27 March 2011

Oh, Diapers

Before you continue on in this post, you might want to read my previous post about diaper issues here to understand where I'm coming from. Sorry it's so long.

Since the last post, I've gone through another 3 detergents. I tried All Free & Clear in January and about two days after I started using it, Heidi broke out in a rash, so I axed it. I tried Charlie's, and that was even worse. I have an entire tub of it because I think I used it twice, so I'm hoping to try and sell it soon. I went back to Rockin' Green when I had no other option, but then an opportunity presented itself for me to try something else new. I became the 500th blog follower of Doable Diapers and for that feat, I received a $15 gift certificate! I used it to get a Flip diaper and a trial box of soap nuts. At first, the soap nuts were perfect! Every day I'd take diapers off and I'd see clear skin! Amazing!

Unfortunately, after a few weeks I started getting this horrendous ammonia smell. When I say this, I mean this is the absolute worst ammonia I have ever dealt with in the time I've been cloth diapering. It wasn't just coming from Heidi, my classic heavy wetter, it was also coming from Piper, in the morning. Oddly enough, when the diapers were washed, dried on the drying rack or even in the dryer, there was no smell! I tried stripping them a couple of times, using different combinations for each of them overnight, but nothing worked. I even started washing the diapers twice, one regular wash and one short wash, followed by an extra rinse. Still, it got worse.

I know this is bad because it's not only Heidi that is having a reaction, Piper is too. *Disclaimer: I'm about to get graphic.* Both of them have an open sore right above their vulva region, in almost the exact same place. Piper has horrible raised bumps on the insides of her thighs and Heidi has horrible, dark red bumps on the outskirts of her butt. So today, I was depressed.

I sent Steve off to get some Huggies Naturals and some coconut oil and after one application of the coconut oil, they were both looking better. I'd been putting A&D cream, calendula and a 'Soothe Your Skin' salve on them, but all were slow going to making them better. Right now my number one goal is to get rid of these afflictions. After that, I really don't know where to go. I soaked today's diapers in Super Washing Soda for about an hour and now I'm going to try washing them with the trial packet of Country Save I remembered I had. I'll keep them segregated and see if they do anything to their skin after it's been healed.

What do I do now? I just don't know. I have a little bit of Allen's left that I could try again on the rest of the  diapers that were not used today, because I'm not convinced that that was the problem back in Dec/Jan. I could go back to disposables, and I'd have to downgrade Heidi's size in clothes ;), or maybe I could get Flip disposables that will really dispose. In that case, though, I'd have to spend some money to get a lot more covers, but really either direction causes me to spend money.

I'm really torn up about this, just as I said in my last post. I heartily appreciate any feedback/suggestions or whatever you want to throw at me.


  1. Well, that's annoying. I had a thing all typed out, and it refused to post it.

    I don't cloth diaper, so my advice is limited. I had a similar incident with sores on Gwennie when I tried the 'new and improved' Pampers Cruisers and as a result, swore off using them at all after that. With her, I think she got the sores from the inside of the diaper being dyed purple (which I noticed didn't continue with the product on the shelves -- I got them in a trial), and since the new diapers were also thinner and cheaper, I changed to Huggies.

    My advice basically consists of maybe trying disposable diapers overnight, if that's the problem area (I can't tell if you're only getting the smell then, or if it's an all day thing) and to maybe try Desitin for the diaper rash? I'm not sure if you have an issue with Desitin (for all I know, it doesn't work on your daughters or there's something I don't know about the cream's active ingredient that you don't like), but it works wonders on Gwennie whenever she has any problems. I double checked to make sure it wasn't the same as A&D cream (because I've never used anything but Desitin, I'm not familiar with its competitors), and I guess A&D uses petroleum and lanolin, whereas Desitin uses zinc oxide (in varying amounts, depending on what strength you get).

    Either way, those are my suggestions, that were typed out nicer the first time, but lost to the internet somewhere along the way. I hope that you figure out something that works better for you! And if not.. it's only a few more years until they're both potty trained, right?

  2. It sounds like you have tried everything under the sun, so I'm hesitant to give any advice at all, because it is likely all things that already didn't work for you! I'll try anyway, and offer one big, giant hug, because this sounds endlessly frustrating and heartbreaking!

    For rashes: Annabelle has had very little trouble with diaper rash, but when she did Boudreaux's Butt Paste was the magic cure.

    For the diapers: My personal wash routine is simple: 1) Cold wash with soap to get rid of nasties. I use Seventh Generation right now because it is what's available for a reasonable price - it is scented, which should be a no-no, but after months of use, I have still had no problems at all. 2) Hot wash with no more soap, and a cup of white vinegar.

    The only time I smell ammonia is when I transfer the pail to the machine after it has had time to get stinky. No stink when they're washed, no stink after they're wet. I'm convinced it's the regular use of vinegar to keep any build up from forming. Maybe I'm just lucky, but there's that, for whatever it's worth. I hope you can figure something out soon!

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  4. Elsa got really bad sores and red bumpy areas for a while. It turned out there was both mineral build-up and yeast was living in the diapers. I stripped with RLR and then I changed my detergent to beleive it or not the cheap Guaranteed Value Free & Clear stuff that they carry at Giant. It works and it only costs us $1.99 a bottle. I don't know if you have a giant or a store that carries that brand around you though. We still have to strip (and I bleach the microfiber) at least once every month or every other month. The mineral build-up from the water was definitely the main problem, and it caused the yeast to stay locked in the diapers which caused the extreme redness and the rash/sores. I hope you can find a solution that works for you though, hope the girls start getting better.

  5. Are you using the right detergent for your water type? ie. do you have hard or soft water and aren't correcting for it? Have you tried using disposables just overnight? That's what I've finally resorted to. Colin's yeast kept coming back when we put him in cloth overnight, no matter what I did with the diapers. And Allison pees too much and wakes too little for me to keep her in any of the cloth I have that will fit her. I would try joining diaperswappers.com if you haven't already and asking the ladies there for help. Many of them are total pros. I hope it works out. If you want to try the Flip thing, why don't you try selling the current diapers you have and using that money toward the Flip diapers? I'm sorry this is so frustrating :-( We try to do the best we can and it sucks when it's just not working!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate your concerns and suggestions :)

    Heather - I tried Desitin on Heidi a long, long time ago and it did nothing for her, so I never used it again. The coconut oil is working really, really well though and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. It's barely been a day since I first started putting it on and Heidi's bumps are almost gone. The problem was mostly overnight, but of course wasn't getting any better during the day. I remember you having that experience with Gwennie, which is horrible, and one of the main reasons people switch from disposables because of all the chemicals they contain. Don't let my experience with cloth cloud your feelings for it :) Tons and tons and tons of people do it without any issues whatsoever :)

    Melissa that sounds like a pretty spiffy wash routine and I might try it out. I'm always afraid to switch things up though because I don't want to make anything worse. Maybe the soap nuts would have worked better in the first cold rinse than in the hot wash.

    Terry - I wonder if that is the problem, maybe because I've washed them in 3 different machines by now with at least 2 different types of water. I used to strip with RLR, but the last time I did Heidi got rashy. I know Jillian's Drawers sells a 'sensitive' version of RLR so I'm probably going to stock up on that.

    Steph - I'm pretty sure that this water is 'normal.' I know it's not hard and I really don't think it's soft. Have you tried hemp on Allison? You know Heidi is a heavy wetter so I know a bazillion combinations of things that have worked for her, usually involving several inserts :). I'm not sure if I am going to sell any more of these diapers because a lot are stained and I can only sun one or two at a time on my dining room table :), but when I visit my mom in a couple weeks I'm going to sell stuff at Mama Goose and see how much money I get. They also sell diapers there so they might have some used Flips. I keep looking at Diaper Swappers and never get around to signing up...I guess I feel like I don't want to keep telling this story over and over and over again and not getting answers.

  7. I have hemp inserts but have been too lazy to try them! I have to use a one-size instead of her small all-in-ones to fit it and I need to get on that. I used to use them on Colin until we had the yeast problems every time I tried to keep him in cloth overnight.

  8. Your story is heartbreaking! I recommend Rockin' Green's Funk Rock for ammonia problems. My daughter was getting ammonia burns :( and this got rid of that issue and the eye-watering smell. I've had to use it twice so it's not a long term solution but it beats buying disposables! I found a place to buy it with free shipping if you decide to try it.

  9. I was thinking of trying Funk Rock actually, but I also want to try sensi-clean because they're so sensitive. That's exactly what they had though! Ammonia burns (in addition to everything else). I never knew there was a name for it, thanks! I heard you can never over-strip the diapers, so maybe I'll try both over and over and see where that gets me :) Thanks again :)