Calgon.. take my stinkies away!

Imagine a world where cloth diapers are a status symbol.

That’s where I live.

I have seen moms fight over diapers like rabid racoons over a kernel of corn. Pounding cup after cup of caffinated beverages only to stare wide eyed at a computer screen rapidly hitting the refresh key while stalking the latest trendy print. Paying upwards of $100 a diaper for a brand new, never opened limited edition Goodmama.

Who has the biggest stash? Who has the best insanely overpriced organic fitteds? Who spent the most hours sewing up diapers-that-are-way-better-than-yours all night? Who spent their family’s grocery money on 2 diapers? and is now crying over being an ass.. but still thinks their shit don’t stink because they own those 2 dipes.

Yeah, that world really exists.. and in that lovely world of cloth diapering comes the washing of the cloth diapers. This task, seemingly simple, can be surprisingly daunting. I’ve been cloth diapering for close to 3 years now and still learn new things about washing. The most important thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t wash right you’ve got problems.

My problem: hard water. I thought I fixed it by switching exclusively to Charlie’s Soap. And I had, because not only are my clothes MUCH cleaner but since I switched back in May, I haven’t had to strip my diapers once! Not one instance of the stinkies… until last week.

Last week, while pulling my fluffy stash from the dryer, I detected the faintest smell of something not in the category of clean. Not wanting to wash twice, being that I’ve been washing at my mothers house and I was READY to go home, I tossed them in the bag and took em home. But all it took was one night to make me regret that. I know my nose is a bit more sensitive since I’m pregnant, but there really is nothing nastier than an overnite dipe reeking of ammonia by morning.. and I’ve smelled it both pregnant and not.

I was not disgusted though, I knew what the problem was and I also knew how to fix it. Hard water needs softening, but I did not want to turn to my old standbys: washing soda or borax. I had been reading about how there are 2 different types of water softeners and in some cases one type actually required MUCH more rinsing – my trusty standbys were on that list! On the top of the other list I saw a familiar name, one I recall my grams talking about years ago.

I had no idea they still made this stuff! A few quick searches on the internet told me it is safe for cloth diapers. I found some yesterday at WalMart, but they only had it in liquid form. I would rather have the powder, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Into the washer went the Calgon, just about a third of a capful and one little scoop of Charlies. Out came diapers that smelled like nothing! Not only that, but they did seem brighter too! Imagine that, a product that does what it says!

I was so excited by my discovery that I decided to do a stash pic! Of course this is just Luke’s current stash, meaning just what fits and is in rotation. (not pictured are the 22 Premium DSQ Chinese Prefolds that I’ve yet to convert into fitteds and the 2 medium Thirsties covers in celery and periwinkle). Everything pictured was made by me!

Flannel fitteds and prefolds that have been turned into fitteds.

(I destashed a bit.. well a lot, just so I could fit them into these baskets)



Pockets. Top row are stuffed for nights, bottom row stuffed for days/outings.


I could stand to destash a bit more.. this is still way more than I need in between washing but I have a hard time parting with them!



Side note: although I love my Charlies, I ordered another detergent from a WAHM everyone on CafeMom speaks very highly of. Lil’ Outlaws makes a detergent very similar to Charlies Soap but comes in a plethora of yummy scents and I HAD to try some. I ordered Pear Glace’ and it smells divine. Upon trying it myself I found it was just as awesome as Charlies and left behind a light fresh scent! I highly recommend trying it!



  1. Wow, washing tips after I did my first diaper wash!  LOL  Since I only have 4 cloth dipes right now, and he hasn’t pooped in one yet, I just washed them with the rest of Billy’s laundry in the “good soap”.  We use generic powder on our stuff, but Billy gets the name brand stuff.  I used Tide for the first 2 months, and I just ran out, so now we are on Gain because it was cheaper this time.  I try to always choose the “free” version of whatever detergent I choose (no added scents or softeners), and I only choose brands that I’ve seen sold at Babies R Us.  They don’t sell most brands, only Tide, Gain, Dreft, and some brand I have never heard of that was the most expensive of them all.  I will do some shopping later on when I have more dipes to wash (and more money to spend, lol), especially if I notice any stinky smells or dingy color.  I’ve not had my water tested, but I know that MOST city water these days IS hard unless you have a softener installed.  We do not.  I miss the water in Kettle Falls, WA.  That stuff was pumped into the city from a natural spring on the mountain.  We never needed a filter or anything to drink from the tap, and didn’t have a salty or metallic taste EVER.  It almost tasted sweet, and I NEVER had that yucky white film that forms on the top of your ice cubes when your water has chlorine, floride… and all that other junk in it.  I wouldn’t move back there just for the water, but if I ever had need to move to Kettle Falls, I’d be thankful for the water once again.  LOL Oh, and I think I’ve seen pretty much all of your stash at one time or another, but it all looks gorgeous! You really run into “keeping up with the Jones’s” regarding cloth dipes?  I’m the only local mama I know that is willing to even try cloth.  LOL  Of all my friends/acquaintances that have babies, and even seeing babies out in public, I’ve never seen a baby in cloth around here.  I’m sure all the babies in the Amish communities use them, but I never see those guys out unless they are selling something and I’ve never seen a baby with them when they do.  I can understand it though.  I am totally stoked to be getting what I’ve ordered and the Gerbers.  It’s a new experience for me, but both yesterday and today I was sad when the cloths ran out and I had to put sposies back on him.  And though I won’t be getting the most expensive brand, or putting in the most hours… I know I’ll have the cutest prints and it means a little extra that a friend is making them for me/us.  So yeah, I’ll be boasting about my stash in a few months too!  LOL       

  2. @VioletMoonDancer7 – Just so you know, things like Tide Gain and Dreft will ruin diapers. Also, those ‘free and clear’ detergents are even worse. Most commercial ‘big name’ detergents are horrible to use on diapers or anything you want to stay absorbent. The ‘good soap’, from what I’ve found out in my experience, is the worse soap.. haha If you use them you will need to strip the diapers to get the detergent out. Check out this link: You really should wash them seperatly, even if it’s a small load the amount of detergent is different, you can’t use fabric softners in the wash or the dryer and you always need either a second rinse or a second wash cycle – otherwise, they still have soap in them and that can cause rashes and make them repellant to moisture altogether. I can’t stress enough how important washing is. I check the rinse cycle every time and make sure all the suds are gone.. and keep rinsing until they are.You also have to keep in mind that if you used any of the bad detergents or fabric softener in a load before washing dipes, that stuff is still in the washer and will get on the diapers! When I wash at my moms I do a load of towels first just to clean out the machine.. then I wash my dipes. It’s funny, once I started doing that, I found my towels were totally different. Used to be that we’d have to get a fresh towel almost every day! Now my towels are more absorbent, dry faster and stay fresh smelling for an entire week! That was when I looked into what is really in detergents.. one of the worst culprits of leaving residue is something called a ‘bluing agent’. It’s something they add that leaves a film on everything you wash that has optical brighteners in it which make things APPEAR to be brighter or cleaner – when in fact they are actually still dirty! There are other things that get added too, but that one is the worst and it’s easy to spot – any detergent with a blue tint to it, has it. This is another reason why I prefer powder detergents, because half of the bad additives can’t be added to powder.OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.. haha sorry I’m VERY passionate about good diaper care!The three easily available and inexpensive detergents I have used without issues are:Original Tide in the plain powder form.. and you only need to use a 1/4 of what you would normally use for a load. I personally don’t like the heavy perfume they add to this and find that it mixed with pee smells awful most of the time.. but a little white vinegar in the rinse cycle (1/4 cup at most) will help lessen it.Arm & Hammer Essentials Free, the unscented one. You only need to use about 1/3 the recomended amount with this one and I never had buildup issues with it, but it’s always sold out in the store I go to most!And, my fav,  Sun & Earth 2x liquid, which is awesome and I still use it, the bottle says it does 28 loads, but since you only need to use 1/4 the recomended – or less – it lasts through well over 100 washes!No matter what you use, buildup of some sort can still happen (happened to me with the best of the best) but as I’ve just found out.. Calgon takes it all away! And yes, to answer your question, moms really do get that insane about diapers as a status symbol! Not many that I’ve met outside the internet, but they are rampant on every cloth diaper board I frequent!

  3. You know, I thought the better the brand the better it would be… I know that I like the way CLOTHES feel and smell more when I use one of the name brand liquids instead of the generic powder, but I will definately make the switch to one of the easily available types you suggested for diapers.  After I get my school money I can switch to one of the more expensive ones you boasted in your post… Charlie’s or Lil’ Outlaws.  With only having 4 dipes right now, I’m washing them every day.  Well, I actually only used one cloth on him yesterday and still have not done the laundry… anyway, since I’m washing frequently and especially since they will need to go back to you eventually, I don’t want to be doing the wrong thing care wise.  Until I get a chance to go to the store with budgeted detergent money… is there anything I can use just in the sink to hand wash?  I don’t want to run even a small load for only 4 dipes in the washing machine, and 4 isn’t too much for me to handle washing by hand each day.  Should I go ahead and use a teaspoon of the Always Save powder in the sink?  I know that baking soda is good for removing odors but is it okay to use for dipes, and will it actually CLEAN them too?  I can’t really use vinegar… my skin is super sensitive to the acids even though they are natural.  Ever have someone tell you that vinegar is good for a sunburn?  Well it is… it makes you burn all at once quickly and the days that follow are heaven… unless you have an itchy bumpy rash.  LMAO.  It’s funny, I can cook with vinegar and eat pickles just fine, even with my bare hands, but if it gets on my skin and stays there for even a few minutes, it gives me a helluva rash.  Plus, my hubby absolutely HATES the smell of vinegar and refuses to even come in the house until he can’t smell it anymore after I’ve done the windows (with nitrile gloves on).  He would tell me to cancel the order right now if I had to use vinegar every time I washed diapers.  LOL I know, he’s a spaz, but I love him anyway.  I know there are other options, probably stuff I have at home or can pick up really cheap for no more than what I’m washing each day right now.  What else can you tell me?  ❤ SuZ       

  4. @VioletMoonDancer7 – Haha.. ok, first of all vinegar is not something you would wash with. It would be something you would add to the rinse cycle to help aid in rinsing and it also acts as a natural fabric softener. You can NEVER smell it on the diapers.. haha the smell is gone before the wash cycle finishes! That said though, it is not necessary. Now that I have discovered the best rinsing agent/water softener (Calgon) I doubt I’ll use vinegar on dipes ever again.You can use Original Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in the sink or the washer to wash dipes. You will only need a drop.. like pea sized, for that little load.  A lot of people use it to strip dipes. It has to be the original one though, blue in the old bottle, none of the new ultras or concentrated ones will work. It would probably be better to do it in the washer, its much easier to see if the suds are gone in there. I suggest running a cold wash with the dawn, then a hot wash with nothing. That should be fine for now, but you may need to run a few extra rinses to get rid of the other detergent. Just lift the lid and check during the rinse cycle and make sure the suds are gone.I was trying to find Always Save online to see the ingredients but I can’t find it so I’m not sure how safe it is. If it’s similar or some kind of knock off of Country Save then you’ve got gold! Country Save is just as good as Charlies, I just can’t get it around here and to order it online it’s more in shipping than the cost of the detergent because you can only order it in bulk!

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