Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 2/21/11 – Prepping Diapers & Stinky Pails!

stinky #clothdiapers pails via @chgdiapers

Every Monday, I will answer reader submitted questions in my Mailbox Mondays post, and ask you to weigh in your opinions.

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.

Julie says:

Hi Maria!!

First off I just want to say I LOVE your blog! It was one of the first cloth diaper related blogs I came across when I was pregnant and looking into cloth diapers. I had a couple of questions for you.

First off, I started my cloth diaper stash with a big purchase so it was easy to just throw all of the items in the wash to prep them all together. Nowadays, I find myself buying one or two diapers or inserts at a time and I would hate to run a laundry load for just a couple of items. Do you have any suggestions for prepping just a couple of diapers or inserts at a time?

Also, my daughter was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, but now that she is almost 9 months and eating solids, I am finding that her diaper pail is getting MIGHTY stinky. I do try to spray the poopy diapers with my sprayer but that doesn’t really seem to be helping. Any other suggestions?

Thanks so so much!

Julie J.

I really appreciate hearing that you enjoy the blog, and find it helpful!  You really have no idea how warm & fuzzy that makes me feel!

If I get a new diaper that doesn’t have special prepping instructions (if it’s made of microfiber, microfleece, PUL etc.), I throw it in the wash with my other diapers once, then use it.  Things like organic cotton and hemp usually need to be washed at least three times before using, and will continue to gain absorbency for up to 10 washes. 

The problem is that they need to be washed separately, since the fibers contain natural oils that could be deposited onto your other diapers, and cause them to repel.  Check with the manufacturer/the product packaging, because some companies send natural fiber products partially prepped.  As annoying as it is, and wasteful as it seems, you really do need to wash them separately to protect your other diapers. 

I have heard of people boiling hemp prefolds/inserts to remove the oils faster, but I haven’t tried that myself!  I would definitely suggest exercising caution if you try that, and I am not responsible for any burns or fires that may occur, eek!  “Ma’am, what were you doing when the fire started?”  “Errr, well, uhh…I was just…uhh…boiling my…hemp.”

As far as your stinky pail goes, my first two suggestions would be to keep the pail open a crack, and to wash more often.  You’d think keeping the pail closed tightly would keep the smell in better, but I find that letting the air circulate means less stink.  Washing no more than every 2-3 days, and washing the liner each time helps quite a bit as well.  Wahmies pail liners have a swatch of fabric at the seam, where you can add a few drops of essential oil to help with the odor.  If yours doesn’t have that feature, several WAHMs also make pail powder that you can use to eliminate odors and add scent.

How about you?  How do you prep new diapers when you only have 1 or 2?  How do you combat pail stink?

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • February 22, 2011 at 5:46 am

    >Thanks for the tips, Maria! I have ordered some pail powder from Ruby Moon and am looking forward to smelling some yummy flavors! I will also take your advice and keep the pail open a crack.

  • February 22, 2011 at 4:14 am

    >I actually boiled my dipes a few weeks ago to strip them (I was having some stink issues). Here were the directions I followed:'m happy to say that my house is still standing, lol! And it got rid of the stink, too! I'm betting it would help prep diapers, as well.

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