We've been happily using our bumGenius cloth diaper with C for over 18 months now, but a few things have thrown a wrench in our perfect system. Between toddler pee and hard water, we are starting to get....the stinkies.
What are the stinkies, you ask? Basically, the diapers smell clean when they come out of the wash, but the second your kid pees on it, an acrid smell of ammonia and death becomes overwhelming. You'd swear it was a dirty diaper when really, its only pee. We began having the same issue with our bath towels (not because of pee, obviously) where they'd smell musty the second they got wet. Again, from the hard water build up keeping dirt and bacteria in the absorbent fabric.
After asking around and reading a ton of articles and message boards I've come up with a plan of action to fix this icky problem. First, strip the diapers really, really, really well.
The covers went into a big bucket of hot water and Dawn soap to soak. After a good soak, they'll be rinsed in the tub and run through a regular wash cycle. Dawn breaks down any residual oils and build up in the diapers just like it cleans grease and oil from dishes. This part is simple, but they're not really the problem anyway.
The microfiber inserts have their own long, complicated routine. First, I boiled the inserts in a huge stock pot on the stove. The good news is that they seemed to really fluff up and release a lot of soap and crap into the water bath. The bad news is that my kitchen kind of smells like warm pee. Oh well.
Next, I threw them all into the washer for a ton of rinses, a wash cycle, and more rinses. We've also begun adding more water to our front loading washer through the detergent drawer. Nothing is getting clean if the microfiber soaks up what little water the machine uses and spends an hour slapping around the drum! Hopefully, this helps get them less smelly! They are currently on their last rinse and then they'll go into the dryer. I'll update later how this works! If it doesn't work, I'm going to be doing a strip cycle with RLR Laundry Treatment to help breakdown whatever the hard water is leaving behind.
On the soap front, we recently switched to Rockin Green Hard Rock, which will help with mineral build up from the water, and Funk Rock, which will help keep ammonia from sticking....once we get rid of the current build up. Wish us luck! I'm sick of having so much pee smell in my life.
Another revamp to our diapers is much less gross. When we started cloth diapering, we chose velcro closures on our diapers since snaps were not yet available on bumGenius diapers. We loved the custom fit of the velcro, but after 18 months of washing and drying the velcros strips were absolutely falling apart. There was no way they were going to last through potty training, no less any further.
I researched simple fixes and even considered buying some new diapers until I heard about Convert My Diapers. Take the velcro strip and tabs off, throw them in the mail, choose your snap colors and for a few dollars a diaper, get back perfectly converted snap diapers!
We converted 15 diapers and had one snap diaper repaired. With shipping both ways, it cost us about $60 to have most of our diaper stash completely rejuvenated. It would have cost us well over $200 to replace them! The diapers came back in about a week and a half and we LOVE the results. The snaps work perfectly and the coordinating colors are so fun! As soon as I get all of our dipes out of the Dawn bath I'll post a picture. All in all, I highly recommend this service.
So, the short story is that we're still happily cloth diapering, even if it does keep us on our toes now and then. ;-)