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Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 7/11/11 – Black Spots on Diapers & Cover for Fitteds

black spots on #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

Do you have cloth diaper issues? On Mondays, I answer reader submitted questions, and ask my readers to weigh in as well.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Sarah says:

I am puzzled at what this is and why I started getting them. Little black dots in some of the diapers. Not like a stain, but just little black dots. What is this and how can I get rid of it?! It just started in the past month or so. My diapers are in such good condition besides this. I would send a picture but I am not sure how using this form. Thanks!


Hi Sarah. It’s hard to say without seeing them, but the first thing that comes to mind is mildew.

Is it all of your diapers or just some? Is it on the inserts and diapers, or just the inserts? How often are you washing? What is your wash routine? How are you drying the diapers?

I’d suggest washing no more than every 2-3 days, consider keeping your pail or wet bag open, use hot water to wash (I’m sure you already do!) and make sure the diapers get dry fairly quickly. Hang (or lay) them in the sun if you can. If you have a bathroom that won’t get steamy while you’re drying the diapers, consider hanging them in there so you can turn the exhaust fan on to remove humidity from the air.

Has anyone else experienced back dots on their diapers? What was it? How did you get rid of it?

Laurie says:


I have recently started using fitteds with covers as the overnight diapering solution for my one year old daughter. I bought two Mother-Ease one size fitteds with an air-flow cover and they work great. I also bought a Kissaluvs size 2 fitted which I love. However, I didn’t buy a Marvels diaper cover–I assumed the Mother-Ease cover would work over the Kissaluv fitted. It really doesn’t. Neither does an unstuffed Bum Genius or Econobum cover. The Kissaluv fitted is awesome for absorbancy and softness, so I don’t want to give up on it. Any thoughts on what cover (or unstuffed pocket) has the widest dimensions to cover any potential fitteds I might use?

It seems like the trend in cloth diaper covers is to make them trim, for use as an all-in-two system with inserts or trifolded prefolds (like the Econobum.) However, this means they don’t really work well over fluffier fitted diapers.

The most generously sized PUL cover I’ve used is definitely the Smartipants Smart-Fit Cover. I was able to fit it over my fluffiest fitted diaper with ease (see the last three pictures in that review!) The Thirsties Duo Wraps and Thirsties Covers as well as the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap seem to have a more generous cut to fit over fitted diapers.

For night time, I highly recommend a wool cover. They are breathable, have some stretch and give to them, and fit very well over fitted diapers!

I know there are fitted mamas out there, what is your favorite cover to use over a fitted diaper?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • July 14, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Thirsties Duo wrap is my favorite by far. I also like soakers-wool first and then fleece. Flip diapers fit over a fitted diaper MUCH better when my daughter was <15 lbs, but after that, it didn't work so well.

    • July 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      I was (barely) able to get the flip to work over a fitted by going up a size/rise snap, but I just don’t think it was quite roomy enough for overnight! My guy was littler then too!

  • Shira
    July 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Honestly, it just sounds like you have some pilling. Fleece will pick up lint and hold on to it. I don’t personally worry that much about stains… and I love my Bummis Super Whisper covers. They are soft and roomy no matter how I stuff them. I don’t actually like the Thirsties cover I have. It’s not as roomy and feels plasticy to me.

  • carrie
    July 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Over the fitteds I definitely second the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and wool covers. Those are exactly what I use. They cover the fitteds well and we haven’t had any leaks.

  • July 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    If you have an email address I can send you a picture of my spots. The dots are on probably 5 or 6 of my diapers. They are not on the inserts, only the fleece part of the diapers. I have Fuzzi Bunz One Size. I wash about every 2 days. I just recently started using a cold rinse and spin cycle before washing. I usually use the “whites” setting on my washer. It is a hot wash and cold rinse. I usually dry them in the sun as long as I get toche wash during the day or if it isn’t raining. If they don’t fry in the sun, I put them in the dryer.

    I am wondering if it may have more to do with the temp in our trailer and how they are stored. I usually store them in a plain old 13.9 kitchen garbage can with the swing top with a liner. When it gets over 90 degrees, our trailer won’t usually get cooler than 85 during the day in the summer. (It has a metal roof. 🙁 ) Maybe if it is mildew, it is actually happening before I even wash them? If I leave the lid off of the trash can it will stink up the house.. don’t really want that either! lol

    Now I have another stain problem… my son had carrots for the first time in awhile and now that diaper is stained orange. I have washed it three times and it still wont come out. Obviously I am going to have to start using liners. My friend gave me some at church, but I accidentally left them there. No more carrots until I get them! Hah! How can I get this out?

    • July 11, 2011 at 11:11 am

      My email is maria at I try to make it easy to find but I guess it isn’t, sorry! 🙂

      Yes, my thought was that it had more to do with temp/humidity before or after washing than the wash routine.

      You might try keeping the lid cracked just to see. I find that more air circulating=less stink, which seems counter intuitive I know. I have to keep ours closed now though because we are having a fly issue. Ick.

      If the staining bothers you, and it hasn’t come out with sunning them while wet, you can try a little oxiclean free in the wash (rinse well) or I have heard some people say adding lemon juice on the stains before sunning helps! I never used liners, and I really haven’t had stains that didn’t fade a lot in the sun!

    • July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      I agree whole-heartedly with Maria.

      I live in a home where mildew is prone to happen because of heat and humidity, although I haven’t encountered it in my diapers. I think the storage before washing is probably the primary problem. Unfortunately, I’ve never had any luck using any method to get mildew stains out, including sunning, lemon juice or bleach. Definitely a problem that needs to be prevented if you don’t want additional stains.

      Regarding carrot stains, or stains on diapers – sunning has worked the best, although it’s never gotten everything completely out in one treatment. I figure diapers are meant to be pooped in- that means they’ll inevitably get stains! Remember when you sun them to lay them flat and keep them damp. I’ve concluded that it’s the combined action of the water with the sun’s UV rays that provides the most effective stain removal. Line drying dries them out too quickly, without enough full exposure to the sun. You can also “sun” diapers on a cloudy or even rainy day!

      • July 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

        Thanks for the great tips!

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