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Old 07-17-2010, 07:04 AM   #1
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Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

My DS is on day 6 of a stomach virus. I am starting to think sanitizing the diapers (disinfecting) might be good. Most often I use TTO when I buy used diapers but I am not a huge fan of the smell of it. I have never used bleach on my diapers. What are the pros and cons Which should I use? i have unbleached prefitteds that I am concerned about using bleach on as well as bright color pockets. Will useing Cottonbabies recommended amount of bleach affect these diapers negatively? i am leaning towards trying the bleach. What do you think?

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Old 07-17-2010, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

Well pros and cons...

Pros for bleach is that it's the most effective disinfectant you can use. Other things (like tea tree oil) also have disinfectant properties but to my knowledge there's not much that's been done in terms of studying how well it works once diluted and on fabrics. The studies I have heard of place it slightly below bleach in terms of effectiveness, but this was full strenght and on solid surfaces (like countertops). Cons for bleach are that it could damage your diapers, it could cause skin irritations and it's not the most eco-friendly option.

Pros for tea tree oil is that it *does* have demonstrated disinfecting properties. It's also eco-friendly, won't damage diapers and is less likely to cause skin irritations. Only con is that it's slightly questionable as to exactly how effective it is.

What about maybe a sanitary cycle on your washer? Or maybe using oxygen bleach? What about boiling the prefitteds? Without snaps or PUL they'd be the least risky ones to boil... All are a little controversial in terms of how 'safe' it is on diapers but they're safer than chlorine bleach...

Of course even chlorine bleach probably isn't the end of the world if using it once... And you would know for sure that your diapers are disinfected. Maybe just wait till the stomach virus is done and then you can bleach them just once? Or at least use only the prefitteds for the duration of the bleaching so that the pockets only have to be bleached once?

Anyway, if you do use bleach I would make sure to put it in the washer first, let it fill up and *then* add the diapers. Might be more difficult with a front loader but I would do whatever it takes to make sure the bleach was fully diluted before coming into contact with the diapers. And I would not rely on a bleach dispenser to do that for me, they don't necessarily work as well as you'd think. Then afterwards give the diaper an extra rinse or two to make sure the bleach is fully rinsed out.

Oh, and you can hang your diapers outside in the sun. UV rays also have disinfecting properties. I'm really not sure how they compare to bleach but it could at least help...

HTH,
Karen.

Last edited by KarenCmomto4; 07-17-2010 at 08:08 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:05 AM   #3
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

they make a "free" version of oxyclean, I wonder if that would help? You don't need a lot of TTO, if it is good quality, to disinfect your diaps. by they time mine have been through an extra rinse cycle, you don't smell the TTO at all. I think most citrus oils also have disinfecting properties, and would smell better.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

I have found that bleach breaks down the diapers and kills the elastic much faster We use tto and grapefruit seed extract when I need to disinfect the diapers.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

Isn't vinegar a disinfectant? Couldn't she just use that?
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

Quote:
Originally Posted by akilamonique View Post
Isn't vinegar a disinfectant? Couldn't she just use that?
That's a good idea, I should have thought of it. Only thing is that vinegar is only a good disinfectant if it's used full-strenght, so adding a cup or two to the wash isn't going to do it. But she could get a couple of large jugs, pour them into a bucket or the sink and soak the diapers a few at a time.

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Old 07-17-2010, 07:22 PM   #7
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

I thought vinegar can be hard on dipes too
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:29 PM   #8
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

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Originally Posted by TaraB View Post
I thought vinegar can be hard on dipes too
Some do say that, yes. But even if it's true, I can't see where it would be any worse than bleach but I could be wrong..

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Old 07-17-2010, 08:43 PM   #9
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

For a GI bug like Rotavirus that's pretty hardy (it can live for months in the environment) I would only trust bleach. The essential oils are not proven disinfectants, extremely high temperature and/or straight vinegar is no easier on elastic than diluted bleach, and I wouldn't trust UV from sunning to penetrate all the layers of fabric. Using a small amount of bleach once, then rinsing well several times, shouldn't be any harder on your dipes than any other method of sanitizing that actually works (like boiling or washing/drying on really high heat.)
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:44 PM   #10
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Re: Tea Tree Oil vs bleach

I found this article on disinfecting cloth diapers very useful:
http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.co...ingDiapers.htm
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