My cloth nappies smell/treating thrush

Stripping (cleaning with Oxygen or chemical bleach) is required when

1.Day or night nappies start to smell when baby pees in a clean day nappy (ammonia build up).

2.Baby has thrush /fungal infection.

1. Ammonia build up

This happens when nappies are not getting cleaned properly in the machine and is characterised by a strong smell of urine when baby wees in a clean nappy. Go through the check list below.

Wash routine check list

1. Is the machine ¾ full? Not more or less. Nappies need agitation to get clean.

2. Do you have hard water? Nappies must be washed at 40`C if hard water is present. Powder detergent must be used and 10% bit more. Never wash our covers on 40`C - you can add the covers to clothes below 30`C.

3. Are you using a detergent on our list? If not, we recommend it for our nappies which will prevent and treat build up. Do not use any type of baby detergent, it is not suitable for cloth use. Do not use detergents that are not on the list. Omo has not given good results.

4. Is the machine cycle on the cotton / longest (minimum 2 hour cycle).

5. Are the nappies being rinsed in the machine before the main cycle?

6. Are night nappies being prewashed in the machine for one hour the day they come off the bum? This really works. If the nappy is only hand rinsed and left in a basket, the chances of build up are quite high. See our wash page on how to wash night nappies.

2. Thrush

Thrush fungal spores live in cloth (nappies, boosters, cloth wipes and liners but not covers) and unless treated, will reinfect baby. Strip nappies, boosters, liners, wipes not covers.

You can cloth diaper using flats only if they are hot ironed after each wash (you cannot iron layered nappies like fitteds or boosters). The heat kills the spores in a single layer of fabric. When using cream, use a disposable liner to protect the flat.

How to strip

Strip nappies, boosters, wipes, liners. Not covers. It is safe - just follow the dilution instructions to prevent any colour fading issues.

1.Stripping with chemical bleach 

In the bath
1 cup bleach for a full bath (30 nappies).
1/2 cup bleach for a 1/2 full bath(15 nappies).
1/4 cup bleach for a 1/4 full bath(under 10 nappies).
Add enough cold tap water to cover the nappies.
Dilute bleach in a jug of water first, then mix into the bath water before adding nappies.
Keep nappies in the bath for 30min, and maximum time of 45 minutes. Mix around a few times during this time.
Follow with a warm (30 degrees), short wash (add detergent, no softener) in the machine to break down the bleach. This step must be done.

In the machine
Add the bleach to a litre of water in a jug and mix. Add this to your detergent drawer once the machine has filled up with water.
Run a cold wash.
Run a warm wash (30 degrees), (add detergent) to make sure bleach rinses out. This wash must be warm not cold. Add warm water to your machine if need be. 

2. Stripping with oxygen bleach

Roodt bio bubbles or Nurturer Oxygen bleach (50g) are both great (follow the instructions on the packet). Leave the nappies soaking in a bath of tap water with the product, for two hours.  Add to the machine and wash with detergent on 30 degrees.

More than one treatment may be needed if ammonia build up is severe. Oxygen bleach is a natural product. If nappies still smell after the treatment, do it again or consider doing a chemical bleach strip below.

3. Using grapeseed extract

If you do not want to use chemical bleach, you can add 10 - 20 drops of GSE to the final rinse during your main wash. It is then best to do a hot wash of 40 degrees and/or hang nappies in the direct sun after. 

    Email us if you are stuck.