The other day I was doing a load of cloth diapers and what do I find? MOLD! What? OMG! Really?? Ugh!!!
So there I am holding what I thought was my ruined investment! So I ran to the computer and did some thorough research on eliminating mold in my diapers. In short, here is what I found that helped me to get rid of the mold and make my cloth diapers look brand new again!
To remove the mold from my cloth diapers I first did a bleach-water soak consisting of approximately 1 Tablespoon of bleach per gallon of COLD water OR 1/2 cup for Medium load washer. You want to use PLAIN OLE’ BLEACH, Not the scented or splashless types! I soaked them for 40 minutes. After my bleach soak was completed, I rinsed with HOT water, followed by a HOT wash with my normal detergent.
This was all it took for my circumstances however I am sure it may not work for every situation, therefore I will provide you with the other options I found.
If you have a lot of iron in your water, you shouldn’t use the bleach soak! Instead, try the Peroxide & Borax soak. Here’s How: Start by pouring 1 cup of Borax and 4 cups of hydrogen peroxide into 1/2 bathtub of cold water. If you have a NON-HE washer, you could do this on a medium load setting washing machine. Soak for 30 minutes to an hour followed by a wash consisting of your normal detergent plus 1 cup of borax and 4 cups of hydrogen peroxide. Finally rinse again in plain water.
Mold can grow almost anywhere inside and outside the home. There are countless varieties of mold all over the world and depending they can vary depending on the location and country. Tropical countries and other types of warm environments allow mold to thrive and grow, which explains the reason why it’s more common to see mold growing during the hot summer months. Mold tends to commonly grow in the kitchen and bathroom, but other spaces like the living room can allow mold to thrive in leather seats and cushions. They vary in color and have differing odors, but typically people will react with stuffiness in the nose, some eye irritation, rashes, and wheezing. While mold isn’t always dangerous, it can become toxic and have long-term effects, so it’s important to prevent further growth and eliminate it as soon as possible.
Cloth diapers are susceptible to mold. While constant maintenance of diapers prevents the growth of mold, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to allow some to grow. Mold in diapers can be as simple as specks, or as crazy as large markings or stains. Babies urinate and poop quite often, with smaller infants having such tiny bladders and bowels that they go around every two hours (incidentally this is typically the same as the feeding cycle). The urine mixed with the humidity in the environment is one of the biggest causes of mold and it’s especially important to prevent accumulation of liquids in the diaper.
The mold in diaper originates from spores which is what fungus uses to basically reproduce. There are quite a few materials (some naturals and others man-made) that can kill the mold in diapers, but the most common one I can think of is bleach. By spraying bleach in diapers you allow it to kill the spores and eliminate the mold from the source. However, one aspect that most people can forget is that mold spores can attach to almost any surface. If you forget to spray the storage area for the diapers, the mold will continue to grow as it is one of the most resilient organisms in the world. To kill mold you have to be thorough, precise, and professional.
Killing mold is rather easy if you follow the following steps:
Believe it or not, white vinegar has the capability of killing mold. By spraying the diaper or simply adding 1/4 of a cup of vinegar to your washing cycle you allow the acid content in it to eliminate mold. Vinegar is also less toxic than bleach and while it’s not often as deadly to mold as bleach it still does the job fairly well. You will have to do various sessions and treatments to guarantee effectiveness though. Please keep in mind that you’ll need to use white vinegar.
The Ultra Violet light from the sun is also an effective method of killing mold. Sunbathing your diaper can work in some cases, but if you’re living in a tropical environment were sunlight and humidity go nearly hand in hand it’s not going to be as effective. The sunbath method is also especially ineffective if your environment has a high content of mold spores.
Start with 2 cups of pine oil disinfectant into 1/2 bathtub of cold water or a medium load non-HE washer and soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse well and wash again with your normal wash routine.
If you have some tea tree oil available in your home you can also use it to attack mold. But, if you want it to be effective the concentration with have to be at least 4% or more. It’s also recommended that you mix tea tree oil with water and detergent in minute quantities. To apply it you can use an old toothbrush along with a wash in some hot water. Depending on the number of cloth diapers you own it might be a bit expensive especially if you’re cleaning the entire batch along with the storage space.
When you mix around 5 or 10 drops of the extract with 1/2 cup of some quality H2O you can inside a spray bottle you can attack the moldy diaper directly. Please permit the diaper to sit for half an hour to an hour (obviously while it contemplates the mistake of allowing itself to be infected by mold) before putting it in a hot wash so it can properly kill the spores.
As mentioned earlier, chlorine bleach can and will kill mold. Using a quarter of a cup in a washing machine will allow you to kill most mold. It’s important to note that chlorine is toxic and mixing some with urine can potentially create ammonia. Be very mindful of this when applying bleach to anything.
Soak diapers in 1/2 bathtub of cold water or medium load NON-HE washing machine with 1 cup Lysol original concentrate. Soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Follow up by washing with your normal detergent plus 1 cup of Lysol Original Concentrate. Finally rinse again in plain water.
Add 1 Tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle (about 12 oz) and then fill the bottle with white vinegar. Shake well. Use this to spray onto your moldy cloth diapers. Using a soft bristled brush or sponge gently massage the solution into the diaper. Rinse out in the sink or tub. Spray again. Let dry. Wash in the machine as you normally would.
Apply lemon juice on the moldy cloth diaper then sprinkle with salt. Leave the diapers in the sun until dry, rinse them and then launder as usual.
An important note when using these methods to clean the diapers is that some of them might void the warranty in the diaper with the company, as such it’s important to read the fine print in the tag. also anytime your using cleaners, chemicals or additives to clean diapers you should ALWAYS rinse well, like 2 or 3 times well!
Bananas, lint, grease, and diaper cream can sometimes appear to be mold. But, all of these can easily be cleaned through different methods. Keep in mind that some cloth diapers can collect lint more easily than others such as the fold out soakers. Most of the time the stains can also be removed rather easily without taking all of the extra steps mentioned above to remove them.
A cure is fine, but prevention is ultimately more important. Keep your diapers clean as much as possible and always ensure they stay in a dry environment. As stated earlier, babies have an infinitely more sensitive bottom than adults and mold can be hazardous to their health. It’s easier to do so in a cold less humid environment, but that not always possible. Simply do your best to keep the environment clean and clear of spores as much as possible and your babies will stay happy, safe and healthy.