How to Keep Cloth Diapers from Smelling

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 19, 2011

Father and son Even fresh and clean diapers can smell unfortunately. If you have been washing the same cloth diapers for weeks now, you have probably noticed this distinctive smell which has somehow attached itself to your baby’s diapers and you cannot seem to eliminate it. What is it and why can’t you get rid of it? This article will help to explain how to keep cloth diapers from smelling.



Detergent residue is one of the causes of this unwholesome stink. The reason for this is mothers often feel they need to use more detergent than is advised to clean the diapers initially, and when this isn’t washed out properly, it’s deposited as residue on the cloth diapers when the wash cycle is over. This causes a foul smell on the cloth diapers after they dry out.

Conversely, to counter this issue, mothers might relax the amount of detergent they use, and of course this isn’t enough to clean the diaper from what the baby deposited. It’s advised to use about half your normal quantity – for a regular wash – and give the diapers an extra rinse to eliminate the detergent residue that hasn’t been washed out in the initial wash cycle.

Wash them frequently


Try not to leave the diapers sitting in the wash basket for lengthy periods. Wash them every 2-3 days. The longer they are left unwashed – and in an unsanitary environment – the harder it will be to eradicate the smell. Try to keep the diaper basket as clean and as dry as possible too.

When you are considering how to dry the diapers, allow them to dry in the hot sun and wind instead of the dryer or a heater. The sun and wind have natural properties – the sun is a natural bleaching agent – and they can eliminate this diaper stink more effectively than other methods. Plus, it’s cheaper than using the dryer or heater.


Products available


When this issue became apparent to the cloth diaper industry – and those interested in baby products – there was a drive to produce something that would totally eliminate this frustrating diaper smell. They tend to produce these in a baby-friendly manner – free from materials which you baby make be allergic to – so they are perfectly safe. There are plenty of these products available in supermarkets and stores dedicated to mother care.

Getting rid of that diaper smell will improve the ambiance of your home. It’s an unpleasant smell that seems to linger in your home so hopefully this article explained to you how to keep cloth diapers from smelling.



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