We are at the peak of summer here and it’s HOT! We have received a lot of phone calls with questions on how to treat Mildew and Mold. If you’ve ever let your Cloth Diapers sit for too long in a hot, humid environment it’s most likely you have found Mildew. Mildew can start within a few hours of being left wet in a closed container.
Mold typically looks like little black dots scattered in the fibers of your cloth diapers. Mildew looks more like a rash and is usually a brown or rust color, often found in patches. Both are easily preventable issues, as long as you know how to manage your wet and dirty cloth diapers. Below are some simple solutions to remove and/or kill the mildew.
For mildew spots: Mixture of 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice. Mix into a paste and rub onto the mildew spots. Let sit for a half hour. Wash with the next cloth diaper load, and dry in the sun or put in the dryer for 15 minutes on high. -This should kill the mildew and get rid of the stain.
Vinegar – Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle, spray on the area with mildew, and let set for a few hours. Wash with the next cloth diaper load and dry in the sun. You can also add ¼ cup baking soda and ½ cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle if they have odor. -This should kill the mildew, but the stain will still be visible. This is for natural fiber diapers only. Not for laminates, microfiber, or households with hard water.
Tea Tree Oil – Add 1 teaspoon tea tree oil to 1 cup water in a clean spray bottle. Shake to blend, and spray on mildew spots. Let sit overnight, and add to your next cloth diaper load. Dry in the sun. -This will disinfect, but the stain will still be visible.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – Add 10 drops grapefruit seed extract to 1 cup water in a clean spray bottle. Shake to blend, and spray on mildew. Let sit overnight, and add item/s to next cloth diaper load. This will disinfect, but not get rid of the stain. -This will disinfect, but the stain will still be visible.
Oxygen Bleach Powder – Follow directions on package. -This should disinfect and remove the stain.
For a stash of mildewed diapers or covers: Start a prewash cycle in your machine with the lowest water level to cover the diapers. Let the tub fill with cold water, add ¼ cup baking soda, and ONE of the following: ½ cup vinegar, 2 tsp Tea Tree Oil , 2 tsp Grape Seed Extract , Recommended amount of Oxyclean Baby (use hot water)
Let agitate, add the diapers, and then turn the washer off to let them soak for about 1 hour. Line dry outside or run a hot cycle in the dryer.
After any kind of treatment, please wash your diapering products and rinse thoroughly. Drying in the sun will aid in disinfection and stain removal.
Please keep in mind that drying in the dryer will set any stains. To remove stains naturally, you can use a 50/50 solution of lemon juice and water sprayed on the stain. Put in the sun for a couple of hours. If stain is still visible, wash and repeat.
Tips on preventing mildew from growing: Mildew grows in warm temperatures and humidity. There also seems to be a link to sugar in the growth of mildew.
- We recommend using a dry pail to store your diapers for washing – no soaking on a normal basis.
- Please do not keep any soiled or wet items in an airtight container for longer than a few hours.
- Humid climates have more trouble with mildew, and might need more frequent washings. You may need to use the dryer to keep mildew from forming, or put a de-humidifier in the laundry room where they are hung.
- Make sure that your diapering products are dry after laundering. Take them out of the washer and dryer as soon as the cycle is done. Check to see that they are totally dry before storing.
- A half cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle will help to clean and disinfect your diapers. This is for natural fiber diapers only. Not for laminates, microfiber, or households with hard water.
- A few drops of Tea Tree Oil mixed with ¼ cup of baking soda in the prewash cycle will aid in stain removal, disinfection, softening water, and cleaning of your diaper laundry.
- Dry in the sun! This disinfects, aids in stain removal, and conserves energy!