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Old 04-26-2011, 07:26 PM   #1
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Ugh...ammonia

I'm so upset...for the last five or six months, since switching to Tide, I have had no problems with ammonia. Now, suddenly, my two year old's night diapers are stinking.

He wears pockets (usually a blueberry deluxe or a HH os) stuffed with hemp inserts. I thought it was just the pocket shells stinking because he has been pooping first thing in the morning in his night diaper and the shells weren't coming out of the wash smelling fresh. So I washed them alone with a little bit of tide and did a ton of hot rinses. Seemed to help, the shells don't smell anymore. But while the shells were hang drying last night, I put a Softbums omni (one that has never been used at night before) on him with the hemp inserts stuffed inside...and I had ammonia this morning. :-( So now I'm thinking it's my inserts? I guess I will try to strip them tomorrow and see if that helps.

Now...why am I getting ammonia all of a sudden? Well I have a couple ideas...for one our water is ridiculously hard. Anything white that gets washed too many times in our water turns a dingy shade of orange. I add calgon to the pre rinse and the wash cycles to try to help with the hardness, but I don't know if it does much. Could my hard water be a factor? My washer has also started smelling pretty bad lately. I got the Tide washing machine cleaner, and used it once, but it hasn't really helped yet. The clothes don't smell when they come out, but if I stick my head in the washer...blech. That could be from the water too.

One more idea...I have a newbie (6 weeks old ) and for a little while I was washing all the diapers at the same time. But that is when the pocket shells started coming out smelling yucky, so I think that was too many diapers for one load. I'm wondering if washing them all together for a while created some sort of build up...I now wash the two year olds diapers alone and the newb's diapers alone.

So I'm hoping after I strip the inserts and continue to wash smaller loads that the problem will go away. I'm also hoping that the washing machine cleaner will work after a few more tries with it (you are supposed to use it once a week for three weeks and then once a month after that...)

If none of that works...well what do I do? I would rather not use bleach...at least not on my pockets and covers. Bleach mixed with my hard water contributes to the orangish tinge that I get on my whites. I guess maybe blue dawn and strip everything again...erg. I HATE ammonia...my wash routine was working so nicely for so long...I don't want it to be screwed up!

Sorry for the rambling post...just needed to clear my head.

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Old 04-26-2011, 07:50 PM   #2
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

You might want to give Rockin Green a try and use the funk rock too. Hard water is difficult to get diapers clean in.
Your toddler is probably peeing more and add the nb diapers in and that's a lot of pee. I just had a customer switch to the Rockin Green and she has been very happy with it.
It will pull all of the residue out of your diapers and you may find that you have to rinse a lot more for the first few weeks.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:31 PM   #3
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

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You might want to give Rockin Green a try and use the funk rock too. Hard water is difficult to get diapers clean in.
Your toddler is probably peeing more and add the nb diapers in and that's a lot of pee. I just had a customer switch to the Rockin Green and she has been very happy with it.
It will pull all of the residue out of your diapers and you may find that you have to rinse a lot more for the first few weeks.
Hmm I might have to try that if what I'm doing doesn't work. I'm hesitant to change my detergent since before I switched I had major issues with stink...and I like being able to use the same detergent for my clothes and diapers...

But thanks for the suggestion, I might have to get some Rockin Green if all else fails.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

If the diapers weren't smelling clean when they came out, then my natural suspicion is that it is ammonia from bacteria and diapers not being completely clean, rather than hard water mineral or detergent build up (although those two can and do cause ammonia). Can you post details about your wash routine?
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

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If the diapers weren't smelling clean when they came out, then my natural suspicion is that it is ammonia from bacteria and diapers not being completely clean, rather than hard water mineral or detergent build up (although those two can and do cause ammonia). Can you post details about your wash routine?
Yeah, sorry I forgot that part, lol.

Cold pre-rinse with calgon
Hot extra heavy wash cycle which has a cold rinse at the end, with more calgon and Tide original powder, up to the one line
I was doing just one extra cold rinse, but recently I started doing a whole short hot wash/cold rinse cycle with no detergent just to make sure they are rinsed well.

This has worked great for the last few months (probably about five, I've only been at this CD thing for about 6 months and the first month I had problems with figuring out which detergent and routine was going to work for us) but only recently has started giving me problems.

What you said is what I was thinking too, which I think was caused by washing too many diapers together, they just weren't all getting clean enough.

OH and I have a plain jane top loader washer.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

Don't overthink this! Night diapers are hard to clean because of the large amount of urine that is kept warm for 12hrs!

I have two solutions I use. First, since dd is almost 2 as well, I find I need to add a soak in my wash routine. After I fill the machine with the hot water and detergent for the wash cycle I let it sit for a few hours before starting the agitation. It makes a big difference.

Even so, every few months, I have to boil the inserts. To me, stripping takes up way too much time and water. I just put 3 inserts at a time in my stock pot and boil for 10 minutes.

You're not doing anything wrong, it's just night diapers are extra dirty and extra dirty things (mud, urine, food, whatever) is harder to clean.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:02 PM   #7
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

Thanks for the new info! I want to start by saying, don't feel bad or like you're doing something wrong, I CD'd my older two for 2 years and had a wash routine that worked pretty well, but I still would have to run everything through the sanitize cycle every 3 months or so. Not stripping, but to kill bacteria. It makes sense to me that we have to do a deeper clean every once in a while.

I have some ideas for how to give your diapers a good deep clean, and maybe some things to consider for your ongoing routine.

First, the DEEP CLEAN to get rid of the ammonia.
Again I am going on the premise that they have some bacteria and aren't all the way clean. I would start with a good hot soak, for about an hour. Fill your washer with the hottest water, and add some boiling water to it for good measure. We are going for 140-150F here as that's the temps most bacteria will die at. Soak with a generous scoop of oxiclean and a generous scoop of Tide. Spin and drain out the water.

Now do a hot hot wash, longest hottest cycle you have, again with a good scoop of Tide (maybe between and 1 and 2 lines?), and add boiling water if it's not too much work. Then follow with another hot wash, no detergent this time. At the end, look at the rinse water. If it's sudsy, do another hot wash without detergent. We put in a lot of detergent to get it clean, so you might need to do more rinsing to get it all back out.

That should get them good and clean. If they still smell when peed in, then you might need to strip them, because it could also be hard water minerals or detergent residue causing the stink.

Gotta run for now but will post more later on regular routine ideas.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:19 PM   #8
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

I also have a sudden ammonia problem. My dd is 2 as well. The night time diapers are pretty strong smelling. As well as a few times during the day when she holds it for a long time. I just started rinsing her night time diaper in the morning really well with the diaper sprayer before putting it in the pail. I figure that this way the washer has less work to do. I think because they start holding it for longer stretches at this age its just really strong urine. The other thing I'm planning to try is raising the hot water temp (or adding a huge pot of boiling water to the wash) a couple of times per month to do super hot washes.

just some ideas that might help... hope they do!
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:11 PM   #9
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Re: Ugh...ammonia

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Originally Posted by poppan View Post
Thanks for the new info! I want to start by saying, don't feel bad or like you're doing something wrong, I CD'd my older two for 2 years and had a wash routine that worked pretty well, but I still would have to run everything through the sanitize cycle every 3 months or so. Not stripping, but to kill bacteria. It makes sense to me that we have to do a deeper clean every once in a while.

I have some ideas for how to give your diapers a good deep clean, and maybe some things to consider for your ongoing routine.

First, the DEEP CLEAN to get rid of the ammonia.
Again I am going on the premise that they have some bacteria and aren't all the way clean. I would start with a good hot soak, for about an hour. Fill your washer with the hottest water, and add some boiling water to it for good measure. We are going for 140-150F here as that's the temps most bacteria will die at. Soak with a generous scoop of oxiclean and a generous scoop of Tide. Spin and drain out the water.

Now do a hot hot wash, longest hottest cycle you have, again with a good scoop of Tide (maybe between and 1 and 2 lines?), and add boiling water if it's not too much work. Then follow with another hot wash, no detergent this time. At the end, look at the rinse water. If it's sudsy, do another hot wash without detergent. We put in a lot of detergent to get it clean, so you might need to do more rinsing to get it all back out.

That should get them good and clean. If they still smell when peed in, then you might need to strip them, because it could also be hard water minerals or detergent residue causing the stink.

Gotta run for now but will post more later on regular routine ideas.
WOW! Thanks for taking the time to help me with this

I will try this tomorrow afternoon when I have more time. And I have to get some oxiclean, I don't think I have any on hand atm. I may try turning up the water temp on our water heater too...I don't know if our water gets hot enough.

Looking forward to hearing your tips on my regular routine...you seem to be the queen of laundry
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:33 AM   #10
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Have you tried adding some vinegar to your first rinse? I do that all the time, and it really helps cut the ammonia for me. I run a short cold cycle, turn the washer off when the "rinse" fills the washer and add about a cup of distiller vinegar. I like to let it soak for about an hour. Then let the cycle finish. Then I do a hot wash/cold rinse and an extra cold rinse at the end. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry I just put the vinegar in at the beginning and don't actually soak the diapers. This seems to work ok for me too. HTH!
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