Tag Archives: rlr

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 7/26/10


Here’s the second installment of “Mailbox Mondays.”  I will always answer any questions you have via email, but if you would like to have your question answered on a Mailbox Mondays post, please email me at change.diapers.change.the.world at gmail dot com and put “Mailbox Mondays” in your subject.  Questions don’t have to be diaper related!

I wanted to quickly tell you that I’m going to be a regular writer on The Village of Moms, which is where I guest posted my Cloth 101 posts.  I’ll be posting the first Monday of every month!  I’ll write about cloth diapering, babywearing, kid’s activities and crafts, frugal tips and more.

The first question is from Heather.  My answer is long winded as usual, but would you expect any less from me?  🙂
I had a question about stripping my micro fiber inserts. I have a horrible time with ammonia stink and have been told I should strip them because I have buildup issues (we have hard water). Every time I wash my diapers I soak them overnight in my washer with a cloth diaper detergent and them I wash them in the morning. My wash routine is like this:

Double rinse and spin
8+ hour soak
Heavy duty wash, heavy soil level, extra rinse
Hang dry in the sun

So what exactly should I do to get rid of my ammonia stink? Strip? Change my wash routine? Any help would be appreciated!

Heather A.
Oh Heather, I so feel your pain.  While I do not have hard water, I did battle the stinkies.  I tried so many things, I ran my washer 24/7 for at least two weeks I swear.  The good news is, I doubt we run any risk of ever running our well dry!
Wash routines are to me,  the most confusing part of cloth diapering.  If you ask a room full of cloth diaperers this question, you would get twice as many opinions as people in the room!
Stink usually comes from buildup as you know, but the hard part is, buildup of what?  It could be a buildup of detergent, a buildup of the minerals from your water, or a buildup of, ahem, “deposits” made in the diaper.
I find that the simpler you keep things, the better off you’ll be.  Since you have hard water, it’s not going to be as simple as most.  I don’t know what kind of detergent you are using now, but once you get the stink under control, consider trying Rockin’ Green’s hard rock detergent, or adding Calgon water softener to the load.  With hard water, your detergent is working so hard to take care of the minerals in your water, there’s no oomph left to clean the laundry!
Now back to the buildup.  If you run the diapers through with no detergent, do you see any suds?  If so, you may have a detergent buildup.  Try rinsing until there’s no suds, without adding any detergent.
No suds?  I commonly hear people say to use dish soap to strip diapers (original blue dawn.)  This caused more problems for me.  Lot of people have had luck with soaking diapers with Rockin’ Green, then rinsing a ton.
What worked for me was RLR.  RLR is a laundry treatment that you can use once a month or so to remove buildup for diapers and other laundry.  (Worked wonders on our towels & sheets too!)  I have an HE washer, well water and a softener, so I did not use a whole packet for a load.  You might need to.  Run a heavy duty wash with a soak, then rinse rinse rinse until you don’t see any trace of suds.  Then, I took the diapers out to dry and ran just the inserts through with a dab of bleach, then several extra rinses.  I know a lot of people will not use bleach, but it worked for me!
This really took care of things for me, and now if I start smelling some ammonia, I will use a bit of RLR, some extra rinses and a dab of bleach on the inserts.
Once you get the current issue taken care of, you of course want to keep it at bay as long as possible.  If you have a top loading washer, use the largest load size, regardless of the actual size of the load you’re washing.  Try not to wash more than 20 diapers at a time.  If your issue was detergent buildup, use a little bit less.  If it wasn’t, you may need to use a little more.  If you’re using a detergent that is formulated for cloth diapers, use the recommended amount, not 1/4 or 1/2 like you often hear.  I’ve also found that I need to rotate detergents.  One will work fine for a while, then suddenly doesn’t anymore.
I had such a hard time with this!  I like things organized and I like hard and fast rules (I’m weird.)  So it was hard for me that there wasn’t a list to follow that said use this amount of this type of detergent and do this wash cycle and you’ll be all set.  It depends so much on your water, your washer etc. 
In conclusion, don’t fret! Be patient and you will figure things out.
Next, a question from Alexis:
What do you use at night? Do you change in the middle of the night?
I’m going to answer these in reverse. 
Night time changes
Now, at 14 months, my son sleeps 10-12 hours most nights.  When he occasionally wakes, he has a quick “snack” and goes back to bed without a change.  When he was really little, nights went like they do for most parents of young babies.  Sleep a little while, wake up, nurse, change diaper, then the circus routine of getting him back to sleep, then repeat.  Most of the times he woke, his diaper was changed.
In between there, he started to sleep a bit longer, and I had to up my night time diapering game.  Then came the tricky time period.  My son wasn’t waking as often, and he was starting to drift off to sleep after nursing.  
This won’t win me any mother of the year awards but neither of my children have been great sleepers.  If my son happened to drift off while nursing, I would at least try to lay him back down.  If he stayed asleep, I would sneak out of the room, crawl into bed and pray he would stay asleep for a while!  I suppose I probably should have woken him to change his diaper but uhhh, not gonna happen.  If I tried to change his diaper first, before nursing him, he would have woken the whole household to express his disapproval.
What I use at night
During that in-between stage where my son was really drinking quite a bit at night, but not necessarily being changed every time, he was quite the heavy wetter.  I spent a lot of time and money trying different things, and for a while, I really had no choice but to wake him to change his diaper.
Right now, I wash every other day and I have 4 diapers specifially for night time use.  I’m still stuffing them the same, though I really don’t need as much in them anymore.
Two of my “night time” diapers are Bumgenius 3.0s.  Initially, I had them so overstuffed that I had a leg gap that made the diaper useless if he was on his side!  Now, each one has two full size inserts with a hemp doubler in between.
The third is a combo of two of my night time diapering desperation purchases.  It’s a Dypes by Dixon Sweet Slumber fleece diaper, stuffed with a Knickernappies Superdo insert.  If you are having night time issues, I highly recommend trying a Superdo.  It’s incredibly absorbent, but much thinner than multiple inserts (still thick though!)
The last one in my night time rotation is again a purchase made during my desperate search for a night solution.  It’s a Guerilla Fluff Utilitarian fitted topped with a Mobums night night wool soaker.  My GF diaper has: 3 layers to the diaper, 2 soakers with 3 layers each, a doubler with 2 layers plus a layer of wool and optional zorb added.  That sucker is absorbent!
In the thick (har har) of things, I decided to be redundantly redundant and top even the waterproof diapers with a Kissaluvs Wool Lover soaker, and I favored fleece PJ pants also.
He may have looked a bit like a snowman, but it was worth it!  Just a few hours in a disposable diaper gives my little guy an awful rash, but I know lots of people who use a single disposable at night.  I won’t tell anyone if that’s what you decide works best for you.  😉  We won’t throw you off Fluff Island.
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Retailers Stink Stripping Washing

Yes, I’m still here.


I’m still here, and I’m still rinsing diapers!

I got my RLR laundry treatment.  I can’t keep my kiddo in disposables, even a few hours leaves his hiney with raised, red welts.  So I bought two packets and washed the diapers in two batches.  Then I rinsed, rinsed and rinsed some more.

The result was noticeable.  I still smelled ammonia after the diaper was wet, but I actually had to sniff it.  Before that, I could tell the diaper was wet because my eyes would start watering while I was holding him!

Encouraged, I ordered more RLR.  Someone pointed me to Banana Peels Diapers.  They have a great price on the RLR.  I was able to order 16 packets at $1.50 each and shipping was only $2.50.

While waiting for it to arrive, I continued to rinse like crazy.  Every time I had a diaper to wash, I threw it in the washer instead of the wet bag.  Each time I added a diaper, I ran a cycle on the washer.  If there was time between a cycle ending and the next diaper addition, I ran a cycle with no detergent.

I got the RLR today.  I washed the diapers and inserts and hung the diapers to dry.  I put the inserts in the washer with a whole packet of RLR and added boiling water.

My plan now is to just continue rinsing until I don’t see suds.  If they still smell like ammonia, they will get RLR’ed again.  When I’ve eventually knocked the smell out, I plan to use the RLR once a month or so to keep any buildup or stinkies at bay.  In fact, I really want to try some RLR on our towels!

I got quite a few other goodies today and I am washing them separately!!  So watch out for some posts over the next week or so!

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Cloth Diapering Inserts Stink Stripping Washing

Not that kind of stripping

>Well. I’d hoped that since I’ve been using Lil Outlaws detergent and cloth safe diaper cream, I wouldn’t have to strip my diapers.  I’ve finally succumbed to the microfiber stink!  They weren’t particularly offensive, just rather musty smelling.  This particular smell appears to be very common with BumGenius diapers.

To strip diapers, you use the classic blue dawn, or plain ivory dish soap, suds the diapers up, then rinse until there are no more suds.  This can be a lot of rinsing, so I did only 5-7 at a time, since I only have 15.

The rule is, if your diapers smell like anything other than “clean,” they’re not. My guess is that since I have an HE washing machine, the diapers just weren’t quite getting rinsed clean.  Extra warm rinses can get rid of residue. 

If you’re fortunate enough to have space and money for a second washing machine, a regular old washing machine seems to be best for washing diapers.  If you’re in the market for a new machine, it’s something to keep in mind.

For the record, you are not supposed to use any sudsing “stuff” in an HE machine, so if you have an HE, do this in a sink or laundry tub until the majority of the suds are gone.

After stripping, my diapers smelled great.  I didn’t even notice any “stinkies” in a fully soaked nighttime diaper.

It really wasn’t that big of a deal or that much work, so I’m planning on stripping diapers anytime I notice more than a little stink!


OK it’s been maybe two days since I’ve written this and I am going crazy!  Yesterday morning I opened up his diaper and I almost fell over from the strong ammonia smell.  I thought maybe it was just because he had been ill the night before, so maybe he was dehydrated & his urine was  concentrated.  Later that day I had another eye watering ammonia diaper, and his diaper this morning was the same way.

It seems to only be the bumgenius diapers.  They are my favorite diapers, but these inserts are horrible! 

Moms in my cloth diaper group suggested RLR Laundry treatment, so I am going to try it.

It irritates me that it’s just the BG inserts, especially since they are otherwise my favorite diapers.  If I had the funds, I would buy some Blueberry Combination One Size inserts to use in them, along with a few hemp inserts or bamboo doublers to use at night.  The O/S insert came with the Blueberry Minky diaper I have.  The microfiber quickly absorbs, while the hemp locks the moisture in, away from baby.  It’s all one piece to make stuffing easier, but it has a loop design (vs. being “sandwiched” together) for more effective washing and faster drying.  Synthetic fibers supposedly stink more than natural ones, but I’ve had no trouble with any other microfiber, just the BG.

In my dream world, I’d have a laundry room big enough to house my HE washer & dryer, as well as a cheap, mega capacity, standard washer.  I want to be able to fill my washer to the brim for diapers and other loads as I see fit.  I’d love my HE washer so much if only it had some sort of manual override to add more water.

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