Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oops, you have the stinkies!

....aka "My RLR soak story."

Once upon a time, I noticed that our diapers were getting a little...ripe. We definitely were having an ammonia smell problem. Why does this happen? Usually because of detergent build-up (or if the diapers are sitting too long between washes).  It started off small, but soon it was enough to make me wrinkle my nose when I'd get her out of bed in the morning.

I decided to try an RLR soak to combat the issue. I'd heard good things about it, and wanted to see exactly what kind of miracle worker this stuff was.

RLR is a powered laundry additive. It adheres to the residue in your diapers, lifting it away and allowing it to be rinsed off.

We have a front-loading washer, and I'd heard it wasn't as great for front-loaders. So I divided my laundry up and did some in a soak in the washer (the ones that weren't as stinky, mostly my pockets and AIOs) and did some in a soak in the bathtub (my fitteds, natural fiber diapers, and hemp).

For the tub soak, I filled the tub with the hottest water I could, added the RLR, and added the diapers. I added a lot; it was a packed house. Hottest cloth diaper party in town. The washer diapers were jealous.

Within minutes, the water in the tub turned cloudy and dingy. I let them soak overnight, and several times added potfuls of boiling water to the tub (to keep it as hot as I could).  Several hours later, you couldn't see the bottom of the tub. GROSS.

Once the diapers were done soaking, I wrung them out as best I could in the tub, then washed them as usual and gave them a few good extra rinses.  The verdict? NO MORE STINKIES. This is definitely something I'll do again.

Once it was all over, I compared a glass of clean water to a glass of RLR water.

The washer diapers actually turned out just fine as well. To do those, I did the "soak" setting on hot and added the RLR to the detergent tray. Again, I added boiling water (through the detergent tray) once the soak was underway, then when the soak was finished I washed as normal and did an extra rinse or two. For normal diapers, the washer is totally fine, but I think for extra smelly diapers I'd stick with the tub soak.


  1. I'm going to remember this product as I have had several people ask me what to do about "the stinkies" and I never know quite what to tell them aside from the usual stripping and proper wash routine. I have only had one occasion of unexplainable stinkies that seemed to happen overnight and no amount of stripping would cure. I soaked the whole load of diapers in a big tub of vinegar (a lot) and water. It took a couple washes for the vinegar smell to completely disappear, but the stinkies were gone too.

  2. I am having this exact problem and came here looking for a solution. Thanks!

  3. Great post! I was peaking at your stash and I am curious what your colorful circle diaper is... it looks like it has the colors of "the very hungry caterpillar".

  4. It is! It's a Tangerine Baby done in a fabric I got. Google "Eric Carle" fabrics and you should be able to find it!

  5. Found this blog by googling RLR bathtub soak. I'm trying to figure out how many I can get in the tub without impacting the effectiveness of the RLR. Looks like you had a large number in there. Do you remember about how many you were able to jam in there?

    Off to check out the rest of your blog!!

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  7. I realize this post was a long time ago, but I'm wondering if you only used one little packet of RLR for your tub party? ;)

  8. One last question.. I'm not even sure if this is still active but.. Did you put pockets into the rlr soak? My entire stash that needs to be stripped is pockets and microfiber >.<

  9. @anonymous - I used one packet, and I did put pockets in. I wouldn't do PUL diapers very often though; I'm not sure how the RLR would affect the PUL.