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post #41 of 67
I never took Chemistry so please bear with me if this is a stupid question. Would Borax do better than the baking soda for stinky hemp? I know it's not great for diapers, but it gets the smell out for a use or two and then we're back to "need a gas mask" for the overnight diapers. If I use Borax and vinegar (which I have never used) should that cure the stinky problem?
post #42 of 67
i've been yahoo'g and i'm not convinced stinky hemp is a pH issue. i couldn't find ANYTHING that linked pH to ammonia.
but i DID find some interesting stuff that may help (or confuse the matter even more! LOL)...

quoted from http://skepdic.com/comments/urinecom.html in a discussion about "urine therapy", another subject all together, but this quote may be of interest to us...
Quote:
One minor little, but rather common, mistake in your presentation: human urine as produced by the kidneys and freshly voided does not contain ammonia (the urine of some other species does). However, if human urine is exposed to air for any length of time, airborne bacteria will break down some of the urea into ammonia. So it's only "stale" urine that contains ammonia.
along the same lines, this page explains what causes strong odor in human urine (http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives...3402.Gb.r.html). it says
Quote:
Urine in a container acquires a pungent odor as the urea breaks down to ammonia due to bacterial action.
i've never experienced stinky hemp, but since most of my stash is hemp, i : the subject in case i ever have a problem. it seems like most everyone with stinky hemp says that the hemp didn't stink in the beginning, it happened after a few months.

assuming all this information is accurate, i'm going to go out on a limb here and make a hypothosis about the cause stinky hemp dipes...
a) airborne bacteria is breaking the urea in the diaper into ammonia, assumably while the diaper sits in the pail awaiting wash day - maybe the length of time the diapers are sitting is a factor(??)
b) the urine/ammonia is getting trapped in the super-absorbing hemp fibers and not being completely washed out of the hemp diaper
b) over time, the stale urine/ammonia that isn't washing out of the dipes, builds up in the fibers

now what i can't figure out is why some people have stinky hemp and others don't. assuming my buildup theory is correct, WHY isn't the urea/ammonia getting completely washed out??? is it the amount of time their dipes are sitting in the pail (assumably making higher levels of ammonia the longer the dipes sit)? is it the efficiency of their washer? are some detergents better at washing the urea/ammonia/bacteria out of the dipes?

i've also found repeatedly that ammonia breaks down easily in water. maybe this is why repeated washing without detergents seems to rid the ammonia smell. or maybe there really is a "detergent buildup" making the situation worse (kind of like your carpets getting dirtier faster after shampooing). maybe there is a water hardness factor here and hard/soft water breaks down the ammonia faster/slower.
post #43 of 67
ainnj: yours is pretty much the same conclusion i came to last night.

but i'm thinking of something else:

i'm guessing long-term stink isn't related to ammonia buildup (since it rinses out fairly easily). perhaps it is due to bacteria that isn't being fully cleaned out of the dense hemp. that's why folks say that their hemp smells clean out of the wash, but once it gets peed in, it stinks again.

once it gets peed in, the residual bacteria starts breaking down the urine into uric acid and ammonia.

i hear a lot about the more "gentle" wash routines here (e.g. sportwash, no harsh cleaners, bleach, etc.). i suspect some of our dense hemp diapers have residual organisms living in them.

must email fuzbaby about this.

kermit: are you out there reading this???? (kermit knows a lot about washing dipes!)
post #44 of 67
Does anyone know if there is a stinky hemp/hardwater correlation? I've read that vinegar is a no-no with hard water and I've switched the majority of my stash to hemp so I'm quite interested in this thread.
post #45 of 67
Thread Starter 
That makes sense to me, too. Killing the germs in the diapers without killing the diapers themselves must be difficult.
post #46 of 67
Quote:
Killing the germs in the diapers without killing the diapers themselves must be difficult
my hemp supplier says to never use bleach on hemp. i'm a big germ-a-phobic, so this was an issue with me. so i add a squirt of antibacterial dishwashing soap to every load. i also use oxyclean (which has enzymes to break down organic "stuff". i figured it would help break down any organic stuff my ds put in the diaper, right?). i've never had a stinky hemp issue, so i wonder if i'm doing something right, or if i've just been lucky.

i thought of something... if ammonia easily breaks down in water, then i wonder if simply soaking dipes overnight in plain old water would get rid of the stink. i'd imagine you couldn't overload the tub w/stinky dipes or else the water would just get icky. but how about soaking maybe 1/2 dozen dipes or less in a full washer tub full of water?

who has stinky hemp and wants to try it???
post #47 of 67
Here are my stinky hemp results

1. bleach works for whatever reason either PH or breaking down bacteria.
2. it is only our nighttime dipes, so I am assuming that it is the length of time that the large amount of toddler pee sits in the dipe it turns to ammonia. I wash once a day just because I am an anal twit.
3. I tested the vinegar in the cold soak, wash hot then rinse. can I just say it worked like a fricken dream!
4. I tested the cold soak, wash hot, vinegar in the rinse, eh, it made it somewhat less ammonia'y but it was still there.
5. I did a total strip wash, ammonia still reeked this morning.

I definitely think there is some relavence to the Ph theory. I realize that fabric itself cannot hold a specific Ph, but the soaked in stuff can. I wonder if neutralizing that by counter acting alkaline ammonia with acidic vinegar help then the detergent can get in and do its job. I definitely notice a major difference not only with the stink but with the softness of the dipes.

FWIW...I also have a water softener.
post #48 of 67
I'm really late in the game here so I didn't read all the responses. My mom is a chemist and I did quite well in chemistry in college (if I do say so myself). I have asked her about this. She has always said to use vinegar to neutralize urine, such as that from pets that pee on the carpet. She said it is perfectly safe and will work to clean and neutralize the urine in the dipes to use baking soda in the wash and vinegar in the rinse.

Here's what I do:

cold prewash with nothing
1/2 C baking soda in hot wash
1/3-1/2 C vinegar in first rinse
extra rinse cycle

Vinegar is also good at breaking down detergent residue.
post #49 of 67
So glad I found this thread........
post #50 of 67
Question:

I read that either baking soda or vinegar (can't remember which) does not react well with water that has been filtered through a water softener.

Could a chem guru clear this one up??
post #51 of 67

Well

I do not know but the only thing that got rid of my stinky hemp was 5 cups of vinager in the wash! I washed them and rinsed them several times then I washed them on hot with vinager and WOW they do not stink. Amazing.
post #52 of 67
This is such an interesting thread! Thank you, all you chemistry gurus!
:
post #53 of 67
I will email my mom about the vinegar or baking soda and water softener. On another thread I was on, someone said that she thought baking soda breaks down PUL. I asked my mom about this and she didn't know. I don't use PUL much so I don't worry about it.

With my routine, I have not had a problem at all with stink with any of my diapers and I used mostly hemp. I've been CDing for about 3 months now so maybe that's not long enough.
post #54 of 67
i tend to agree with those of you saying its something that isnt being fully washed out of the hemp. I think thats why a lot of times its the really thick diapers with internal soakers that have more stink than the quick dry ones with only like 3 layers sewn together? Its also related to water because hard water often doesnt clean things as well or rinse things out as well.... so many factors Good luck to you girls, sounds like you are bound to figure this stuff out! I am thankful that I have never had stinky diapers since getting rid of all my internal soakers and will never go back :LOL
post #55 of 67
I can picture the person sitting there eating popcorn at the computer also. Especially you Jen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AinNJ
yeah, yeah. i got that! LOL! it just totally cracks me up visualizing someone sitting on the sidelines, wide eyed, watching what happens next.
post #56 of 67
Ah yes, hard water is a factor, but what about those of us who have disgustingly soft water!! Like can't ever rinse the soap off no matter how little you use because the water is so soft. That really confounds the stinky hemp issue. I'm definitely going to try vinegar because....
1. The acid of vinegar should help neutralize the basic urine.
2. Vinegar also helps rinse out detergents which is a problem with our soft water (and very basic water).
3. Borax doesn't help in our situation. I've tried.
4. Baking soda isn't logical if urine is basic and our water is very basic.

I'm thinking vinegar in the cold soak....like a previous poster said.
post #57 of 67
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the water was like that where I went to college. You'd go to the bathroom, wash your hands, and 15 minutes later they'd still be slimy. I have a theory that it wasn't really water, but some other substance posing as water.

I'm thinking maybe I should start out washing my diapers with neither baking soda nor vinegar, and see how far along I can get that way.
post #58 of 67
Sorry it took me so long. I asked my chemist mom about water softeners and baking soda and she said it shouldn't make a difference.
post #59 of 67
I'm bumping this because it has been an incredibly interesting read!!

I do think that the make-up of each child's urine is definitely a contributing factor. Ella's hemp never stinks. She is 10 months old and breastfed with solids here and there. Jessa's hemp stinks. It's a very strong, knock-you-over, pungent STINK. Especially in the morning. She eats what a normal toddler eats along with drinking quite a bit of calcium enriched orange juice (we don't do drink cow's milk so this is how she gets her calcium). So, I don't necessarily think the hemp alone is to blame. However, I do agree that anything left in the dense hemp fibers will cause odor.

Any more results to post? :
post #60 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by francy
ainnj: yours is pretty much the same conclusion i came to last night.

but i'm thinking of something else:

i'm guessing long-term stink isn't related to ammonia buildup (since it rinses out fairly easily). perhaps it is due to bacteria that isn't being fully cleaned out of the dense hemp. that's why folks say that their hemp smells clean out of the wash, but once it gets peed in, it stinks again.

once it gets peed in, the residual bacteria starts breaking down the urine into uric acid and ammonia.

i hear a lot about the more "gentle" wash routines here (e.g. sportwash, no harsh cleaners, bleach, etc.). i suspect some of our dense hemp diapers have residual organisms living in them.

must email fuzbaby about this.

kermit: are you out there reading this???? (kermit knows a lot about washing dipes!)
I'm hopping on this thread a little late but I just wanted to say that I agree completely. I have this intuitive (if that's the right way to phrase it) sense that all these complicated detergent-free wash routines are not good enough to really rid diapers of the bacteria that forms in them. I have this feeling and I have a hard time explaining why, but I do not think tto can be good for washing diapers in the long haul. Its an oil right? Wouldn't it cling to the diaper material and never reall wash out of the fibers in the absense of detergent soaps like Tide? Bleach would "strip" the diapers of the oil and the bacteria just long enough for the diapers to not stink anymore, but eventually the stink comes back when old wash routines are reinstated. Doesn't detergent break down oils (like the fatty stuff that comes out in poop for instance) in a way that nothing else really can? I know my hands feel painfully dry when I pull them out of the washing machine sometimes. WOW...I am rambling now :LOL MUST....GET....SLEEP!
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