or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Diapering › Any chemistry majors out there?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Any chemistry majors out there? - Page 2

post #21 of 67
Baking soda increase the pH ... so that make s it a bas? and acid ? ...am I getting them mixed up?

either way we want to lower the pH not increase it so we need to use the vinegar (which lowers it)

remind me are acids low pH and bases high?
post #22 of 67
urine PH varies from person to person (anything from a mid 4 to a mid 8 is normal).

Is the hemp you're using washed saharamama or a new piece of untreated hemp?
post #23 of 67
the hemp I was using was prewashed to manufacture diapers (but were scraps that had never been used)

the varying pH of urine might also be an influencing factor in why some people have stinky hemp and others don't. I'm assuming that when the urine is acidic (very low pH) that the hemp and pee can sort of neutralize each other and not cause any problems ...but I'm just guessing here.
post #24 of 67
: Keep it coming... this is interesting.
post #25 of 67
This is very very interesting to me.

I have a new twist to throw into it.

If urine is typically between 4-8 using 6 as a median. Bleach which seems to kill the hemp stinkies for everyone is very base at 13. And vinegar is acidic at 3 and baking soda at 9. So you would need to be using the baking soda in order to need to use the vinegar. What about the bleach? Are very base diapers the way to go?
post #26 of 67
Erica, good point.

Setting aside the eating of thread and fabric that bleach tends to do you would also have to take into consideration that you would have to do many more rinses with bleach to assure you have no residue left. When baby wets, the bleach residue left in the diaper could cause rash.
post #27 of 67
Are base diapers the way to go?

I'm not sure yet LOL ...just playing around with the pH kit.

I wish I had some stinky hemp to measure the pH of ... I can't help but wonder if the stink is the result of the hemp being out of whack. If the hemp is naturally base ... and the water I'm using is more acidic... could just using the water lower the natural pH of the hemp and make it stink? or is it that the pH gets too base and that stinks?
post #28 of 67
Thread Starter 
Bleach kills bacteria. I think that's why it works on stinkies. I have no idea if the alkalinity of it changes anything. That would be interesting to find out.
post #29 of 67
I'm willing to bet that what we've thought all along is right. Hemp is stinky not because of its chemical structure but because of its physical structure. Most people start to get stinky hemp after all the antimicrobial properties have been washed out. Could it be that the close weave has to be washed in a certain combo of water/detergent to actually penetrate the fiber?

Boy, if P&G knew what was good for them they'd introduce an stinky hemp fixer.
post #30 of 67

very interesting

I think this is very interesting.

I think hemp gets stinky because it is too basic, our hemp smells like ammonia which is very basic (high pH).

I think rinsing the diapers first should remove the urine and the combo of baking soda and vinegar will adjust the pH of the dipes to neutral.
post #31 of 67
ammonia ... that's what dd's morning diapers smell like. Didn't know it was base. So the stink occurs when the pH of the hemp which is base combines with really base urine? And then if the pH doesn't get returned to normal the stink hangs around (which is why vinegar works).

I think that if it was only that the natural anti microbial properties had washed out that all other fabrics without them would stink too ... not saying that that's not a factor ... I just think there's more to it.

ETA I do think that the density of the fibers is also definate factor in trapping the odours.
post #32 of 67
I am looking around online at Ph and how it affects laundry/natural fibers. It is interesting reading

I have found quite a bit of info regarding bleach and how the alkalinity destroys fibers and colors. ok, no joke. It also is interesting to note that an optimal ph for removing soil, sebum (oils) and other dirt particles in detergents is about a 9. Borax helps to do this. While Baking Soda isn't quite strong enough. I guess this brings it full circle back to detergent build up. If you have a very base detergent build up then it is going to likely raise the ph even more to the ammonia'ish levels. Simply musing here. On an interesting note, it isn't our daytime dipes that have any issue. It is the dipes worn at night that get peed and peed and peed on that smell.
post #33 of 67
Originally Posted by Marielle
NAKing again . . .

I do:
cold wash w/ 1/2 c BS + cold rinse
hot wash w/ 1tbsp Tide HE
cold rinse w/ 1/2 c vinegar
cold rinse

I sprinkle the BS in the pail to keep odor away and it all goes in the wash

This is what I do also, and have never had problems with stinky hemp.
post #34 of 67
It's only our night time diapers too...

so lets get this straight .... detergents are base?

So if you were to add a detergent to something that's already really base (ie the combination of hemp and pee) ...does it do anything? or does it just make it more base ...cause build up and increase the stink(which it does to diapers that aren't hemp too ... I have a stinky bleached cotton CPF as proof).

Maybe that's why the mama's who've stopped using detergent have eliminated the stink problem?
post #35 of 67
WOW this is interesting!!!

Now, I'm gonna throw a wrench into the whole works (or maybe just prove the point that's been made LOL!)...

Our water is SUPER hard. My wash routine, in my Maytag Neptune FL is as follows:

I separate out the PF's, hemp and washies from the covers/pockets.

I wash the PF's etc. on a quick cycle in COLD with COLD rinses using about a teaspoon of Dawn dw liquid with 1/2 cap of calgon in the wash cycle and petzyme in the rinse (when I remember) - note: I use Dawn because the calgon made my fleece liners repel, so I added the Dawn and that solved that problem. I separate out the covers/pockets because when I wash them with Dawn it strips off the waterproofing very quickly.

I do a second wash on HOT with COLD rinses, with a HOT prewash and an extra rinse cycle using 1/2 c. baking soda and about 1/8 teaspoon of TTO.

I've been doing this for about six months now and I no longer have stinky hemp issues. I used to get stinky hemp every week or so and have to do a giant strip cycle. The only thing I'm now doing differently is using the baking soda and TTO instead of detergent in the second cycle.

So, what does that mean LOLOLOL!!!! I have no clue if hard water is basic or acidic... anyone??

post #36 of 67
hard water has lots of calcium/minerals in it ... I don't know (but don't think it does) impact the pH .. I'll ask my dad when he comes over tomorrow (it's his pH kit I'm borrowing).
post #37 of 67
the pre-rinse that we all do ... probably dilutes/rinses out the urine and lowers the pH of the whole wash (as does every other rinse/wash cycle we run our diapers through) ... but if we've got serious stink issues how many times do we have to rinse in order to get rid of the build up/high pH ... I think this is where I'd throw the gallon of vinegar in LOL.

the HOT wash with small amount of soap ... kills off the bacteria (given that the water is hot enough and the soap potent and activated) ... but the soap is base so increases the pH again possibly leaving a residue as well.

and then we rinse it again to get rid of the soap residue and to decrease the pH again. Should we use vinegar in every rinse?
post #38 of 67
Well, I'll try to help here. I'm a Chemist who actually used to do Research and Development for cleaning products for the food industry. Most cleaners are bases (or caustic as we called them.) Laundry detergent is basic, you can tell a basic cleaner because it will feel slippery, that's how I test if I have enough Tide in my diaper wash, by feeling if the water is slippery feeling. Some things are better cleaned by acids, like soap scum for instance. Baking soda is a weak base btw, it actually works as a neutralizer too. Other types of cleaners are enzymes which work by breaking down proteins (oxiclean is this type which is why it's so great on blood.)

Personally, I don't know that the stink you're all talking about would be related to ph. IMO it's related to just a general lack of complete washing for whatever reason. I feel that using oxiclean helps to break down the organic materials that soil the diapers, I'm not really sure if it destroys the diapers though, maybe someone can help me there. I"ve only been washing diapers for about 6 weeks now, so far no stink though, but I also have no hemp.

I add vinegar to my first rinse essentially to neutralize the detergent (ie, bring down the ph.) I don't think that it takes much since you've washed out most of the detergent so I just put in a splash, not even a half of a cup. Then I rinse again to remove the vinegar. NOw, I'm no expert on diapers yet AND my son has a pesky rash that doesn't seem to be bothering him (that popped up after going too long between changes.)

BTW, a dry fabric can't have a ph, that is only a quality of a solution. So to test hemp's ph, you'd have to wet it first. Oh, and as far as taking the ph up higher or lower, the ph can only go so far according to the ph of the ingredient you're adding, so putting in lots of baking soda wont' push a ph up to 13 or something.

post #39 of 67
the popcorn muncher cracks me up too. i get the same image of the person, crunching away, waiting for what will come next.


i had unbelievably stinky (ammonia) hemp that i washed approximately 7 times (i lost count) in hot water, adding bleach about half the time. i also rinsed the dickens out of the diapers.

the ammonia remained!!

then i washed them one more time on hot, with about 2 cups of vinegar (i wasn't taking any chances!). i rinsed many times to get the vinegar smell out. ammonia gone!!!!!!!!!

to the mama who was going to soak in vinegar: be careful. i've heard it can eat away at the fabric if left for too long (but i don't know how long is too long. )

but here is my question: where does the ammonia come from???? if urine is mildly acidic, whence the caustic ammonia???????

off to google!

oh--somebody should email lori at fuzbaby about this. her husband is a chemist, and he knows all about this kind of stuff. he's done research on diapering materials. i'll do it if i can find the time...
post #40 of 67
i'm back from google. that was quick and easy.

here is what i found:

"urine pH can be affected by various factors after collection. For example, leaving the urine standing in an uncovered container. Also, bacteria usually increase the pH as they break down urea to ammonia."

EUREKA! except that if hemp has antimicrobial properties, you'd think hemp would be less of a problem, not more. but that takes us back to the hypothesis regarding physical structure.

so now i first wash my dipes on hot with vinegar. then i proceed as usual (simple hot wash with extra rinse).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Diapering
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Diapering › Any chemistry majors out there?