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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 21:44 PM   1
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What is this stuff on my cloth diapers?!


So we primarily use Swaddlebees (now Blueberry) Simplex diapers, which have birdseye cotton interiors. We have been using them for three months with no problems. I noticed a while back that some black spots had formed on the cotton, but they were small and there were so few, I didn't worry about it.

After tonight's laundry though, a whole bunch of them appeared all over!

It looks like mildew?! But we are in a very cold, dry climate right now and these seem to have appeared just now with this one washing. We also wash daily, so they don't sit for long in the wet bag. If it makes any difference, I EBF.

I have to admit that I did throw in two new Tot Bots with the load... But none were black or dark at all in color, but perhaps the spots are dye?

Any thoughts on what they are or how to treat them?

Thanks!



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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 01:12 AM   2
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An additional observation: It is only my older diapers showing the marks. My newer ones that are about a month old have none?! And they were in the same wet bag, same washing load...

Could it be some kind of hard water build up? There is no smell...



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 03:54 AM   3
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My first thought would be mildew/mould but as you said it's very unlikely if washing every day and with a cold dry climate.

I don't think any of the Tots Bots nappies would cause black spots. Sometimes the red Bamboozle Stretch can leak a little colour but that would be pink not black.

Could it just be poo stains? Babies have a habit of doing surprising things in their nappies just to confuse you . I would wash them as usual and see if the spots fade. Perhaps spot treat the marks with a little stain remover (make sure to wash it out thoroughly after) and see if they come out at all. If they do with only a couple of stain treatments or over a couple of weeks of normal washes, I'd say it was just a stain. Mould/mildew is quite hard to get rid of. We had a towel that had mildew on it a while ago and it took several days of soaking in eco bleach to get the marks to fade at all.

We have had poo stains that looked like random little dots on the nappy. Ours were brown not black but babies vary. Maybe try washing dirty nappies separately next wash and seeing if it's only them?

I don't think water deposits are a likely cause, unless you find things do go black over time like your kettle? Here the water deposits are white; where I used to live they used to be pinkish but I've not seen black.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 04:00 AM   4
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Just googled for ideas and one suggestion was that the nappies may not be getting thoroughly dry between uses. Could that be a possibility if it's cold? That could lead to mildew.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 07:22 AM   5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel_C View Post
Just googled for ideas and one suggestion was that the nappies may not be getting thoroughly dry between uses. Could that be a possibility if it's cold? That could lead to mildew.
It's possible.

Are my diapers ruined? Are they safe to use for my baby? How do I stop it from spreading? Ugh!

Bleach? (Tag says no)

Borax?

spent loads on these diapers



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 08:55 AM   6
Rachel_C
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Don't panic!

I would give them (just the affected ones) another wash, perhaps with some stain remover applied directly to the black spots, and see if it fades at all. It's very possible it's just a stain from dirty nappies and I think that would fade much quicker than mildew. We've had some very weird stains over the last few years! If the spots weren't there before the wash I think it's unlikely that the wash would make them suddenly appear - it's more likely that poo got spread around and stained them in the nappy bucket/bag.

If it is mildew, is it just the cotton that seems to be affected? Cotton is pretty tough stuff and will be easier to sort out that something like bamboo. You will want to make sure any spores are killed off - things like vinegar or peroxide are supposed to be effective (not sure about strength etc but I'm sure Google has the answer!). I think anything you try will probably invalidate your Blueberry warranty but if it's that or buy new nappies I know which I'd do I doubt that one or two treatments would destroy the nappies either. Perhaps you could contact Blueberry and ask their advice? They may know of a good way to kill anything nasty that will not harm the nappies, or at least be able to recommend the least harmful way. Sunlight is actually a good way but I haven't looked into how effective it is compared to things like bleach. Asking Swaddlebees is probably your best bet, I'm sure they've been asked before.

You may not be able to get rid of the black marks but as long as they're old stains without anything alive in there, I wouldn't mind that. They may fade in time, they may not. After that, you just need to make sure everything is thoroughly dried - it can be tricky I know!



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 16:02 PM   7
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Thanks!

The diaper company was helpful, but not. Lol. They sent me links for how to treat mildew (bleach), but in the same email warned me that using bleach or caustic cleaners will void the warranty. So in other words, use chemicals, but don't.

It is only cotton that is affected. My bamboo and hemp inserts seem fine. Unfortunately, the cotton is attached to pul, so anything I use on the dipes will affect the pul as well.

I have read that borax can get it out, but is that safe for CDs?

Not sure how much to use or how long to soak.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 16:29 PM   8
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Don't worry about it too much. Voiding the warranty isn't the same as destroying your nappies. If you treat them, at least you'll be able to use them and you would probably never have used your warranty anyway. They won't fall apart due to being bleached a few times. Different brand but bumGenius say in their washing instructions that you can use bleach once a month or something... and PUL is pretty much the same thing whatever brand.

I would use bleach I think (we don't get real borax in the UK, I think it's considered too nasty? I've read mixed reviews on whether it's safe for cloth nappies, but discussions normally talk about regular use not just a one-off). Did they say to soak them? You could position the nappies so most of the bleach goes onto the cotton rather than the PUL but it won't destroy them even if it does. Perhaps hang them somehow, or lay them on top of a rack in the soaking water so that the inner layer is in the bleach water but the PUL is resting on the surface. Maybe even put something waterproof (folded plastic bag?) in between the cotton and the PUL on the inside if you're really worried about the PUL. Or if using bleach in the wash is fine, just go ahead and do that without worrying.

What links did they send? I can have a look if that would help.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 16:34 PM   9
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Oh wait, Thirsties have what looks to be a comprehensive guide to getting rid of mildew:

http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/ho...cloth-diapers/ I think I would give the salt and lemon juice plus sunlight a go first. If that doesn't work or you have stains left, try oxygen bleach You could use grapefruit seed extract after that as extra insurance if you want.

When I had some mildewed towels, I used 'eco bleach', I think it was just a plain sodium percarbonate one. I just followed the instructions and soaked in for 6 hours (it only lasts that long). Not sure what brands you have that would be the same thing but I think most oxygen and eco bleaches are based around the same few ingredients. I haven't soaked nappies in it but I do add the same stuff to washes now and then and have been doing for maybe a year with no ill effects on nappies of all types and fabrics.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 17:20 PM   10
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Thanks!

I would love to sun them, but it is -40 celsius with the wind chill here.

Won't be sunning anything until the spring.



 
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