Lately it seems like case after case of ammonia-laden diapers has plagued our poor customers. If your olfactory glands have ever been sucker-punched by the distinct smell of ammonia during a diaper change, then you know that that odor and that odor alone is enough to make even the most determined cloth diapering parents throw in the prefold and switch to disposable. What’s even worse is the chemical burn your baby can get that often accompanies ammonia build-up 😦
So how can you combat that offensive ammonia build up in your otherwise perfect fluff? I think the answer lies in being preventative rather than reactionary: build up a defense against those stinkies before they even have a chance to ravage your diaper stash! With this strategy, a little product called Bac Out will become your best friend. It’s a naturally derived enzyme-buster that you can use as a pre-wash treatment for your dipes to start attacking odor-causing bacteria immediately. It’s a concentrated eco-friendly cleanser, so you fill a spray bottle with 1 part Bac Out /6 parts water and voila! Simply spray the non-toxic, bacteria-hating solution on your diapers and inserts before you throw them in your wetbag or diaper pale. It’s a step that will add all of 5 seconds to your diaper changing routine, and save you from hours of soaking and stripping diapers.
It can also be used as an addition to your cold-rinse/wash (sans detergent) when you do your diaper laundry. Just three squirts of Bac Out right from the bottle (no need to dilute) right into your pre-rinse will and it will attack any and all bacteria that like to cause ammonia. And because it’s a gentle “green” cleaner, you don’t have to be overly concerned with rinsing and rinsing and rinsing like you would with bleach: a single extra rinse ought to do the trick! A super awesome bonus: Bac Out works as a non-toxic household cleaner as well! Told you it would become your best friend 🙂
But what to do if you’re already experiencing the ammonia stinkies? First, if you’re a pocket-lover, try to recall how long you’ve had your microfiber inserts. After about a year of use, no amount of stripping, bleaching, soaking, screaming or crying will rid that microfiber of the ammonia smell. Luckily this doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole new diaper stash, just some replacement inserts. Your pocket covers will benefit from a good stripping.
So what are some stripping tactics to fight already present ammonia?:
1) Dawn Liquid Detergent. Yup, just regular old Dawn soap. The blue kind though…for some reason it only works with the blue kind. If you’re not one to fool around, you can manually scrub the soap onto each diaper/insert with an old toothbrush. If you’re low on elbow grease, simply putting 1-2 tablespoons of the detergent into your wash cycle will do the trick (the Dawn replaces your usual detergent in this case; don’t use both simultaneously). Whichever way you prefer to use your Dawn, you will have to do many, many rinses to make sure that there is absolutely no residue left on your diapers. Even when it looks like there are no bubbles left in the water, stick your hand and feel to make sure you can’t detect a hint of soap film still present in the water.
2) Funk Rock. A product brought to you buy the makers of Rockin’ Green Soap, this stuff really does rock! Simply toss your diapers in the washer, sink, tub or bucket; add 4 tablespoons of Funk Rock with hot water; let your dipes soak for 30-60 minutes (the longer the better); rinse, and wash your diapers as usual immediately after. I’ve heard lots of customers rave about how wonderfully this stuff really does kill ammonia-causing bacteria! (We have a few packets of this left at circle ME right now at half price, only $6.95!!!)
3) RLR. Especially designed to strip diapers of soap build-up and residue that can cause repelling (and it erases stains!), word on the street is it works wonders for ammonia build-up as well. Just do a soak like you would normally do a pre-wash vinegar soak (as a side note, you may find that vinegar soaks in areas that have hard water can actually make things worse!!! Something about how the acid in the vinegar reacts with particulates present in hard water in a way that can increase build up and odor…?). RLR is not a bleach, blueing agent, or detergent. It is gentle and safe for all fabrics and PUL, and it is free of perfumes. You can use it once a month, or more frequently if you find you need it. Always rinse thoroughly until it’s all out. Fabrics are actually said to last longer with regular use of RLR! Neat.
4) Tea Tree Oil or Grapefruit Seed Oil. A tablespoon or two in your pre-rinse will attack bacteria with fervor!
5) Bleach. If you’re not particularly crunchy and don’t mind using chemicals that tend to be a bit harsher, bleach will definitely do the trick as a pre-wash rinse treatment! Just add a cap-ful into your water and let it agitate for a bit before you throw your diapers in, and make sure you rinse, rinse, rinse!