Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Coth Diapers Part 5: Stripping Cloth Diapers

No matter how awesome your wash routine is, eventually you will have to strip your cloth diapers. So you think you need to strip your cloth diapers, now what? Here's all the info you need to know about stripping your diapers.




 How will I know when I need to strip my diapers?

 There are a few tell-tale signs that it is time to strip your cloth diapers:
  1. Your cloth diapers smell bad even after being washed. Usually smells of ammonia or just generally "stinky".
  2. Your diapers have a good fit for your diapers and they still seem to be leaking.
  3. You have noticed your baby has a reoccurring rash for no apparent reason.
  4. Your cloth diapers feel like they have some sort of film or powder on them. Some people describe them as being "extra soft".
These things indicates a build up of soap/detergent film on your diapers. Don't worry! There is simple way to rid your diapers of any residue/build up.

How do you strip cloth diapers?

There are countless ways to strip cloth diapers, but after some research and a lot of trial and error, I found the fastest, most efficient way to do it.  Here is what I figured out:

  1. Wash your cloth diapers using your normal washing routine (with a cold rinse cycle at the end) OR  throw your already clean and dry diapers into your washing machine on a cold rinse.
  2. Wash your diapers on the hottest, longest, largest setting that uses the most water. Add only one tablespoon of original blue Dawn dish washing soap (no laundry detergent). Make sure to put the soap right on top of the diapers and NOT in the laundry detergent drawer.
  3. Wash diapers again on a long, hot cycle with out any laundry soap or Dawn. (I put vinegar in with this wash. It seems to help with stripping the diapers of any residue and eliminating smells)
  4. Run diapers through a cold cycle until you do not see any suds. This will take between 2-4 times depending on your washer. Usually front loaders will need a few more rinses than top loaders.
And voila! You have like new, freshly stripped cloth diapers for your baby!

I have to admit, I did not come up with this procedure myself. During my research, I found a wonderful blog post by Mama's Laundry Talk about stripping cloth diapers. Check out her post!

Mama's Laundry Talk: How to Strip Cloth Diapers-- Part 2
She also mentions many other ways to strip cloth diapers. So if the Dawn did not do the trick or you are looking for something else, check out her post!

I have found that I need to strip my cloth diapers every 2-3 months. When I had a top loader, I only had to strip them every 6+ months. You will soon figure out how often you need to strip your diapers.

Here are a few ways to avoid having to strip your diapers more often:

  1. Use only cloth diaper approved laundry detergent to avoid soap build-up (Check out my Washing Procedures and Detergents blog post to find out about what detergents are best to use).  
  2. Use diaper liners on your cloth diapers. This not only helps minimize how soiled your diaper gets, it also protects the diaper from any diaper creams/lotion you put on your baby.
  3. Which leads me to my next one: Avoid diaper creams/rash ointment when using cloth diapers. These are not made to be used with cloth diapers and will cause them to loose their absorbancy and leak. 
  4. Do not let your diapers sit too long before washing them. I would make sure you wash your diapers within two days of using them (no more than 48 hours)
  5. If you have a front loader, trick it into using more water during normal washes by adding a wet towel to your load of diapers. The more water used in washing normally, the less often you will need to strip.

This is the fifth post in my Cloth Diapers series. Here are the other Cloth Diaper posts in this series:

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