Monday, August 15, 2011

Hard Water Woes/Stripping

I've been using cloth on my 2 year old for several weeks now and aside from some tight-leg issues on the Kawaiis, he likes them and I like them too! He requests certain patterns- it's super cute. (Note: I bought many different styles within the same brand for the baby and am trying them out on Mac. He is at the top of the weight range for these diapers thus the tight leg holes. For the baby I have plans to use many different styles to see what works/fits best including the Kawaiis I already have. It's good to try out different styles and brands- I wouldn't suggest buying all one brand unless you try them out first and know they're the perfect ones for your baby!)

The washing is no big deal. That was my biggest fear entering this process. I was nervous that the washing routine would be too much. It's SO not. It's about three extra loads of laundry a week. I do have a problem washing my diapers though- HARD WATER! On top of hard water, I have a front loading High Efficiency washer. Don't get me wrong, I love my HE washer, just not for my cloth diapers. See with HE there is a very limited amount of water that goes into the washing/rinsing process. In some cases, the diapers just soak up all the water and flop around in there. Not great for getting out that ammonia smell. Plus the majority of my diapers are synthetic which hold onto to the ammonia smell more than natural fibers. I've done a lot of research on this and found a few things that I thought I'd pass on. Some of this is my own trial and error, some is from online sources, some from friends!

Lesson 1: Rinse, Wash, Rinse Again!
I found a great article (well MANY great articles but this is the one that I use) about hard water/HE washers. This site actually has a lot to say about troubleshooting cloth diaper washing! 

Here is what had to say about this problem:

Front Loader/HE Washers 
• Load diapers into the washer, then run a "rinse and spin" cycle on the delicate setting, or with "no spin" at all if you have that option. Cold water is fine. This will saturate the diapers. When you start with diapers already soaking wet, the water the washer adds when you run the main wash cycle, will be enough to actually wash the diapers!
• Then I add detergent and run a normal hot cycle with an extra rinse (and extra fast spin to minimize drying time). 
Many front loaders have a Sanitary cycle with extra hot water. We don't recommend using this every time you wash your diapers, as it will shorted their useful life, but using it once or twitce a month or so will keep your diapers smelling fresh.

Okay, so I've implemented this using my Crunchy Clean detergent. It's helped but not solved the problem. There is still some ammonia smell. So I've started doing the wash cycle twice. Kinda defeats the purpose of using an HE machine, huh? I've also tried washing (twice) with Rockin Green detergent. What happens to your cloth dipes with all this soap and not much water to wash it out? Build up! So I'm currently experimenting with a Pre-Rinse with No Spin, Wash w/ Rinse (Hot Wash/Cold Rinse), EXTRA Rinse with Extra Water and High Spin! Extra water but less build up and hopefully cleaner diapers! 

Lesson 2: Stripping
I haven't done this yet but I've heard that stripping your cloth diapers is a must on occasion but if you have hard water, it's needed much more often. The detergent doesn't fully rinse from the fabric and it causes build up, which causes leaks! I'm getting to this point. I'm noticing that after only two weeks the diapers are less absorbent so I need to do this. Here are some methods for stripping I've heard are effective. I'll let you know later which ones I end up doing and how they work!

SensiClean Soap- I've heard that using this instead of your normal detergent when build up occurs can strip those diapes! Seems like an easy fix! 

Multiple Washes- You do your wash cycle as normal, then add some extra washes and rinses without detergent. Normally, one hot water wash without suds, then several rinses. If you have hard water or an HE washer, more hot water washes may be necessary. The point of this is to rinse and rinse until there is no evidence of soap in the water. has some good info about this and other methods here

Other Methods- Vinegar. Dishsoap. Hand scrubbing. Boiling. The dishwasher. Bleach *gasp*. I've heard of many different methods to remove build up and smell. It's a trial and error. However, I've heard that beach is never a good idea and should be used as a last resort. Never tried it myself so I couldn't say but most friends/sites I've referred to warn against this method. Here is a list of links that you might find helpful for other methods:

Scroll over to see the info on this one- lots of product ideas!
Cloth Diapers... Made Easy!

Many methods and info on diaper stripping here.
Lite Green Living

This site talks about Mineral and Rash Cream build up removal in addition to stripping.
Little For Now

I will post updates to this as my cloth diaper washing routine changes, aka newborn diapers! Perhaps cotton prefolds will smell less over time? We'll see!

Happy washing!



jess nelson said...

i too always do a rinse/wash cycle unless they are starting to leak then i def. do a second rinse!! i have issues washing diapers when i'm visiting my dad b/c he too has a front loader. I find that they do build up faster then at home with my top loader. also i do the stripping sometimes once a month or every other month with dawn blue dish soap...jst a tbs and rinse until the bubbles are gone and this does make them like new again ;0)

Amber ~ The Cloth Diaper Convert ~ said...

Jess- I think my next step is the Dawn dish soap! I'll see. Grr. Frustrated. I love cloth diapering but hate this troubleshooting! Once I get that formula down I know it will all be worth it though!

Cloth Diaper Contests said...

Amber, I recommend adding another preliminary RINSE cycle before you add a second FULL cycle. Here's what works for us (took a long time to figure it out!)

1) Cold rinse & spin (rinses away lingering urine & solids since they get DRAINED with the spin--otherwise they hang around and re-deposit during the wash cycle). "Water Plus" is turned on.

2) Warm rinse, no spin (I actually also add 1/4 cup vinegar into this cycle and pause it in the middle of the agitating for a soak. This is the ONLY thing that has kept the ammonia smell at bay for us. But regardless what you decide about the vinegar, do the extra rinse/no spin. It leaves CLEAN water in to make the load heavier). "Water Plus" is turned on.

3) Hot/cold wash cycle (cotton/towels) with "Water Plus" and 1 heaping tsp detergent (Country Save for us). I'll often add extra hot water in through the detergent drawer during this wash/rinse cycle (if I'm around).

4) I run a full Warm/Warm Delicate cycle as the final rinse (34 minutes for us). I use "Water Plus" and often dump in more water.

This FINALLY has gotten me to a point I'm happy with. For us, the vinegar was the one critical ingredient. Good luck! :)


Anonymous said...

I don't know whether it's just me or if perhaps everyone
else experiencing issues with your blog. It appears as though some
of the written text on your content are running off the screen.

Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them
too? This may be a issue with my web browser because I've had this happen before. Cheers

Also visit my blog post - %anchor_text%

Anonymous said...

I do not know if it's just me or if everyone else encountering problems with your site. It seems like some of the text on your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my web browser because I've
had this happen before. Appreciate it

my website - more helpful hints

Anonymous said...

Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and
I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice methods and
we are looking to exchange techniques with others, why not
shoot me an email if interested.

Look into my web page - external link

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I hope you don't mind but I decided to submit your website: to my internet directory website. I used, "Blogger: The Cloth Diaper Convert" as your weblog headline. I hope this is fine with you. In the event that you'd
like me to change the title or remove it entirely, contact me at Thank you so much.

Here is my web page; useful reference

Anonymous said...

Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice
from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog?
I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I'm thinking about
setting up my own but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

Feel free to surf to my web site; cheapest auto insurance quotes

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i'll settle for bookmarking and
adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates
and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.
Chat soon!

Feel free to visit my site: click this link now

Anonymous said...

Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

My weblog ... Suggested Online site

Anonymous said...

Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace
group? There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you

my web site - great site

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why
waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative
to read?

My web-site - Full Article

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am about to start my own website and was wondering if you know where the best place to acquire
a blog url is? I'm not even sure if that's what its known as?
(I'm new to this) I'm referring to "".

Exactly how do I go about acquiring one of these for the website I'm building? Thanks

Feel free to visit my web site: related internet page - -

Anonymous said...

Howdy. I'm sorry to trouble you but I happened to run across your blog and discovered you happen to be using the exact same theme as me. The only issue is on my site, I'm
struggling to get the page layout looking like yours.
Would you mind contacting me at: ulrichchaney@inbox.
com so I can get this figured out. By the way I've bookmarked your web-site: and will certainly be visiting frequently. Thank you!

My web page visit our website

Anonymous said...

I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would
be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

Feel free to surf to my website: link building services ()

Anonymous said...

Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

my web-site :: Read This

Anonymous said...

Woah! I'm really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It's simple, yet
effective. A lot of times it's hard to get that "perfect balance" between usability and visual appeal. I must say you've done a amazing job with this.
Additionally, the blog loads super fast for me on Chrome.
Outstanding Blog!

my page - cheap auto insurance california

Anonymous said...

My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post's to be precisely what I'm
looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content
available for you? I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome weblog!

Also visit my web page how to do link building :: ::

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on.
Any suggestions?

My web-site cheap backlinks

Post a Comment