Sometimes, despite our best intentions, a cloth diaper becomes seriously neglected. During this busy holiday season, I found two soiled and dried cloth diapers hiding among some laundry. I was frustrated with myself because one of the diapers was a $35 fitted Sloomb cotton velour (aff link) diaper. The other diaper was a $1 Gerber flat. Thankfully, cleaning the diapers was not overly difficult.
Steps to clean a dried and urine-soiled cloth diaper
1) Rinse the diaper in hot water
Urine converts to ammonia overtime and urine-soaked diapers will smell strongly of ammonia. Rinse the diaper in hot water in order to open up the fibers and remove some of the ammonia. This can be a quick rinse by hand.
2) Soak the diaper in hot water + Oxiclean Versatile
Place the diaper in hot water (around 120 degrees) and add 1/4 a scoop of Oxiclean Versatile per gallon of water. It is easy to add diapers to an empty gallon sized ice cream bucket. Depending on the type of diaper, you may need to soak for more or less time. My flat diaper only needed about 10 minutes of soaking, but the fitted diaper needed several hours of soaking and two changes of water with Oxiclean before it smelled clean.
3) Wash the diaper using your usual routine
Remove the diaper from the Oxiclean soak, and squeeze out as much water as possible. If the diaper doesn't smell clean, you will need to change the water and keep soaking it in Oxiclean (an overnight soak can do the trick). Wash the diaper with your regular diaper laundry using your regular cloth diaper detergent.
If you have light staining on the diaper from urine, expose the diaper to direct light from the sun. Sunning diapers will help to lighten stains. Urine stains will lighten with subsequent washes.