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Lingering pee smell

488 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  thekimballs

Laundry question:

I jsut started doing CD's part time with my toddler in preparation for hopefully CD'ing my soon-to-be newborn.

I dont' really have a 'laundry routine' yet but so far I have done a hot or cold rinse, hot wash with either bi-o-kleen or All free and clear, then an extra rinse, then dry in the dryer. Even with the 3 cycles the dipes still smell like pee.

I've read that some of you only do one hot wash, or less than the 3 cycles and the dipes are fine- any advice on how to get the pee smell out or why it's happening?

Would putting vinegar in the final rinse help? Or any other additives I can try?
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Couple questions...

What kind of cds are they? What kind and how much detergent are you using? And do they smell like pee all the time?
I got build up stink when I used All F&C. I stripped with hot water and dawn, and went back to my reg (costco brand like tide) detergent
If they smell like pee coming out of the washer/dryer, you need to use MORE detergent. They're not clean. They should not have a smell when you pull them out of the dryer. They shouldn't smell like pee OR detergent.

And I second the caution about All F&C... I had major buildup from using it just a couple times. It was awful. Although I know one person that uses it regularly with hemp and never has hemp stink! So it probably depends on your water, but just be aware that it often causes buildup for lots of people.

Good basic wash routine to start with:

cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, extra rinse (I prefer warm, and would even do hot if my washer would do it)
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How often are you washing? Some people complain that the smell sets in if you go more than 2-3 days between washing.
I'd second all the suggestions of the pp's but I have had success with just a little bit of vinegar in a downy ball. BTW, I use all free and clear with some baking soda with no problems. I have mostly fuzzibunz and prefolds but also BSWW and some motherease. I had a persistent funny smell. Using the vinegar just once got rid of the smell. I do laundry every other day and the method I use is cold rinse, hot wash and cold rinse (used the vinegar here), extra rinse. Hope you find a solution.
We use vinegar in the rinse cycle as well and I really think it helps to keep the smell out. I'm just now, after 8 months of cd'ing full time, noticing a bit of a smell. We are striping this week, but it's really the first time we've had to do this.

Good luck!
This is how I wash:

Cold Rinse with Vinegar

Hot wash w/ tide (original scent)

cold rinse (my washers only setting)

If there is still suds I do the hot wash till there is none!
Thanks for all the advice and suggestions!

A couple things really make sense- maybe they're just not getting clean enough, because yes, each time so far they all smell like pee. I"m using about 1/2 the amount of All F&C that it recommends for a large load, maybe I just need to use more.

And, I am probably not washing them often enough, but I don't see how I can help that- we're only using them part time so it takes several days to get enough to run a load. Do you think it would make any difference if I rinsed them out after taking them off ds so there is less pee in them as they wait to be washed?

They are ME's, and I just got them from a friend- when I got them they were totally clean and fresh smelling so I don't think it could be detergent build up YET- but I will keep that in mind as I keep using them.

And BTW, yesterday I rinsed them two extra times with vinegar and they still stink!! (this was before reading your comments) So now they're outside sunning and I hope that makes a difference.

Thanks again!!
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I do a warm/cold full wash with 1/2 a capful of Tide in my front loader. After the water is added and they toss for a few minutes I turn on the timer and let them sit for an hour before finishing the wash. Then I do a hot/cold full wash with 1/2 - 3/4 cup vinegar, no soap. My diapers all now smell wonderful (even my pockets and microfiber). Before I did this I had horrid pee smell right out of the washer. I think it was a combo of soap buildup and bacteria growth in my microfiber...
1/2 the recommended amount is a LOT--do you have hard water? I know that some people are convinced that pee smell is not enough detergent; others believe it is detergent buildup. I am on the fence and usually try to address both issues.

I would do a mega strip wash with Dawn dish detergent--put a healthy squirt in a HOT wash. Spin out, sniff. Still smells? Try one more squirt of Dawn and agitate again. Then fake out the machine and do hot rinses (catch the end of the agitate step, spin it, start a new hot cycle) until there are no more suds in any agitation. If you have hard water, try to find some Calgon water softener or RLR and add that to the second or third hot rinse and see if you can get any more suds to release.

If you don't see any suds, even with the RLR, but they smell sweet after a couple of doses of Dawn, then your problem may have been not enough detergent or not enough of the right type (I do a combo of Sportwash and Dawn now and am very happy with it; it seems to work with my water and the synthetic fabrics better than Tide). If you get a lot of suds with the RLR, the problem was buildup and you should go with LESS detergent (and also consider a different type--F&Cs are problematic for a lot of people).

You can also consider a wet pail--I am totally sold on them now. It dilutes the pee instantly and doesn't let the pee solids build up in the fabric (because with a dry pail the pee is drying in there every time). Some wet pail-like solutions are rinsing or minishowering every diaper and wet pailing in the washing machine.
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