Can't Get Mildew Smell Out of Cloth Diapers!

Updated on August 05, 2010
A.M. asks from Bend, OR
5 answers

I have been using fuzzi bunz (pocket diapers) and they have been great--washing them the same each time, no issues with smells, stains, etc...then...all of a sudden, I did a load of diapers (without any waiting between cycles), took them out of the washer, and they all had a horrible mildew smell that they didn't have before. I have washed them since, adding some baking soda and some white vinegar, washed them again in a regular cycle, etc. and nothing will get out this smell! Now I hardly want to put them on my baby--she's stinky with nothing in her diaper and she smells like a musty old attic! Any tips on how to extract a deeply penetrated mildew smell from laundry? Bleach is not an option with these diapers, nor are detergents with strong perfumes or oils. I still can't even figure out how the smell got there in the first place, but I gotta figure out something, they are too stinky to use! Thanks!

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answers from Eugene on

Try hanging them out to dry in the sun. Sunlight is a natural sterilizer, this might solve your problem.



answers from New York on

That mysteriously happened to my daughters towels and wash cloths - what finally worked for me was doing a heavy duty wash cycle with Hot Water, then 2 rinse cycles which use cold water. The detergent was Tide free.

Good Luck!



answers from Sacramento on

This happened to me once with my Bum Genius cloth diapers. Not sure why. I "stripped" the diapers by washing them in cold with 1 teaspoon of the blue Dawn dish soap. You HAVE to use the BLUE Dawn and do not use more than 1 teaspoon. It took 4 extra rinse cycles to finally get the suds out. I then lined dried the diapers and the smell was gone...never to return. Check out for more on diaper odor and stripping.



answers from Portland on

Did you use the white vinegar and soda in the rinse cycle? That might make a difference. My green cleaners booklet says to use 1-2 cups of vinegar and 1/2 c. soda. Those are listed as two options but I'd try doing both at the same time.

To prevent the smell, this booklet suggests mixing 1 c. baking soda with 1 t. tea tree oil or other essential oil, work out the lumps with a fork and sprinkle in bottom of diaper pail beneath the liner. Periodically rinse pail with vinegar and dry in the sun.



answers from Fort Wayne on

What kind of detergent are you using to wash your diapers in? If you're not already, I would suggest a detergent specifically made for cloth diapers. I use Rockin' Green Hard Rock and I love it. I had the WORST stink problems with my daughter's diapers and I'd tried everything. I finally ordered some Rockin' Green and TADA! no more stinkies!
I would recommend ordering a few samples and rockin an overnight soak on the INSERTS only. You can safely soak those. I throw my covers in for an hour, then pull them out and continue to soak the inserts. In the morning, I throw the covers back in and finish out the was cycle. (Look in your washer after it finishes agitating, you'll be amazed at the gunk in your washer). I prefer to do 2 HOT washes and 2 cold, just to make sure all the soap is out. Then hang everything on the line. The sun is amazing at killing bacteria and bleaching stains out of the diapers.
Continue to wash ONLY in Rockin' Green. You might still have to soak your inserts once in awhile.
It's ok to bleach your inserts, just not the covers. I can't stand the smell of bleach, so I try to avoid it as much as I can.
Also, I think Fuzzi Bunz does NOT recommend using vinegar or baking soda as it can break down the PUL.
Kim from Rockin Green is AMAZING at answering your laundry questions. She's on Facebook, Twitter, and you can contact her through email from the Rockin' Green website.
Good luck!

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