The Stinkies

We have a case of the stinkies.  And no, I’m not talking about poop.  Every time our little one pees (which is about every five minutes, or about every five seconds if she’s not wearing a diaper), her cloth diapers start to reek.  We’ve always been able to hear her coming, but now we can smell her coming from about a mile away.

The smell, although unpleasant, would be tolerable, except that every time we put cloth diapers on our little one, her bottom breaks out in a rash.  After some research, we have discovered that ammonia build up is the most likely culprit, especially since we have a high efficiency washer.  Apparently, high efficiency washing machines don’t use enough water in their wash cycle to entirely rid the diaper of ammonia, which builds up until the diaper starts to stink like ammonia every time she pees.

So,  now we are in the process of stripping our diapers, which so far has included:

  • adding Dawn dish soap to the wash
  • adding Calgon to the wash to soften the water
  • adding extra rinse cycles
  • using hot water

These things seemed to work (no more strong ammonia smell), but by the end of the day in cloth diapers, the rash would reappear.  More research revealed that perhaps we needed to soak the diapers in hot water instead of just adding extra rinses, which you can ‘trick’ your high efficiency washer into doing.  Also, Rockin’ Green has a product specifically for ammonia build-up (Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer), which is our next plan if soaking doesn’t work.  You can buy it here, here, or here.

And so our trial and error problem solving strategy (did I tell you I’m a teacher?) continues… in the meantime, if you need some help solving your own cloth diaper dilemmas, here are a few sites that helped me:

Bummis Cloth Diapering – Residues

Green Ninja

Organic Mama – Demystifying Cloth Diapers: Urine Build-Up (Ammonia Smell)

I hope that our diaper dilemma has not deterred anyone from cloth diapering.  Despite our current issue, we love cloth.  Not only are they better for baby’s bottom (when they aren’t full of ammonia of course), they are better for your wallet (they might cost a bit more initially, but they are way cheaper in the long run), and better for the environment (yes, many people debate this based on the amount of water and energy used to wash them, but I feel better not over-contributing to landfills).  Plus, they are really, really cute.  Do I have to share which of these benefits attracted me to cloth diapering the most?

wearing g-diapers
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