I ruined my cloth diapers!

January 14, 2010

Washing Cloth Diapers

Well, perhaps “ruined” is a slight exaggeration.  After all, they are still usable.  So what’s wrong with them?


And I have a boy.

But, they still hold pee and poop so all is not lost. However, that was no consolation to me the first 48 hrs after my disaster.  The Flip and Rumparooz inserts are hilariously bright pink.  Again, I have to tell myself, they still work.

Besides, other than the sbish bamboo fitteds no one is going to notice because it’s the inside that’s pink.  And really no one is going to see the bubble gum sbish fitteds since they’ll have a cover.  So, it’s all good right?

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen to be one of the biggest loads of cloth diapers I’d done.  See, my laziness procrastination children (it helps to place the blame elsewhere) caused all this trouble. If I’d have done the laundry more regularly only half the diapers would be pink.

You’d probably like to know how I unintentionally dyed hundreds of dollars worth of cloth diapers PINK?  Ignorantly, I tossed in a hand-dyed cloth diaper with my stash.  A dyed diaper that was given to me.  A cute diaper that meant no harm to me.

I should have known.  I write a cloth diaper blog for crying out loud!  But, I suppose it’s a mistake anyone can make.  Let my mistake be your lesson :) Bold, rich reddish burgandyish dyed cloth diapers SHOULD BE WASHED SEPARATELY! Are we clear?

I’m starting to see the positives in all this.

  1. I didn’t have to think hard about what my next blog post should be about.
  2. My cloth diapers are prepared for me to have a girl.
  3. I might spare someone else the pain of opening their washing machine to see a pink massacre.
  4. This has reinforced to me that cloth diapers are just pee/poop catchers. No need to get all worked up about it.

I did immediately bleach them and said a prayer that they would magically become normal again.  The pink did lighten up significantly but as you can see from the picture they’re still pink.

I know there are much worse things that could happen…I read your emails! Has this happened to you?  Or have you experienced something worse?  Please share and make me feel better ;)


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 https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

41 Responses to “I ruined my cloth diapers!”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Sun ought to bleach the dye out just fine. Doesn’t matter if they’re wet or dry, or what the weather is like; just pop them out in the sun and let it do the work for you.


  2. sarah Says:

    i googled bumgenius bleed hot pink, and found your blog. this happened to me, but mine bled onto the other diapers inside my pail. very upset!


  3. Manda Says:

    ROLF but in sympathy. When it happened to me I borrowed a friends hand dyed indgo one… voila purple (gender neutral) In retrospect I should have gone yellow cause Orange would have matched my covers better :)


  4. Kim Says:

    My mother did this to a load of clothes when I was younger. Not just something to wear under other clothes but clothes that my father and I were to wear on the outside. Some of the things were practically brand new too. The pink did fade from subsequent washings. Many washings. So by the time you potty train your child the pink should be all gone. Hope that makes you feel better. :P


  5. Markella Says:

    Well,well…a few years ago I had a whole laundry become pink including everything from my white skirt to my son’s underwear!!!!! I thanked God though cause they all were evenly dyed and not just spots here and there-that’s something,isn’t it? I just saw it as a “renewal” to our wardrobe !??!!!


  6. Danielle Says:

    Hee hee, a red pail liner turned all my mf inserts pink, and that was nearly a year ago! I feel your pain, Autumn.


  7. Becca Says:

    Oh my goodness! That’s so awful! I would cry if I did that. It’s so great of you to see the bright side of it! Making lemonade from lemons!!!


  8. Michelle Says:

    Ugh, I so hear you on that one. I have 2 boys in diapers, ages 28 months and 5 months. The microfiber inserts for my pockets and in my all-in-one diapers are all a light pink hue. Culprit, a red FOE bound diaper cover! I didn’t think much of throwing it into the laundry, I “thought” I’d done that before, but turns out I hadn’t… at least not on that setting (sanitize). Funny… it did nothing for my sanity to improve it, just about drove me mad! lol
    I went out and bought some dylon dye remover and boiled all my inserts. They went from a bright pink to a very pale baby pink. I guess you live and learn and end up having to live with the results! Definitely won’t make that mistake again…


  9. Yara Says:

    I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… I don’t meant o laugh but, you see….
    on New Years eve… my husband fell asleep. I wasn’t happy (he said he’d stay up) so what do I do… I shop online. But, it’s almost midnight, I’m tired…
    I order a diaper for my son.
    I don’t know how or why, but I got the wrong color. I blame bumgenius for not saying
    green, blue, pink.
    Uh-huh. I got my package this week & you should have seen the look on my face…
    my new flip diaper…
    is pink. Bright pink.
    My son has long hair, for crying out loud!
    People are constantly asking “how old is she?” and I get mad.. “HE is 13 months”
    and I go and buy him a pink diaper!
    our boys can match now : )

    hopefully on your diapers, the pink will fade as you keep washing them.
    (is that RIT dye remover safe for diapers?)


  10. AnneJ Says:

    I did something similar… as a result the inside of my diapers are all blue! And yes, it was one of my biggest loads… thankfully I have a boy, but I still wasn’t impressed at all!! I much prefer white insides! But I keep telling myself the same thing you do: its just diapers. It’s just to pee/poop in, its no big deal…. right? :)


  11. Tina Says:

    Ooops!!! Well, just remember……real men wear pink. ;o)


  12. Cristy Says:

    OH NO!!!! At least you can still use them! I DEF would have cried…. I have had things bleed a bit here too but not to this extent! BTW.. I think I wrote to you a while back about night time diapering… We just got some disposable flip inserts while they were on sale and I have been using them the past 2 nights. I put a cover down and place a BG microfiber doubler with a flip disp. insert on top into the cover. Snap on the cover (any of my covers) and put them to bed. So far with both boys wearing them for 2 nights there have been no leaks!!!!!!! The disposables from the store were leaking pretty much EVERY night… Gets old fast… and the cloth diapers doubled up were just way to bulky. This seems to work so far! I’ll try to let you know in a few months!!!! With the sale the flips worked out to .13 a diaper with free shipping!! Store ones are .15 a diaper plus tax.. and they hadnt been working at all for night time.. Lets wait and see! :)


  13. Amanda Says:

    Someone posted the same problem on DS the other day. I don’t know if this will work for sure and how CD safe it is, but a soak in hot water and equal parts Biz and blue Dawn (1 cup each) for an extended period of time. Change the soak solution after a day or so and do it again if it seems to be working until it gets white. Biz contains enzymes, so you will have to wash like crazy to get all of it out, but it might be worth a try to get your whites back. Try it with a dipe or two to see if it helps, if not, your little man will just have the cutest inners out there.


  14. Britt Says:

    If it makes you feel any better, pink used to be considered a “boy colour” way back in the day. Or, maybe it’s a lesson to us all, that we should be clour blind when it comes to gender … or at least when it comes to diaper laundry!


  15. Jen Says:

    I did the same thing with a homemade burgundy diaper, now most of my diapers are pink, but it has mostly faded with more washes.


  16. Paula Says:

    I’m a grandma now and did my cloth diapering back through the mid ’70’s and ’80’s. The ones you all use now are so pretty and neat. I got started reading this website when my daughter wanted me to make her some cloth diapers. (just some background) I’m sure I had some different colored diapers, but my worst laundry disaster was with the first load of all those brand new Spring clothes for my three little ones and the wonderful chunky RED crayola that went through the washer and dryer and left red marks of various sizes and in the worst places on EVERYTHING… all those wonderful new clothes. I was sick!


  17. Amanda Says:

    Autumn, First off, I love your blog. That’s a bummer about the diapers. Try sunning them with some lemon juice. Our storage room flooded and I had some dye transfer issues with a Christmas decoration that a dear friend had made for me. Sunning and some lemon juice took the red dye off of the white part of the decoration. Good luck!


  18. Vanessa Says:

    I recently had a similar problem. I was in a hurry to make up some diapers and I tossed some coral fleece in the wash machine. At the last minute not thinking I tossed in 50 yards of white FOE to shrink it up a bit. Well the result was disasterous! I now have 50 yards of light pink FOE and nothing including bleach or RIT will help the situation. So I really feel for you. And like you I think I learned an important lesson, don’t procrastinate so much.


  19. Shannon Says:

    Oh no girl, I’m sorry about your diapers. I was washing some last night and had gotten a new diaper to test that was quite colorful and I had the in the back of my mind what if it turns the cloth diapers to my other ones.

    Thankfully it did not.

    I like how you look on the positive side!


  20. lisa Says:

    I thought I was the only one! I haven’t even had my baby yet and I dyed my Heiny Hugger Fitteds (originally natural) a weird orange colour on the first wash!! I wanted to cry… but I didn’t. Instead, I washed them a million more times .. once with a little bleach.. and voila.. they are back to normal!


  21. misty Says:

    Not quite the same thing but a funny story… My grandma did laundry for me while we were visiting last year. I had a lime green skirt that was “hand wash only” but she did not realize this and threw it in with laundry. Needless to say we had quite a bit of lime green laundry. Luckily MOST of it was undergarment which she was actually excited about having a variety of colors from them on. :) For the longest time we thought it was the same colored microfiber towel I was using as diaper insert but I couldn’t figure out why it picked then to start fading. Much later we realized it was actually the skirt!


  22. Marissa Says:

    God, I did a similar thing a month ago. I make hand dyed burp cloths and after washing a batch of them, I left one in the wash and washed a HUGE load of diapers. It was kelly green…so now my diapers are pee yellow. Yep…pee yellow. Pink would be much better, ha. The good thing is only the inserts & my bumgenius organics were “harmed”. It was totally freaking out like you, but they still work and each day the look more and more “normal”.

    Lesson…count the burg cloths and LOOK in the wash. Maybe I’ll wash them in something bright red for a better color…


  23. Kristin Says:

    Hi Majaliwa,
    I actually just read a great article about restretching something that has shrunk (and it mentions wool is one of the easier things to manipulate back). You need baby shampoo or conditioner, and a template of the size you think it should be stretched out to on parchment paper. Add 1 tbsp of baby shampoo to 1 qt of water, then immerse a machine or hand washable garment in the solution to relax the fibers. Lightly squeeze the excess water from the garment, then lay it on the paper. Gently stretch the item so that it fits the traced outline. If there is a little stiffness, use a steamer or the steam from an iron to make the garment more malleable. Finally, secure the edges with heavy objects until dry (coffee cups, paper weights). -Real Simple Magazine. – I knew this magazine was worth the money!!


  24. Jennifer B Says:

    Yep, I did it too. I tossed an orange and a pink dyed diaper into the laundry because I thought after a few washes they wouldn’t bleed anymore. My bumgenius fitteds were a nice pinky orange, most of my microfiber inserts and several prefolds turned light orange, and the suedecloth on several dipes was faintly orange. At the time, I just kinda giggled and said “oops” since I do have a girl anyway. After several months and many washes, most of those have returned to their normal colors. The prefolds not so much because I hardly use them on my baby right now, as every diaper change turns into a wrestling match these days. But that’s okay because they kindof just look like the unbleached kind. And the microfiber inserts, I really could care less what color they are, but being dingy orange helps hide the poo stains. Not a bad deal. :)


  25. Rasa Says:

    “Peace, only peace.” as you said Astrid Lindgren Karlson. First, your child is healthy and nothing happened to him. But here only diapers. Nobody sees what it looks like inside when the child it wear. And apparently God decided that it is time to think about the girl. After several washing it shouldbe white. We all do mistakes, of which we learning.And Thank God that only such the error occurs.
    (sorry for my english)


  26. Nurture Says:

    Judging from the picture, they really don’t look that bad! I agree with Grateful for Grace, if you were on the fence about another child, now you know your answer:)


  27. Nicole Rod Says:

    Yep, I somehow turned all of my BG inserts pink at some point. I ended up bleaching them in the bathtub.


  28. jen Says:

    Try some dye remover. It will get all the pink out of your dipes. There are dye magnets and a good dye remover from RIT.

    Good luck!!


  29. Melody Says:

    Believe it or not this is what happened to me!

    It was late at night and I was loading my washing machine. I like to toss in some vinegar when stripping my diapers so I reached into the pantry, grabbed a jug of “vinegar” and rather than the usual splash splash as I tossed some in, I heard a glop glop glop.. much thicker liquid pouring in. My heart stopped. I knew instantly that it was NOT vinegar but sadly there was already a bunch of it in the washing machine with the diapers!!!! It was none other than cooking oil!!!! UGHHHHH

    Several hot washes, Dawn dish soap, vinegar, wash after wash and still oil smell and residue. I could have cried. Most of my diapers were fairly new at that point. I called my mother almost in tears (keep in mind that my mom is 74 years old.. hahaha and I am 44). She was also stumped but thought I should just keep using the Dawn and hot water. I had given up on that after 4 washes.

    I started searching my cupboards searching for a solution to no avail. Later that evening I opened the fridge for a snack and saw the lemon juice. Hmmmm… I thought. Yep I pulled it out, poured almost the whole jar of it into the washing machine with the diapers and turned it onto a long hot wash! VOILA.. oil was stripped out and diapers were not harmed.

    MORAL OF THE STORY.. never never never reach for anything in the dark and pour it in with diapers.. LOL


  30. Nicole Says:

    Well, my mom made some experimental diapers out of some old bright beach towels, of course usually they are not washed in hot, so I guess there was still some colour left in them to bleed, and it turned all my diapers a blue-grey shade.

    I was just grateful I didn’t do that with actual clothes. The only part that really got coloured was the inside of any AIO’s or pockets (which you don’t see) and some prefolds (which are covered with a cover). Also, if anything that was worn on the outside was coloured, it wouldn’t be a big deal, cause usually they wear pants or something over them (especially this time of year), and if not, those can be your at home diapers! (I even have a couple pin


  31. Majaliwa Says:

    maybe not as bad as the pink diapers for a boy – but i mistakenly told my husband that to wash the diapers all he had to do was throw them in the wash and dry. i failed to mention that all of the diapers EXCEPT the woolies should be thrown in the wash. poor things shrunk up so small they looked like speedos on my little man. tried as i might to reshape and stretch them out again it didn’t work. i remain hopeful that they’ll be perfect for my little one on the way – at least during the newborn stage!


  32. Tabitha Says:

    oh no! I’m so sorry, I hope it will continue fading out with each continued wash. Or you could just tie-die the insides all different colors :-)


  33. Amanda Robertson Says:

    Hey Autumn!

    While I do have a girl…. I also had a pink-tastrophe with my diapers. I had to do laundry before my little one had to go to the hospital and all of my diapers (25 BG 3.0’s) needed to be washed. Since I was using disposable diapers at the hospital and didn’t know how long we would be gone for…. I didn’t want to leave them to sit. SOOOO…. I thought what’s the harm in washing them all together with her normal laundry which I didn’t have an entire load to do yet? I always pre-rinse/soak as I change her with a diaper sprayer… no poop will end up in clothes…HOT WASH… end of story… I thought I’d come home from the hospital with our recovering little girl and no laundry worries! WRONG!!

    LONGER story short… PRETTY red wool sweater from Old Navy that was only washed once turned ALLLLLLL of my inserts and suedecloth lining HOT PINK!!!! THANKFULLY…. without bleach I got it all out and have yet to wash her diapers with anything else since. After a couple of sun bleachings in the window (we’re in an apartment) and a few more washings all was well again! If you REALLY need a quick fix try stripping them with dawn… it is a clarifyer… I’ve used it to fix botched hair dye jobs among other things… GOOD LUCK!

    Also.. FYI for your future girl diapering endeavours (if you trust that your diapers are telling you a girl is in the cards) The Bum Genius diapers in Zinnia bleed pink for quite some time. Luckily the pink only seems to end up on the suedecloth and laundry tabs of those diapers in particular!


  34. Stephanie Says:

    I would have cried!!


  35. JCF Says:

    I accidentally dyed some light green towels with a couple of dark red throw rugs that I stupidly put in the same load. I washed the towels with a package of Rit dye remover (purchased at Joann’s) and they were as good as new (or at least as they were before I washed them with the rugs). It didn’t take out any of the original color of the towels.


  36. Jill Says:

    Depending on the dye, it will probably wash out. I know a couple of companies now put warnings on their brighter colors (red, hot pink) to wash them separately a couple of times, but that EVENTUALLY it would wash out. I ended up washing a sweater with some whites. A purple sweater from my grandmother’s stash, apparently, she’d had it for a while and never washed it. Anyway, I bleached my whites and they came back out, so I’m sure yours will fade, given time.


  37. Slee Says:

    RIT makes a dye remover. It doesn’t always work, but in some cases has de-redified some things for my mother. Of course, there are so many variables at play in whether or no it can help. Just thought I should throw that out there.
    I have learned this lesson by washing brand new baby clothes of dark and bold color with my prefolds, which now are delightfully dingy as a result. But that’s okay, since now that we have no sun, they’re all bile stained anyway. :-(
    You are, however, very right. Diapers are for catching pee and poop, and nothing else.


  38. sonja Says:

    no, nothing like this has ever happened…I am sorry, so so sorry – I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I would totally freak out if it happened to me!


  39. karen Says:

    I wonder if you wash them a million more times (which you’ll obviously do before your little one is potty trained) whether the the red will wash out. Could be, right? My greatest diaper laundry transgression was putting a snappi in the wash with pul covers and pocket diapers–of course the pul was totally covered in holes. Oh well.


  40. Grateful for Grace Says:

    I feel for ya’. Really, I do. Maybe it’s God’s signs to a)wash more often b)have a girl c)consider the color pink a calming color (He could be trying to help provide stress relief often for you). Hugs, GfG


  41. Candace Robinson Says:

    Oh No!!! Well, hopefully the pink will continue to lighten and eventually they’ll be mostly white again. That happened to me. They weren’t THIS pink, but they were slightly pink and now they don’t really seem to be pink at all! I also had done a de-stink by soaking in a mixture of vinegar and oxy-clean. I think that may have taken out the pink, but I’m not sure.


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