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How to remove stains, smells and Sanitise™ cloth nappies and diapers
We want it to be easy to use cloth nappies, so we have developed the Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ methods to help you remove stains and smells from cloth nappies and diapers using minimal effort, resources and money.
The Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ information was developed and tested by qualified Chemists.
Why do I need to Sanitise™ my cloth nappies and diapers?
Ammonia and urine go hand in hand, you can’t avoid it occurring, but you can prevent it from causing problems by washing your nappies well to begin with. But even with the best wash routine and washing machine, cloth nappies and diapers can smell and get stained, because after all their job is to catch poo and urine.
Maybe you have bought them second hand, only have access to cold water or have been using a less than great detergent. Have they started smelling, become stained or mouldy? Does your child have a nappy rash, redness or is sick? The good news is it is easy to fix and get them back to stain-free, and smelling great.
Sanitisation removes ammonia and any microbes which can cause problems like redness, rashes and fabric degradation.
You may also need to sanitise cloth nappies and diapers shared among non-siblings, such as in an early childhood education centre or family daycare setting.
How do I remove stains, smells and Sanitise™ my cloth nappies and diapers?
The two most effective, economical and accessible options to remove stains, smells and to Sanitise™ are chlorine bleach or a high heat cycle. These are the only methods that will oxidise ammonia. See our chlorine bleach and ammonia information to learn more.
PUL and items with elastics can’t be washed in a 90/95°C sanitise cycle because they can delaminate or become damaged, for this reason, we recommend using the specific option listed on the chlorine bleach table for PUL and All in One (AIO) items.
Clean Cloth Nappies Chlorine Bleach Sanitise™
Remove stains and smells from cloth nappies, diapers, clothes and laundry in general.
The Chlorine Bleach Sanitise™ table and information provides you with the correct quantities to use to remove certain stains, and smells easily. It reduces the risk of user error and it is easy! Why do you need the correct quantities? So that the process actually works and you don’t damage your cloth nappies, diapers, clothes and laundry. Don’t guess, it can result in disaster!
Remove mould from textiles
How do I use the Chlorine Bleach Sanitise™ table?
We have created a chlorine bleach table that calculates the quantity of chlorine bleach you need to sanitise for a variety of applications and problems. It is easy to use and follow.
There are three ways to sanitise using chlorine bleach: using a bucket, in a Front Loader washing machine or in a Top Loader washing machine.
- Choose what you need to sanitise for- eg minor stains, smells or mould.
- Choose how you want to sanitise and % concentration of your chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite).
- The result is the amount of chlorine bleach (in mls) you need, all calculated for you!
What options and problems are included in the chlorine bleach table?
There are 26 different options to choose from, including ammonia smells (mild, moderate, extreme), cold water washes, mould (minor and significant), one cycle washes, second-hand nappies, minor stains, major stains, bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Impetigo, Salmonella, Listeria), fungal infections and more.
Sanitise application and problem glossary
All in One nappies (AIOs)
Nappies with a PUL outer shell and sewn in absorbency. These nappies require a lower concentration of chlorine bleach to prevent potential damage to the PUL.
Nappies that smell mildly of ammonia (stronger than normal urine), similar to a toilet which hasn’t been flushed all day.
Nappies that smell moderately of ammonia (stronger than normal urine), similar to a toilet which hasn’t been flushed all day.
Nappies that smell very unpleasant, like a public urinal or cat litter box which hasn’t been cleaned.
Bacterial infection: Impetigo
Nappies which have been exposed to Impetigo and require sanitisation.
Bacterial infection: Listeria
Nappies which have been exposed to Listeria and require sanitisation.
Bacterial infection: Salmonella
Nappies which have been exposed to Salmonella and require sanitisation.
Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus
Nappies which have been exposed to Staphylococcus and require sanitisation.
Coloured/ non colourfast fabrics
Fabrics such as bamboo or cotton which have been dyed or are coloured.
Cloth Sanitary Pads with PUL backing
Cloth Sanitary Pads often have a water-resistant PUL layer. They require a lower concentration of chlorine bleach to prevent potential damage to the PUL.
Cold wash only
You only have access to cold water, or want to wash in cold water.
Fungal infections: Candida species
Nappies which have been exposed to Candida species and require sanitisation.
Fungal infection: Tinea/ Ringworm
Nappies which have been exposed to Tinea/ Ringworm and require sanitisation.
I want to nuke everything I have no fear
As described, only suitable for white fabrics.
Main wash only (no pre wash)
You can’t do a pre wash cycle and can only do one cycle (main wash). Required for cloth nappies and diapers shared among non-siblings, such as in an early childhood education centre or family daycare setting.
Mould minor (non-colourfast fabrics)
A few small patches of mould (including black and pink mould) on non-colourfast fabrics.
Mould minor (white fabrics only)
A few small patches of mould (including black and pink mould) on white fabrics.
Mould black (significant)
A significant amount of mould (including black Stachybotrys Chartarum mould) on white fabrics.
Prewash stain removal option (white fabrics only, PUL ok)
Use this option to sanitise PUL covers.
Second hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell)
Second hand nappies which are not stained and don’t smell.
Second hand nappies (moderately stained/smelly)
Second hand nappies which are moderately stained and smelly.
Second hand nappies (extremely stained/ smelly)
Second hand nappies which are extremely stained and smelly.
Nappies with minor oxidisable stains from food, poo, grass, blueberries, red wine, etc.
Nappies with moderate oxidisable stains from food, poo, grass, blueberries, red wine etc.
Sanitise quick reference tables
Use these quick reference tables to determine which method (or methods) is suitable to sanitise your items.
Note: some options output the same bleach concentration. In this situation there is no need to run separate wash cycles. For example, the Second-hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell) option is suitable for PUL covers, AIOs and inserts.
|90/95℃ sanitise cycle|
|Front loader chlorine bleach|
|Top loader chlorine bleach|
|Small scale chlorine bleach|
|All in One nappies (AIOs)|
|Bacterial infection: Impetigo|
|Bacterial infection: Listeria|
|Bacterial infection: Salmonella|
|Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus|
|Coloured/ non colourfast fabrics|
|Cloth Sanitary Pads with PUL backing|
|Cold wash only|
|Fungal infections: Candida species|
|Fungal infection: Tinea/ Ringworm|
|I want to nuke everything I have no fear|
|Main wash only (no pre wash)|
|Mould minor (non-colourfast fabrics)|
|Mould minor (white fabrics only)|
|Mould black (significant)|
|Prewash stain removal option (white fabrics only, PUL ok)|
|Second hand nappies (unstained/ don’t smell)|
|Second hand nappies (moderately stained/smelly)|
|Second hand nappies (extremely stained/ smelly)|
For full instructions on the Sanitise pages, please subscribe to become a Clean Cloth Nappies Member for AU$15/quarter or AU$30/year.
The Clean Cloth Nappies Sanitise™ information was developed by qualified Chemists. See individual method pages for references.