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My Cloth Diapers are Stinky!

Stinky diapers can be a frustrating part of cloth diapering... but generally, a little troubleshooting and a few tweaks to your laundry routine can get you and your diapers all sorted out!

Stinky Diapers from Ammonia

Ammonia smell is unmistakeable.  It's that scent that hits you and burns your nostrils.  Ammonia in the diaper pail is normal.  Urine breaks down into ammonia in already soiled diapers, causing the smell.  So if you are wrinkling your nose when you dump your diapers into the wash, you're not coming across anything abnormal.  (However, rinsing your diapers before putting them in the diaper pail can help with that.  Using something like a hanging pail bag to allow your diapers to breathe can also help.)

Ammonia is a problem when it's a smell on clean diapers or freshly soiled diapers.  When that happens, there are a couple of things to try.

1.) Wash your clean diapers in a super hot (but not sanitize) cycle to clear out anything lingering.  If that fixes your issues, then you're using too much detergent.  Reduce the amount of detergent that you are using.  If that doesn't work, then it's time to disinfect.

2.) Disinfect your diapers.  This can be done in a few ways.
  • Use a scoop of OxiClean in your wash cycle along with your detergent.
  • Add Mini Kiwi Concentrated Sanitizer to your rinse cycle.  Use according to manufacturer instructions. 
  • Add bleach to your wash load.  Use 1/8 of a cup in your HE machine, or 1/4 of a cup in a non-HE machine. 
  • Run a cycle on your clean and laundered diapers with GroVia Mighty Bubbles.
  • **Disclaimer: Check your warranty details prior to using any disinfecting methods!  If your ammonia problem is severe, it may take 2-3 attempts to clear it out.

Stinky Diapers from Barnyard

Barnyard is a special beast.  It's a poopy, unclean smell.  Barnyard is generally related to not using enough detergent.

Now that you know what causes barnyard, how do you fix it?

Barnyard is a fairly easy fix.
  • Wash your diapers with double to triple the amount of detergent you've been using.  Rinse extra rinse cycles to get out the excess of detergent.
  • Run a cycle on your clean and laundered diapers with GroVia Mighty Bubbles.

Once Your Stinky Diapers Are Fixed...

Once you've taken the time and effort to beat the stink, you'll want to know how to make sure that it doesn't come back.  The key is to tweak your diaper routine.

Make sure that you are using enough detergent (not too much, not too little).  If you are using a mainstream detergent, be sure that you are starting with the manufacturer's recommended amount for your load size and a heavily soiled load.  If you are using a cloth diaper friendly detergent, use two to four tablespoons of detergent in your HE machine.

Be sure that you are using water that is the right temperature.  Once the toddler stinky pees start, many find that switching to a warm quick wash cycle will do better at clearing out the ammonia than a cold pre-wash.

Use enough water in your cycle.  Too little water will mean that not everything is sloshing around like it should.  Too much water can mean that your diapers are not getting enough friction to clean.  Refer to your washer's manual to determine what the best cycles are for your diapers.

It's entirely possible that a time will come when you may need to tweak your wash routine again.  Things change, like new appliances... or even your child's diet and growth.  The good news is that stinky cloth diapers can always be resolved.

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