Ok, bare with me. First I was living in a place with hard water with an he front loader. After getting horrible poo smell, I switched to tide and bleach. the smell went away for the most part, but everything was always a little musky and crunchy.
Now I live in an apartment with a coin operated front loader. There is a water softener feeding the machine.
I have only been doing a first cold cycle when I know I have some nasties in there because I have to pay for a whole wash cycle and it takes 40 min.
I normally wash on the hot cycle with liquid tide original and bleach (however my husband is afraid of bleach and doesn't use it when he's got laundry duty LOL). I've been filling the tide to the one line. I wash every 3 days, so it's a pretty full load mixed with cotton prefolds, pockets and PUL covers. I wash on "super cycle" which has extra agitation time and and second rinse cycle at the end.
When I open my cupboard where I store the clean diapers there is a strong perfume smell, but when I smell them up close I can still smell poo AND my prefolds are crunchy as ever.
I did a wash with baking soda and vinegar and it softened the prefolds significantly, but that only lasted one use.
Cloth-diapering and attachment-parenting mama to Little A
and baby S