I have all but bragged on this blog about the lack of stink in my diapers. I don’t know what I was doing right, but somehow a very simple wash routine worked well for us at the beginning. Now, I have a confession to make: I have ammonia diapers.
It started innocently enough. I was just going about my routine, washing every couple of days with no issues. And then, in a rush to get the entire family packed and out the door for a road trip to Minnesota, I left three wet diapers in the wet bag for the entire four days we were gone. Needless to say, when we got home and I discovered it, the diapers were no longer wet and the whiff of ammonia when I opened the bag was enough to knock me over. Oops.
I blame that one stupid mistake for starting my battle with ammonia. Now, I know it had probably been building up in all of the diapers for a while, but leaving those unwashed diapers in the bag must have accelerated it. I rinsed and soaked the heck out of those three diapers, but pretty soon my entire stash would emanate the noxious smell on wash day. The diapers and inserts would come out smelling clean enough, but every time I went to put dirties in the washing machine, my nose hairs would get burned all over again.
A quick weekend trip to my parents house a few weeks later and a couple of good cycles swishing around in their large traditional top-loading washing machine (we have a high-efficiency front loader) briefly took care of the problem, but when my daughter started to get unexplained diaper rash and irritation, I was pretty sure the ammonia was back.
And so, to my reliable, experienced, online cloth diapering community, I went. After a little research, it seemed that a lot of you mamas do a soaking routine and add vinegar to the wash to neutralize the ammonia. Tried both of those without a lot of success, so I decided to get a little drastic and do a bleach treatment on my microfiber inserts only, which I read about online too. Now, mind you, bleaching your diapers is a big no-no. Even the label inside my FuzziBunz says, “No chlorine bleach.” However, I thought to myself, I need to know if this bleach works and I’m only doing it on the inserts – not the diapers themselves! My diapers were already stinky and ruined, so I decided to give it a go, fully knowing I might just be voiding my FuzziBunz warranty. Many moms swear by a little bleach once in a while and my diapers have never had anything but water, detergent and sunshine, so I figured it was time to try it.
And dare I say, I think I have killed the beast.
I did my normal wash routine (cold rinse, hot wash with Rockin’ Green detergent), then I moved the actual outershell/covers and wipes to the dryer for a quick dry. Then, separately, I ran a hot cycle with about a ¼ cup bleach on all of my microfiber inserts. Finished with another cold rinse cycle to rinse out any bleach residue and since it was nasty outside, I opted for a dryer cycle on medium and they came out clean and white, smelling like nothing. I’ve washed twice since and still no ammonia to be found.
Now, we all know my history with making claims like this, so I am not suggesting the war with ammonia is over for good. But for this battle, the victory goes to me.
With the poop situation from last week and ammonia this week, I realize I have been doing a lot of nuts and bolts laundry posts lately…something more fun next week, I promise!
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.