We are going slightly off topic on our washing, and I would like to express the “why” behind the reason your diapers need to smell clean out of the dryer. This is more than an aesthetic or stink issue, of course no-one wants to use diapers that smell like a fraternity bathroom on their baby, but there are potential health implications as well.
If your diapers have a fecal or urine smell out of the dryer (which is usually caused by a Free and Clear or a natural detergent, in most cases), it means that indeed some feces or urine is being left behind, either trapped in detergent buildup or thick diaper materials that didn’t get washed thoroughly. If this happens, that old gunk gets to be re-wet with fresh urine and/or feces, than placed in a warm, dark pail to soak for 2-36 hours. That bacteria now growing in your diapers can worsen and/or develop into health conditions which can affect your baby. We have seen an enormous spike amongst our customers of baby’s with both staph and yeast problems. These are very different problems, but some similarities.
Yeast: Some babies are truly just more “yeasty” than others. Their Ph and chemical levels just make it easier for yeast to grow in their little bodies. Yeast infections can range from a mild nuisance to a big problem, if you suspect yeast or see a funny rash that your usual treatments don’t help, please go to a doctor to seek treatment. If your child is diagnosed with yeast, we do recommend bleaching your diapers. Recurring yeast infections is the most frustrating thing, and can permanently scar your child’s skin. Follow your doctor’s advice, and to use anti-fungal creams with your diapers, see our blurb here:
Yeast doesn’t come from your diapers, it comes from you (through nursing) or from your baby, but it can live and thrive if your diapers aren’t washed properly. Yeast will have a funny odor in most cases in diapers, so make sure they smell good out of the dryer, and do treat the diapers if your child has yeast.
The more serious issue of Staph and/or MRSA (an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staph) is one that hits close to home. 2 out of 3 of our girls have had MRSA within a few months of birth. Staph used to be only limited to hospitals, but is quite common now. If you have had a hospital birth (and I am not knocking this by any means, all 3 of mine were born in hospitals and I wouldn’t have it any other way), your chances of contracting Staph on you or your baby are going to be present. Staph lives on surfaces of things and humans, and it just needs an entry point into the skin to develop the sores. If you see a rash with pimples that doesn’t look like your average heat rash, please take it seriously. Typically Staph infections have pus-filled tiny sores, sometimes white or green inside, sometimes with a hard red bump underneath. Your doctor will culture one of these sores and test it for Staph or MRSA. If your child is diagnosed, no if’s, and’s or but’s, you have to bleach your diapers and bleach them with 1/4-1/2 cup of clorox. I know the pretty dyed fitteds will fade, but this is serious stuff, and you do not want to run the risk of not killing the strain of bacteria.
Now, what does this have to do with smelly diapers? No detergent, unless you are adding bleach to it, is anti-bacterial. You don’t want it to be, it is overkill (think of Lysol and anti-bacterial soaps and disinfecting our kids=superbugs kind of thing), but if you are leaving feces and urine behind, you are creating the perfect petrie dish for bacteria to grow and thrive in your diapers. The less opportunity you give your diapers to grow yeast or staph, the better for you and your baby, hence why this is so important. Again, these two ickies don’t come *from* your cloth, but they can and will live in them until you treat the diapers, so please do so if diagnosed.
Now that I completely have you terrified of your diapers, sell them all and wrap your child in palm leaves
No, really, the odds of any of you having this problem is very small, and even in the best of washing conditions these problems can and will occur, so don’t ever feel it is something you did or didn’t do to cause it.