Vinegar and Compost Piles

Diaper pails and family cloths can give off strong odors. Some sites recommend using white distilled vinegar to neutralize the ammonia and fecal odors. Has anyone done this? What proportion of vinegar to size of pail is appropriate?. Some people also keep a urine-only sawdust bucket which develops ammonia odor. If vinegar is added to the urine bucket to control smells, does the vinegar help or hurt when the contents of the bucket are used to fertilize the garden or add to the compost?

I used to use Borax in the diaper pail to control odors. I don't know whether you could pour it into the compost pile or not. I wouldn't pour a vinegar-containing solution onto the garden or compost.

Magpie's picture

The key ingredient in borax is boron, which can build up in the soil and become toxic to plant life; I'd skip the compost pile with that stuff!

Magpie's picture

I used family cloth for urine only, and I just stored it in a pail until it needed to be washed. Ammonia is extremely water soluble, and should wash out of cloth with just water. The only trouble I've encountered is that some water efficient washing machines don't use enough water to actually wash the ammonia out. I washed them by hand and line dried them with no trouble. The wash water is basically fertilizer, which can be applied directly to the garden.

If you mix vinegar with ammonia, you'll neutralize the solution and get ammonium acetate, which may break down in the soil into its components of ammonia and acetic acid. If you have acid soil already, this would be less than ideal.

I don't know anything about diapers, though, sorry!