Guest Post by Rebecca
I have been cloth diapering for 4 years, now. The first round, with my oldest daughter, was the easiest (minus some build-up/leaking, a latex allergy and a yeast battle when she was introduced to food). The second round with my youngest, has been much more difficult, time consuming and a huge learning experience for me.
I have never experienced synthetic fiber allergies and ammonia build-up until my youngest came along. Honestly, I didn’t even know ammonia was an issue until I started using natural fibers and clean rinsing detergents. I found my solution originally in two popular cloth diaper safe, clean-rinsing detergents. But what do you do when your original solution fails you and fails badly? What do you do for the poor baby who has burned genitals and blisters from the diapers that are suppose to be better for them?! What do you do if your baby can’t wear disposable diapers either?!
I tried everything to fix ammonia build up. (Seriously.)
- Overnight Soak with my usually effective cloth diaper safe detergent. For some reason just didn’t work at all anymore….and the ammonia burns from it on my child were insane.
- Vinegar Soak. (Hey- if you have hard water DON’T USE IT! You’re problems will be 10 fold) Didn’t do squat… even in my soft water.
- Stripping With Dawn. Didn’t help.
- Boiling Inserts. Worked temporarily… until the next diaper wash day. Then ammonia was back.
So, I sat and thought a long hard while about what I could do. And then it popped into my head!
FISH TANK AMMONIA REMOVER!
Why not?! Fish are highly sensitive and if its safe for them, then chances are it wouldn’t bother my baby. Had it been done before? Do I dare do it if I can’t find anyone who has????
BUT- I was in luck!!!! (I did some Googling…) Someone had thought of it before and had done it! AND IT WORKED!
See it here: http://charsworld.com/2010/06/ammonia-is-gone/
So, I dug out our Fish Tank Ammonia Remover and gave it a try myself. I let the freshly washed diapers soak in the Fish Tank Ammonia Remover water for 10 hours.
Do you think it worked?
YES! IT DID! Our cloth diapers are clean again! My baby doesn’t wake up red anymore! The diaper doesn’t burn my nose or make my eyes water when I open the door to her room (yep, it got THAT bad) . Actually, there is no smell at all in our diapers when she pees… except, well., fresh pee (which isn’t too stinky).
I do have a personal rendition to the Char’s World method that I personally like better:
I use 4 Tank Buddies Fish Tank Ammonia Remover ($3.50 for 8 Tablets at WalMart) dissolved in 6 gallons of warm water and put in CLEAN, DRY 15 Fitted Cloth Diapers/PreFolds/Flats OR up to 30 INSERTS in the water. If the water isn’t covering the diapers/inserts then I add just enough water so they are all covered by the water. I then take my hands and agitate them for a minute to mix the solution through the diapers.
Then I let them soak 6-8 hours.
I take the diapers out, sopping wet, and put them into the washer and I run it with NO DETERGENT on Hot Wash/Cold Rinse and add a 2nd rinse.
Voila! Clean, ammonia free diapers! AND To keep ammonia away this is my routine:
1. I rinse EVERY dirty diaper out with super hot water , after each diaper change before I throw them into the dry pail.
2. Once a week to every 3 weeks I use 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of bleach to my large load of diapers (I DO NOT add covers or PUL to this wash and I DILUTE the bleach into the water FIRST, let it fill, then add the diapers)
3. I wash every 2-4 days with BioKleen Free and Clear Powder. I have SOFT WELL WATER.
- I do one warm/cold “auto” wash in my he Top Loader with ½ scoop of BKFC
- I start a Large/Extra Large Wash with Hot/Cold Wash on JUST FITTEDS AND INSERTS FIRST in my he Top Loader with 1 scoop of BKFC, stop the wash after they agitate a moment and let them soak 45 minutes, then I add the Covers back and start the cycle where I left off with it and 2nd rinse them.
- Then I do one more hot/cold auto wash because of my soft water to get the rest of detergent out.
My daughter has extremely sensitive skin and Eczema, by the way. She hasn’t had one rash or any reaction to her diapers since the Fish Tank Ammonia Remover treatment on them. The diapers are in great condition still because this method is GENTLE opposed to other methods (remember its safe for LIVE fish & aquatic plants!) I definitely recommend this solution to anyone for removing ammonia from diapers.
Give the Fish Tank Ammonia Remover a try- you will be amazed at how awesome it works and easy it is to do.
This post was republished with permission by Rebecca. You can read more about Rebecca and her cloth diapering and parenting journey on her blog Mod’N’Natural where she writes as regularly as she can and shares her tips and advice with others.
*Please keep in mind this is a “Proceed at your own risk” method. I can guarantee this is not recommended by manufacturers and in my opinion, while it looks safe, should be used as a last resort after exhausting other options. -Julie, Cloth Diaper Geek
I’m Julie, a former cloth diaper retailer who discovered a passion for the industry. Now, instead of selling cloth diapers, I advocate them and promote small businesses I love who sell and manufacture them.
I’m the wife of a fireman and mother of three. I have a daughter and identical twin sons.