Cloth Diapering: No sense of smell and front loading HE washer? — The Bump
Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapering: No sense of smell and front loading HE washer?

Hi Everyone! 

I am really hoping to CD, and I'm hoping you can help me!  The environmental benefits are the key motivating factor for us, but I'm really worried about having issues with not getting the diapers clean.  Unfortunately we have HE front loaders, which I've read are more problematic to get the diapers clean.  To make matters more difficult, I don't have a sense of smell, and while DH does, he is in the military and will sometimes be gone for weeks at a time, so if I end up having a build up issue I'd have no way to know (aside from asking a random friend who comes over to smell my "clean" diapers I guess but I'd prefer not to do that!).  I was kind of assuming that if I washed the diapers with the right cycle and they looked clean, I wouldn't have to worry about smell or ammonia build up issues. 

This doesn't have to be a deal breaker, right?  Can I figure out a routine with my HE washer that gets the diapers clean/smell free pretty quickly (i.e. in a couple weeks time while DH is home, so that I can continue the same process while he's gone)?  Are there particular types of CDs that are better for HE front loaders?  I was hoping to use AIOs just because they seem so easy to use and DH seems more willing to help that way, but if AIOs are a bad idea in my situation I'll definitely reconsider! 

Thanks for your help!

Re: Cloth Diapering: No sense of smell and front loading HE washer?

  • N_KozN_Koz
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    Prefolds/flats seem to be the easiest to keep clean/most forgiving diapers. I do a warm short cycle pre wash, hot/cold wash with tide powder, and hot/cold short cycle rinse but I don't have an HE washer. I would get a routine established and let DH help you with making sure they smell ok. Really unless they are repelling or causing rashes you should be fine even with no sense of smell.

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  • Yes, prefolds and flats are the easiest to clean. You could always buy them and put them in pockets. Pockets go on like an AIO, but easier to clean.
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  • km_mdkm_md
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    I have an HE front loader and we use pockets and AIOs. We haven't been at this for real long yet but so far I've had no issues with getting them clean.

  • Thanks!  I should have clarified that I'm more concerned about unknowingly putting dirty diapers on the baby and/or causing rashes... the potential smell itself won't bother me at all since I can't smell it ;-)


  • I have an HE FL, as well. The times that we've had problems with our diapers, I have noticed DS get a rash before I ever noticed a smell. (Or the problem would only be with ON diapers, which can smell heavily of ammonia by morning time even if there isn't a problem.) I would not let not being able to smell the diapers hold you back. If you are thorough about doing a good pre-rinse/wash cycle to get most of the pee and poo out, find the right amount of a good detergent for your water and machine, and do good rinses, I think you'll be fine. Finding out ahead of time how hard or soft your water can help in getting a good routine started. Then if you have any problems, you can tweak from there.


  • We have a HE FL and the only thing we are able to get truely clean are prefolds and flats and a few small workhorses.  And we get build-up on our prefolds from time to time.  So I would say the safest way to go is flats.  But I am partial because I have been really lovin' the flats lately!
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