How To Clean Cloth Diapers Hard Water Issues

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You may be wondering how to clean cloth diapers when you have hard water at your house? Hard water has a high mineral content, which can make it difficult to get your diapers clean.

How do you know if you have hard water?

The easiest way to tell is to agitate some soap in a sink full of water. If it does not lather up really easily, you probably have hard water. Soap will make lots of bubbles in soft water.

A few other tell-tell signs of hard water are dingy looking clothes, clothes that feel hard or scratchy, film left on a glass shower door or walls, water spots left on clean dishes, and dull looking hair. You can also have your water company test the water to see just how hard it is.

The problem with washing diapers in hard water is that the minerals in the water make it difficult to get all the detergent rinsed out, which can lead to buildup issues, stinky diapers, and diapers that don’t work very well. And, hard water just does not get things as clean as soft water, so your diapers may not be getting as clean as they could, leaving them looking dingy.

How To Clean Cloth Diapers Hard Water Issues

Tips to get your diapers clean in hard water conditions:


  • Add a small amount, 1/2 a cup or so, of vinegar to the rinse cycle. This has helped many people with hard water issues. Use caution, however. Sometimes adding vinegar to hard water actually makes the situation worse! It just really depends on the mineral makeup of your water. If you notice your diapers getting really stinky, stop using vinegar and see if the stink goes away.
  • Use a water softener in the rinse cycle of your wash. Calgon and other water softeners can be found in the laundry aisle at the supermarket.
  • You can purchase a water softening tank that you attach to your water supply. This is an expensive option but will be noticed throughout your household, from cleaner dishes to shinier hair.
  • Try using a little more detergent in your wash, still not the full amount you would use for regular laundry. Experiment. Sometimes you just need a little more soap to get things clean with hard water.
  • If you do have hard water, you will probably have to strip your diapers more often than those lucky moms with soft water.

The name of the game here, as always, is to experiment! How to clean cloth diapers with hard water depends on many factors and it may take a little bit to figure out what works best in your household.

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