Disposable Diaper in the Washing Machine
June 12, 2005 4:30 PM   Subscribe

How do I get the "slush" from a (clean) disposable diaper out of my front load washing machine?

Disposable diapers have some kind of chemical slush in them as an absorber. In my haste and panic after a scatalogical naptime incident, I unknowingly threw a disposable diaper into the washer with the other bedclothes (it was inside the pillowcase). When I went to move the laundry, my washer had bits of the "slush" all over the place. I cleaned out most by hand, ran it through two rinse cycles, and still there is a bunch of it all over the place. Please help me do it myself!
posted by frecklefaerie to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Run a load with salt instead of detergent.

For fun, try this: take apart a diaper and shred the cotton material over a cup, collecting as much of the powder as you can. Add water. A typical diaper will hold 12 ounces or so of liquid in gel. Stir in a teaspoon of salt and it will go away. The bonds of the plastic (and it is a plastic) are very fragile and salt breaks them.

This is also why diapers won't hold nearly as much urine as water because urine contains a little salt--not enough to make the diaper fail early on, but eventually yes.
posted by plinth at 5:25 PM on June 12, 2005

My sister did that in my mother's top-loader and we ran a cycle with just a towel in, which picked up most of the gunk. Fascinating experiment, though, and one that I think almost every parent gets to try at some point.
posted by tracicle at 5:31 PM on June 12, 2005

Response by poster: I called my sister who recommended baking soda and vinegar. I thought this a little dubious, so I took some of the loose stuff and put it in a clear shot glass to see what happens. Well, the slush didn't dissolve. The canister of Oxy-clean caught my eye, so I tried dissolving some in that with water. As soon as the slush hit the solution, it disappeared. A wash cycle with nothing but oxy-clean seems to have done the trick.

I'm going to try the salt thing with an outgrown diaper, which sounds like fun.

Thanks, plinth and tracicle! If I were a better monkey I might know, but have you had the baby yet, tracicle?
posted by frecklefaerie at 6:12 PM on June 12, 2005

If you do the diaper thing - don't rub your eyes. The polymer in question is not toxic, but it will suck the moisture from the surface of your eye and you will be miserable.

I did this experiment with 9th grade students. They thought it was fun.
posted by plinth at 6:18 PM on June 12, 2005

Not yet, frecklefaerie. Hopefully in less than two weeks!
posted by tracicle at 8:48 PM on June 12, 2005

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