5 Tips for Controlling Diaper Odors

As you get into your cloth diaper routine, you always look for ways to tweak and improve. One area everyone wants to improve is controlling diaper odors. These five tips are the main ways I cut down on cloth diaper odors.

1. Change diapers just before you go to bed if baby went to sleep hours ago and wets soon after falling asleep (to avoid the morning ammonia smell)

2. Leave the lid off the pail near a window or door and include a charcoal deodorizing disk in the pail lid.

3. Put a few drops of essential oil in the pail. 
I like tea tree, but others seem to love lavender.

4. Adjust your washing routine. If you have chronically smelly washed cloth diapers, the problem might be detergent residue.

Then, the big one.

5. Use ENOUGH detergent.

Yes, cloth diaper manufacturers tell you to use a small amount of detergent, usually only 1-2 tablespoons. We find that many customers take these recommendations to the extreme and are not using enough detergent to actually get their diapers clean. They are so afraid of residue that they use as small amount as possible. You have to consider the size of your load and adjust these recommendations accordingly. If the diapers are coming out of the wash and they still have a bit of an odor, you may need to use more detergent.

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2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Controlling Diaper Odors”

  1. Great tips! I wasn’t using enough detergent when I started cloth diapering. My general rule of thumb now is this: If a diaper smells coming out of the dryer (or in off the line, but the dryer intensifies the smell) you need more detergent. If the diaper smells like ammonia when baby pees in it, diapers need to be stripped. If the diaper that’s been at the bottom of the pail smells like ammonia . . . just ignore it, lol, or wash more often.

  2. Just like renee, I haven’t been using enough detergent. We just got a new washer and because it’s a front loader and we have a water softener, I was afraid to use too much detergent. I’ve had to re-wash the diapers a couple of times before I figured out how much detergent to add to get the diapers smelling clean. Now I just hope I’m not using too much detergent hahaha.


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