Ammonia is a naturally occurring compound found in urine, and when it builds up in cloth diapers, it can create an unpleasant odor that lingers even after washing. Several factors can contribute to ammonia buildup.
Fortunately, there are effective methods to eliminate ammonia smell in cloth diapers and maintain them for long-lasting use. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of the ammonia smell and provide practical tips for eliminating it.
What Causes Ammonia Smell In Cloth Diapers?
Infrequent washing is one of the most common reasons for increased ammonia buildup in cloth diapers. If you’re not washing your baby’s cloth diapers frequently enough, urine can build up in the fabric, leading to a more pungent smell of ammonia.
To avoid this, it’s recommended that you wash cloth diapers every two to three days, depending on how often your baby soils them. This helps ensure that the urine doesn’t have a chance to sit in the fabric for too long and causes an increase in ammonia buildup.
Hard water, which contains a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium, can also contribute to increased ammonia buildup in cloth diapers. When you wash cloth diapers in hard water, the minerals can bind to the fabric, making it harder to remove the urine.
This can lead to a buildup of urine in the fabric and a stronger ammonia smell. To combat this, you can use a water softener or add a water conditioner to your wash cycle to help remove the minerals.
Not Using Enough Detergent
Another factor that can contribute to ammonia buildup in cloth diapers is not using enough detergent. If you’re not using enough detergent when washing your baby’s cloth diapers, the urine may not be fully removed from the fabric, leading to ammonia buildup over time.
Make sure to follow the recommended amount of detergent for your specific type of diaper, and consider using a cloth diaper-specific detergent designed to effectively clean and remove odors from cloth diapers.
Using Too Much Detergent
On the other hand, using too much detergent can also contribute to ammonia buildup in cloth diapers. Excess detergent can leave a residue on the fabric, trapping urine and increasing the ammonia smell.
Follow the recommended amount of detergent and consider doing an extra rinse cycle to ensure the detergent is properly rinsed out of the fabric.
How To Eliminate Ammonia Smell In Cloth Diapers
If you’re struggling with the ammonia smell in your baby’s cloth diapers, don’t worry – there are several methods you can use to eliminate the odor and keep your baby’s diapers fresh and clean.
Stripping is a process that involves removing any buildup of minerals, detergent, or bacteria from your baby’s cloth diapers. This can be a helpful method for eliminating the ammonia smell if you suspect that your diapers have a buildup that’s contributing to the odor.
To strip your cloth diapers, follow these steps
1. First, make sure that your cloth diapers are clean and dry.
2. Next, fill a large tub or sink with hot water and add a stripping solution, such as RLR Laundry Treatment or GroVia Mighty Bubbles. Follow the instructions on the package for the recommended amount of stripping solution.
3. Add your cloth diapers to the water and allow them to soak for the recommended amount of time, usually around 30 minutes to an hour.
4. After the soaking time is up, drain the water and rinse the diapers thoroughly with hot water.
5. Run a regular wash cycle with detergent to remove any remaining residue from the stripping solution.
Note that stripping can be harsh on cloth diapers and should only be done occasionally, as needed. Always follow the instructions on the stripping solution package and wear gloves when handling the solution.
Here’s all the information you need to know about how to strip cloth diapers.
Bleach soaks can be another effective method for eliminating the ammonia smell in cloth diapers. However, it’s important to note that bleach should only be used on cotton or hemp diapers, not synthetic fabrics like microfiber or fleece.
To do a bleach soak, follow these steps:
1.Fill a large tub or sink with hot water and add 1/4 cup of bleach per gallon.
2. Add your cotton or hemp cloth diapers to the water and allow them to soak for 30 minutes.
3. After the soaking time is up, drain the water and rinse the diapers thoroughly with hot water.
4. Run a regular wash cycle with detergent to remove any remaining bleach residue.
Note that bleach can be harsh on cloth diapers and should only be used as a last resort for eliminating the ammonia smell. Always dilute the bleach in water before adding it to the diapers, and wear gloves when handling the bleach solution.
Maintaining Ammonia-Free Cloth Diapers
Now that you’ve successfully eliminated the ammonia smell from your baby’s cloth diapers, it’s important to maintain them properly to prevent the odor from returning.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain ammonia-free cloth diapers is to wash them regularly. Aim to wash your cloth diapers every 2-3 days to prevent urine from sitting in them too long and creating ammonia buildup. Use hot water and a recommended amount of detergent to thoroughly clean your diapers.
Choosing the Right Detergents
Not all laundry detergents are suitable for washing cloth diapers. Look for detergents free of additives like fabric softeners, bleach, and enzymes, as these can cause buildup and contribute to ammonia odor. Instead, opt for detergents specifically formulated for cloth diapers, such as Tide Free & Gentle or Seventh Generation Baby.
In addition to regular washing and choosing the right detergents, you can use several odor-neutralizing products to keep your cloth diapers smelling fresh. One popular option is to add a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, which can help neutralize odors and soften the diapers.
You can also use odor-neutralizing sprays or inserts, such as the Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer to keep your diapers smelling fresh between washes.
How To Eliminate Ammonia Smell In Cloth Diapers FAQ
Can I use fabric softener on cloth diapers?
No, fabric softeners can leave a residue on cloth diapers that can trap bacteria and contribute to ammonia odor. Instead, opt for vinegar or wool dryer balls for softening.
Can I use essential oils to eliminate ammonia odor from cloth diapers?
While some essential oils have antimicrobial properties, it’s important to use caution when using them on cloth diapers, as they can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
Can I strip my cloth diapers too often?
Stripping cloth diapers too often can damage the fabric and reduce its lifespan. It’s best to only strip them when necessary, such as when you notice a strong ammonia odor.
Can I use baking soda to eliminate the ammonia odor from cloth diapers?
Yes, baking soda can be added to the wash cycle to help neutralize odors and eliminate bacteria. However, be cautious when baking soda, as it can be abrasive and damage the fabric.
Can I use a vinegar rinse on my cloth diapers to eliminate the ammonia odor?
Adding a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle can help neutralize odors and soften the diapers. However, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid using too much vinegar, which can damage the fabric.
Dealing with the ammonia smell in cloth diapers can be frustrating for parents, but it is a common issue that can be resolved with the right approach. By understanding the causes of ammonia buildup, you can keep your cloth diapers smelling fresh and clean for your little one.