Three Interesting Things You May Not Know About Cloth Diapers

I was asking around in our All About Cloth Diapers private Facebook group for post inspiration ideas. Kind of went like this: If you’re new…what do you want to know? I guess I’m on the right track because a few of the questions that came up are posts that I’m already working on; overnight diapering, wool, and prefolds and flats! Anyway, since I had the big bases covered, this got me thinking is a slightly different direction. A few weird things about cloth diapering and cloth diapers that many people don’t know!


1.  Tylenol can stain inserts with a blue/gray/purplish hue.

I have seen this question a few times in different chat groups I’m in. Someone says something like this: “Umm, weird question…anyone ever have a blue or purple stain on inserts? Nothing is new (same water, same detergent, same foods) I can’t figure out what it can be, HELP!” A long discussion ensues. And then finally someone says, “Have you given your LO (little one) Tylenol recently?” And the answer is almost always yes.

Yes, mineral deposits in hard water can stain cloth diapers and really any laundry at all. But if you have hard water, you probably always had hard water (85% of the US has some level of water hardness). So a suspect blue/purple stain that shows up on just your inserts seemingly out of nowhere likely isn’t from that.

2.  Cloth diapers need to rub against each other (and the side of the drum) in the wash to get clean.

This one applies to those with TOP LOADERS. If you have a front loader, please proceed to number 3. What do I mean when I say they need to rub? Well, think back to the olden days when Ma used to take the clothes out to the river and beat ‘em against the rocks and water to get them clean. To get cloth diapers clean we need to get down and …well…un-dirty in this case.

A top loader’s agitator turns the opposite direction of the inner tub. This action draws the diapers from the top of the tub down to the bottom which then forces the ones on the bottom back to the top. The rubbing during the process in combination with detergent and water temp are what get the diapers clean.

If you have a top loader and are only washing 10 diapers and fill the washer all the way full with water, the mechanical action of pulling the diapers up and down doesn’t happen. All your cloth diapers are doing in there is going for a swim. Use an appropriate amount of water for the amount you are washing. Enough to ensure they are all sufficiently wet but no so much that they just float around.

3.  Cornstarch is like Miracle Grow for a yeast rash.

For much of the last century, baby powder was where it was at. I am sure many of us, our parent’s and even grandparent’s spent our first years covered in the stuff. In the last 20 years or so it was discovered that using baby powder wasn’t the healthiest way to go. Cornstarch stepped in as its lessor known sister and healthier version that accomplishes the same dry tush. One thing you should know is that if your little one has a rash and you suspect AT ALL that it may be yeast….DO NOT use corn starch on it!!!

There are one or two studies (one that was done in 1983) that say cornstarch does not encourage yeast growth. But my pediatrician and numerous cloth diapering resources have said cornstarch equals yeast miracle grow. I wouldn’t chance it myself and I don’t recommend that you do either. Find another way! This link may help.

Hopefully, you have learned something new that you might find helpful. Do you have any cloth diapering ‘secrets’ that aren’t so mainstream that you would be willing to share with all of us?

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About Jennifer Reinhardt

Jenn is a WAHM to two beautiful little girls. Sophia (4.5 years old) and Norah (4 months). She closed her business, Curves, when she found out she was pregnant so she could stay home with her first daughter. Now Jenn spends her time spreading the love of fluff and sharing common sense answers that help to make cloth diapers easy for everyone.

View all posts by Jennifer Reinhardt

6 Responses to “Three Interesting Things You May Not Know About Cloth Diapers”

  1. Sandra Caballero Says:

    Good to know.


  2. Jon Says:

    Hi Jennifer, We had triplets and used cloth nappies until they were potty trained. Using disposables would have cost a fortune plus we would have filled a dump site on our own (excuse the pun). I remember at one stage we were using over 30 nappies a day, I can still fold them and incorporate the disposable nonwoven cloth with my eyes shut :) Our faithful Defy washing machine lasted 5 years +- 5 loads per day, every day and finally succumbed to be replaced with another Defy. The Children are now 11 but my wife and I still get a cold shiver when we think back… ‘How Did We Do That?’
    Oh and by the way we recommend this route.


    • Jennifer Reinhardt Says:

      I love this story! Thank you so much for sharing Jon! Well done, three in cloth at once and you survived! Disposable users should take note :)


  3. Michelle Says:

    I’m surprised at number two. The suggestion to only use the amount of water needed to cover the diapers I’m washing goes against what I was told by others. I’m curious to try this now to see if my EBF stains come out better. Does the same go for the extra rinse and presoak or should I use lots of water for these still?


    • Jennifer Reinhardt Says:

      Hi Michelle! You would use the same amount of water for CD’s as you would for a load of regular laundry. I don’t know anyone that washes 2 shirts in a full water setting. So whatever you select for the hot wash with detergent, you just leave it the same for the rinses. EBF sun out super easy. Just lay them wet in direct sunlight, few hours later they will be totally white again :)


    • Beth VB Says:

      I fill my washer on the setting that will just cover the diapers, let it agitate for 15 minutes, then I turn it to the next load size and let it finish the wash.
      Seems to get the best of both worlds, lots of agitation to clean them, and then lots of water in the end to rinse everything away.


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