So your diapers smell like ammonia, what do you do now?
There are some basic questions that you must ask yourself.
- Do they smell like ammonia directly after getting wet?
- Do they smell like ammonia when “clean”?
If you answered yes to either of these questions you are suffering from an ammonia buildup.
Possible causes of ammonia build up.
Generally ammonia build up is caused by, you guessed it…wash routine. Either the diaper is not being washed quick enough, or the detergent being used is not being rinsed out well enough.
- Waiting too long to wash diapers
- Not using enough water in your wash routine
- Soap build up.
- Mineral deposits
How do I fix it?
After reading through my basic tips for Cloth Diaper Wash routine. Some of you may still be wondering what to do when cloth diapering just isn’t all that simple? It can happen to the best of us, the key is to keep it as simple as possible. I have heard of people boiling their diapers in vinegar, using fish tank products, and even more hare-brained tips to keep their cloth diapers working.
Like I said before, I subscribe to the KISS method on most things, cloth diaper troubleshooting is no different.
So here are some options to help eliminate ammonia from your cloth diapers:
Rockin Green Funk Rock – This product works well on ammonia. I have even used it to help remove cat urine. However, I would follow the directions to the letter because I have gotten reports of leaving holes in natural fibers when left to soak too long.
GroVia™ Mighty Bubbles – I have used this product on my own clothes and found it work quite well. I have used it on Microfiber trainers also. Good stuff and I highly recommend it. GroVia™ even says it is gentle enough to use on a weekly basis. Additionally this is the only product that GroVia™ recommends to deep clean their diapers with.
RLR – RLR is so awesome that they have not updated the packaging since what appears to be the late 70s. It is used when soap build up is at the root of your woes. Basic use for RLR is to use it in place of laundry detergent or as a soak then rinse your diapers with clear water until no more bubbles form. The more rinsing required the more soap build up is present.
Beyond these three products there is very little that I would suggest using to strip your diapers. Unless it specifically says that it is designed for use with cloth diapers, most of the time it will only create more problems.
Additional Words of Wisdom
The above products, strip your diapers of mineral deposits, soap, oil, and ammonia build ups. Every time you wash something you are putting more wear on it, and stripping is even harder on them than that. The very name has a harsh tone to it. For you gamers out there, washing your diapers reduces their life/HP by 1, while stripping your diapers reduces their life/HP by 2-3. So it is only logical that you would strip your diapers only when necessary, and not out of habit. Once you have removed the ammonia you need to work to prevent it with a wash routine that works for you.