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· Registered
1,156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DS has been wearing sposies to bed this past week.

The ammonia smell was just overpowering my DH and I halfway through the night. I'm willing to put up with it, but my DH is not. We need to find another solution. Sposies are not the answer!!!

So far, we've tried Nighty Newts (not loving prefolds for nighttime), Sleeptights (organic cotton and hemp/cotton) and Kindhearted Women fitteds, all under wool. Is there some laundry issue we're having here? Or is the ammonia smell just because he's a heavy wetter and needs another doubler? I wouldn't mind trying other nighttime dipes, so feel free to spam me with links to other possibilities. Unless this is just a laundry issue, then just flood me with laundering suggestions...

FYI... my laundry routine (all on heavy wash setting, highest water level):

1. Rinse on cold
2. Wash on hot with a small amount of Tide (our water dept said we have soft water) and some baking soda
3. Rinse cold with a cup of vinegar (this is new, but we've had ammonia smells with the vinegar and without)
4. Rinse again on cold water
5. Dry until VERY dry and then also line dry the non-quick dry stuff

I've tried Calgon too, which hasn't helped. Would Dr Bronners work? What about Dawn? And I can't boil because everything has snaps.

So, what is it? Do I have laundry issues, or just a super soaker?

· Premium Member
4,932 Posts

I don't really have any advice, but felt compelled to reply anyway

I think it's definitely a laundry issue, not a particular diaper issue. In general, I think ammonia smell = detergent build up.

There is a difference between a strong PEE smell, and a strong HAMSTER CAGE smell. It is understandable that there would be a smell of pee after a long night in one diaper, but it should smell like human pee, not rodent pee.

How hot is your water? We had stinky ammonia troubles a lot before we moved, and after we moved, they disappeared. I am doing many FEWER rinses and soaks, etc. now than I was then (our new washers don't have any options), but the diapers are much less smelly. I think the difference is the temperature of the water. Our old water heater was on its very, very final legs (to an extreme), and even when the water was as hot as it could go, I could put my hand under it no problem. The hot water that comes out of the machines at our new home is way too hot to touch.

So, is there any way to turn up the temperature of your hot water?

My only other advice would be to use a scented wool wash in hopes of overpowering some of the pee/hamster smell. We use lavendar eucalan, and I love it. We often wake up to the smell of wet sheep standing in a field of lavendar. . .


· Registered
1,739 Posts
If all your diapers smell strong of ammonia, even during the day, then I'd say yeah, it's a detergent build-up issue or an issue of not getting them clean enough (sometime people with hard water use too little detergent or use it with cold water and everything comes out smelly).
But, to me, it sounds like it's just the night diapers, which all have hemp, is that right? Do a search in this forum for "stinky hemp" and see what you come up with. I think it's just your hemp.
You can't boil, and there are things you can do to help the stink not be as bad (pour boiling water into the wash or turn your hot water heater up, use TTO or GSE, do several rinses after the hot wash, line dry in the sun, etc., etc., ad nauseum...), but to get rid of it altogether, the only solution I've found is to use 1/4 cup of diluted chlorine bleach in the last 5 min. of the hot wash every month or two on just the hemp diapers.

· Registered
1,156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I may have figured it out (nak)!

This morning, I tested my water temp and it never went about 120F! So, with the help our gas co, I turned it up. When I ducked through the spidery crawl space and checked the current setting, it was barely at "warm".

And now I think it's time to do some *real* laundry. It makes me a little sick to think that my water was never hot enough to really get my DS's diapers clean, or dishes for that matter!

I have all this crazy wishful thinking that this hot water thing will solve all our problems now... "maybe we'll get sick less!" "maybe our house will be cleaner!" "maybe Arjun will sleep better"...nah.

At least if it doesn't solve our ammonia problem, I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again real soon!

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