Disclosure: Affiliate links are included throughout this post. Regardless, all opinions are my own.
It has been no secret to my cloth diapering friends that we have had ammonia issues since early on in our cloth diaper experience. I have no idea what causes it, maybe M just has extra stinky pee? Whatever the initial cause, we’ve had to play around with our wash routine and extra measures to bust the ammonia smell.
Ammonia smell has got to be the worst! It burns the nose and can definitely be hard to conquer, let alone prevent! We have found many ways to help with ammonia, some have resulted in extra money out of our pocket to buy special ammonia busting solutions. This was not an option for me, we use cloth diapers, in part, to save money and buying extra detergents or additives that is only available online (i.e., shipping costs), it just wasn’t cost effective for us so I started doing research on other ways to beat that ammonia smell.
Here are the top ways that we have found to bust the ammonia stink:
- Wash Every 2-3 Days – This is just best practice. If you are washing frequently enough then you are better able to keep the stink out and you aren’t risking other problems from diapers sitting around for too long (e.g., mold – EW!). This is the #1 secret to beating and, hopefully, preventing some stink issues. However, it may not always be enough, especially in our house.
- Extra Rinses During the Wash Cycle – Adding in that extra rinse at the end of your cycle will make sure that all the detergent is washed out of your diapers. I also recommend a pre-rinse to rinse out pee (and poop!) before actually washing. If you have an HE washer, the pre-rinse is almost mandatory.
- Liquid Dawn (just a squirt) – When washing frequently, using cloth diaper safe detergent, and extra rinses just aren’t cutting it, you can try a squirt of the blue Dawn dish detergent. It really does work well, but isn’t usually recommended for every wash and you will probably need more than one additional rinse at the end as dish soap is very sudsy.
- 1/4 Cup Bleach – First and foremost, check your diaper’s brand and make sure they allow for bleach to be used. With that said, I’ve used the 1/4 cup bleach, up to, 2 times a month on all my diapers (regardless of brand) and have had no issues. I regularly use bleach, at least, once a month, but I’m not sure I use a full 1/4 cup, it may be closer to an 1/8 cup. This is truly a great way to fight ammonia stink, but use it with caution because I’ve heard of the bleach ruining the PUL and elastic.
- Sunning – I am so excited that the weather is getting nicer again and the sun is shining! Sunning diapers is such a great way to get out the ammonia smell and get out stains! It truly works great and is completely free! It also saves on dryer costs since I’m a rebel and throw all our diapers into the dryer. But there’s a reason I go the rebel route and toss everything in the dryer, I’m usually short on time and line drying does take longer. I love it, but it’s not always feasible for us.
- Eco Nuts Laundry Soap – Eco Nuts Laundry Soap is a cloth diaper safe detergent, which is highly recommended when using cloth diapers. However, I classify it as its own entity because it does the job of cleaning AND busting ammonia with no other additives or steps – well, I still do pre-rinse and extra rinse at the end, but that’s just a reality of cloth diapers.
What are Eco Nuts?
Eco Nuts are phosphate free, contain no fillers, optical brighteners, dyes, fragrances, or enzymes. They naturally soften and fluff your clothes and diapers. Not only are they all natural, but they are even much less expensive than your standard store brands of detergent (let alone other cloth diaper safe detergents!). I am saving $0.31 per load by using Eco Nuts, sure, there’s shipping costs on orders under $49, but the amount I’m saving per load is definitely worth any possible shipping charges.
My only complaint? I’m not a huge fan of the smell right out of the bottle. But clothes and diapers come out smelling like nothing but clean so I could care less about that and if they were to make it smell nicer then they’d be adding in fragrances and you’d no longer have a fantastic natural product. So, yeah, really no complaints from me!
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