Tips for Removing Mold and Mildew From Cloth Diapers

Removing mold & mildew from cloth diapers

As your little one grows older and diaper changes become less frequent you may notice your laundry hamper filling up less often as well. Another thing you may notice is mold. The longer diapers sit between washes in a closed, warm, humid environment the greater chance of mold and mildew to develop. Not only creepy on the eyes, mold spores can be tricky to eliminate and are the cause of stubborn stains.

But first, can we be sure it’s mold? Not all dark stains = mold! Here are a few common mold imposters.

  • Banana: Old banana stuck to fabric creates a black stain that is very difficult to remove and may be mistaken for mold. First try soaking in hot water and OxiClean.
  • Lint: When washed with other items such as towels or fleecy fabrics, diapers can develop lint. First try lifting the fibers to see if lint is removed.
  • Washing machine grease: Some washing machines may leave small black grease spots on your cloth diapers. Before bleaching first try removing the grease spots by scrubbing gently with dish soap.
  • Diaper cream: Some petroleum based diaper creams can leave dark gray stains on synthetic fabrics that can look similar to mold. Try scrubbing the diaper with dish soak to remove the greasy residue.

Yup, it’s mold. Before you panic, here are a few tried and true steps to help remove mold and mildew from your favorite fluff.

Step 1 - Bye-bye Mold: Bleach wash.

Although you’ve likely been told bleach should be avoided at all cost when cleaning cloth diapers, when dealing with mold it’s necessary. A bleach wash is the first step to killing mold spores in their tracks! You can do this directly in your washer, simply add bleach (at least 5.25% sodium hypochlorite) via your bleach tray along with your usual detergent and wash in warm or hot water.

Top Loader (Non-high efficiency): 

  • Small- 1/3 cup
  • Medium – 1/2 cup
  • Large/XL- 3/4 cup

Top loader (high efficiency):

  • Small- 1/4 cup
  • Medium- 1/3 cup
  • Large- 1/2 cup

Step 2 – See ya, Stains: OxiClean paste

With step one complete, you’ve killed the mold, but you may still be left with a moldy reminder - stains. Although this is purely aesthetic we want to keep our fluffs looking cute, don’t we? If stains remain after the bleach wash, the next step is an OxiClean paste.

  1. Safety first: wear gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Create a paste: mix a ratio of 2:1 OxiClean and water (2 tablespoons of OxiClean with 1 tablespoon of water).
  3. Stains be gone: Apply the paste to the affected area.
  4. Watch & Wait: Let sit for 1-3 hours.
  5. Squeaky Clean: Wash as usual.

*If the stain remains, repeat steps 1-5.

Step 3 – Tough crowd: Concentrated bleach soak.

If mold stains remain, soak affected items in 1/2 cup of bleach in one gallon of water for 5 – 10 minutes. This is a very high bleach concentration and should only be used as a last resort. 

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