Friendly, independent advice with 20 years of real nappy experience

Smelly nappies?

What do I do if my reusable nappies get smelly?

Smelly nappies are only rarely an issue, but if your nappies suffer from it you’ll know about it!

The sharp ammonia smell is, in the main, as a consequence of teething. When teething, wee tends to change and can result in the build up of ammonia in the nappies.

If you're using too much washing powder this can lead to a build-up of detergent in the nappies that can 'soak up' this smell.

It’s likely to only be a temporary thing but it can last a few weeks and can come back during future teething periods, so here’s what you can do about it:

  • Give the nappies a cool wash before giving them their main wash. High temperatures can seal the smells in, so it’s a good idea to wash them on a cool setting first.
  • Cut right back on washing powder. A build-up of detergent can lead to a build-up of smells, so limit the detergent to about 1 tablespoon per wash - no more. Give the nappies a good long wash with a number of rinses and spins. Don't be tempted to use quick 'cco' cycles, there generally isn'y enough water running through the nappies to completely flush through. If there are still soap suds in the wash during the final spin you have put too much powder in and need to cut down further.
  • Get the nappies out on the washing line as much as you can.
  • People have said that putting nappies out in the rain can help!

For most people, the smelly nappy issue will disappear within a couple of weeks.

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