Are you screaming for help on how to address those ammonia smell in cloth diapers of your baby? Well, hang in there! We got you, mommy! Read on and learn how to properly deal with it and get that good-smelling cloth diapers back again.
When I decided to convert from being a disposable diaper user to cloth diaper user, I thought it won’t be that hard. I thought it’s just like you know, wearing undergarments – once used, you just throw it in the laundry bin and let the washer do the work.
Apparently, I was wrong.
It wasn’t as easy as that. Oh, don’t get me wrong here. I am not writing this to discourage you from using cloth diapers because I so love using cloth diapers. Later, I will tell you why! But I am just being real. When you convert to using cloth diapers on your baby, you have to be prepared.
I swear, you have to do a lot of research, and really get to know the method before putting yourself into it – because if you are looking for easy-breezy thingy, well, this might not be the one for you.
From time to time, you will have to address cloth diaper issues like ammonia smell cloth diapers, which, by the way, was tough – initially. I said initially because when I already mastered how to deal with it, it wasn’t a problem anymore.
I remember the first time I encountered ammonia smell cloth diapers, I really thought it was the end of my baby’s cloth diapering journey. I panicked! I actually thought of throwing it all out and just go back to disposable diapers. Good thing, a reliable mommy friend of mine who is also into cloth diapering came to the rescue.
I told her about my ordeal, and she helped me with it. Thank goodness for her or else I would have wasted money by throwing out the cloth diapers and converting back into disposable ones.
Okay, before I go into sharing to you about how to deal with ammonia smell cloth diapers, let me share a few things first about cloth diapering. This especially goes to fellow moms who are not yet there but getting there. I mean, those who are just at the phase of planning to convert.
Let me tell you first a few reasons why I was convinced to convert from using disposable diapers on my baby to using cloth diapers.
Reasons Why I Converted to Cloth Diapering
- I thought my baby needed a break from rashes!
Cloth diapers, unlike the disposable ones, are ultimately safer to use. It’s very gentle on your baby’s skin since it is made of cloth or fabrics. Before, when my baby was using disposables, he would have redness on his butt area. I remember how my baby would cry and gets fussy every time because of the rashes. I could not imagine how itchy and painful it was for him. I tried almost all those pricey, highly-advertised as good for sensitive skin diapers, but none of them worked for my baby.
It was actually then that I decided to look for alternatives. I asked my mommy friend and she told me about cloth diapering. I swear, I had no idea it exists until I had that talk with my friend. I then immediately Googled about cloth diapers. I checked my options, and also looked into the recommendations of my dear friend.
And after so much thought and research too, I bought my baby cloth diapers, and I swear, our lives were never the same again. My baby is now free from rashes, redness, and itchiness. He’s now a convert from being a crying baby to a happy baby.
- I thought it’s a cheaper, but great alternative.
The good thing about us in this generation is that we have a lot of options. I think in almost everything, we have so many options. The same goes for diapers! We have so many options that make it hard for us to decide which one to get sometimes.
Well, what I learned from my cloth diapering journey is that it’s cheap! I mean, it is washable and reusable. Even if I include the detergent we use, the water, and the laundry time in cost, it still is cheaper than disposable ones.
At an average, you only need around 30-35 cloth diapers (to ensure you have enough to make you through a week of diapering) to last you for months before your baby gets bigger and there’d be a need to change into bigger a bigger size. Compare that to the number of disposable diapers you need in a week, I swear it’s cheaper!
If you want to be a wise mom when it comes to budgeting, I highly recommend converting to cloth diapers.
- It is very friendly to the environment.
Well, I won’t be a hypocrite saying I am an environment advocate, because I am still a work in progress when it comes to ensuring I get to help keep and preserve the environment. However, I would like to say that by choosing to go for cloth diapers, I know I am able to do even just a little part in helping keep our environment clean.
At least, I am able to decrease the number of disposable diapers that go into waste by choosing cloth diapers for my baby.
I am happy with it, to be honest. I am happy with the fact that in my own simple, little way, I am able to help keep the greens and the oceans clean. Of course, as a mom, I would love my son to experience the kind of environment I did experience growing up. I want him to see the trees, the greeneries, as well as I would love seeing him swim into the seas without fear of drinking dirty water because of trash. Don’t you just love those ideas, too?
- I thought cloth diapers are super cute and stylish!
Okay, I know, I have a son, not a daughter. But who says boys can’t be as stylish as girls, right? Well, I would love to indulge while my baby is still a baby because ones he is older, he would probably hate (or maybe he’d love it too!) the cloth diaper designs that I went for.
While I love neutral colors for my baby’s cloth diapers, I could not help myself buying some colorful and cuter designs. I mean, my son is a baby, he has the right to wear cute stuff, right? Yes, including cloth diapers!
It’s actually nice because some cloth diapers are so cute you won’t need to put on shorts or pants on our baby especially when you are just at home and it’s summer. I had a few cutesy cloth diapers for my baby, and I swear, I giggle whenever I see them. In fact, if I would see my baby self wearing those, I’d probably thank my mom for wearing me those!
- We saved a lot from converting to cloth diapers!
Yes, I have to use an exclamation point to that because I love the fact that we saved a lot of money by choosing cloth diapers for our baby. I already mentioned earlier how cloth diapers are cheaper compared to disposable diapers, right? Since it is cheaper, we only get to spend a little, thus the savings!
Hands up if you agree, we moms love it when we are able to save money from our budget, right? We love saving! In our case, the money we save from buying disposable diapers, we decided to put it in our son’s savings account. That’s perfect, right?
So there you have it. These are just my reasons. But for sure, if you will look into other mom’s blogs or articles, you will probably find a lot more reasons why you should go for cloth diapers.
Anyway, so, I just thought of sharing that to make a point why even if I encountered ordeals like dealing with ammonia smell cloth diapers, I still am in love with cloth diapers.
Addressing Ammonia Smell Cloth Diapers
So, now let us proceed to the real thing – how to address ammonia smell cloth diapers?
Allow me to address some misconceptions first – just a disclaimer though, I am not an expert. I just learned everything I am sharing with you today through research and personal experience.
Okay, so some parents thought that ammonia smell cloth diapers are just normal. They thought that the stinky odor is a part of cloth diapering life. Well, from what I have learned, it is NOT. Cloth diapers should not smell sticky! It should not smell anything at all – of course, except the smell of detergent.
But don’t panic! Don’t even think of just throwing your stinky cloth diapers just like me.
There is a way to get rid of that smell!
Before that though, let’s discuss first what ammonia is.
What is ammonia?
In scientific explanation, ammonia is “is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH₃. The simplest pnictogen hydride, ammonia is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell.”
But in a more understandable explanation, ammonia is:
– identifiable by a “burn your nose hairs” smell
– becomes obvious when the cloth diaper is wet
– caused by bacteria that transform urea in urine into ammonia
– dangerous and can cause chemical burns on the baby’s skin if not treated
Why is there ammonia smell cloth diapers?
If your baby has just recently wet his or her cloth diaper, then that is precisely the reason why. However, if the smell comes from already washed and are supposedly clean cloth diapers, then, we have a problem here that needs to be addressed. Probably, there is something wrong with how you wash the cloth diapers, which needs to be corrected immediately. After all, you do not want this to cause harm to your baby, right?
How to resolve ammonia smell cloth diapers?
There are two ways to address the ammonia smell cloth diapers problem. These are:
- By resetting your diapers to square one through stripping and/or bleaching
- By correcting how you wash your cloth diapers
Stripping and/or Bleaching
If your cloth diapers have been washed for a couple of times already, meaning greater than a month or equivalent to 10 washes, then it is highly recommended to strip your diapers because of mineral buildup that may be caused by:
– soaking the cloth diaper on hard water without adding a water softener
– putting the cloth diaper into something that has an ingredient that causes build up or coat fibers
– using detergents that can cause chemical burns
Parents have the prerogative to strip their baby’s cloth diapers after only a few washes. But it is highly recommended to consider stripping if you have used detergents that can cause chemical burns, regardless if you have not used it for so long.
However, please be mindful that there are certain parts of cloth diapers that need not stripping – instead, may be directly bleached. These are:
– Pocket shells. No, I am not pertaining to the inserts. It’s the thin layer of suedecloth or microfleece that touches your baby’s skin. However, if you think you have used a lot of soap or fabric softener, then there may still be a need for stripping.
– Wool Covers. Stripping may totally damage the wool, so, definitely not.
– PUL Covers and AI2 Shells. No need for stripping, but highly recommended to be bleached since there are parts that touch baby’s skin, which is vulnerable to concealing bacteria.
How to strip cloth diapers?
- Remember to always start with a clean diaper. When I say clean, it doesn’t necessarily mean dry. In general, you only need to strip the absorbent parts of the diaper like prefolds or flats, pocket diaper inserts, or AIOs. Pocket shells and diaper covers seldom need to be stripped as mentioned earlier.
- Fill your top-loader or container ½ full with hot water. How hot? Well, as hot as possible.
- Add in your mineral removal solution to the water. Make sure to dissolve it well.
Bleaching is not something that you do ever cloth diaper wash. It is just one of the few times that you are permitted to bleach your baby’s cloth diaper.
Bleaching or sanitizing your baby’s cloth diaper is vital when you need to kill bacteria, which is precisely what happens when your cloth diaper stinks.
For your reference, here are a few reasons why you should bleach or sanitize your baby’s cloth diapers:
– when you just finished stripping off your baby’s cloth diapers
– when the cloth diapers were washed but the deepest layers of it were not deeply cleaned
– when you used weak or homemade detergent, which probably was not able to clean the cloth diapers thoroughly
– when your baby starts to have rashes
– when you smell something unusual like that of ammonia
How to bleach cloth diapers?
- Makes sure to start with CLEAN cloth diapers.
- Fill your container or basin with cold water.
- Add disinfecting bleach with at least 5.25% sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient and mix it well. Also, make sure the bleach is less than 9 months old to get the best result.
- Soak all cloth diapers for 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to keep track of the time, do not exceed more than 45 minutes.
- Once done with soaking, rinse the cloth diapers using hot water.
- Then, follow a hot wash cycle with detergent to break down the bleach for a clean rinse.
For your reference, you may follow below dilutions according to the water level:
Top Loader (Non-hE):
Small: 1/3 cup
Medium: 1/2 cup
Large/XL: 3/4 cup
1/2 full: 1/2 cup
3/4 full: 3/4cup- 1cup
Note: Please ensure measuring from the top of the tub, not minding where the overflow is.
1 Gallon: 1 Tablespoon For each gallon of cold water (up to 5 gals), add 1 Tbs. bleach.
Please note that concentrated bleach entails the same dilution amounts.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Ammonia Smell Cloth Diapers
Apart from stripping and bleaching, you may also try doing the following:
- Wash your baby’s cloth diapers more frequently and as soon as possible. The more you sit a wet cloth diaper in the pail, the more likely it will stink, which we do not like, right? So, yeah, as much as possible, wash the diapers sooner.
- Add baking soda to your diaper pail if you are not ready to wash it yet. You may also opt for other or some other odor neutralizer.
You may also try doing this, to get rid of ammonia smell cloth diapers:
- Soak the wet cloth diapers in a basin, pail or bathtub with a little dish detergent and hot water.
- Rinse as thoroughly as possible.
- Run a hot wash cycle with no detergent. Repeat it for a few times until there are no bubbles left.
- Hang your baby’s cloth diapers under the sunlight. Sunlight is probably the best way to help keep odors and stains away.
There you have it! You know, you really have nothing to worry about ammonia smell cloth diapers so long as you know how to deal with it. Well, the fact that you are reading this part means you have read the different ways to get away with the stinky smell.
Do you know what’s good about it? You don’t need to spend a lot to treat the ammonia smell cloth diapers. The solutions are pretty simple and are readily available.
So, yeah! No wasted cloth diapers here just cleaned thoroughly to smell exactly the way it should be.