Stripping Cloth Diapers is NOT Normal
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Stripping is not normal. Stripping cloth diapers, that is.
If you find that you are stripping your diapers on a regular basis then there is something wrong with your wash routine. Stripping cloth diapers is usually a last resort reserved for mishaps such as diaper cream, too much detergent, ammonia build-up, or disinfecting diapers that were either bought used, or after a yeast rash.
I belong to several cloth diapering groups and see so many people stripping their diapers on a monthly basis, if not more often. I have stripped my diapers one time in almost three years so I don’t understand this.
I can only guess that people think that any time their diapers smell they need to be stripped. Yes, there are occasions when it may be necessary but stripping diapers should not be part of your normal cloth diaper wash routine.
Reasons to strip your diapers may be:
- Diaper rash cream left behind
- Ammonia build-up, which isn’t the same as a stinky overnight diaper
- You bought used diapers and don’t know how the person before you cared for them
- You accidentally used too much detergent for your load size or washing machine type
My diapers stink. Don’t I have to strip them?
Maybe, but honestly, probably not.
In my experience, if your diapers stink you may just need to use more detergent. The amount of detergent that is often recommended often isn’t enough.
I have seen one company recommend 1 to 1½ TEAspoons of detergent to wash dirty cloth diapers. Regardless of what kind of detergent you choose to use, just use the recommended amount on the detergent’s package for your load size and make adjustments for your water type if needed.
Other problems could be not enough water in the case of a front loading HE washing machine, or water that isn’t hot enough. Hot water kills bacteria and if your water isn’t hot enough then it could be part of the issue.
The bottom line is this: do some troubleshooting with your wash routine first before deciding that you need to strip your diapers.
A note about ammonia build-up: If your diapers still smell like ammonia after washing them then you likely just need more detergent.
If you’ve increased the amount of detergent and are using enough water and your diapers still smell of ammonia then you may have build-up. In that case, you could soak them in an ammonia treatment or strip them.
Do you still need help washing your diapers?
Please remember that these are my opinions based on my personal experience and laundry conditions. Your experiences may vary.
To strip pocket diapers, merely hand wash your pocket diapers with regular dawn dish soap (yes, it’s to be Dawn) – it gets the oils out. Add a little of dish soap to the fleece, either rub the fleece smartly along or use a medium bristle dish brush or hard bristle tooth brush to wash the fleece. flip inside out and repeat on this side. Rinse well, ensuring that the water runs clear. you’ll be able to use this any time you feel that the diaper could also be distasteful. Alternately, you can soak your diapers during a tub of boiled water with dawn dish soap. Rub them along and let them soak within the water with the dish soap till the water is luke heat. Then do as several rinses as is important in your washer to induce the diapers to rinse clean.
I don’t agree that Dawn is needed to strip diapers unless there is diaper cream or some other greasy substance. Most stink problems arise with too much or too little detergent and I don’t believe that adding Dawn helps that situation. Dawn is a de-greaser. If you have too much detergent then you just need to keep rinsing with HOT water until the bubbles are gone. If you have ammonia then the problem could be your wash routine and Dawn also won’t help that.
But either way, if you have a good wash routine then you shouldn’t have to strip your diapers at all. I have only had to do it once in almost 3 years and that was because I used too much detergent for my load size in the beginning.