It seems too easy to say rinse, rinse, rinse. But, most of the time that is the solution.
I’ve had ammonia, dead animal smell, rashes and leaking all within the last 6 months. Every time I set myself on a rinsing campaign the problem is fixed.
Most recently my Bum Genius Elementals smelled terrible every time Sterling would pee, they were also showing signs of some major wicking. Since I have been using Tide I knew that sooner or later these problems would creep up.
In order to combat these issues I ran the normal Heavy Duty cycle with a prewash. After that cycle I added bleach and ran the diapers on a Normal cycle. And after that I ran a Normal cycle on hot/cold with nothing added.
Not only did the diapers come out with no stains but when peed in they smell like pee.
The only diapers I washed with the bleach were inserts and Bum Genius diapers. If you are concerned about using a tiny bit of bleach check with the diaper manufacturer for their recommendations.
The reason I mentioned Tide leading to buildup and wicking is because of all the additives it contains. Optical brighteners will create buildup and major leaking. Tide is not a detergent I would recommend to everyone. But, when faced with an overwhelming situation (like chronic ammonia) I suggest it be used to treat this problem, especially if you have very hard water.
Ideally, one in this situation would overcome the ammonia, return to using a more natural detergent and only use Tide on an as-needed basis.
Here are some ways you can tell if you have buildup:
- wicking: the moisture soaks through the PUL and the outside of the diaper is wet
- smells: either the diaper smells dirty right out of the dryer or upon contact with pee.
- repelling: the inserts do not absorb liquid
- rashes: baby suddenly develops a rash which can be due to a sensitivity to the detergent near baby’s skin
The easiest way to spot buildup in the washer is to watch the rinse cycle. Do you see suds? Even a small amount of suds is bad. There are a few ways you can get rid of suds using just water: HOT HOT rinses, multiple washes with no detergent or boiling the inserts.
Regardless of whether you are currently having problems, thorough rinsing is a necessity. I’ve found that with a FL if I set the spin speed to low during the initial cycle, it will allow for more water in my 2nd cycle.