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How To Get The Ammonia Smell Out of Cloth Diapers

How To Get The Ammonia Smell Out of Cloth Diapers

If you're about to faint every time you go to empty your child's cloth diaper pail, don't worry, you're not alone.  What's probably going on is that ammonia has built up in your child's diaper and inserts.  Not only is the smell terrible, but the ammonia can burn and irritate your baby's skin as they sweat and pee in the cloth diaper.  But don't fret because you can fix the problem.

You're probably wondering where the ammonia is coming from.  Well, ammonia is converted from the urea found in your baby's urine.  This urea can be slowly converted to ammonia over time and from the heat of your baby's body and urine or even from overly hot diaper pail storage areas.

The process that converts urea into ammonia is anaerobic, which means that it takes place without the presence of oxygen.  Keeping your diaper pail lid open and allowing more oxygen to circulate will help curtail the anaerobic process.

Remember that I said heat speeds up the conversion of urea to ammonia in cloth diapers?  Good, that means you're paying attention.  Keep your diaper pail stored in a cool spot in the house to reduce heat that may build up in the diaper pail.

If the ammonia smell is a frequent problem, consider using vinegar in your cloth diaper initial rinse cycles. Vinegar is an acid and ammonia is a base(I learned that in chemistry way back in the day).  Adding vinegar breaks down the ammonia into a salt.  Once that ammonia is converted into a salt, it is significantly easier to wash out.  However, be sure to use vinegar sparingly as constant use can sometimes cause elastics to break down in your cloth diapers.

Once you've done the initial rinse and followed all the other pre-wash precautions, your final step is to wash those cloth diapers like you're on a mission.  You're actually probably better off using a little extra detergent to make sure those converted salts get dissolved and washed away for good.  Just use a mild detergent or one formulated for cloth diapers.  Wash them in hot water and then do one final rinse in cold water just to be safe.

Following these simple steps should help keep your cloth diapers free from ammonnia.