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Published on March 18th, 2013 | by Jessica von Wallenstein


Spring Cleaning: Bleaching Your Cloth Diapers

Confession: I’m afraid of bleach.  I never use it for any of my laundry or in my household cleaning.  So when I read on the Cotton Babies website that I’m supposed to add bleach to my diaper wash cycles once a month, I completely ignored it.  I figured I would never need to bleach them.

That worked for me for over two years.  I had to strip my diapers pretty frequently, but we didn't have any issues.  Then we moved to a new house with hard water and my diapers started suffering.  They would smell bad the instant my kids peed in them.  Many times I went to change a diaper expecting to see a dirty diaper, but found it was only wet.  They smelled like a barnyard – a dirty barnyard.  I stripped them over and over, switched detergents, soaked them, and tried every cycle my washing machine has.  Nothing worked for more than a day or two.

The final straw was when my daughter got a nasty ammonia diaper rash.  The poor thing looked like she had a sunburn on her bum.  I felt terrible, and finally decided to try bleaching the diapers.

To sanitize my diapers, I just added ¼ cup of bleach to the wash cycle, then did two rinse cycles before drying the diapers.  You can find the complete instructions for cleaning your cloth diapers here.

I was BLOWN AWAY by the results.  My diapers actually smell clean!  As in, they don’t smell like a gas station bathroom anymore.  My inserts are much whiter and all my pretty covers look just as bright and shiny as they did before.  My stash is 90% BumGenius, but I bleached all my cloth diapers and cloth wipes with no discoloration on any covers.

So if you’re dealing with stink or ammonia issues, give it a try.  I was so frustrated with my cloth diapers and now I’m in love with them all over again.

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About the Author

Jessica von Wallenstein is a stay at home mom who chronicles her parenting adventures at She has a daughter born in September 2010 and a baby boy on the way and will be buried in cloth diapers for the foreseeable future.

5 Responses to Spring Cleaning: Bleaching Your Cloth Diapers

  1. Anonymous says:

    Our water is hard too, the only thing that worked was bleach, I have BG’s and totsbots, at first I really worried I’d damage them but now its a monthly routine and they have remained stink free :-)

  2. Jessica P. says:

    I have bleached the covers, stay dry inserts, and the flip hemp inserts all together. No problems! So happy that I can bleach them without destroying my entire stash!

  3. Becky says:

    I haven’t dont the BG 4.0 covers…but I bleach the inserts. Can I bleach the covers without messing up the color? I’ve been afraid to do it!

  4. What about natural fiber inserts, like hemp and bamboo? Is it ok/ a good idea to bleach those?

    Thepierogiemama @

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