Once you’ve dealt with ammonia buildup in your diapers (see my post HERE for how to get rid of ammonia), how do you keep it from coming back? I learned a few things while taking the flats challenge. There is value in a wet pail. In order to soak your diapers without decreasing the life of them you should only soak absorbant material without PUL or TPU (the “waterproof” material). What if you only have AIO diapers? I suggest that you use a fitted, prefold or flat for nighttime and nap time diapering. These are the diapers that your baby wears for the longest and they are the ones that build up the most ammonia.
What’s the routine? First you need to rinse out whatever diapers you are using for nap or nighttime. I rinse until the water running out of the diapers is clear. Rinse on warm to get the most out of your diapers. Then I place these diapers in a bucket with 1/2 a scoop of oxiclean in a bucket with enough water to cover the diapers. Throughout the day, I will add any flats, prefolds or diapering materials that are not “waterproof”, like wipes or poopy fleece liners. For the safety of your baby, it is important to keep your wet pail out of their access or reach. I keep mine in the laundry sink which is blocked from the twins’ access by a baby gate.
The changes I made to my wash routine to keep ammonia buildup from returning were fairly simple. I have a front loader HE machine. The problem we face when washing with a machine like this is that it uses as little water as possible. Enough water is KEY to getting cloth diapers clean. In order to trick your machine into adding more water, add a wet towel to your wash. You must use a sufficient amount of detergent to get your diapers clean. If they don’t smell clean out of the wash you may need more detergent. Because I have hard water, I found that I could use the recommended amount of detergent only if I used an additive to soften the water as well. I use Charlie’s soap and Charlie’s laundry booster (for hard water).
By using a wet pail to soak diapers, adding a water softener to my wash, and adding water to my wash (the wet towel), I no longer have ammonia buildup. It took a lot of experimenting to get this routine! For my full wash routine click HERE. I hope this helps you to keep your diapers ammonia buildup free!