

If your diapers smell fine out of the washer, but smell bad when bubs urinates, it may be that the detergent has not been totally rinsed out.  The occasional hot wash with diapers and covers goes a long way! If you change detergents, you may need to try stripping your diapers. This simply means running a full hot wash cycle without detergent, repeating until the water is free of suds. Then dry as usual. If this has not worked see section above 'how can I strip my covers of detergent build up'.

Can I use Diaper Rash Ointment with Real Nappies?

Do be careful when using diaper rash ointments, especially those containing fish oils. These can stain your diapers and covers, make them smelly and ruin their performance. Use all ointments sparingly. Our flushable liners act as a good barrier to protect your diapers from creams

How can I cut down drying time for Diapers and covers?

Luckily Real Nappies are super quick drying - the covers dry almost instantly and the cotton prefolds dry in about equivalent time to a small hand towel.

Do use an extra spin cycle after washing. This will reduce drying time up to 25%!

Do throw a dry towel in the dryer with your diapers. This will reduce drying time as well!

Help! My Diaper bucket is smelly!

Keep your dry bucket smelling fresh by adding a few drops of True Blue Organics tea tree oil (see accessories tab) each time you empty it - a few drops on a piece of muslin or fleece on top of the cotton diaper pads is the best idea.

Tea tree oil has excellent antibacterial qualities that will help to keep your diapers sanitized, however, proceed with caution as small babies may be sensitive to tea tree oil.

Mildew on your Cloth Diapers?

Removing black spots from cloth diapers or covers is tricky and what works for one may not for another!

Here are a few tips that we have found really work:

  • Hot wash your diapers and covers occasionally, Real Nappies covers and cotton inners are made for industrial washing so put them through your machine on a really hot wash.
  • Nappy Fresh Add some to your machine, this helps whitens and naturally sanitizes your cloth diapers.
  • Sunlight is an excellent natural whitener so after washing hang them on the line and make sure they see as much direct sunlight as possible.
  • Vinegar, try adding half a cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle in order to remove any residual detergent. This will sanitize, deodorize and brighten your cloth diapers.
  • Bleach, Real Nappies cotton inserts have to put up with a lot and can sometimes stain, as a last resort : try environmentally friendly oxygenated bleach. We suggest NOT using chlorine bleach as this can break down the fibers of the cotton and will destroy your covers. But be careful, not all are created equal make sure the product you choose contains no additives beyond sodium carbonate. Our choice is Nappy Fresh Sanitizer.
  • Oxygenated Bleach, If you decide to use oxygenated bleach only use approx a quarter cup of bleach and add it to the hot wash cycle.

TOP TIP:

Try rinsing the covers as soon as they come off to avoid any stains setting. Sunshine is the best whitener once the covers have been laundered. If that still fails, you can mix up the Nappy Fresh like a paste to spot remove stains (half tsp powder to 1 tsp water) apply to the stain and leave for 5 minutes before washing.

Preventing Mildew & Mould

The best way to stop mould or mildew is to prevent it happening in the first pace and here is how:

  • Drying: Ensure your cloth diapers and covers are completely dried, they may feel dry but check underneath tabs or flaps, are they totally dry? Perhaps the black spots of mildew are worse near stitching, this would mean they are not drying properly in-between uses.
  • Wash Regularly: Do not leave your cloth diapers too long between washdays. We recommend washing your cloth diapers every 2-3 days that way the stains do not have time to set in.
  • Do not cram it all in: Do not over-fill your washing machine: your soiled diapers need a lot of room to wash clean.
  • Hot Wash, Do occasionally run a hot wash on your diapers and covers: your beautiful white diapers will love you for it!
  • Dryer - Real Nappies cotton inserts and covers can both be machine dried so when the sun is not shining try throwing them in the dryer.
  • Sunlight is the best natural whitener you can get, so pop your cloth diapers and covers on the line whenever you can: as they unfold they dry so quickly and you can literally see the stains disappear!
  • Check they are dry: Make sure your covers and cloth diapers are totally dry before putting away, damp diapers encourage mildew and mould growth, which is hard to get rid of.
  • Nappy Fresh: Add a natural whitener to your machine or soak the cotton diaper inserts in a bucket with the whitener. We recommend Nappy Fresh made in New Zealand from the only the finest, natural ingredients. Simply add a dessertspoon to your washing machine and this whitens and sanitizes your cloth diapers. NOTE: We do not recommend soaking the diaper covers. We do not recommend using chlorine bleach on the cotton inserts or diaper covers as this can destroy the fabric and affect waterproofness.
  • Do not soak the covers. With Real Nappies Covers there is no need for these to remain damp for any prolonged period of time. Simply rinse between uses and pop in the washing machine with your other clothes, do not soak or store the diaper covers with the cotton diapers.
  • Smelly Diapers: the main cause of this is improper washing where the cloth diapers do not get properly cleaned or a build up of detergent residue.

So remember:

  • Wash smaller loads
  • Do occasionally run a hot wash
  • Do not leave your soiled diapers unwashed for longer than 3 days
  • DO occasionally add half a cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle in order to remove any residual detergent. This will sanitize, deodorize and brighten your cloth diapers.
  • Unfold your diapers: make sure your cloth diapers are unfolded before they go in the washing machine to allow complete cleaning
  • Highest water levels: use the highest you can on your washing machine to ensure complete rinsing of your cloth diapers and covers. Any detergent residue can affect the performance of diaper products!
  • Tea Tree Oil: Keep your diaper bucket smelling fresh by adding a few drops of Tea Tree Oil each time you empty it : a few drops on a piece of muslin or fleece on top of the cotton diaper inserts is the best idea. Please proceed with caution with Tea Tree Oil: small babies may be sensitive to the oil.
  • Bleach: When washing or soaking your cloth diapers, a good alternative to chlorine bleach is the environmentally friendly oxygenated bleach. But be careful, not all are created equal make sure the product you choose contains no additives beyond sodium carbonate. Our choice is Nappy Fresh Sanitizer.

Dry Pail Option

Our favorite way to store and wash cloth diapers is using the Dry Pail method. Most cloth diaper users have moved away from soaking their diapers and the Dry Pail method is definitely a favorite now, here is how to do it:

  • Use Nappy Liners to catch the solids, these can be flushed away with the solids, no more smelly bins!
  • Simply pop the wet diaper into a container with a snug lid: a bucket or similar is ideal.
  • Do not add any solution or water to the bucket (hence the term dry pail).
  • Leave the diaper until washday!
  • Every 2-3 days on washday simply transfer the entire contents of the bucket to the washing machine.
  • Add a dessertspoon of Nappy Fresh to your machine, in addition to your ordinary washing powder, and turn it on : no need to hot wash!

Please remember, the longer your soiled diapers sit dirty, the harder it is to get out the stains. If the bioliner has not caught all the solids, give your diapers a quick rinse before Dry Pailing them. Soiled diapers are the ideal breeding ground for mould, mildew and bacteria, so make sure your wash your diapers every 2-3 days to keep them clean, fresh and white!

Good Luck and if you have any more tips we would love to hear them!