We’re on week 10 of using cloth diapers and they haven’t added much hassle to our diapering routine at all. Just recently though, we started to get more leakage, the inserts no longer smell clean when washed and an unmistakable ammonia smell burns the nose when dirty diapers sit in the pail for a day. I couldn’t really explain the smell of ammonia if you asked me to describe it, but you would still be able to recognize it immediately.
Where that pungent ammonia smell is coming from:
“When protein is broken down in the body it is converted into ammonia. However, since ammonia is highly toxic to the body, the body converts ammonia into urea, a non-toxic substance, which is then excreted in urine. Once outside the body, in this case the baby’s diaper, urea will begin to convert back to ammonia slowly. Diapers that are left unwashed for days will begin to smell as the urea coverts back into ammonia.” (source)
It was pretty clear we needed to strip the diapers of the gradual build up. After reading that stripping is needed on average after 2.5 months of use, I knew this day was coming soon for us. There seems to be lots of different ways to strip cloth diapers, including using plain old hot water for minor build up. Thinking that was a good place to start, I ran the inserts through a rinse cycle, a wash cycle and then boiled in batches in hot water on the stove top followed by another rinse cycle. I’m not sure I stripped them correctly but when dry the inserts do smell fresh and seem to instantly be leaking less.
I think next time I will go the bath-tub route, filling the tub with very hot water, dish or 4-6 tbsp cloth diaper detergent and letting my diaper inserts soak overnight, followed by a rinse cycle. I saw the bathtub trick in a YouTube video. Clever!
Cloth diaper mamas, how do you like to strip? Diapers, I mean.