As I mentioned in my previous post, Cloth Diapers, we have gone the old fashioned route of not using disposable diapers whenever possible. For the most part this has been an easy and rewarding switch. Until a couple months ago that is. Lately there has been a smell. More than that, a stench from the diapers. It seemed that once soiled and thrown in her wet bag they conspired to knock out anyone who entered the room. And since they are the room that VF sleeps in, generally with the door closed this was a bit of a problem.
First let me tell you more about the smell. I'm not exaggerating when I say a stench. It was a super concentrated ammonia burning smell that was very distinct. Trust me, if this happens to your diapers you will know it. Now after a few washes with an extra rinse thrown in and no improvement I decided a bit of research was needed. I read a few cloth diapering websites and found that there are two issues that can lead to smells. The first is detergent build-up. While this was a possibility since I don't use a "diaper detergent" it seemed unlikely as I wasn't having absorbancy issues. The second issue was ammonia build-up. Given the smell I felt confident that I had found my problem. Now for a solution. . . what? It depends on your water type? sigh. Sure enough the solution to the ammonia issue was not as straight forward as I had hoped. Depending on how soft or hard your water, there are different solutions.
Now here in CR we have a pretty hard water supply. It is listed as hard with 7.0 grains per gallon being pretty typical. So if you are in a similar circumstance, this may be the solution for you. If not you'll need to conduct a few experiments I am afraid. At any rate, I read good things about the Rockin' Green Hard Rock Diaper detergent so I bought a sample size and gave it a try. It was enough for 4 washers, and it certainly helped. Helped, but not completely. The stench wasn't quite as eye watering, but it was still there just lurking, and waiting for another chance to strike. I already had some Borax and Washing Soda so I tried these next. I did a load with a mix of both powders - super hot water and let me tell you, this did the trick. It worked so well that I complete forgot about the smell until I was getting ready to do the next load of laundry! Only as I carried the wetbag to the washer did I think - wait a second. Why can I think clearly and why aren't I wanting to hurl?
Going forward I think maybe every 2 or 3 loads I'll do the Borax/Washing Soda mix just to ensure future happy breathing. But for now I am calling this problem solved!