18 answers

Stinky Cloth Diapers

I'm using Fuzzi Bunz on my 6 week old son. I have some new ones and some used that I bought off Craigslist. When I use the used ones-they stink. I mean, I can smell pee right away (they are not leaking) when I'm breastfeeding him and I want to change him much more often w/ those. It does not happen w/ the new ones. My question is: how do I get the smell out? They still have a faint smell when they're damp (out of the dryer)even when they're clean. I wash them w/ Charlie's soap which is what is suggested. They look fine-not worn or stained. I love using these cloth diapers, but I want to be use the 7 used ones I bought!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Wash them in borax, you can buy it at Publix in the laundry section. It removes smells. You can also use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Also, try soaking them in vinegar and water before washing.

More Answers

T., the used ones need to be stripped. You have to was them in Clorox then rewash them in your babys soap. Then they'll be fine. Hope this helps.

Hi T.,
If you will look in some pet centers you will find spray that removes urine smell. I get mine at Dollar Tree.
I think if you soaked them good, let them sit for awhile & then washed you would notice a big difference. Hopefully it will remove all of the smell.


I use Fuzzi Bunz and they are all borrowed. Try a good soak then double wash in Oxyclean.

once you take the soiled diapers off, rinse them well in the sink or tub and soak them in a mixture of baking soda and warm water for 24 hours or until you wash them. Vinegar in the wash only helps if the urine acidic, so most of the time it will not make a difference. Try Totally Toddler as well. You can find it at Babies R Us or Burlington Coat Factory...it is a stain and odor remover made for babies. I used it with my cloth diapers last year and it worked wonders! Also, you can try and dry them in the sun.

I am more new to using cloth so not sure exactly how to answer but have you heard of Diaper Sewing Divas? They have a board where there are lots and lots of people that can help. I'm not sure the exact address but just google diaper sewing divas and it should come up. It is a really awesome place to ask questions about diapers and if you just want to chat with others that use cloth. I hope that helps a little! Oh and also sometimes you can find used ones on there. I bought a couple and love love them!! Not stinky here. I have heard of stripping diapers before. Not sure how to do it. But the ladies on the board who know!

I use BumGenius 3.0 diapers and I can tell you that my son's diapers get stinky often as he eats solids now and his pee and poop are worse than they were when I strickly breastfed. To get the smell out I soak my diapers in 1 part vingear 5 parts VERY HOT WATER (this is good for about 5 diapers, ytou can double if needed) for at least 8 hours (usually the night before I wash them. Make sure you keep the area dark, as the light can lessen the effects of vinegar, just throw a dark towel over the sink or bucket this should do the trick. After doing this wash your diapers on a hot cycle with calgon (if you don't have soft water) and 1 oz (measurements are on the scoop) of oxy clean and NOTHING MORE! BLEACH will ruin your diapers! Rinse twice and then here is the real trick...DO NOT PUT THE DIAPERS IN THE DRYER. The dryer is the king of holding smells, instead dry your diapers and insterts (if you have inserts) in the sun, the UV rays are naturally anti-baterial. If you have the options to dry yo9ur diapers in the sun everytime you should do this, it's free, better for the environment, and it keeps the smell out. If you diapers still stink you may need to do this process again. When I first started using diapers I thought the smell was just part of using cloth diapers, and I put them on my son stinky and all- this resulted in a horrible rash and I will never do it again. If you are unable to remove the smell from your diapers you should just toss them out. I know they are expensive, but your baby's bum is worth so much more. Good luck!

Have you tried Oxyclean. Or even using vinegar in the rinse cycle. That usually works with urine smells.

Wash them in borax, you can buy it at Publix in the laundry section. It removes smells. You can also use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Also, try soaking them in vinegar and water before washing.

You also need to make sure that there is no soap left in the rinse water when you are washing them. Check your washer during the rinse cycle and if there are still soap suds, then you need to keep rinsing them until there is no soap left. Excess soap in the diapers can cause them to smell. Once you strip them, make sure to not use a lot of detergent in the wash, just a few tablespoons for a medium load with an extra rinse cycle.

I used Fuzzibunz and when they got stinky I would rinse then twice wash them and dry let them dry in the sun. You should not use chlorine with your fuzzi's at least that's what the instructions and web sites said.

I used cloth diapers on my son 24 years ago. I always rinsed them out and then soaked them in bleach water until they were washed. I never had a problem with them. I do not know your brand of diapers and if there is something different with them but soaking them in bleach disinfects and kills odors and bacteria.

Have you tried washing them with baking soda added to the wash and vinegar in the rinse cycle? See here: http://www.diaperpin.com/howto.asp
Good luck!

When I used cloth diapers I bleeched them once a month. It made them look new again and took the smell out. Just make sure to run them through the rinse cycle twice. Also a good fabric softner in the rinse works well. Also you can put a bounce sheet in the cupboard or drawer where you keep the diapers.

Try a product called "Bac-Out" in your diaper pail. It removes bacterial odors. It is made by the company Biokleen. If you are doing a "dry" diaper pail, try doing a soaking pail instead. Good luck! Your local landfill thanks you :-)

It sounds like the ones that you bought used have detergent build up on them and need to be stripped. Here is a link to instructions for stripping diapers (she specifically mentions the pee smell, just click on stripping diapers at the top of the page): http://pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentbasics.htm#Pocket
This is a fantastic site with lots of helpful info.

In addition there are two local diaper sellers that have care instructions on their websites:
http://www.dnadiapers.com/index.php in Tampa (Seminole Heights)
http://www.cottontailbaby.com/ in Clearwater

DO NOT use fabric softener on your diapers as it causes buildup leading to leaking and the diapers not getting all the way clean which makes them smell. Not to mention the potential for causing irritation to your little one's skin.

Hi T.~

Bless you for using cloth diapers and not disposables. Vinegar will eradicate the smell of urine. Try soaking them in a strong bath of white vinegar and water before washing.



My girls are much older 11 & 13, but I used bleach on there cloth diapers when they were heavily soiled, however I always washed them a second time in dreft before I put them in the dryer.

Good Luck

Todays diapers are different than many tears ago. I believe the website says do not use bleach, oxyclean or other harsh chemicals on Fuzzi Bunz - especially not the outer cover or you could really ruin them and make it so they don't absorb or work well. Maybe the washing of just the inserts might be more lenient, but I have never been told to use anything other than the recommended soaps on the inserts or cover of Fuzzi Bunz.

I have had a urine smell happen to me before too.... when I wash I do a rinse cycle in cold, then a wash cycle with recommended detergent (very small amount) in hot, then a rinse cycle again in cold with a 1/2 c - 1 cup of vinegar. If the smell was strong, I dry the fuzzi bunz inserts in the sun...rids them of all smells and stains.

Hope that helps! Post your results!

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