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Old 11-28-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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Handwashing diapers.

We hand wash for convenience, and to save money. We were using Ecos, because that's what was available to us, but we just ordered some Ruby Moon.

We've been having ammonia issues. BAD. Aurora rashed up really, really bad. Worse thing I've ever seen. We tried stripping with RLR, but it didn't work. I'm assuming because I used it in a wash with detergent, instead of by itself on already clean diapers. We're waiting on some more RLR to come in.


This is what we used to do:
We rinse all the diapers before they go into the dry pail, then a hot wash with detergent (like 1/4 a cap of Ecos, we'd wash a large amount of diapers. It's every other day for a toddler and a newborn. And we'd fill the tub up about halfway- a little over half), and then do a cold rinse three of four times. Didn't seem to work. I added in a rinse with vinegar, tried using less detergent...

Now, we do a cold rinse (still pre-rinse the diapers before they go into the pail), then a hot wash with 2 T of Ruby Moon, then three or four hot rinses. We were just able to wash diapers at my parent's place in their washing machine, so we did the first wash cycle +rinse with no detergent (hot water, cold rinse I think.) then a hot wash with detergent, then two-three hot rinses. THAT did the job. But once we got home and washed diapers in the tub again, the ammonia smell creeps back. I'm just looking for suggestions on getting their diapers really clean by hand. I'm obviously not rinsing enough. How do you handwash?

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Old 11-28-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

What type of diapers are you using? For hand washing I think you are pretty limited. Flats would be the best option. Maybe prefolds as a second choice but anything else is going to be tough in the long term to keep clean. I have hand washed in the tub(flats) and I just used Tide (which is what I use anyway) but I just used less of it. Rinse every diaper thoroughly then soak in hot water with detergent, scrub and rinse.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

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What type of diapers are you using? For hand washing I think you are pretty limited. Flats would be the best option. Maybe prefolds as a second choice but anything else is going to be tough in the long term to keep clean. I have hand washed in the tub(flats) and I just used Tide (which is what I use anyway) but I just used less of it. Rinse every diaper thoroughly then soak in hot water with detergent, scrub and rinse.
Pockets for my toddler, AIOs for my newborn. I have about 6 prefolds that we use sometimes for the newborn, but other than that... I was going to get a plunger just for diapers, so I can really agitate them better. Sometimes, we use dawn for stains. The problem is the microfiber inserts. And maybe the hemp inserts we have. That's where the ammonia smell is trapped. I'll really scrub them with my hands when I use the dawn. It's pretty time consuming, and I haven't done it in a while.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:57 PM   #4
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

Ya know lots of people have problems getting AIO and hemp clean in a washer so I don't think that hand washing is really going to be effective or sustainable. I would ditch the microfiber and stuff your pockets with flats and then go with small flats and covers for the newborn. Are you able to wash at the laundry mat? Flats, a good detergent and some bleach would be ideal in your situation. The ammonia is from bacteria so they are just not getting clean unfortunately.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

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Ya know lots of people have problems getting AIO and hemp clean in a washer so I don't think that hand washing is really going to be effective or sustainable. I would ditch the microfiber and stuff your pockets with flats and then go with small flats and covers for the newborn. Are you able to wash at the laundry mat? Flats, a good detergent and some bleach would be ideal in your situation. The ammonia is from bacteria so they are just not getting clean unfortunately.
We aren't really able to dish out that much money for a laundry mat. That's like 4 washes at one time, every other day with the amount of diapers we have I can try to get more flats, but I'd prefer prefolds if anything, which are still hemp, right? I could ditch the microfiber, but they're actually on loan, as is over half our stash, so I'm kind of stuck with what we have right now. Do you think the ammonia issue is detergent buildup from not rinsing enough? Maybe I could do smaller loads at a time?
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:21 PM   #6
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

The ammonia is from bacteria build up, NOT soap build up. Microfiber is in general hard to keep clean. Could you afford some walmart flour sack towels to use as flats? Definitely start using a plunger. Agitation is really needed to get diapers clean. I would also switch to a more affordable detergent and use generously. When i was handwashing flats I used Whole Foods365, because it is what I have. But anything that cleans the fabrics will work. HTH.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:26 PM   #7
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

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The ammonia is from bacteria build up, NOT soap build up. Microfiber is in general hard to keep clean. Could you afford some walmart flour sack towels to use as flats? Definitely start using a plunger. Agitation is really needed to get diapers clean. I would also switch to a more affordable detergent and use generously. When i was handwashing flats I used Whole Foods365, because it is what I have. But anything that cleans the fabrics will work. HTH.
Yeah I can attempt to get some of those. I guess I don't agitate them enough either. I let them sit in there for 30 minutes, slosh them around and squish them a lot at first and then go back in there a little while later to do it again. It's not constant agitation, so that might be another thing I'm going wrong gah. I feel bad that I can't clean the diapers right by hand. The Laundromat is just so expensive. 1 - 1.25 per wash, and I'd have to do like four of those? Plus there's detergent buildup in the washers most of the time, so the diapers won't even get completely clean.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

most tagless prefolds are 100% cotton, bleached or unbleached. popular "hemp" prefolds are thirsties or baby kicks, and those usually have tags on them. imo it's hard to handwash aio's and prefolds. ditto on flats are best to hand wash, i love using flats in a kite fold then jelly roll (these can be kite folded before storing to make diaper change quicker), snappi'd. maybe you can post in marketplace, iso large flats (fit my ten lbs-er and 24 lbs-er)/iha baby or household items to trade??? i really hope getting a plunger helps with washes. maybe try the wet pail (5 gal paint bucket) so ammonia doesn't get too out of control.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

a mama just posted 24 large gmd flats for $45 shipped, a great investment and deal. best.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Handwashing diapers.

Yes, I would say flats, and then the "breathable mobile washer"

I used it here at the cabin we are living at right now on kitchen towels and then also on some stinky sweaty shirts that the machine was not touching, and the smell disappeared. It is special design that pushes and pulls water and the soap through the clothes with not a huge amount of effort.
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