It’s that time again. The cloth diapers need stripping. What’d you think I was talking about?
As I’ve mentioned before, I love my cloth diapers. There are many wonderful things about them. Environmentally friendly, budget friendly, and gives your baby that cute “fluffy” bottom. And they’re not the old folding, pinning and putting a plastic cover over them that they once were. We have a stock of bumGenius all-in-one diapers, and I recommend them highly to anyone considering cloth diapering. While there are cheaper options out there, bumGenius have won my vote as best cloth diapering option. I tried several brands and styles of diapers with my son, but with my daughter, I stocked up on bumGenius. In fact, I plan to get some more with our tax return.
But I digress.
Let’s talk about stripping cloth diapers.
Stripping cloth diapers is something most cloth diapering mamas will have to do from time to time. There are many reason why you would need to do this.
The most common culprit is a buildup in detergent. This buildup will cause stinkyness, leaking and diaper rashes. Using too much detergent can make it difficult to get your diapers fully rinsed out. What happens, wash after wash, is a nice little build up forms on the diapers.
Another culprit that may have you needing to strip your diapers is using the wrong kind of detergent. Many natural detergents have oils in them that will build up on your diapers. Also, detergents with fragrance, brighteners, etc. will leave stuff on your diapers, which you don’t want. We use either Seventh Generation or Trader Joe’s generic brand of all natural detergent, and I’
Signs it’s time to strip your diapers
- If they are really stinky, even after washing.
- If they are repelling instead of absorbing water (this happens alot with pocket diapers when they get detergent buildup).
- After using diaper cream with zinc oxide, oils, or waxes.
- If your diapers start to leak and not absorb as well as they used to.
- If after you wash them they smell ok, but after your baby wets in them they smell very badly it is probably a detergent buildup problem.
Just like all things cloth diaper related, stripping cloth diapers varies from family to family. Everyone’s washing machine and water quality varies. You may find you need to experiment to find what works best for you. How do you know it worked?? Your diapers will be clean, odor free and working great! Trust your nose. If your diapers smell stinky, they are not clean.
How to strip
If you search around online, you will find infinite resources on how to strip your cloth diapers. By trial and error you will find what works best for you. Some use bleach and Dawn dish detergent. I’ve read repeated articles on why bleach with your cloth diapers is a bad idea. I tried this my first go around with cloth diapers way back when with my son (before reading all the warnings stating DO NOT USE BLEACH). It was not my stripping method of choice. I personally prefer vinegar and baking soda, but to each their own. Here’s what I do.
Step 1: Start with clean diapers. Wash and rinse like you normally would. You don’t need to dry them since they are just going to get wet again. Starting with clean diapers is important.
Step 2: Wash your diapers in super hot water without detergent, just hot water. You may want to turn the water heater up to do this. Make sure to read the manufactures instructions for your diapers before doing this step. Some diapers shouldn’t be washed in very hot water. After the hot wash cycle follow with an extra rinse. I add white vinegar to this final rinse to remove all remaining detergent residues from your cloth diapers. The vinegar smell will disappear after your diapers dry.
Step 3: Rinse your diapers again, in a hot cycle if you can. Peak into the washer during the rinse to see if there are any bubbles in the water. Repeat this step as many times as you need to until there are no more bubbles in the water. No bubbles means there is no more soap buildup on your dipes, which is what you’re after! This can take 4 or more rinse cycles, so don’t be surprised if you have to rinse over and over again. The first time I stripped my diapers, I think it took 4 or 5 rinse cycles. Now that I strip them every few months, it only takes 2-3 on average.
Step 4: Dry your diapers. Even better, dry them out in the sun. Sunshine is great at getting rid of stains and killing germs.