How to Get Rid of Cloth Diaper Ammonia !

mama’s got you down?

Recently a mom on baby center’s cloth diaper board suggested this and many mama’s including myself have experimented with great success. It’s a little zany but it works!!!!  Here is the first thread and a Second Thread for your browsing pleasure.

Here’s what you do:

Try using  FISH Ammonia Remover! Yes you read that right! You can get it from any pet or fish store. Use about 4-5 tablespoons or 60-70ML  for a full load. Fill water to highest setting.  Do a 5-6 hour hot soak with clean diapers then rinse. Then follow up with hot Wash using Rockin’ Green (or any CD safe Diaper detergent) then follow with a second rinse. From my testing this soak will last about 2-3 months. If you want to go even further between soaking times then try the next step.   I only have a top loader non HE machine so I have no advice on how to fill your washer full.

How to stretch the time between soaks:

I created a spray solution using a 31.5fl oz (931ML) old oxiclean spray bottle. I filled with water and added 30ML of ammonia remover. I spray on each pee diaper before putting into the pail. Using this method I’ve not seen ammonia for approximately 5-6 months after an ammonia remover soak for covers, and diapers with organic cotton and cotton velour and 3-4 months with organic bamboo and bamboo velour. Unfortunately I do not use Microfiber so I do not know the time span it takes between soaks using the spray method.

Funk smell (from #2′s) I use bac-out on every poo diaper and have kept funk away for the most part. Again, bamboo, like that found in BSRB tend to get stinkier a little bit faster.


What diapers are safe to soak?

I’ve found that putting any diaper is safe and hasn’t worn any part of my diaper thin, or ragged, or damaged. So covers, fitteds, aio’s, hybrids, prefolds, bamboo, cotton, flannel you name it. Do the diaper companies recommend this? No they don’t recommend it yet because they haven’t done the research. They also don’t recommend soaking anything with PUL or elastic in vinegar but a lot of have done so anyway. So take your own chances. Again I’ve seen no damage to my diapers so I will continue to use it.

What’s in it?

Any ammonia remover with the main ingredient Sodium methanal sulfoxylate will do the trick. And all you who are searching wikipedia after reading that word, don’t let the ‘formaldehyde’ scare you off. The trace amount is  VERY small and a smaller amount than the ammonia that’s built up in your diapers. Ammonia remover is completely safe for fish which as a fellow aquarium enthusiast know that fish are the most fickle creatures when it comes to water quality.

According to Wikipedia:

A niche use is its use as water conditioner for aquaria as it rapidly reduces chlorine and chloramine and reacts with ammonia to form the innocuous aminomethylsulfinate ion. [1] It is also used as an antioxidant in pharmaceutical formulation. (wikipedia.com)

To interpret the above it is used in fish aquariums and pharmaceuticals and the byproduct is not harmful.   In fact formaldehyde derivatives are even most likely in products YOU already usecheck out this list.

What Brand do I get?

There are many brands but what has been tried so far is TopFin, For Dummies and Aqueon. If you try a different brand be sure it is NOT a compound product, ie a dechlorinator, a ph nuetralizer, water conditioner, etc. It should just say Ammonia remover, detoxer, killer or any other variety of words. And again the main ingredient should be Sodium methanal sulfoxylate.

Q&A

How can you tell if you have ammonia?

Immediately after a #1 there will be a stronger smell than normal urine. It literally burns your nasal cavity when inhaling. Products that get rid of FUNK (such as Bac-Out) are usually for #2 and might not be formulated to get rid of Ammonia issues.

What causes ammonia in cloth diapers?

When a wet cloth diaper smells really bad, it is most likely due to an overproduction of ammonia. In the body, ammonia is converted to urea and excreted. Once the urine is released, the urea begins converting back to ammonia, so some ammonia smell is perfectly normal. Lingering urea in the diaper and certain types of bacteria can speed up and increase the production of ammonia. So if you smell an unusually strong odor of ammonia after your baby pees, you most likely have a biological residue in your diaper. This residue is most commonly caused by not using enough water to wash and rinse diapers clean. It can also be caused by not using enough detergent. Detergent is what enables water to enter the fibres of the cloth and release its soil (by decreasing the surface tension of the water). If there is too little water (or detergent), the urine is diluted, but not rinsed away. It is recycled in the wash and dries onto the fabric, remaining there in the form of residues. (From Bummis.com)

How does this get rid of ammonia?

Since I know you’re not going to drop the formaldehyde issue check out this great article on why ammonia and formaldehyde derivatives are arch nemeses. In a nut shell they bond to each other and their chemistry changes to a byproduct of water.

The Fine Print:

I am not endorsing nor affiliated with any of the products or chemicals mentioned in this article nor by you trying anything mentioned in this article am I to be held responsible or liable for any claims you might take against me or this article. This is for leisure purposes only. I am just a mom that had stinky diapers and did my research and wanted other mom’s to use this knowledge to make their own decisions. Thank you!

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Discuss - 9 Comments

  1. Samantha says:

    that sounds like a good idea ill have to try… im sure the guy at petco in the fish section is going to look at me weird lol. also something i do that helps is i put all the diapers and cloths in the sink and soak in extremely hot water and bakking soda for about 15 mins and then throw in the washer. ill add vinager too to help the ph of the fabric on skin. works for me and is super cheap!

  2. Char says:

    Yep we use vinegar for all our clothes and diapers too! Its a natural fabric softener. We just put it in the fabric softener cup in the washer. :D There’s no way I’d soak in the sink b/c that’d mean I have to carry it to the washer while its wet, I can see the mess now lol. What I’ve done is turn up the water heater to the highest setting then do a soak on hot in the washing machines. Thanks for the comments and tips! :)

  3. Amanda says:

    We have been battling major ammonia issues which have now resulted in burns. :(
    I have tried almost everything!! I am going to the pet store this weekend to get some of this stuff! After the initial soak, though, how often do you add this to your CD laundry routine?
    TIA!

    • Char says:

      Make sure you start with clean or rinsed off diapers and soak for at least three hours. I have washed my diapers probably about a dozen times since the first ammonia-out soak and still have no ammonia smell. I’d say just do another ammonia-out soak when you get the stinkies again. HTH.

  4. morgan says:

    When I spray the diaper, do I spray the diaper cover and the insert? I have FB AIO diapers.

    • Char says:

      Yep since the FB have material lining I’d spray the inside too.
      On my GroVia’s I spray the inside of the shell but on my Flips I don’t since its just PUL inside ;)
      GL!

  5. Karen says:

    Hey Char – I just read through all 35 pages on the BabyCenter site – thanks so much for condensing onto here! One Q – we are going to try it SOON, as my DD has an ammonia rash, but all we can find is Beckett’s brand (at Home Depot) – it doesn’t have ingredients listed, and I can’t seem to find anything on it online. Do you know anything about this brand? I might try to hit a PetSmart, just in case. Thanks again!

  6. Rachael says:

    Hi I read all of the 2nd post on Babycenter and tried this but it didn’t work! I don’t know what to do! Here is what i said on the post there can you help?:
    So I have been having a MAJOR ammonia problem. I was SO excited to find this thread after trying what feels like everything. I just did this was and it didnt work! I put all my diapers and covers in the tub filled it with VERY hot water (i turned up the hot water heater, i could not touch the water), I did about 70 ml let is soak over night and did a million rinses and washes the 1st w/ Eco Sprouts and the next morning my son had a slight ammonia burn AGAIN and was complaining, I took off his diaper and it about knocked me over!

    Yesterday I was at my local cloth diaper store and the owner there told me I should try bleaching them, I have not done it yet because I thought I have read tons of people saying it doesn’t work… Can anyone help? I can’t vinegar I have hard water.

    Thanks!

  7. Alycia Rogal says:

    I finally figured out that it is ammonia that is causing terrible rashes etc. on my little guy and I figure that maybe it is a combination of using too little detergent and not enough water (I have a HE front loader). I tried the fish tank ammonia remover this last weekend and while it made the diapers MUCH better, I still have to change him halfway through the night and he is a little red and uncomfortable and they still smell like ammonia. Should I try it again, or scrub the covers with dawn (I have pocket diapers primarily) and boil the inserts (microfiber). Thank you! I really want to get this resolved, I miss my cloth diapers!

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