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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 wouldn’t ever 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 throwing the diapers in the dryer. 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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