Friday, October 23, 2009

Diaper Stripping with Mineral-Heavy Water

This post is not going to make me very popular with the super green and crunchy crowd.

I'm sort of green...sort of "chewy," not quite crunchy. I pursue a lot of "green" living, a lot of self-sustaining things like doing baking at home, and mixing up my own cleaning concoctions (minus all-purpose cleaner spray, I stick with BioKleen for that). We recycle, and use mostly dish rags and only occasionally paper towels, and I'm planning to sew some linen napkins for us to use during meals.

I've talked before about my love for Charlie's Soap, and I use it for all our clothes, although I have been thinking about trying making my own detergent.

But sometimes, I really think it's okay to reach for some help in the cleaning aisle at a mainstream store.

Back in my post about disinfecting, I mentioned that I spoke with Charlie himself. He spent a lot of time on the phone with me, answering my questions about disinfecting.

At the end of our conversation, I happened to mention that where water tends to "sit" in our house (like the sink drain, the shower head, etc.), I often saw a reddish build-up. He said, "Well, it sounds like you have a lot of iron in your water, and that can cause a mineral build-up on your diapers - that could be why you keep on having repelling problems. You could try washing them with CLR."



I was skeptical, nervous, apprehensive...but it made sense. He said to try from 1/4 to 1/2 cup in a full wash load of *clean* diapers.

So last weekend I did it. I washed half of my clean stash with 1/4 cup of CLR and the regular amount of Charlie's Soap liquid detergent, and an extra rinse. I then did a hot wash cycle with 1 tbsp of Dawn original blue dish detergent, and a few extra rinses to get all the suds out.

I really think it made a difference! Even my Tiny Tush diapers, which haven't been functional in months, made it through some play time today. (However, I'm not rescinding my review of them, because the review was as much about the lack of customer service as it was about the diapers.)

If you feel like you're consistently having problems, especially with repelling, this could be worth a shot for you. I'm not going to make it part of our regular routine, but if I begin to notice a lot of the diapers repelling, then I'll bust it out again.

Remember, if you can see mineral build up in your sinks, then it's in your water. And it's in your washing machine. Even if you don't feel comfortable washing your diapers in it (although we truly are quite pleased with the results, and have no worries about residue due to the immediate subsequent Dawn strip and lots of rinses), you might want to think about running an empty wash load with some CLR in the water to help clean up your machine.


elizabeth said...

Is the build-up you have in your sinks/tubs red or pink? We always get a pink ring around our tub drain and on the shower curtain, but I've always thought it was some kind of mildew b/c it cleans right up with Charlie's APC. Do you think that could be iron/minerals?

Lauren said...

This is the Cloth Diaperin' Mama on my family blog name.

Yes, it's a pink ring - that's from a lot of iron in the water. It cleans off of our sinks and tubs with just scrubbing at it with water. But after a year and a half of washing our diapers in this water, I guess they had a pretty significant mineral build-up. The CLR made a huge difference. I really, really, REALLY felt funny about using it, but our diapers have functioned brilliantly since then, and we've had no rash issues or skin sensitivities or anything.