April 26, 2010

How to Clean Disposable Diaper Disaster in the Washing Machine: Attack of the Jelly Monster!

Diapers were NOT meant to be washed! No, I’m not talking about cloth diapering. In fact, you cloth-diapering Mommies are my heroes at the moment, in which case this post might be the article you want to read to encourage yourself on why you made the right decision in cloth diapering. The diapers I am talking about are the plastic type that appear flat, lifeless, and ordinary UNTIL the day arrives when that disposable diaper meanders its merry way into the washing machine for a joy ride where it can finally take that gluttonous deep drink of fresh water until it explodes millions of jelly beads into every nook and cranny, wrinkle and crevice, pocket and fold of your entire load of laundry! And then that blobby jelly monster, who you never knew was inhabitating your child’s diaper, finally manifests and waits there to behold mommy’s look of horror and shock when she lifts open the washing machine lid.

SO the question is how do we clean such a disaster?

Let me tell you what NOT to do:
1.) Do NOT try to rewash the load, as I did. Those resilient jelly beads aren’t going anywhere no matter how hot you try to melt them.
2.) Do NOT try shaking out the laundry in the laundry room. One seemingly innocent white sock might just be hosting tons of microscopic diaper beads. You won’t notice this until you shake it out and later discover jelly in your hair, shoulders, shirt, slippers … and you look like it rained caviar in your hair.
3.) Do NOT Scream! You’ll wake the babies. Besides, there is a solution.

Let me tell you what I did which WORKED!
1.) Went outside, shook each individual piece of laundry out, both inside out and on both sides, rewashed it, dried it and it turned out fine. As a warning, shaking the laundry will result in little beads going everywhere. You may want to wear a mask. I am only thinking that diaper beads that are flying everywhere cannot be healthy to inhale. Thus, the mask idea. Yes, I error on being psychotically careful. Yes, this was extremely time consuming and I hope to NEVER make this mistake again.

Let’s ask the Experts!
But, now I am curious, do the diaper companies have any advice to give? After all they are the ones who have created those beads in the first place. Let’s see what they have to say. Well, I just contacted the two big diaper dogs out there: Pampers and Huggies. Both were kind and reassuring that this type of disaster happens very often. Phew, breathe. So I’m not a total freak. But, they both gave slightly DIFFERENT advice.

According to Pampers Customer Service: (800-726-7377)
1.) Put load of laundry into the dryer as is (with the jelly beads).
2.) Drying laundry will cause gel to bead up and fall off clothing; most beads will collect in lint filter.
3.) You may need to dry laundry longer than usual to collect beads
4.) When laundry is dry shake it outside
5.) To clean the washing machine, simply use rinse cycle and wipe inside of washing machine

According to Huggies Diapers customer service: (888-525-8388)
The Huggies representative said that this happens so often she usually gets at least one call a day with this question. She also reassured me that this should not hurt the machine in any way. I asked her if this information was on the company website, because I had trouble finding it. She said there was information under the Pull-ups section, and that she would put in a request to have it under the diaper section as well.

1.) Take wet load outside and shake it out
2.) Break up laundry into smaller loads and rewash.
3.) Dry as usual.

Well, I hope this information helps other parents out there who have made the same mistake. Collectively, we will defeat that jelly monster and have clean clothes and dry diapers once again. This is all the more reason why I am looking forward to having both kids potty trained! Then we can put the Mr. Poopies, Jelly Monsters, Mr. Gummy Bears, and Mr. Boogers to rest; ironically, by that time the kids will be off in college and I would do anything to relive any one of these day all over again.

If you share this experience, or found this advice helpful, OR have any better solutions, please let me know.

Keep voting for me in the top mommy blogs to the right of this post. We’re #2 in humor.

Posted by Laura


Tractor Mom said...

You know those Jelly Monsters are great to put in your garden. They hold in moister (as you found out) and help plants from drying out during the hot summer months.

So to add to your helpful tips...shake clothes over your garden for drought protection of your plants--It will make you feel like you mistake is actually useful!!


Melodramommy said...

Thanks! That's great to know. I did shake it over the grass so we'll have to see if that little patch turns more green : )

Cindy @ This Adventure, Our Life said...

Do not have any experience with this as we use CDs, but I can imagine the mess! Thanks for sharing, I will pass on this info if I ever encounter this. Voting for you!

Leigh @ Spoiled but Not Rotten said...

I accidently washed a pull up and my DH didn't notice when moving things from the washer to dryer. Needless to say, putting in the dryer made the mess even bigger. It took me forever to clean the dryer out! I double check everything now!

I had no idea about the bead helping the garden! That is a good tip!

Southern Reflexions said...

SO glad I found your blog...looks like a fun one to follow!! I have a little girl and little boy, so I look forward to reading more of your adventures!! :-D ~ Marlie http://southernloves.blogspot.com/

Melodramommy said...

Hi Marlie, nice to meet you. I'll be by your blog soon.

Leigh, thanks for sharing. ALways good to know we're not alone : )

Cindy, yes, I bet you're glad you doing cds! I thought of you when I wrote this post!

Tractor mom, you're the best : )

Unknown said...

My dad opened the washing machine but to his surprise those little little jelly MONSTERS came out. Most likely little brother put the diaper in the dirty laundry basket. And dad did not put the laundry in piece by piece.

So dad and I followed instinct and shook the laundry out on our porch and searching the internet at the same time.

Presto! Your blog showed up and thanks for the confirmation of what we have already done and what the "experts" suggest!

Dad and Mindy

Rachel Marie said...

I had no idea what to do after finding an explosion of diaper jelly in my washing machine until I googled and found your blog!
thank you for saving my day with this brilliant post!

Sarah said...

I was so proud of myself for getting my son to put his pajamas down the laundry shoot this morning. I was so proud of myself for getting my laundry done, my house dusted, and my floors cleaned. Then I went down to put the last load of laundry in the dryer and realized my son had thrown his diaper down with his pajamas, and I hadn't noticed.

After reading your blog, which was very helpful, I gathered my jellied wet clothes together to take them outside to shake. As I opened the door, I was dismayed to see that it was raining out. But as I got outside, I realized it was actually sleeting! So it turns out that diaper jelly looks the same as sleet. There was no point in crying, so I just rolled my eyes and shook my head and the clothes.

Thanks for the advice. We'll see how things come out. I need to go have some really dark chocolate before I can do anything else.

Nathan and Alyssa said...

Salt breaks up and dissolves the beads! I ran a rinse cycle using a few tablespoons of salt rather than detergent, and the machine was bead free. Then I re-washed my clothes after shaking them off outside. They were fine. The irony of the situation is that I cloth diaper most of the time!

sarah said...

I used to notice a couple with pampers sensitive, but we've been using parents choice (cheap brand) and they tear open at the seams when they get full which with these it could just be one pee and boom it tears open and those little balls are everywhere and they are clear so it's hard to see. They stick to stuff but then when you try to pick them up they don't want to stick to your hand. I found your blog because the beads were falling out of my babys diaper and she didn't know it was from her diaper. She thought it was part of a muffin or something so she started trying to eat it and was trying to wipe the beads off her tongue going "ughhhhh" XP making that face. it takes a lot of time to clean those little beads up

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting all the info in one place. It was just what I needed late one night!

Anonymous said...

10:30 at night and my husband and I have been cleaning out our washer for a half hour after somehow a diaper ended up in the wash. uggh! Thanks for all the info, we had no idea what was best but these comments were very helpful (although I saw it all AFTER we shook the beads all out in front of our washer/dryer that is open to the hallway). needless to say we are all covered and are now trying to clean up the floor too (beware: very slippery on the tile). Time to dry all the clothes and for me to take a shower and get these things out of my hair ;)

Susie Chadwick said...

Thanks for the tips. I put my clothing directly into the dryer without shaking and all the jelly seems to have magically disappeared. I wiped the washer out and will wipe it out again after letting it dry. I was actually surprised at how easy this mess was to clean up.

Anonymous said...

This post was both very helpful and very entertaining. We have just done the same! Argh

Anonymous said...

just did the same thing yesterday, thanks for the tips! I did put the laundry in the dryer and most of it did catch in the lint filter. Now I just have to clean out the washer....

Judy said...

I just started switching over a load when I realized that my son had snuck a diaper into the wash...you'd think I would've learned by now (this has happened several times!!!).

After a few shakes I closed the washer and walked away...though I am tempted to go shake everything over my garden...

Fourthtimesthecharm said...

Three years later, your post is still hot. Today, I picked up a pile of laundry and after quickly assessing these items could be washed together(I am a serial separator)I promptly dropped them all, plus a few extras from the laundry room, into my machine. As I walked by the "finished" load with a load from the dryer, something "frothy" caught my eye. I thought, oh I washed a note. NO, it was a goodnight pull up courtesy of my six year old. Placed with love inside her gown within the pile of clothes. I shook the clothes in the laundry room, thinking the blobs would dry and I could sweep them up later, I scooped most of it out of the machine with a sturdy postcard, used the vacuum to remove the rest, then thought to "check" on next step. So happy for your blog. Now, I will put those clothes in the dryer and complete my washer cleaning.
Misery loves company, so glad I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

The salt water worked great to dissolve those nasty beads! I even used the salt water from the washer to clean up the beads around the outside of the machine. Worked like a charm! Thanks for sharing!!!

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post, i found it after a pull up stow away but turned the wash back on while i was searching for info so now i have to wait through another wash to shake out and rewash. lesson. learned.

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not the only one! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

First I grabbed a handful of the gunk, put it in a bowl and added salt water - except for some cottony fibers, gunk changed into crystals. I didn't want crystals all over in my washer, so I decided to forego this method.

Yep, each item needed to be shook right-side- AND wrong-side-out. Very not fun in 28 degree weather. I discovered the garden fence is great for beating clothes against! After wiping as much gunk out of my washer as I could, I ran an empty hot wash before splitting my load in half and re-washing. Also dried extra-long. Swept my path through the house in case any pieces had dropped. Finally satisfied all's back to normal. :)

Anonymous said...

To my horror, I just found gel beads in my washer. All I can think of is that I forgot about a Poise Pad. The grands live far away, so no way something got stashed near my sorting of laundry. Unfortunately I already have the load going through the wash. Thank you for your humorous post. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Here we go! Gonna try the dryer!

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