How do I know if I have a urine residue?
• Clean diapers smell slightly of urine
• Strong smell of ammonia right after baby pees in diapers
• Baby gets a ‘burning’ diaper rash with every cloth diaper
What causes urine residue?
• Insufficient cleaning (not enough detergent)
• Insufficient rinsing (not enough water in wash/rinse cycle)
How do I get rid of the urine residue?
• If the residue is not too extensive you can usually get rid of it by doing several Hot water washes with-
out detergent, then drying the diapers in the dryer.
• If your problem is pervasive you may need to try the following:
ο If you have just inserts or prefolds (no elastic or snaps-boil them, then rinse, spin & dry.
Add Vinegar** in the pre-wash or the main wash (NOT the rinse cycle) should bring the pH of
the diapers down to neutral, which will help your detergent work better. Vinegar is very good at
bringing the high ammonia pH back down to neutral so that the detergent can do its job.
**Vinegar can harm PUL products and cause more problems in hard water, only use vinegar on
diapers/inserts and only if you do not have hard water.
How do I prevent urine residue?
• Add more water to your wash/rinse cycle. There are several ways to do this. If you have a top
loader you can increase your water level and/or decrease the size of your load. ALWAYS do a pre-
rinse cycle with NO detergent before you wash your diapers. Wash in Hot water. Add an extra rinse
cycle to the end of your wash.
If you have a front loader/HE washer if you can not adjust your machine water level manually, you can
trick you machine by adding a wet towel to your load of diapers to increase the weight. You can also
use a diaper sprayer to thoroughly rinse your diapers manually, before putting them in your diaper pail.
*Detergent is what enables water to enter the fibers of the cloth and release its soil by decreasing water tension. If
there is too little water or detergent, the urine is diluted, but not rinsed away.
How to I keep ammonia at bay?
• Keep an open pail. Many of the reactions that turn urea into ammonia are anaerobic (don’t use oxy-
gen), so keeping the lid off will keep a higher concentration of oxygen circulating around your diapers.
• Keep your diaper pail somewhere cool. Reaction rates increase along with temperature.
How do I treat the diaper rash?
• See “diaper rash and cloth diapers”
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