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Old 03-01-2012, 12:00 AM   #1
mandabug2
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Please help me with HE washer/ai2

I am new to cloth diapering. I wash my diapers daily. I am having an ammonia problem and I can't tell if it is because of not washing the diapers with enough detergent or too much. I have an HE front loader (a slightly older model). I am using Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin and it is on the OK list for the diapers I am using. I had just been using a small amount (probably a 1/2 Tbsp maybe less) and I read something that said to use 1 Tbsp. I tried that and I had suds for 2 more heavy duty cycles and 3 more rinses.

I really don't want to give up on cloth diapers but I feel like I am spending more time researching this type of stuff than spending time with my twins. Am I just not cut out for this or is there a learning curve? I just feel like there is the night time/nap time issue and washing issue.

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Old 03-01-2012, 01:43 AM   #2
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That's a tiny amount of detergent. I'd do the recommended amount of detergent according to the washer and/or detergent (not the diaper company those directions are usually crap). It's ok to see suds in your rinse. If your diapers don't smell clean, consider switching to a different detergent. Are you doing a pre-wash (not a rinse)? I find that necessary with a front loader.

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Old 03-01-2012, 04:48 AM   #3
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

Please ignore the crap in those lists first of all!!
Are your dirties open to ventilation?
Hard, soft, normal water?
Do you prewash?
What temp of water are you using?
Some suds in the rinse is ok if they arn't causing repelling.
Sounds like you are using way too little detergent.
What material are the diapers.
I add 1/4 cup original disinfecting bleach to my wash.
How often do you wash?
Do you use the dryer, they help kill bacteria and more thouroughly dry the material?
I have best luck with a quickwash cycle before I wash the diapers. That way they arn't washing in filthy water with all the urine and bm.
Have you striped yet?
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:32 AM   #4
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahannecloud9 View Post
Please ignore the crap in those lists first of all!!
Are your dirties open to ventilation?
Hard, soft, normal water?
Do you prewash?
What temp of water are you using?
Some suds in the rinse is ok if they arn't causing repelling.
Sounds like you are using way too little detergent.
What material are the diapers.
I add 1/4 cup original disinfecting bleach to my wash.
How often do you wash?
Do you use the dryer, they help kill bacteria and more thouroughly dry the material?
I have best luck with a quickwash cycle before I wash the diapers. That way they arn't washing in filthy water with all the urine and bm.
Have you stripped yet?
All that info will be helpful to get to the bottom of this!

I had some ammonia and repelling problems early on, but once I found the right wash routine, it's been smooth sailing. No issues, no stink, no stripping, no problem. So YES, there is a learning curve, but it WILL get better, and once you get the right wash routine for your water/machine/diapers, you will thank your lucky stars that you don't have to get dressed, load the babies up in the car, and drive to the store for diapers all the time!
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:53 AM   #5
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

That's not enough detergent for sure! I use mostly AI2s with a FL that is about 5 years old. Here is my routine:
cold/cold speed wash (30 min) no detergent
hot/cold wash set to heavy soil with extra water option with Tide liquid almost to the 1 line
extra rinse cycle

I add a cap full of bleach about twice a month to the wash cycle. I have no problems with stink or repelling. (I used to use Arm and Hammer and did have a few stink issues but that was back when I first started and was using all microfiber, so not sure if it was the detergent or the material.)
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

I use BottomBumpers which are 4 layers Organic Cotton and topped with Bamboo Velour and a cotton shell. I do a rinse/spin cycle which is 25 minutes on cold/cold no detergent. Then a hot/cold heavy duty cycle. Last night is when I tried adding a Tbsp. Until my last rinse, which was after the 2 heavy duty cycles and the 3 rinse/spins, there were enough suds that you'd have thought I added more detergent.

The diapers are open to ventilation, I do have hard water, I read about the Tbsp on another thread...so it wasn't the manufacturers suggestion (they don't list how much to use), I wash daily, I typically use the dryer on high for 40 minutes. There are no lines on my detergent lid or the washer...so how much should I do if a Tbsp is causing enough suds to look like it is taking 5 washes to wash out? I don't want to have build up but I also don't want ammonia!
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

Okay, here are some more thoughts! I swear we are collectively going to figure this out for you.

I wonder if more water would help? That's usually where HE washers fail. Does yours have an option to add more water? If not, I would recommend a "Rinse + NO SPIN" cycle after your initial rinse+spin cycle. That will soak the diapers, and then the actual wash cycle will dump even more water in on top of that.

Approximately how many diapers are in any given load?

Do you have a "whole house water softener"? The big mistake I made when starting to CD was thinking that I had hard water. We have SUPER hard water...but I guess our water softener is a whole-house water softener. (My parent's house didn't have such a thing, so I didn't know it existed!) It turns out that because of that, I actually have SOFT water, so following instructions for hard water wasn't working for me.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

I have FLers and am slowly working on my system as well.

I have moderately hard water. I mainly use pockets or hybrids. This is what I do that is working so far.

Speed wash on cold - no detergent - low spin (read this tip on here somewhere - you want the diapers to remain fairly wet so they aren't absorbing most of the water that is added during the wash cycle)
Whites cycle on hot - on HIGH soil level, HIGH spin and extra rinse - with BioKleen detergent up to line 1 - every other time I add BioKleen Oxy to the prewash.

If I notice suds during the speed wash I will add the prewash option to the whites cycle.

Then I either line dry or dry on medium heat for 60 minutes.

There is a curve...but it does get better!
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:28 AM   #9
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

Here's my thoughts for now:
You need enough diapers to make at least a med load. They need to be able to grind around with eachother.

A water softner is key for good results with hard water. Are you sure you have hard? I don't understand suds with hard water and no softner. Normally thare are very little suds becaus ethe detergent just can't do it's job with all those minerals. The softner will boost the detergents washing power and not allow the minerals to settle into the fibers. 2 great brands are borax and calgon. Calgon has just awsome info on their site. It will NOT remove the minerals already in the material, just prevent.

Warm water gives better rinsing results for a prewash because it's closer to the bodys natural temp and pill better push out the urine and bm. You could then follow with a rinse and no spin so the load will measure heavier.

What are the suds looking like and how long till most disapear? Real soap bubbles appear more white and this and larger. Some in the final rinse will not cause issues. Normal water bubbles and those from aggitation are smaller and either more clear or foamy. They will mostly disapear fast. This is normal for some water.

Despite the bubbles, it really sounds like there is not enough detergent. It sounds like the diapers are just simply not getting clean.

Are you using HE, it's vital to proper cleaning with low water levels and has compounds in it to prevent soils from setteling into the material and allows it to wash away. Plus, way less sudsing! I find it extreamly hard to find a&h in the he formula is why I ask.

We'll figure it out!
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #10
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Re: Please help me with HE washer/ai2

Yes, my washer has the "add more water" option and I do. At one point they put a water softener in the house but they stopped using it (I live in a basement apartment). The suds look like what you would see if you were taking a bubble bath. The bottle of A&H says HE on it. I am washing about 12 diapers a load.

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