Cloth Diapers Inserts Mailbox Mondays Microfiber Natural Fiber Repelling Stink

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 7/25/11 – Microfiber Inserts & Stink!

microfiber stink & #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

Have a question about cloth diapers? Every Monday, I answer reader questions, and also ask for your advice!

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.

Sif says:

I am expecting and have decided to cloth diaper my baby. I have heard much about the problems that can develop with microfiber such as repelling and smell, and I was wondering if I should just be overly cautious and not buy any microfiber to avoid this altogether. I do not have hard water where I live and so hopefully if I do invest in some microfiber I won’t have too many problems with it?

Yes, microfiber inserts are notorious for being stinkier than their natural fiber counterparts! I’ve battled some microfiber stink (and won) and I still wouldn’t let that deter you from using microfiber. It’s affordable, easy to find and easy to use.

I was finding that about every 1-2 months, I needed to wash just the inserts with about 1/4 cup of bleach (for a full load) and then rinse, rinse rinse until the water was clean. A few months ago, I started using a small amount of Oxiclean in every load (I have soft water & use about 1/4 the lowest line on the scoop to a full load of diapers) and it seems to have solved my problems!

That said, I love natural fiber inserts too, and I love it when they come with a diaper. However, I haven’t gone out of my way to spend the money to replace microfiber with natural fibers, or to avoid diapers that only come with microfiber.

So how about the rest of you? How do you feel about microfiber? Have you dealt with the stinkies? How did you fix it?

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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.
  • Beth
    July 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I have a mixture of mircofiber and natural. I find that works best for our heavy wetters. BUT yes, with hard water, we have had some problems. 1st we now always use Colgon when washing diapers, and that has changed EVERYTHING! Every few months I “strip” my diapers with a nice hot soak in oxi-clean (not in the washer, but in a tub where I can get the water REALLY hot!) And even though everything I had read said that they only last about 1 year, we’ve been using them over 1.5 yrs, and they work fantastically, and they don’t stink (well, not anymore since we figured out our hard water issue).
    Really, once you figure out YOUR wash cycle (everyone has a different version, and what works for one, will make another person’s diapers nasty, like I can NOT use any store bought detergent, it makes my diapers nasty, but my friend only uses store bought and it works great for her) you won’t have to worry about which type of inserts you buy.

  • Maria D. @ Downright Domesticity
    July 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I’m actually having issues right now with my Tots Bots, which are AIOs with microfiber and bamboo sewn into the diaper. I don’t really want to bleach because I’d hate to see the PUL and elastic get ruined, so maybe Oxiclean would work? I dump a scoop in every once in a while, but maybe doing that more often would help. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

    • July 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Oxiclean has been a miracle for me! That problem is why I really prefer pockets over AIOs though!

  • Sarah
    July 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    ha…. I am just going through this battle right now. My microfiber inserts are mostly around 1 1/2 – 2 years old. I had a major battle-of-the-stink last summer, which we discovered was caused by soap build up (a bad washing machine, combined with too much soap). Sunning them really does help, if weather permits. The stink was just starting up again this month (1 year after our last battle -despite having a newer washing machine now) and what I did was a bleach-shock wash on the clean inserts (probably 1/4 cup bleach – I don’t normally use anything). Then a normal wash after that, with a little bit of ammonia killer in it. Then a normal wash again, with no soap, or any additives. All with extra rinses at the end.

    Hopefully it will work (I will know tonight).

    It happens, but its not the end of the world – and MF inserts are cheap and absorbent, so if you can get them back to normal, there isn’t a reason not to use them.

  • July 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I love both microfiber AND natural fibers. They each come with unique benefits and have a place in my stash.

    We’ve had no problems at all with odor or repelling. I put a splash of bleach (a little goes a long way) in my pre-wash and then I do a regular hot wash with an extra rinse.

    As for skin sensitivities, again no problems with microfiber. We use cotton prefolds and I simply tuck the MF inserts inside the prefold so the MF doesn’t touch baby’s skin. For mothers using pockets, the microfiber never touches skin anyway.

    I love the microfiber is inexpensive, absorbent, easy to get stains out of and quick to dry!

  • Shira
    July 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I haven’t had any trouble with my microfiber… though I do prefer natural fibers. For situations where I wont be able to change him as often as at home, I use microfiber to keep him feeling dryer. I also use them as doublers when my LO needs a trimmer bum than I can get with flats alone.

  • Heather M
    July 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Microfiber was leaving ammonia burns on my daughter and I couldn’t get rid of it for nothing. I tried bleach, stripping with dawn, oxiclean and detergent alone… I rinsed each load I tried about 7-8 times and nothing got rid of the stinkies.
    We eventually tried to get rid of microfiber all together. We tried using prefolds and hemp/bamboo as inserts and it seemed to help her rash.
    But Microfiber was TERRIBLE for her.

  • Knocked Up and Nursing
    July 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    i haven’t had luck with microfiber. I find that it really only has about a year lifespan. I do live in Texas where we have very hard water. I prefer natural fibers any day to microfiber (which is out of polyester, which is 5 steps away from being crude oil ( My children also have very sensitive skin. We usually layer micro fiber under a hemp or cotton insert.

  • Carla
    July 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I love microfiber inserts. I do a bleach wash with just the inserts as well about every month or so. I don’t have any smell issues at all.

    Love microfiber.

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