Bleach is an incredibly scary and permanent liquid if not used correctly. I have used bleach a few times, but I still remember the first time I ever did a bleach soak. It was at the beginning of our cloth diaper journey, I was only 2 months in. I was having terrible stink issues, no matter how well I was rinsing my diapers before washing them. I had seen a video of someone bleaching their diapers so I did this to get rid of the stink. I was very nervous!
That was the first time I ever bleach soaked my diapers! All of the diapers were pocket diapers with manmade (microfiber) inserts. It was around 40 diapers, so a very full diaper soup!
Fast forward a few months and I was still always having a lingering stink on my diapers. I realized the detergent I was using was not getting my diapers clean enough. So after I switched detergents it did get better and no more stink! You can check out my wash routine, here! I also never had to bleach my diapers because of stink again!
There are a few reasons to bleach your diapers; to get rid of stink, yeast, or buying used. Now when you’re bleaching to get rid of stink, this is usually only a once in awhile occurrence. If you’re having to bleach multiple times a month, I would consider looking at a different wash routine, and/or a new detergent. Having stink buildup on your diapers is not normal and means that your diapers are not getting clean enough.Yeast is a big hassle that will require bleach, no matter what. In my opinion, bleach is the only thing to get yeast off your diapers. If not done correctly, your child will continue getting a yeast rash. Buying used is the last reason to ever bleach your diapers. Buying used is a good way to save some money, but you also want to keep your child safe! You’ll want to make sure the diapers are sanitized and clean before use!
When it comes to bleaching any kind of fabric, there are a few things you need to know. Some fabrics you can bleach all day and not have any issues (note: you would never really want to do this), then there are some fabrics that are harshly affected by bleach. Man made fabrics, such as microfiber can soak in bleach. Natural fibers cannot soak in bleach. I use to have a full stash of microfiber inserts (pockets) and I would soak them in bleach when I would buy used or the stink started building up (again, we have not had any problems since changing detergents). Natural fibers are a whole other story, they cannot soak in bleach. Our whole stash is natural fibers now so when I would buy used I was always so nervous to use bleach on them. Bleach will eat away at the natural fibers (have you ever gotten a spec of bleach on a cotton tshirt?) which can cause them to age faster by getting holes.
One important thing I will mention about bleach and your diapers, is that the bleach will not affect the coloring on the polyurethane laminate (PUL). PUL is colorfast so it will not affect it.
Bleaching natural fibers is not as scary as some may think. I know bleach is scary, but if done correctly, there is rarely any harm done. It is not recommended to bleach often, if even more than once. Bleach on a need to basis. When I purchase any used natural fiber diapers I simply just throw them in a cold wash with some white towels (depending on how many I am bleaching) and put 1/4c of bleach in. It’s important to use cold water because hot water will break down the bleach, making it less effective. After the bleach wash I add in my detergent with hot water, and do a normal cycle. The hot wash following the bleach wash will help to get any extra bleach that may have been on the diapers, off. You do not want to soak your natural fiber diapers.
Bleaching manmade fibers is pretty simple. I just throw them in a 20-30 minute cold water soak with 1/2c of bleach and then wash like normal afterwards. I used to use really inexpensive manmade fiber diapers, so if something were to ever happen to them, it was not that much of a loss. Microfiber is so cheap as well, so again if something happened it was not that hard to replace. You can definitely use the same method of bleaching listed above, or you can soak. If you chose to soak, the amount of bleach you use will depend on that. A full tub of water you can put in 1/2c and half full tub you can use 1/4c. Make sure to stir around the water after you pour the bleach in. After the soak I ring them out and throw in a hot wash!
It is important to make sure you have the correct bleach. You will want to get original bleach! It will say “kills 99.9% of live viruses” on the bottle. Off brand is 100% ok to use, just make sure it is original bleach. There is bleach that has added scents, which is not needed. It’s easier as well to make sure the bleach is already concentrated.
Bleaching your diapers is not as scary as you think it would be! If done correctly, you’ll come out with sanitized and clean diapers! There are also a lot of different views on bleaching your diapers, so keep that in mind if you ever need to bleach your diapers! I hope that you never have to bleach unless buying used, but if so just follow these simple steps for a perfect bleaching process!