Help! My cloth nappies stink!

Many thanks to ANA Founding Member, Eva Van Strijp, from Seedling Baby for this post.


As with any nappy care issue, the best way to deal with a problem is to not actually encounter it! And so it is with smelly nappies.

We’ve discovered that a stinky nappy is usually caused by one of three culprits. So let’s take a look at each one and how to prevent it from causing your nappies to smell.


1) Wash at least every other day.

Apart from keeping bacteria at bay, washing nappies at least every other day will also help eliminate stink. Leaving them too long between washes will give odours a chance to set in. Leaving nappies unwashed for more than a couple of days can also damage the fibres of your nappies and may contribute to the development of mould. It’s a really easy way to prevent a lot of nasty problems, so definitely try and wash at least every second day.


2) Hand rinse the nappies before dry-pailing.

As soon as a nappy comes off baby, be sure to dump solids in the toilet and then give it a quick rinse in the laundry tub or with the nappy sprayer. Rinsing prior to dry-pailing (storing in a dry nappy bucket or wet bag) will rid the nappy of excess urine and soiling, thereby reducing the possibility of smells setting in. This has the added benefit of protecting your nappy fibres from damage which can be caused by acidic urine.


3) Ensure the water level of your machine is sufficient for the load size.

High efficiency, front loader washing machines use less water and it can mean that your nappies aren’t cleaned properly each time. This will mean your nappies come out of the wash still smelling like urine or smelly strongly of detergent. Try increasing the water level on your machine or reducing the number of nappies in the load.


For further information, download Eva’s complete smelly nappy guide.

Eva Van Strijp is a mother of six, founding member of the Australian Nappy Association and creator of Seedling Baby. When Eva isn’t hanging out with her family or running a business, she’s eating chocolate, listening to podcasts or tending her veggie patch.