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I am having major problems with my diapers. No matter how clean they look/smell, as soon as dd pees in them the ammonia smell is horrendous. It's so strong that it burns my eyes when I take the diaper off and they irritate dd's skin terribly- her poor little labia is red, swollen and gets little blister-like things on it. This doesn't happen if I put her in disposables.

I was afraid that they weren't getting clean/rinsed well enough so my wash routine is kind of crazy: I wash them on cold with a little Dawn soap and a double cold rinse, then a hot wash using Charlie's soap with another double rinse, followed by ANOTHER hot wash with ANOTHER double rinse. That's 3 washes and 6 rinses! I'm basically stripping them with every single wash.

The last time I washed them I put a *tiny* amount of bleach in the wash- about 2 tablespoons. I've also hung them in the sun to dry, tried vinegar in the rinse, and I sometimes spray a little Bac-Out on particularly poopy diapers when I put them in the pail.

Any suggestions? I don't want to give up on cloth, especially seeing as I have 100s of dollars invested in them, but we're just having so many problems.
 

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Are there any bubbles in the wash during your second hot water wash?

Have you tried skipping the wash with dawn? I would eliminate that step and add vinegar to the first rinse and see how it goes. (I do see that you tried vinegar - how did it go?)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post
Are there any bubbles in the wash during your second hot water wash?
No bubbles at all.

Quote:
Have you tried skipping the wash with dawn? I would eliminate that step and add vinegar to the first rinse and see how it goes. (I do see that you tried vinegar - how did it go?)
The vinegar didn't make a difference. I need to wash again today, so I'll try skipping the Dawn and just using vinegar in the rinse.

I've wondered sometimes if the problem could be that the detergents I'm using just aren't strong enough (I usually use Charlie's, Planet, Allen's or some other eco-friendly soap.) I've wondered if I need to switch to Tide or something like that...?
 

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I know exactly where you're at. For a while, I had to put my son in disposables every couple diaper changes just to give his poor penis a break. He would cry every time he pee'd. Awful.


Here are some thoughts I have:

1. I don't know what kind of diaper you have, but if any are made of synthetic fabrics (especially microfiber inserts), you should probably throw them in your washer with about 1-2T of bleach to make sure any and all bacteria is totally killed (this is AFTER you've already washed them and they're clean-- and don't use any other products along with the bleach). The bleach will also help with any possible detergent build-up.

I use pocket diapers myself and every 2 weeks or so I give the inserts an additional wash with about 1T of bleach. I know it's not the best environmental choice, but I do feel that I'm doing my part by using cloth in the first place, and it has made a huge difference in getting rid of ammonia smells and irritation.

2. I wouldn't use Dawn on a regular basis. You've chosen a good-rinsing, water soluble detergent in Charlie's and that should be enough. It's what I use, too. Now, I do have hard water so when I was our diapers, after the cold rinse I put about 1/4 cap of liquid Calgon in during the hot wash, along with 1T of Charlie's. (If you have a top-loader, you should use more Calgon; I use this small amount because I have a front-loader.) I've seen Dawn recommended for stripping, but you shouldn't even have to strip your diapers regularly since you're using a water soluble detergent.

3. Less is more. When we first started having ammonia problems, I started trying all different sorts of things: vinegar, washing soda, baking soda, etc. I messed around with different amounts of detergent. Then I finally got in touch with a Charlie's Soap rep and he helped me get back to a basic routine: cold wash, hot wash w/ FULL scoop of Charlie's (regardless of type of washer; 1T will easily rinse out even in a front-loader), warm rinse (this helps rinse the diapers better than cold water does. Sure enough, within several washings according to his directions, the ammonia problems were drastically reduced. Then I was in contact with the woman who sold me our pocket diapers, and she recommended a routine bleaching of the inserts and the routine use of Calgon (since we have hard water). Those things have made it so that we have NO ammonia problems.

Good luck. Let me know if there's any more questions I can try to answer. And when in doubt, don't be afraid to contact Charlie's Soap and/or your diaper manufacturer. They're often able to help a lot.
 

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If you look through this list of cding detergents, apparently some people's babes have had reactions to Charlie's; other people love it, but you may want to try something else. We loved Country Save for the almost 2yrs we cd'ed.
 

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brietta has lots of good advice.

One thing is that synthetic fabrics (PUL, etc.) retain stink more than natural fabrics, so you could try to trade your pockets/ AIOs for fitteds or prefolds.

I have lots of PUL diapers though, and here is my routine:

In the drybag I add sprinkles of baking soda after every few diapers, along with drops of teatree oil. I take the inserts out of the diaper before putting in the bag. Then when I wash I do one cold wash, one hot wash, and one extra rinse with vinegar. If you can line dry in the sun, it helps tremendously. Drying on hot I think also helps if you are using a dryer.

Good luck, hang in there!
 

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If you're using pocket diapers, I would recommend trying diapers made of a natural fiber. You can get hold of a few prefolds and a cover or two fairly inexpensively, and see how they work for you. Synthetic diapers work fine for many people, but almost always when you hear about stink and rash issues, it's the pocket diapers.
 

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I've been CDin'g for almost 3 years now and have tried everything. I haven't had any stink issues for over a year with my new system. charlie's didn't work for me!! Neither did biokleen or any organic detergent.

I had bad ammonia smells. So I soaked the diaper for like 4 hours in cold water and 3 CUPS of vinegar. Then I did a hot wash up the 1 line with Tide, and another hot wash cycle. Ever since then I've never had any issues. Something about the vinegar loosens the ammonia crystals so they can be washed out with the vinegar.

Diapers have pee and poop in them. They need detergent to get that stuff out. Since using the normal amount of Tide I have had absolutely no issues with smells at all. Try it!


I also want to say that every other wash or so I throw in a cup of vinegar in the cold soak and let it sit for an hour or so. And I use mostly natural fibers. I only have 3 diapers with the synthetic stuff, so your mileage may vary
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by syd'smom View Post
If you look through this list of cding detergents, apparently some people's babes have had reactions to Charlie's; other people love it, but you may want to try something else. We loved Country Save for the almost 2yrs we cd'ed.
Wow! Thanks for the link!! That is awesome!
 

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I know this probably isn't a popular solution but I use bleach about once a month on my CDs. Actually, the BG labeling actually calls for bleach every now and then.

Whenever I get an ammonia smell like you are describing - I do a cold soak with about a quarter cup of bleach, then a HOT wash and two hot rinses.

Anyway, I'm sure there are more natural solutions, but bleach does kill the ammonia...fast.

I'm still working on getting a routine down with my new HE washer, but I think I need to switch detergent as well. Keep the suggestions coming! I'm thinking about making my own detergent - anyone else done this?
 

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What kind of diaper are you using? Also, try not using dawn and stop using Charlie's. I have heard some people complain that Charlie's can causes their little one to get a burn on their poor sensitive skin.

See if that helps. Also have you stripped your diapers? I use oxy-clean once a week to wash my diapers in to get rid of the soap build up.

My really absorbant doublers that are made of hemp and some other materal (loop-do's) get that really amonia smell--I can't stand, so I let it soak for a really long time in oxyclean and wash with tide, the kind without free and clear. That does the trick, the maker also told me to try bleach but I am not interested in putting bleach on my insert and then on my baby... Plus bleach usually null and voids any warrently on cloth... But, if you don't mind any of that maybe try bleach.

But for the rash, I would stop using charlies for sure.

I really hope this helps.
 

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Honestly, the only thing that saved us from ammonia stink was Tide. I switched to Tide and haven't had any problems, and it's been well over 6 months now. Yeah, not the most eco friendly product, but it works. I actually bought the tide with dawn yesterday...I'm curious to see how that works. It certainly cannot hurt to try tide at this point, huh?

(hi, by the way)
 
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