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My prefolds smell like ammonia - HELP!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I bought a bunch of prefolds second hand from a friend of a friend. I'm thinking I know why she got rid of them. With the first diaper I used, right after changing my son, the diapers REEKED of ammonia. I know I need to strip them, but I thought I did and now my NEW all-in-ones I washed with the so called "stripped" prefolds now smell like ammonia too. And I mean he wore the AIO once, washed once - so it couldn't be build up already could it?

The other thing is, when I tried stripping them, even with the first initial rinse there were no soap bubbles. So is it a build up of soap then or something else?

Can anyone help, I can't use the prefolds right now as it's actually giving him a diaper rash.
post #2 of 10
My ammonia solution: soak the dipes in cold water for 12-24 hours with a generous amount of Bac-Out.

Its the only thing that worked for me and I tried every form of stripping I've ever heard of multiple times.
post #3 of 10
Someone recently told me to add blue dishwashing soap along with the regular laundry detergent to get rid of the ammonia smell. I'm thinking it's just a drop or a tiny squirt. HTH
post #4 of 10
Also HOT water, cold does nothing to get soap out IMO/IME
post #5 of 10
DS is a very heavy wetter and after a while his dipes all start to smell bad! :Puke I added a cold water rinse w/vinegar at the begining of the process and vinegar to the main wash and no more smell at all! (like 1/2 a cup both times)

Also I had tried stripping them but ended up doing the by hand method- of boiling them in water (no more than 3-4 dipes at a time, depending on how big your pot is) for about 5 mins each then ran them thru a wash w/o anything but the water. Best strip job I've ever done!
post #6 of 10
I used to add to my wash a 1 teaspoon tea tree, 1 teaspoon lavender and 1 cup vinegar.
Good luck.
post #7 of 10
For me, ammonia smell has never been about buildup, it has always been about not using enough detergent. Too many washes in not enough natural detergent lead to bad ammonia smells for us. We had to wash with some bleach and Tide detergent and then do some hot rinses in order to truly get the diapers clean. Line drying in the sun also helped.
post #8 of 10
Yeah, I don't think smells in prefolds are from anything building up in them. They just aren't clean. When you washed the AIOs, they didn't get clean either. Sniff them really good after your wash cycle (before putting them in the dryer) and if they don't smell clean, wash them again. What kind of washing machine/detergent/cycle are you using? With my HE washer, I need to do two full cycles. I do one cold then one hot. One or both of the cycles have an extra rinse at the end.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Are you guys adding the vinegar all the time, or just when they start to smell?

I was just stripping them with hot water rinses, but then I did a stripping with Dawn and layed them out in the sun, and that seemed to help some. Now they don't smell like ammonia right away, but after a day of being in the pail, they do. Is that normal - I don't remember that happening when I had a diaper service.

I was using Ecos free n' clear laundry soap, but just bought some BumGenius soap, just so I could rule out it wasn't the soap I was using. I used a generous amount the first time to make sure they were clean, double rinse.

I do a cold wash first with no soap, then a hot wash with soap, then an additional cold rinse. Maybe I should be doing an additional hot rinse instead.

One last question - I have hemp inserts I use at night. Do I wash those the same way, cuz now they aren't holding pee like they used to and the pocket diaper I use is leaking, where it didn't before. And they smell like ammonia now too.

I emailed the lady I bought them from, and she said she only noticed the ammonia smell in the morning. Yeah right - it was happening every time he peed and giving him rashes. There's no way she didn't notice that. She said she only ever stripped them once. She used them with 2 kids!
post #10 of 10
Odor like that is usually caused by bacteria. If you can disinfect the diapers you can get rid of the smell. Try this: Soak your diaper on HOT with OxyClean Free ( this is sodium percarbonate adn is almost ALL CD safe detergent. Wash as you normally would and sun to dry. The Bac Out is a great idea as well.
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