This is Day 196 of the Green in 365 series!
Guest Post by Erin of Diaper HQ
I have sympathy for people using cloth diapers who are having leak, stink and/or rash trouble. These issues are, fortunately, totally preventable. Unfortunately, there is SO much to know about cloth diapering, that it can be hard if you don’t have someone to guide you in the right direction when you are getting started. Cloth diapering can be so easy if you know what you need to know.
There are a lot of common mistakes that are made when it comes to cloth diapering. Wrong detergent, wrong rash cream, wrong wash routine….I could go on and on. But, for the sake of not overwhelming you, I am picking just one of these common mistakes and giving you the know how to fix it and start afresh!
How to Get Rid of Build Up on Your Cloth Diapers from Dryer Sheets
I decided on dryer sheets for today’s topic. I know some of you are saying “I know, I know….everyone knows not to dry cloth diapers with dryer sheets!” Yes, but unfortunately, not everyone knows you can’t even use them on your clothing laundry if your diapers are dried in the same dryer!
Dryer sheets are designed to melt fabric softener off of those sheets when heated. There are all kinds of oils and chemicals that are released onto your clothing when your dryer heats up. So, the inevitable is, that it gets on your dryer drum as well!
What do you suppose happens when your dryer cools? It solidifies on your dryer drum. And of course once it warms up again it melts off and transfers onto whatever is tumbling around in your dryer. Diapers are made to be absorbent, therefore they not only get coated with these oils, but they also absorb them.
Do Your Diapers Have Dryer Sheet Build-Up?
Here are a few ways to know if you are suffering from dryer sheet build up…
• Rash – If your little one is getting frequent diaper rash that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
• Leaks – If your diapers seem to repel or leak rather than absorb. A good way to test this is to take a clean dry diaper and hold it under trickling water. If the water rolls right off or takes longer than 4-5 seconds to absorb there is a buildup issue. But let’s shoot straight – when your kiddo is wearing a diaper and within an hour his pants are all wet – that’s a pretty obvious sign!
• Smell – If your diapers are really starting to get a funky smell when pee’d on but smell nice and fresh (dryer sheet fresh) when dry.
• Discoloration – If your diapers have an overall yellowed or grey tint to them it may be from dryer sheet build up.
Sound familiar? Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! (I can hear you from Goshen, IN!) Don’t panic yet! Your diapers aren’t necessarily ruined, there is hope with some time and determination.
Clean Your Dryer
The first thing you need to do, is head to the store and buy yourself some blue Dawn original dish soap (ONLY buy this kind because of its amazing grease cutting action), and a few bottles of lemon juice. Then, make up a super, soapy, bucket of HOT water with the Dawn soap and scrub the living daylights out of the inside of your dryer drum with a sponge. I mean SCRUB!!
It’s going to take some serious elbow grease and time, but you can get it off! Once you have your dryer clean, you will want to get the soap out of the dryer. Throw a few really wet towels into your dryer and turn it on high heat. Let it go until they are completely dry. This should get most everything off. If you are still a little nervous that there is build up on your dryer wall you can repeat the process again.
Strip Your Diapers
Now, on to those diapers. It’s going to take a little while, so you may need to buy some disposable diapers or borrow some cloth diapers from someone. Recently, we had a customer who found out she had build up and I offered to strip her diapers for her, if she would allow me to use them as an example.
She had been using the diapers for nearly a year and had been using the dryer sheets only on her clothing. NOT ON HER DIAPERS! She was having leaks and her little B was getting diaper rashes. Here is a step-by-step of what I did to get her diapers back in working order.
1. Hot Wash Cycles
First I threw them into the washer with 2-3 tsp. of the Dawn dish soap. Then I ran a hot long wash cycle. Once it was finished, I did another hot wash cycle with no soap. Then I repeated this process seven times! Yes, that is 14 wash cycles!
2. Hang in the Sun with a Lemon Juice Solution
Then, I mixed a solution of 50% lemon juice and 50% water. I completely soaked each insert, and diaper into the solution, wrung them out and hung them in the sun for a full day. The acid in the lemon juice can break down any remaining build up and it will also naturally bleach them out. Win-Win!
3. Check Your Diapers for Repelling
Pour water onto the diapers to check to if they are still repelling. You can see here that there are dry spots in the diaper after it has been completely soaked. That means there is still build up in those areas even after all of those washes and hanging in the sun!
Typically you could just do a long wash cycle and be done, but since baby B’s diapers still had repelling areas I went back in for more! I did 2 more rounds of the Dawn soap and I scrubbed the soap into the diapers that were still repelling before washing. Whew!
The diapers were in much better shape post stripping, but, the true test was putting those diapers back on baby B’s bottom. I checked in and Mama said they are absorbing better! Yay!!
Now that you know you can’t use dryer sheets, I am sure you’re wondering what in the world you should use to get the static out of your clothes. It’s easy! Get yourself some wool dryer balls! They last forever and in the long run are cheaper. Not to mention you don’t have chemicals sitting on your skin all day long like you do with dryer sheets!
My favorites are Woolzies brand, but there are many other options. You can also find tutorials online for how to make your own dryer balls. If you find yourself in a predicament with your cloth diapers, please contact us! We are happy to help you out and trouble shoot so you can have the best diapering experience possible! www.diaperhq.com or [email protected]
Erin and Ashley are cloth diapering mamas and co-owners of Diaper HQ – a local business in Goshen, IN that helps families get started with cloth diapering by offering in home consultations and their unique Test Drive Kit, which allows parents to try cloth diapers on their little one before deciding what to buy. They also have a online store, DiaperHQ.com where you can stock up on all your cloth diapering needs, as well as order a Test Drive Kit if you live in other areas of the country. If you have any questions about cloth diapering, they are always happy to help, contact them at [email protected].
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*Emily’s note: I am so thankful to Erin for this post! I had no idea you weren’t supposed to use dryer sheets in the same dryer as cloth diapers! I use wool dryer balls and love them, but I think some of my diapers might have some build-up issues from the days long ago when I used to use dryer sheets! I’ll definitely be using this method to get them back in great working condition!
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the great giveaway from Diaper HQ this week! You could win a bumGenius Freetime Cloth Diaper, a Fuzzi Bunz Diaper Tote and a copy of Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert ebook! Click here to enter the giveaway!
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