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|01-08-2013, 11:18 AM||#1|
For anyone struggling with ammonia & wanting to get rid of it naturally
I don't post much except in FSOT, but I really wanted to share this for anyone having ammonia or other stink issues. This may help you realize some things that can cause ammonia and I will also tell you how you can try to fix it without using bleach, or even a prewash or soak.
My diaper laundry routine was ultra simple (cold water only, wash/rinse/rinse/spin/sun dry) and worked great for about a year. Then a few weeks ago I was hit with strong ammonia as soon as my son wet his diaper. I had recently changed 3 things in my wash routine:
1. We do EC and have hit a lull where my son is peeing in his diapers more, so we have been using more diapers than usual and the laundry load has been bigger. I use a portable washer, and so it couldn't quite accommodate all of them at once. I was trying to put them in all at once though. My laundry load was too big, not all the diapers could be covered with water and have room to swish around.
2. It is winter now and we had been having a lot of rainy days, so I had been hanging them to dry inside on a drying rack instead of in the sun (due to lack of sun!). I have a feeling the sun drying was sort of staving off ammonia, since sunlight has cleaning properties.
3. When we moved into this house, the previous owner left her home made laundry detergent, which I assumed she made just like most people do (bar of Fels Naptha), and when we ran out of the last batch I made, I decided to try hers. I noticed it didn't smell the same, it seemed like it smelled stronger, so I diluted it more than I would have my own. For whatever reason, the new detergent just wasn't doing it for my diapers.
After reading about how others have gotten rid of ammonia, I felt like I had no option but to try some sort of Tide or other conventional detergent, and use bleach. But I did notice some suggested distilled white vinegar, which I already use to clean practically everything. We like to do things pretty naturally, and the only cleaners in our home are home made soap (bar, liquid, and dish), baking soda, and vinegar. I figured if I could use these less harmful cleaners I already had, that would be great. So here's what ended up working for us for getting rid of ammonia:
1. split load in half so each load gets enough "coverage"
2. hot wash with double the regular amount of detergent (switched back to my own detergent)
3. cold rinse
4. cold wash with 1/4 C distilled white vinegar
5. cold rinse
6. another cold rinse
8. sun dry (if possible)
This took several times to get rid of ammonia completely, but even after the first wash I could tell a difference. To keep ammonia from making a comeback, I now do the following:
1. always make sure loads aren't too big
2. (all cold) wash w/more detergent than I used to (used to be 1/4 C, now about 3/4 C)/rinse/rinse/spin/sun dry if possible
3. I don't keep the diaper pail sealed air tight, air circulation is good.
4. I would also rinse out wet diapers before putting in pail if I get more ammonia issues in the future, or at least rinse out the super soaked nap/night diapers.
It is worth noting that I use all cotton prefolds, I used all the above wash routines with PUL covers and they came out fine, and we have slightly hard water from our well (the vinegar did not make the diapers smell sour or anything). I hope this helps encourage those facing ammonia problems that it can be solved without use of very harmful chemicals like bleach.