Diapers are arguably one of the most important and widely used things by parents. They truly are such a lifesaver and without diapers, life would be absolute hell.
It is perfectly fine to panic as a parent when something is even a little bit off such as with your baby’s diapers. Many parents will often face questions like this during their time with the baby. And it is perfectly okay to ask other parents for help!
Here is a short summary quickly help you understand how you can deal with crunchy diapers. Down below you can read more in-depth as to why cloth diapers or regular diapers get crunchy.
They feel crunchy because the absorbent gel inside them has dried out. It is best to go to the store and ask for a refund or replacement.
If you use cloth diapers that have become crunchy, just throw them in the dryer for 5 minutes to fluff them up or include vinegar in the water you use to wash them. You can also try to rub the diapers together to get rid of the crunchiness.
If you are unsure of what your diaper feels like then try to bend it and fold it. If it folds like cardboard or paper then your diapers are crunchy.
However, if it folds like any other diaper and feels soft, then just relax and go about your day.
Now if your diapers are rock hard, that is clearly a problem caused at the store as diapers should not be rock hard. In that case, you should contact the store or company you bought it from ASAP.
In terms of cloth diapers,if they will feel hard like cardboard or paper which shows that they are crunchy. If it folds easily and feels soft then you can go about your day and have no worries.
Why Are My Cloth Diapers Crunchy?
Cloth diapers are generally much more superior compared to regular diapers however, they are also less convenient and come with a few issues when air-dried. Cloth diapers are also much better for the environment, and also end up being way cheaper.
On that note, you should also check out cloth baby wipes. Click here and scroll down to find out how to make your own baby wipes. Using these will certainly make you the ultimate eco -friendly parent.
Is Air Drying The Problem?
Now the problem with cloth diapers is that they get crunchy or stiff. This will most likely happen if you air dry them. Air drying is where you put your clothes on a line and let them dry naturally. Although it takes longer and requires more space, it is much better for the fabric.
Air drying is the more common method in many places where a dryer isn’t an option and it is also a way to help reduce electricity bills. Air drying is generally a better way to dry clothes but it also leads to clothes getting crunchy or stiff.
Using an electric dryer ends up being much more convenient and saves you a lot of time. This benefit is worth the damage that a dryer could cause to your clothes.
Reasons For Crunchy Cloth Diapers
Reason 1: Air Drying
Now when you use a dryer for clothes, the dryer tumbles around the cloth which leads to the fabrics loosening up and thus making them softer. However, as to why clothes get crunchy or stiff when air-dried has a very scientific reason that I won’t get into here.
Reason 2: Residue From Detergent
Also, there can be many other reasons as to why your diapers could be crunchy when air-dried. One of them is residue from the soap or detergent that was used to wash your clothes.
Some detergents are very harsh and can leave behind residue that will often build up after a couple of wash cycles. This can cause your cloth diapers to end up stiff after they have dried.
Reason 3: Residue From Minerals In Water
Another reason is that the water you used to wash your diapers could have a lot of minerals in it. These minerals build up on the diaper, leading to a stiff diaper once dried as it allows the tiny minerals to settle into the cloth.
This will only be an issue if you are using water that is dirty or not filtered. Tap water is usually fine to use depending on which country you are from.
How To Fix Crunchy Cloth Diapers?
There are various ways you can try to reverse your crunchy diapers back to the soft diapers that they were before. Here are a few you can try:
Method 1: Use Plant Based Fabric Softener
First off you can try to prevent your diapers from getting stiff at all. Try to use fabric softener from a good brand such as tide while washing your diapers. This will keep the cloth diapers soft when they air dry.
Fabric softeners will also often add a scent to the cloth, if your baby is sensitive to scents then you should find a scent-free softener.
If you can’t find a scent-free one, then just use half the recommended amount as this will give you the same effect but reduce the smell.
I recommend using a fabric softener from Ecover, they are an excellent brand and are very eco-friendly. Try to keep your laundry loads small too as this will allow the softener to do its magic better.
Method 2: Use Planet Based Dryer Sheets
The second thing you can do is just throw the cloth diapers into the dryer for 5 minutes after they have air-dried. Throw in a dryer sheet to help with the process. It is best to use a planet based dryer sheet as these will not affect the absorbency of the diaper.
Using regular dryer sheets is not a good idea as it adds too much fluff which will end up on your baby’s bottom. Make sure to go with unscented plant-based dryer sheets if your baby is sensitive to any type of scent. If not you can use scented ones as they add a nice aroma to your cloth diapers.
Some people also suggest using a ball of wool in your dryer. I have seen this work for many people but I have not tried it myself. If you have some wool lying around, you can put it to use by helping to soften your crunchy diapers.
If you have neither of these things, throwing in a damp towel also works. Slightly wet a towel and keep it in the dryer along with the diapers. This will lead to your diapers coming out softer than before.
Method 3: Rub Diapers Together
The third thing you can try to do is rub the cloth diapers together. This causes an effect on the cloth that happens on the molecular level which I won’t explain but it could help make the diapers a bit softer for your baby.
This one is the easiest to do but also the one that works the least. It would be best if you tried this one first as it might just work for you and save you so much time.
Method 4: Cloth Stripping
Now the fourth thing that will surely work if the others didn’t is something called stripping. No, not the type of stripping you’re thinking of, but rather this is a process that strips a cloth from the residue left by detergents or minerals on the diaper.
There are many ways to strip a cloth diaper but this is the way I do it:
Step 1: Soak
This step removes any residues from other detergents. Dip your cloth diaper for 60 minutes into hot water that is mixed with an eighth of a cup of dishwashing detergent from a good brand.
Now don’t panic because you are using dishwashing detergent as we will completely remove all of it before you use the diaper. After this, dip the diaper into hot water without any detergent, and let it soak for 30 minutes. Double rinse it and set it aside but don’t set it to dry just yet.
Make sure you use the hottest water you can find. Also, instead of soaking the diapers in water, you could put them through a wash cycle in your washing machine for the same amount of time and using the same mixtures.
Step 2: Remove The Residue
Now in this step, we will be removing the minerals that have stuck to the cloth diaper. The simplest way to do this is to use lemon juice or vinegar.
You could also use off the shelf chemicals that help to demineralize the diaper but these are usually expensive compared to using something like vinegar or lemon juice. They also do not provide much more effectiveness compared to just using homemade solutions.
Add about 6cups of vinegar or lemon juice to the water and add your cloth diapers in it. If you end up using a demineralize product, then you will only need around a cup of it.
You can also add the mixture to your laundry and let the machine wash your clothes with no other detergent. If you decide to just soak the diapers in the solution, let them soak for around 60 minutes. Putting them through a wash cycle will be more effective.
Step 3: Final Rinse
After this, let the cloth diapers rinse and then wash them again using just regular hot water. After this, you can dry them using a dryer or air dry them and your diapers will not be crunchy anymore. For this step, you can use your regular detergent along with any softener of your choice.
If you feel like they still smell of vinegar or lemon juice, then run them through another wash cycle with just hot water. This will get rid of any leftover smell and leave you with soft cloth diapers.
Go through these steps trying each one and for sure you will end up with soft diapers! No more asking why your cloth diapers are crunchy!
Why Do My Regular Diapers Feel Crunchy?
This is a common problem that parents face when diapers are kept for a long time. This time varies on the type of diaper you have but can be around 2 years before they get crunchy. If you have a habit of buying diapers in bulk, then you might face this issue.
Generally, people buy diapers enough for a few months max, but some people buy them for a few years. This leads to the diapers drying up internally and making them less effective.
Diapers feel crunchy when the absorbent inside them has dried out. The absorbent used is a type of gel made from chemicals that are extremely absorbent.
Usually, it is still alright to use the diapers if they feel this way, however, it’s better to use newer diapers that aren’t crunchy.
This is because your baby might not like the feeling of a hard diaper as they are sensitive little humans.
Now diapers do not usually have expiry dates as said by various companies themselves but it’s always better to be on the safe side as maybe something else could have caused the diapers to go bad.
As we are dealing with sensitive parts of our little ones here, it’s best that we take the highest level of precaution that we can.
What Should I Do?
This crunchiness isn’t the diapers getting expired, it’s just the absorbent material inside them drying out. So if you do end up using a crunchy diaper, then please do not panic.
Now you may be asking what if you just bought these diapers and they are crunchy. In this case, I would suggest that you go back to the store you got the diapers from and ask for a refund ASAP.
You could also try to contact the company you bought them from and they will help get new diapers to you.
Companies are often cautious about these types of products as when things like diapers are done wrong, the effects they have on your child can be catastrophic.
You could also donate these diapers if you feel too scared of using them. Donation centres will often accept crunchy diapers as they are perfectly fine.
To End It Off
There is absolutely no need to panic if your diapers are crunchy as it happens due to really small reasons that are harmless. However, as we want the best for our babies, it is better to get the best items for them where possible.
Always try to get the best for your baby especially when it’s something they will wear all day. Make sure to follow your instinct and always ask someone if you feel unsure. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.