Get the stink out of your childs cloth diapers and say good bye to rashes too!

Got stinky diapers?  Leaking?  Is your little one getting bad ammonia blisters? Need to refresh your old diaper stash for baby #2? Get Calgon to make them cleaner and brighter and to remove soap build up and mineral deposits.

I recently discovered that Calgon is my new laundry buddy.  Is the soap your using the culprit for stinky diapers and ammonia rashes….maybe but it’s also hard water.
Although we are out of cloth diapers my little prince is pretty much potty trained but before that we had some laundering issues with cloth diapers.  It is a science.  Especially when hard water is the culprit.  Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with soft water)(wikipedia)

When families decide to cloth diaper their children they do it for numerous reasons.  Mine was I don’t want the chemicals near my sons skin, the landfill (those who use disposables, the solids aren’t supposed to be wrapped up and tossed in the diaper pail, flush them down the toilet. Human waste is not meant to go into landfills).  Sodium polyacrylate is still found in disposable diapers.

“Aside from the possible environmental threats concerning disposable diapers, there is the threat of chemical poisoning to the human body. Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, which is responsible for the absorbency factor in most manufactured diapers. This dangerous chemical is continuously in close contact with the skin, and can potentially cause allergic reactions and cardiovascular illnesses. Coincidentally, sodium polyacrylate is the same chemical that was removed from tampons, found to be a contributing factor in toxic shock syndrome.” ~quoted from e-how

Our stash

My issue with washing cloth diapers was hard water mineral deposits.  Diapers were getting stinky, ammonia build up was happening and that resulted in serious rashes, blister like from ammonia build up in cloth.
If you’ve had this, it’s okay to talk about it. You’re not a bad parent if this has happened to you. This diaper rash ointment was my lifesaver.

I had enough one morning you know that first morning change. He had such a rash/burn from his diapers plus he was teething which makes it even more acidic in our case.
I was ready to say “screw you cloth diapers!” All I wanted was to give my son the best.  Sure disposables are easier but I don’t mind the “extra” work cloth diapers bring.  It’s really not an inconvenience for our family.  Severe rashes can happen with disposables as well. Like the new Dry Max from Pampers that had created a huge P &  G outrage amongst parents last year. Blogged it here.

I researched online and came across RLR.
Thankfully I found some at Sobey’s.  I’ve used RLR and Calgon. I think I like Calgon more.

 Get the STINK OUT!
Here’s what you need to do.  You can buy RLR online or find them at Sobey’s and for Calgon in Canada, check out The Home Depot and Home Hardware.  I found Calgon at Home Hardware.  In the States you may be able to find it easier.  Canada is a hard water nation, so chances are you have hard water.

I stripped them two ways. 

First I’ll tell you about

I took the RLR and dumped it in a clean bathtub(do clean the tub before hand).  I soaked for about 3 hrs. I drained the tub and squeezed the excess water out and tossed them back in the pail.  I washed them with dropps.  I’ve heard good things about dropps on my blogs Facebook page. I also use EcoNuts as they are anti microbial.  Calgon and Eco Nuts work beautifully together as well, I am a product junkie so I tried dropps out of curiosity.

You can add another packet or ball of RLR in with the soap you already use. I didn’t know that as I missed that part of the directions. I washed without.  There’s always the fear of using too much or too little soap, it is a science.
I did an extra rinse after the wash and they came out clean and I thought they’d be be brighter but not so much.
After my son was wearing them through our new washing method them we no longer had a rash type burns from ammonia, his diapers didn’t smell anymore and the dry pail didn’t have a stench either.
After every diaper change I’d rinse them out in the sink and toss them in the pail.

The Calgon way
So I wanted to try Calgon. I did the same as above, soaked them over night this time in Calgon and to be honest I didn’t measure, I just sprinkled maybe  a 1/4 cup in the bath tub.

Next day I squeezed them out and put them in the wash with dropps and more Calgon, again I sprinkled some in the wash. Probably a 1/4 cup.

So I did another wash with no soap just to make sure all the soap was out and I didn’t see any soap suds.
They came out so fresh, brighter and was I was really happy with the results.  So mind you I didn’t soak them in RLR overnight maybe they would of turned out as good as Calgon but I still prefer Calgon.  I used Calgon with every wash and never had a leak, stink or rash ever again.

If you are suffering through some of the issues I had with cloth diapers, please try Calgon and don’t give up!  I’ve recommended this to numerous moms before writing this post and the feedback has been 100% positive which is why I am writing this post.

Good luck and let me know if this works for you. 

So in short if you’re washing for the 1st time with a water softener:

Soak with your choice of water softener first then throw in the wash your regular soap and add more water softener and another rinse/wash with no soap.
You only need to do the initial  soak the first time to draw out the hard water mineral and soap build up, after that just wash as you normally would but add the water softener with every wash.

Here’s what Calgon is:
It pulls the minerals out of the detergents’ way and prevents the buildup of soap scum or detergent that often happens in hard water areas.

Makes whites whiter and colors brighter for just a few cents once a month.  Not a bleach, blueing, or detergent. Removes dried-in mineral deposits and detergent residue from clothing.

* From Everything Mom and Baby
Just make sure you use RLR or Calgon with every wash.  Always include an extra wash/rinse with no soap.   Hang your diapers to dry.
I use Calgon with all my laundry not just cloth diapers.  I have no affiliation with either water softener company.


  1. JerseyLass | 10th Sep 11

    Great post, thank you Erica! I am ready to say Screw it too but will pick up some Calgon!

  2. Ella | 10th Sep 11

    Mama Ash when you recommended this to me it was a life saver. We had those blister burns and I felt like a failure, thank you for sharing your experience with me a while back about adding a water softener.

  3. Anonymous | 10th Sep 11

    I used the Calgon as you suggested and it helped my diapers so much!! I’m excited that I will be able to use the diapers on baby #3 coming in February. Thank you.


  4. Anonymous | 10th Sep 11

    I didn’t know I could use Calgon with my Eco Nuts!
    Thank you, we are having stink issues right now and I want what you have! No smell and no smell in the diaper pail.

  5. Mama Ash | 10th Sep 11

    You are so welcome April! I’m happy I could help 🙂

  6. Mama Ash | 10th Sep 11

    Same with everyone else who has commented!

  7. createwithmom | 10th Sep 11

    thank you for the tip will look for it

  8. Matilda H. | 11th Sep 11

    You are a life saver and talk about timing! The Universe listens 🙂

    I ran and bought ;), soaked and washed, I dried them in the dryer though as I am excited to see the outcome.

    They are brighter, they don’t smell anymore and I am so happy I came across this on Twitter!

    Thank you! You have no idea what we’ve going through. DH wanted to scrap our cd’ing and buy Pampers! Our diapers don’t smell and I used this with Allens.

  9. Attila & Tamara | 11th Sep 11

    Calgon made all the difference for us, too. I use SoapNuts, too, and one soak/wash a week in Rockin’ Green Hard rock. But I always add a scoop of calgon, even with the rockin green. So far, so good!

  10. Frugal in WV | 11th Sep 11

    Great tips, I never thought to use calgon. New follower from MBC, have a great day! You can find me at
    Stop by my blog when you get the chance 🙂

  11. Unknown | 5th Oct 11

    Thanks for this post. I have heard great things about Calgon, you may just have convinced me to try it despite the fact that I already bought some 20 Mule Team Borax. I was desperate to clean my baby’s CDs (a really bad rash that ended up being yeast related but I thought it was CD related) and given the extreme hard water (calcium) we have in this area you would think the stores around here would have some water softener aisle. But I finally was able to find Borax powder. I originally wanted to try Calgon but for some reason it is NOWHERE to be found. I found it online for a $2-$4 more than what they would sell in stores when they did have it, and with shipping the price doubled! I couldn’t wait for shipping so I tried the borax and although I do notice a difference, it is only very slight. I use RnG hard water formula and 1/4 of borax [even though everyone (like and the RnG lady) said to use half the recommended amount and to reserve it for stripping] in each wash but my diapers still smell musty/metallic-y, even after countless hot washes and exclusively line drying them. I admit I never soaked them, thought I didn’t have to since we have only used hard water for 3 months but I guess that is more than enough to practically ruin my prefolds, etc. Should I first try soaking in Borax before giving up on it and getting Calgon? What’s the difference in the 2? The more I have to deal with this, the higher my expectations will be for Calgon and I truly hope it doesn’t dissappoint 🙁 SO glad it worked for you and your LO, poor baby.

  12. Mama Ash | 5th Oct 11

    I believe Borax can damage the elastic over time in the cloth diapers.

    Strip them and do a Calgon soak and add Calgon to every wash.

    Always do an extra rinse with nothing after.
    Good Luck and thank you, please let me know if this works and I’ll help as much as I can 🙂

  13. Unknown | 6th Oct 11

    Thank you so much for getting back to me! I never knew that about Borax, as I’ve read many moms use it with no problem-I’m just not having any luck with it myself but thankfully I haven’t used it much and the prefolds are my main problem. I will try the soaking and the Calgon *crossing fingers*

  14. Mama Ash | 6th Jan 13

    I hope you found Calgon 🙂
    For laundry soap I used dropps Baby,
    love it and never had an issue again.

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