Q & A: wash routine & diaper creams

What is a good, cost effective way to disinfect OBV Goodmamas to get rid of yeast? My regular prefolds I can bleach once a month but what about Organic
Bamboo diapers? I’ve tried peroxide with only temporary success, but I had to do it every time and it got so expensive! We’ve had to stop using them because my one-year old had terrible recurring yeast infections!

(A note on my wash routine: We have pretty hard water, and my washer has no hot water running to it. I prewash with 1/2 cup vinegar, then wash with 1 squirt Dawn, 1 Tbsp Calgon and 1 Tbsp Original Tide Powder. Once a month I follow that with one last wash with a cap or two of bleach, no detergent. We use a tumble dryer on hot.)

My reply to this customer was:
As much as we hear and read about the effectiveness of natural yeast treatments, the reality is they do not work 100% of the time with 100% of babies/toddlers. Some of these natural remedies include Tea Tree Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract (another natural oil found in health food stores), and other remedies such as applying monistat to the child and laying the diapers in the sun to kill the yeast. These will work for some children, but if you are finding you have a yeast problem that keeps coming back, our stance is you do not want to put your child’s health at risk, and it is time to pull out the bleach. As much as it kills us to see pretty dyed fitteds, prefolds or cotton covers, fitteds and pockets fade, your baby’s health takes the trump here, and you just don’t want to mess with yeast, especially a strain that comes back again. I am one to advise bleach on the first occurance of yeast, you have to make your decision on the risks/benefits to using bleach, but I personally would want the problem taken care of once, and know my diapers have been disinfected. 1/4 cup of clorox will do this, on all diapers, inserts, wipes, pail liners, wet bags, etc. You do have to treat the child with an anti-fungal as well, your pediatrician will be able to prescribe one for you, and the child should be rash free for 48 hours before returning to the disinfected cloth.

Additionally for this customer, we wanted to work on the wash routine. Our stance on vinegar is that it should not be used in a regular wash routine, unless you have vry, very hard water. I mean hard as in you are scrubbing mineral deposits off of your shower heads once a week. Vinegar works to neutralize your water to let the detergent do what it needs to do, but on a regular basis can wear down your PUL and elastic, and it just isn’t needed. We also do not recommend Dawn on a regular basis. Dawn is a dish soap, and the hoses of your washing machine are not made to handle a high sudsing dish detergent. Many HE machines will not take this well, and you can void your machine warranty by using Dawn. There are other ways to strip diapers that are more effective and safe for your machines than Dawn. For 99.99% of customers, one tablespoon of detergent will not do the job on diapers. Diapers are fabric sitting in feces and urine for usually 12 hours to sometimes 38/48 hours, you wouldn’t trust your clothes or baby blankets to soak in that for that long with one tablespoon of detergent, so don’t use so little on your diapers. The only exceptions here are the customers with extremely soft water who can use that little and still not encounter any odors out of the dryer. Remember to press your dried diapers up to your nose and take a big whiff, if you smell any old feces or urine you are leaving bacteria behind to be put back on your baby.

You can wash cloth diapers in cold water, we have customers overseas who do not have hot water in their machines, and domestic customers who have trouble getting hot water to their machines. For these conditions, please email us at AbbysLane@…, it does involve more steps and more sanitizing then if you can use hot water, but it can be done without leaving behind bacteria or risking yeast to your child.

Are creams quite as much of an issue with prefolds as they are with other diapers, e.g., pockets, fitteds, etc.? I use mostly pockets (FuzziBunz, BumGenius, Blueberry–my favorite) and prefolds. Perhaps it’s just because I find that they wash out so much more easily, but I don’t worry so much about the creams on my prefolds. Am I crazy and completely ruining my diapers?

My reply was:
Creams are a funny issue 🙂 Some customers can slather Desitin on by the bucket, wash on their regular cycle and never have a stain or odor linger. Other customers will try to use a pea-sized amount of Northern Essence cream or vaseline, and end up with staining and stink on the very first wash. If you are blessed to be able to use whatever creams you want without problems, consider yourself lucky 🙂

We do recommend our cream test to see how any given cream reacts with your wash routine:

As far as certain diapers retaining creams more than others, that really relies on individual washing conditions as well. Personally, I stay away from Desitin because it always burned my children’s skin from the perfumes. I liked to mix my own little batch of corn starch and vaseline, or A&D, with a few times having to use prescription creams like Calmoseptine (insanely tacky and sticky, but works beautofully for certain rashes). My personal washing conditions found these stuck much more to my natural fibers than my pockets. I did use the liners for the prescription ones, but didn’t see as many stains as I did on my prefolds on inners of my natural fiber AIOs. Some customers will report their prefolds wash out fine but their synthetic pockets and AIOs stink to high heaven. When you take the diapers out of the dryer, again just sniff and check, creams will hold onto urine and smell “fishy” and stale, you will pick up on the odors if your creams are leading to buildup.

We just stand by our advice to do a fleece liner test, if you can make flannel liners for your natural fibers (flannel is 100% cotton), you will get an accurate test for your natural fibers. If you do run into a stain, an old toothbrush and some Dawn (in your sink, not the machine) will scrub it out. If you have buildup on all of your diapers from creams, they will need to be stripped. In summary, you won’t have buildup or cream issues be odor free, you will definitely smell something if you have this problem 🙂


May 26, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A, Wash routines.

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