Thursday, June 28, 2012

Well Water and Cloth Diapers

I am writing this post in honor of a friend of mine who has been having a difficult time keeping her cloth diapers from getting the stinkies! She has well water, and I was curious as to whether or not this affects the way you clean cloth diapers. Here is some of the information that I found:

Most Well Water is Hard water, containing minerals such as arsenic, iron and magnesium. If you have read my post on What's in my Water, you will see that Hard water can be very problematic when using cloth diapers. 

The minerals that make the well water "hard" will often bind to any detergent that is left in your diapers, and leave a nasty smell that can be difficult to get rid of. Sometimes, the diapers may even have a "dingy" look to them as well. You can look at a Water Map to determine your type of water. 

 Here are a few tips to help wash diapers with Well Water:

1) Use a water softener such as Calgon , RLR Laundry Treatment, or Borax.

2) Try a specific detergent made for Hard Water - Rockin' Green Hard Rock.

3) Contrary to popular belief, Vinegar can make the problem worse. Vinegar can bind to the minerals and react to creating an all new level of stinkiness!

4) You can purchase a water softening tank for your entire home. This tends to be a little more expensive, but will help with all of the water that comes into your house. 

5) You may need to strip your diapers a little more often because of the hard water.

6) A few extra rinses may be beneficial after you wash your diapers to make sure all the detergent is out.

7) In most cases, adding a little more detergent will help to get the diapers clean.

8) If you don't already do so, do a cold rinse before the actual cleaning cycle.

9) If you notice that the stink is only with your microfiber inserts/diapers, you may want to try all natural fabrics such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo. These all natural fabrics do not tend to hold the stink in as much.

10) You might want to try a detergent without out enzymes, brighteners, dyes, etc.

Do you have well water or hard water?  What are your tips for washing your cloth diapers in these conditions?


  1. Thanks for this information. I do not have well water, but I will be staying with my gram for a month and she does. so this information will help do laundry up there.

  2. We have well water and have CDed for almost 4 years now through 3 babies. The only time my diapers ever got stinkies was when I used RnG. They also have no discoloration to them and I only strip once a year. I think much of it depends on the region you live in and the amounts of iron in your water.

    1. I have heard the same thing about RNG as well! It seems that some people love it and some people have a lot of problems with it! I guess that is why there are so many different detergents out there! What kind of detergent do you use? I think you are also right as in different wells may have different concentrations of different minerals causing stink!

  3. We do not have well water but our city has very hard water. We bought a softener last year and it has been SOOOOOOO worth it. It has really helped my washing routine for diapers. Also, before we bought a softener our hard water killed our washing machine in 5 years and our dishwasher in 5 and a half years. CRAZY!

    1. Glad to hear you had success with the water softener!

  4. we have well water and so good. i've been using cloth diapers on my son for about 10 mo and haven't run into any problems. i HIGHLY recommend rockin green detergent since it makes detergent specific for your water type.