Do Your Cloth Diapers Have Stones in Them?

January 31, 2010

Washing Cloth Diapers

I remember a couple of months ago a cloth diaper mama on Twitter asked what everyone did for “cloth diaper stones”? I had no clue what she was talking about.  Not that that is entirely surprising, I can’t possibly know everything there is to know about cloth diapers ;)

Of course, as it always works out when you raise your eyebrow at someone like they are crazy, God helps you to see how wrong you are.

As you know I love my bum genius organic aios.  Love them. But they aren’t perfect.  It’s most likely due the heavy use they get, but our bgo aios are the first cloth diapers to wear out.  By wear out I mean get ratty holes along the legs and where the insert is sewn in.

They are still fully functional but they are a bit embarrassing looking — and I know this because as I was changing a cloth diaper at my mother-in-law’s house as my sister-in-law watched on I realized just how terrible they looked.

Anyways.  Another imperfection to my bum genius organic aios is the development of these tiny hard “stones”.  Not just one or two but multiple bumps throughout the insert.  Really odd.

Because I didn’t know what they were I soaked them for 24 hours in Rockin Green detergent. It seems everywhere I turn someone is recommending it for something so I gave it a shot.  However, for these stones it didn’t do anything.

Seeing as the diaper with the most stones is a zinnia bum genius with a pink inner with multiple ratty holes in it I figured I could sacrifice this one for research and cut into the insert.  I was prepared for the worst.  Really.  I was thinking poop residue.

But you know what it was?? Cotton fuzz. Like the fuzz you clean out of your baby’s toes when you take off their cute white socks.  No wonder Rockin Green didn’t do anything.

How did they get there though??

I really don’t know.  The insert is organic cotton so it isn’t completely outrageous that these developed.  Although still strange.  Would I still put it on Sterling even with the bumpiness against his skin? Maybe.  Probably. If I needed a diaper and all the others were dirty, sure.  Might it bother him? Maybe.  I’m thinking it would be as irritating to him as it would be to us if we had a fuzz ball in our sock under our foot.

If you have bum genius organic aios and this has happened to your diapers please chime in.  If you’ve had stones develop in other diapers I want to hear about it too.

Also, if you do have some cloth diapers with hard bumps and would like to discretely cut a hole for research purposes please share a picture of what you find!!


About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

27 Responses to “Do Your Cloth Diapers Have Stones in Them?”

  1. Justice Montgomery Says:

    My Thristies Duo Hemp Prefolds have stones in them. (I know this is a super old post, but I thought I’d leave it here for future readers! LOL) I’ve had them all for 12 months or more (Most were purchased during black friday sales in 2012)and they ALL have developed the lint balls LOL


  2. Robyn Says:

    I’ve had this happen with my Gerber prefolds, but only in the corners. I am actually having alot of problems with all of my dipaers (I use mostly prefolds, but have a few Grovias that I use for nighttime) – falling apart!! I have been cloth diapering since ’03 (with my first of three children), and NEVER had this problem before. I actually had diapers from my oldest that I was using with my third baby that were JUST starting to wear out. Then, all of a sudden, all of my diapers are wearing out really fast – like torn to shreds within five months. I don’t get it – I had some prefolds last through 2 kids just fine, and now I have them lasting only five months?!! What the heck? And YES, they are the same brand (Gerber), so I don’t get it. I know my washing routine is sound, so I don’t see why these diapers are falling apart – very disappointing.


    • Brittany Says:

      I have had the same problem! I have had bummis prefolds, Chinese prefolds, and kissaluvs all in ones with my daughters’ diapers! Have cloth diapered since 2009 and have repeatedly run into this problem! I thought maybe I was using the wrong detergents but I only use the recommended products (I have tried a few just in case). I thought maybe I wasn’t washing them often enough… nope! That isn’t it either. And they are hand washed and line dried! It makes no sense. If anyone has any ideas, I would like to know as well. The cloth diapering store said they had never seen such a thing! Frustrating! Everyone says they have used the same diapers for multiple children… I have used 4 different sets over the last 3 1/2 years!


      • Alicia Says:

        I have some well used hand-me-down prefolds and flats that were beginning to show signs of wear over the year of use with my daughter. I just chalked it up to age and didn’t think much of it. Then I bought some Thirsties Hemp Inserts and Bumpkin unbleached prefolds for our son. One of the hemp inserts and one of the prefolds have large holes and smaller tears in the first layer of fabric after less than 2 months of use. The rest still look new. I never use bleach, and the only thing I can think of is that I put a splash of vinegar in one particularly stubborn load of diapers. Could one splash of vinegar in a large load of diapers have caused the problem?


  3. MANDY Says:

    My prefolds have them like crazy. Most of them were freecycled to me and when i asked the baby boutique near me they said that i probably had gerber brand and the foam was breaking up.

    I sacrificed a real torn up one and realized that it wasn’t foam, it was indeed very hard strings of the fabric that had wound together creating rocks. I of course shared the info with the baby store.

    I’m slowly replacing the prefolds. As i see it they definately went through at least 2 children (probably bought from a service too.) So as they are becoming tattered, I count a dozen at a time and replace them. Less of an impact on our budget too.


  4. Tarina Says:

    I get these in all my Mother-ease Sandy’s dipes and liners. For my liners I just opened them all up on one end and put a stitchon each side to prevent them from coming undone any further. All it is is the lint from the new cloth inside having nbo where to escape. It doesnt get INTO the diaper its already there adn has no where to get OUT. I have also made some tiny holes in my Sandy’s and stitched them back up after removing the lint balls.


  5. Selina Says:

    Do you still need a picture? I sacrificed a mini-flat last night.


  6. Azlina Says:

    I made insert from hemp/cotton fleece. I notice that if I made insert with fleecey/fuzzy sides out, there would be no “stones” inside them. However, if I made the insert with fleecey/fuzzy sides in, there would be some “stones” in the insert. Thus, I would assume that the hemp/cotton lint from the fleecey trapped trapped inside the diaper.


  7. JCF Says:

    Some of my prefolds have “stones” in the corners. I knew they were lint balls because I cut down some really worn prefolds to make newborn sizes for my daughter, and I discovered and removed the stones before I resewed them. Since they were in the corners, they had never really bothered while they were there!


  8. Anastasia Says:

    hmm……. front loader or top loader ladies. I think that may play a part as well. Tops loaders are harsher on material & fronties “knock” stuff off better but without the wear!


  9. Elizabeth Says:

    I got some free kissaluvs AIO’s off craig’s list to beef up my stash, but they were in really ripped up and super stinky when wet. I couldn’t get the stink out, so I decided to cut out the sewn in insert and trash the rest, using the insert as a “cover up” when I need to occasionally use some diaper rash cream. Upon opening the diaper I found not only lots of fluff, but lots of SAND! I can’t imagine how that much sand could have gotten in there! The fluff and sand came out when I washed the piece inside out, and they’ve been great ever since.


  10. Trisha Says:

    I seem to have a lot of this going on in my cotton prefolds. It is depressing.


  11. Britt Says:

    I have never had any “stones” or much damage at all to my BG AIOs or my BG 3.0s or any of my diapers for that matter. I guess I’m lucky especially considering they have been used in heavy rotation for 17+ months. The only thing I have going on are the typical snap popped off here, applix is getting worn there type of story. The diapers themselves are holding up amazingly well =)


  12. Rachel Says:

    It can happen with any natural fiber, but I have found it happens most often with cotton fleece or hemp/cotton fleece when the fuzzy side is sewn facing inside. It is simply cotton lint just like you find in your dryer lint trap, only it’s trapped inside the diaper/insert. I have one hemp insert with a marble sized lint ball trapped inside!


  13. Darcy Says:

    I have had those bumps develop between the layers of hemp inserts. I believe the explanation is as follows (could be wrong, of course):

    The exterior surfaces of hemp inserts gradually shed fuzz over time when they are washed and dried (well, gradually once they have been prepped; when they are new, it seems they lose their own weight in fuzz!), and that fuzz ends up in the lint trap of our dryers. The interior surfaces of the insert material gradually shed fuzz as well, due to friction between the layers during washing and drying, but that fuzz has nowhere to go – it is trapped between the layers. Thus, balls of fuzz eventually develop.

    This hasn’t happened to all of my inserts, just a few. The balls also have tended to develop in the corners or along the edges, rather than the center, which is good. I have no idea how to deal with center ones, though. Could they be moved around and pushed to the sides so they are less bothersome?


  14. Selina Says:

    I find the absolute worst culprit for this to be velour prefolds and mini-flats. I’ve had a few fitteds that do this as well but the prefolds are the worst! It gets really bad in the winter when we have to tumble dry everything….in the summer we line dry so there isn’t as much break-down of the fabric.
    I have just used a stitch ripper to open up the seam and I shake out the fuzz. Piles of compressed fluff come out! It isn’t gross, it’s just lint. The lint from the outside of the diapers gets sucked into the lint trap in your dryer, but the lint on the inside has no way to escape so it just builds up.
    I think that I have another one that is getting bad. I will see if I can get a picture of the buildup when I tear it open.


  15. Emily Says:

    I can’t comment about ‘stones’ in my diapers since i don’t have any with “stones.” That is the oddest things. I mostly just stick with indian prefolds, pockets, and some bamboo fitteds. I don’t have any AIO dipes. Do you think i has something to do with the AIO-ness of a diaper? Also, I’ve been cloth diapering for 3+ years (2 kids that overlapped for about a year!) but have never had any of these wear out (and most were bought used! – Although some of my velcro was already worn out when I bought them used but they all still work and the ones with velcro that weren’t as pretty I pulled the velcro off and am in the process of putting snaps on them!)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I had no idea what “Stones” were either.


  16. jenna Says:

    i am having this issue with some of my older bg. the newer ones arent having any issues, but the older diapers arent washing clean because of it. in the same load of wash, the newer diapers come out white, and the older are stained. I think its because the surface is rougher.


  17. Krysta Bauer Says:

    This happens with any fiber that pills. The pills end up between two layers of the diaper. They break off and form together and usually end up in the corners of the diaper. The higher quality the cotton the less pilling, because it has longer fibers. Takes longer for the longer fibers to work their way out and pill.

    I don’t know of any way to avoid it. Opening the diaper up, removing the rocks, and sewing back together is the only solution I know of. And it will happen again as the fiber continues to break down with use!


  18. Rochelle Says:

    I’ve never heard the term “diaper stones” before, but when I read the term I guessed it must be those bumps in the diapers. Some of my 1 year old+ diapers have also developed “stones.” Most of the stones are in the wings and upper areas, so they shouldn’t bother my daughter much, although my old Mother Ease One-Size had stones in the insert. Eventually the insert became so ratty I had to toss it. The diaper isn’t in much better condition. The “newer” Mother Ease I bought early last year is still in good shape, probably because it hasn’t been used as heavily.

    Many of my Wallypop WAHM diapers are getting so ratty I’m having to throw them out, usually after they come out of the washer inside-out with long tears. Thankfully, I have a dozen toddler prefolds that have had little use until now, so they’re replacing the others as the old ones wear out.

    So far, I think the diapers that have stayed in the best shape over time (other than prefolds, which seem to do well), are my Firefly diapers. My older ones have some wearing on the edges, but otherwise are in great shape. Knit hemp/cotton diapers seem to last well, but hemp gets awfully stiff and crunchy over time, regardless what type of fabric it is. I think my prefolds are the softest (we don’t have a hot dryer, so all my diapers are hang-dried).


  19. sonja Says:

    You learn something new everyday…I have never heard of this, but I am glad you brought it to our attention, that way we won’t be quite as puzzled!


  20. Dawn Says:

    I have some “stones” in my MotherEase One Size diapers, mostly jammed up in the corners of the thicker middle section. I don’t think they bother DS since they aren’t right where he’d be sitting or laying on them. Weird.


  21. Heather Says:

    If your bumgenius are less than a year old, see if you qualify for their warranty! I know its good if you bought them directly from cotton babies. I have replaced 24 of the 24 I bought last year, 23 last fall and the last one got too ratty this past month and is in the mail for replacement. I actually stashed 12 of them for the next kiddo because dd1 pl’d during the replacement process. They are my favorite as well, but I don’t like holes in my diapers either!


  22. Anastasia Says:

    hmmm…….sounds similar to my fitteds & aio’s “hardening out” after 20 washes. I don’t get that problem with say a Mother Ease fitted because of the seperate layers or my pockets. Certain INSERTS though, get harder as I go on. Particularly the hemp. They get more absorbant yes, but also harder & flatter at the same time. I find I like a layer of micro between the “middle” & the baby (no not directly) because it just STAYS softer, lol! Sounds similar to the Pilling you’re getting. & you can’t know EVERYTHING. M. Duggar might, if she ever used cloth, but that’s neither here nor there.


  23. Carol Says:

    I have 2 hemp insterts with ‘stones’. I thought it was something I had done wrong in washing them or something. It makes me feel so much better that it is not just me.


  24. Vered Says:

    I’ve had this happen in hemp inserts. Since hemp inserts are part cotton, I wouldn’t be surprised that it was cotton fuzz too. Or maybe hemp fuzz :-).


  25. Kait Says:

    I don’t have stones in my BG Organics, but I have noticed that I’m getting holes in the corners where the insert is sewn in, and around the leg gussets. They’re not even a year old :( Oh well, they’re still functional, but I was hoping that they would last longer.

    Anyway, a friend of mine got stones in her MotherEase One Size diapers. They were just compacted lint, but still annoying as heck.


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