Dealing with ammonia in cloth diapers


Jack “helping” with the diaper laundry


Ever since Jack became a toddler, we have been dealing with ammonia issues in our cloth diapers… Thankfully nothing bad ever happened like him getting a rash from it, but the diapers smelled really strongly right after he peed in them, although they smelled clean out of the washer. Our favorite diapers are these Bumgenius 4.0s which we use with organic cotton inserts (after having tried wool and giving up because you can’t really launder them).

Here is a list of everything I tried (unsuccessfully) to fix the ammonia issue:

  • Different eco friendly detergents like Rockin Green (and their special ammonia bouncer), Molly’s suds, and Eco spouts
  • Boiling all my diapers on the stove
  • Using Oxygen bleach
  • Bac-out stain remover
  • Soaking the diapers for 1 hour to overnight
  • Doing extra rinses
  • Running inserts through the dishwasher on high heat (!)
  • Sunning them
  • Tea tree oil added to the wash

On facebook groups I often saw people saying that non-eco friendly detergents worked better, but my family has super sensitive skin, so I was thinking about it but ended up not trying it.

The solution I ended up using when I found some at my dad’s house and decided to try it was sadly: horribly un-eco-friendly Bleach! I saw that they had it so I figured at least I wouldn’t be buying a whole bottle of something toxic, and I put in about 1/4 cup with the wash cycle, and it completely worked. Plus, the inserts were so bright white which I never got with all the eco friendly methods (not that it matters how diaper inserts look). I was obviously sad that I had to end up using something so bad for the environment and possibly your health, but I made sure to do extra rinses to get it out, and Jack didn’t have any reaction to the diapers. Hopefully we won’t have to use it again too soon!

Jack has been doing great with letting us know he needs to poop on the potty at 19 months now, but with peeing he still often prefers to play and doesn’t want to go to the bathroom. Hopefully by the time he is 2 we can get him signaling for pees more often and I can stop doing laundry every few days!

On vacation with a (cloth diapered) baby

IMG_20131217_125142We are in Palm Springs, CA for a few days, and it’s our first vacation with Jack! We drove here which was convenient, but the drive was stressful since Jack doesn’t like the car. It was good because I was able to bring a bunch of pocket diapers, and we have a washer/dryer in our suite so we have been using cloth diapers during the trip. I just used one disposable for the car ride and plan to use another on the way back just to avoid any unnecessary discomfort in the car. 

We went on a hike today which worked well since Jack loves walking around in the carrier. However, he’s teething and doing lots of other normal vacation activities have been harder (like eating out). It’s hard to think of things to do in the evenings with a baby since you can’t go to  a show or movie or nice restaurant. He did enjoy the hotel pool which was fun, and crawling around the room a lot.

I think tomorrow we’ll hike again and go out to a restaurant to see how that goes. Then we’ll try to drive home around 8pm after Jack is asleep so that hopefully he sleeps through the entire trip. 2.5 hours is a long time to try to keep an awake baby happy in the car! Especially if his attention span is less than 5 minutes on average. 



Pull on vs. wrap diaper covers

I had a hard time deciding what types of diaper covers to buy because some of the wool ones are pricey, especially for organic wool, so I only wanted to buy covers with great reviews. Now that we’ve tried a few kinds, here are my thoughts about some differences between the pull-on type which go on like underwear and the wrap types that look like normal diapers and have snaps or velcro. I keep going back and forth over which type I like best and which is easiest, so I think they both have their good points.


Pros of pull up covers:

  • They don’t have any part that could rub or scratch your baby (no velcro or snaps)
  • I think they are harder for the baby to remove from himself (Jack has removed velcro before)
  • To change them quickly, I just pull them down to his knees and replace the trifolded prefold. It takes a minute to then pull them back up, but it’s quick overall
  • I think they are easier to change on a baby who likes to be standing or rolled onto his stomach
  • You can put baby on the potty for EC while just pulling the diaper down
  • Slightly less leaking at night because of the part around the leg (and some styles go up high on their stomachs)
  • I think they are the cutest, and you can find ones on etsy with adorable designs!


Pros of more traditional wrap style covers:

  • You can change them while the baby is basically asleep with minimally bothering them if they are on their backs
  • They can fit well in a larger range of sizes since the velcro or snaps make them adjustable
  • Definitely possible to use with a trifolded prefold. I’ve used trifolds with the one pull up cover we have because it fits well, but a looser style might not work with that
  • Easier to take off without getting poop all over it if it’s a really messy diaper
  • May be easier for other caregivers to use who are used to typical diapers

I want to buy these Disana organic wool pull on covers which are really reasonably priced for organic wool and try them at night. I like our Loveybums diapers a lot, but the velcro is already starting to fray (and Jack can sometimes remove the diaper) so I decided to buy snaps from now on. The snaps can be a little annoying to do at night though, so that’s part of the reason I looked into pull on covers. We got a cute one from etsy but it’s pretty snug, so I want to buy one last type (if my husband is ok with it! I am a little obsessed with buying wool diapers!) since I think the Disanas look really stretchy and could be easy to just reach in and swap out the prefold. They are also so adorable and seem leak-proof for nights!


Elimination communication update


We have been washing our own cloth diapers for a few weeks now, and it’s going pretty well so far. We used a service for about the first 6 months of Jack’s life, but now that he’s pooping in the potty about 75% of the time, it seemed easy enough to do the laundry of mostly wet diapers.

We got this Rockin Green detergent (usually we make our own, but I was nervous to mess up the diapers) and so far it’s been fine.  Luckily Jack is pretty regular with having a big poop in the mornings, so I can catch most of them in the potty right after he wakes up. It feels so great not to have to clean many dirty diapers, and instead just rinse out the potty! We use the little toilet seat too, but the potty is easier since I don’t have to get out of bed!

I started using ASL signs with Jack once in a while, and I try to use the one for bathroom when I remember, but it doesn’t seem like he really looks at my hand when I do it. I’m just hoping that by around 12 months he can either use the sign or words to let us know when he has to go. Right now I take him to pee on the potty a few times a day, but he pees so often that he goes in his diaper a lot, so it would be useful if he could tell us when he needs to go.

We have been dealing with the poopy diapers by washing them and letting them soak, and then just putting them in the regular laundry with everything else. We try not to use too many wash cycles since we have to pay for laundry in our apartment. There has been some faint staining, but leaving in the sun helps a lot. We also made a solution of lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide that I still need to try.

We bought a bunch of used organic prefolds from our diaper service which was really inexpensive, and the 60-70 we got have been lasting for about 4 days since we change him whenever he’s wet. They work well, and the only time we get leaks in sometimes at night, so I’ve been debating if I should buy some wool shorties for nighttime. I think they would give more coverage, but I think they are ideally for use with fitted covers which are more expensive, and I don’t know if they would be harder to change at night. We use prefolds with no snappis which makes diaper changes really fast, but I’m not sure if that means we need to keep using normal covers that fit snugly to hold the prefold in place.

Jack started sitting up by himself this week which is so adorable. Maybe someday soon he will be able to crawl to the potty and sit on it on his own! For now, it’s fun to have him practice sitting with some toys or books and to see how he is happy to have some more control of his body.