An Epic Saga


Perhaps there’s such a thing as being too in-touch with nature.

Let me share with you a tale of epic proportions.

Epic stench, that is.

My boy’s cloth diapers STUNK!

I washed them.  I used crunchy-mom (crunchy = those with a bent toward all things natural)  approved home-made detergent and hot water.  I did everything according to the instructions given to me at hippie mama school (Whoa! Hold the train!  Epiphany!  Hippie Mama School doesn’t actually exist, but it should.  Best. Idea. EVER!).  And still, they stunk.

I got some natural diaper de-stinker (that’s actually what it was called) at The Great Diaper Change 2012.

They still stunk.

It was getting worse.

It was a great green plasma cloud of stink, settling over the neighborhood.

Oh, they SEEMED clean when they came out of the dryer.  All fresh and lovely. But then they would get wet and buzzards fell dead from the trees in the nearby woods.

I washed them with vinegar, nature’s disinfectant.

The stink multiplied into various new levels of stench.

I added copious amounts of baking soda – God’s natural de-stinker.

The stank (is that a word?) only grew.

I believe it was around this time that the odor actually began to gain consciousness and we started to fear it.

Handsome Hippie Hubby staged a silent protest.  Every time I left the house I would come home to a baby in a disposable diaper.

So I committed the ultimate natural-living crime.  I went to the store (the big, nationally owned box store that is) and I bought a jug of toxic, fuming, fish killing, planet destroying BLEACH.

And I poured it in the wash.  A lot of it.  More than the recommended amount.  And I washed those stinky diapers in hot water.  With bleach.  Twice.  And then I rinsed them twice.  And guess what?

The stink is gone!

Oh happy day!

My neighbors danced in the street with joy and relief!

The dog came out of hiding!

The stink is gone!

So here is what I’m thinking…

Our society has come so far from what is natural that doing natural things (ie. Breastfeeding or eating organic veggies) has become “weird.”  And that divorce from nature has led to a whole host of issues.  We have harmed our planet and we have sickened ourselves.  We’ve created a generation that takes medicine to cure the side effects of medicine used to treat conditions that are caused from our un-natural lifestyles.


There are some things that have been invented/discovered in the last 100 years that are useful!

Like bleach. (Actually, bleach as we know it, has been around for about 200 years.  But you get the idea).

The natural, home-made, old-fashioned stuff is just fine for the average dirty laundry.  In fact, our clothes have smelled better and maintained brighter colors since we started making our own detergent.

But world-class stench required something more.

Every day I am learning more and almost all of what I learn leads me further down the path of natural living.

My family now has natural skin care products and first aid items.  We’ve upcyled and recycled and freecycled and bicycled and enjoyed all that cycling.

But sometimes…..

My very dearest friend has been invaded by ants.  She keeps a clean house.  Cleaner than mine, for sure! But the little creepers were getting into everything.  They invaded her baby Tylenol bottle for goodness sakes!  She tried dish soap and vinegar and borax and finally sprayed poison.  Which worked.  Sometimes you have to realize there is a good reason why these products have been successfully marketed for so long.

And that reminds me: infant Tylenol is a beautiful thing.  Do I think people are too quick to reach for the medicine cabinet? Absolutely.  A baby with a low fever doesn’t need drugs.  And sometimes sore gums can be gently soothed with frozen teething rings and crunchy treats.  Certainly those should be the first line of defense.  But SOMETIMES you just need a little something more.

Have you met those people who believe that:

If you have EVER used a plastic bottle your baby is already doomed to a lifetime of developmental disorders with capitalized acronyms.

Babies should be breastfed.  ONLY breastfed.  Until puberty.

A child will be scarred for life if you make them sleep in a room alone.

Every medical doctor is a pawn of money hungry drug company stockholders, out to profit by hooking your family on as many medications as possible.

The point of all this?

Embrace the natural!  Find your roots again!  Center yourself.  Know that you are inseparable from the environment in which you live.  You are part of the world and the world is part of you.  Be in harmony.  Find your inner hippie and embrace her (or him).  Feed your body lovely whole foods and remove harsh toxic chemicals from your every-day use.  Search for NATURAL solutions to every day problems.

But for goodness sake, use some common sense!  When a mild, natural solution  isn’t working for you, don’t be ashamed to do what you need to do.  If you are miserable (because of stinky diapers or ants in your cabinets or a screaming teething baby) you are not doing anyone any favors.

And, if you are one of those rare few who ONLY eat organics, ONLY breastfeed your children, ONLY clean with natural products…. Good for you.  Perhaps you  are the standard we should all strive for.  But don’t be too quick to judge us mere mortals.  We are all on our own journey.

Are you a hippie mama (or daddy) who’s “given in” (or given up)  on one thing or another?  Please share! I’d love to know I’m not the only one!

Have you found an all-natural something-or-other that is better than the chemical version?  I’d love to know about that too!


8 responses »

  1. The diaper stink is usually caused by soap and fabric softner buildup. The bleach and HOT water removes it. The homemade detergent will build up easier than regular store bought detergent because of the soap bar that you grate up. Use the same homemade detergent without the soap flakes (just washing soda and borax) and you get clean fresh diapers without the build up. Then never use fabric softner on your diapers, it actually reduces the absorbancy of them since it coats them with stuff, and when that stuff builds up it holds the odor. So… plain old vinegar in the rinse is great for a natural fabric softner and it helps rinse away the soda (preventing diaper rash from the harshness of the soda). Bleach is great to remove the build up of crud, but shouldnt be used for every wash because it breaks down the fabric and your diapers won’t hold up as long. Atleast these are all the things I found out when we cloth diapered. I had forgotten that smell, but oh how baaad it was!

    • I’m not sure I’ll ever forget it! hahahaha. It took a good 4+ months for the smell to get bad so I’m thinking there is no need to bleach more than once a month, max. I will try the no-soap trick too though. Thanks for the tip!

    • Wow! You are my hero! I think it would be so fabulous to have a cow!!! I would love her and hug her and call her George. I wonder if the neighbors would mind? 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one these things happen to!

  2. I go through cycles of natural living obsession and just getting by frustrations. I also like to add in a bit of going well into the bowels of crazy at times. I have cloth diapered as well as trying to find natural treatments for this and that. Right now my craziness is aimed in the direction of organics. My husband is a very patient man luckily. So what is my favorite natural thing that is better then the chemical option? Lavender oil on a burn. I had a second(nearly third) degree burn on my arm. I did ice for a couple hours before someone sprayed on some burn spray (useless crap!). As I w still in agony I went to the doctor’s office and the nurse that treated me recommended lavender oil. Not only did it dry up the burn and get it to heal fast but somehow it killed the pain as well. Definitely worth keeping on hand. Another oil to keep on hand is tea tree oil for drying up and killing off zits.

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