Smelly Urine in Cloth Diapers

Updated on June 27, 2010
A.C. asks from Muncie, IN
11 answers

Hi Moms! I posted this at Diaperswappers and got no replies so I'm hoping someone can help! I have just started CD and have just started noticing a kind of burnt or metallic smell to my son's urine within the last few days. (To explain better...I left a rubber-backed rug in my dryer on high heat once for too long and it smells a lot like that.) I was thinking it was the waterproof lining on the diapers at first, but they do not stink at all, plus I am hang drying the covers. I am using Fuzzibunz or Flip with stay-dry inserts. Any ideas? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! Great information! It turns out it is the diapers. I bought a couple new Fuzzibunz and there was not stinky odor in them when he unrinated. I alternated them and the old ones were the ones that stink! I have ordered some Rockin Green Detergent for Hard Water and will see if that gets rid of the stink and then soak if needed with the info. I got here! Thanks so much ladies!!!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Baking soda soaks up odors. Why not soak them in soda water and/or add a box (of half a box depending on the size of the load) of baking soda to the next load. It's cheap too!

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answers from Rochester on

Is there a number some place where you could call the company and ask them directly? Like call Fuzzibunz and ask them instead of asking diaperswappers. I know there is a cloth diapering forum on where you could ask them. There's lots of very knowledgable mommies there that CD.

The only other thing I might recommend is that if you're not noticing any reaction on your child's skin to wash the diapers a few times before using them again. Soak them in hot water and some borax (borax is wonderful for deoderizing) then wash them for a few cycles. Maybe they were not completely stripped and there's something on the diaper fabric that's causing the smell.

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answers from San Diego on

I do an extra rinse with vinegar for stinky dipes! And if you can, hang them out to dry. The sun will do wonders for stains and smells.



answers from New York on

my daughters urine smells terrible.. i got her tested.. to make sure... her urine has a terrible smell if she doesn't drink enough.. so i make sure she drinks a lot.. especially some water during the day.. she is 11 now.. but it has always had a terrible smell.. ask the dr. to make sure.. but it may be just the same thing



answers from Indianapolis on

First, you don't have to hang either of those shells. It's ok if you want to, but they are made to be ok in the dryer.
Anyhow...add 2 TBS of baking soda to the wash cycle, then run a second rinse cycle with a 1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar.
That should take care of any extra smells. Also, I assume you know this, but there are only one or two special diaper rash creams that are ok with cloth diapers, if you've used a basic store-bought one, the diapers needs to be stripped because they will hold in smells.



answers from Dayton on

You might want to strip the diapers before using the Rocking Green. That way the left over detergent you were using is not still in the diaper when you try the new one. When you wash the diapers next, add a couple of really hot rinses afterward.

You will see soap bubbles on top of the water when the machine is agitating (lift the lid and turn the machine off if you have to see what is soap bubbles and what is bubbles from the turning). Hopefully, a couple rinses should do it. You'll be amazed at how much is in there - and I do promise the bubbles will be gone eventually!



answers from New York on

White vinegar. Add 2 cups to a gallon of hot water and soak them until the water cools then pour the whole thing in the washing machine and launder as you normally do. I don't know if you are hanging them outside in the sun but I have always loved the way sun dried clothes look but hated the smell and I swear I smell it even after several washes. Also you said his urine is smelling that way so maybe it's something he is eating changing the smell of his urine (kind of like if you drink coffee) You mention you just started with the CD so it's possible his urine has always smelled that way and you just never noticed before. Disposables absord some of the smell as well as the mess. Good luck!


answers from Davenport on

I second the borax recommendation. I use it and the diapers don't smell. I guess some babies can have a reaction to it but it is worth a shot.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Is it the inserts or the urine itself? I know we get some bad stink issues over here. I thought it was my daughter's urine, but it wasn't it was the diapers. I do NOT recommend Borax for soaking. It is a caustic chemical. I used it and my daughter got a really bad rash, bordering on a chemical burn. Her entire diaper area was a BRIGHT red. So, not a good idea! I would recommend putting white vinegar in your cold water rinse. I would also recommend using Rockin Green detergent. The stuff is pricey, but WELL worth it. If you just want to try it out, they have samples for very reasonably priced.
When you wash start wtih a cold water rinse with white vinegar, no soap
Then do a hot water wash with 1/4 the amount of recommended detergent (unless you're using something specifically for cloth diapers like Rockin' Green or Charlies)
Then do another cold rinse.
If you have hard water, you'll need to use Calgon Water Softener (about 1/4 the recommended amount) in each load.
You can also try and strip the diapers. You need regular Dawn. I think it's about 1 tsp or maybe 2 tsp in the wash and keep washing till the suds are gone. It will probably take at least 5 hot washes. Then, I highly recommend using a detergent specifically for cloth.



answers from Phoenix on

Usually urine odor is caused by food, antibiotics, bacteria (infection), or dehydration (from what I have researched online and experienced w/ my family). I would have him checked by your pediatrician to rule out UTI, bladder infection, or kidney infection (all can have the symptom of metallic smelling urine).



answers from Columbus on

I do a rinse, then soak the diapers overnight (or for a few hours while at work) when they are smelly. Then I rinse again, and then wash, and add 1-2 T vinegar to the rinse cycle (to the pH of the diapers back to normal after using the soda). This is for really smelly ones.

I had heard some noise on one the diaper boards that Fuzzibunz sometimes get lingering odor, but I don't have that problem with mine. Sometimes some of the covers do get smelly, so I just reuse them less and wash them more often.

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