There are several ways you can strip your diapers and I've tried just about all of them with mixed results. You can use baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, etc. The steps below, however, have always worked for me though and that's why I recommend them. This is my tried and true method for easily stripping diapers.
Place diapers in your washing machine
Set water temperate to HOT and let the washer fill until it looks like a diaper stew in your washer
Turn off the washer
Add a DIY mix of baking soda, borax and calgon (3 tbsp each)
Add ½ cup of powdered detergent directly to the load (not through the dispenser)
Let the diapers soak for 4 to 8 hours
After soaking, turn the washer on to finish the wash cycle
Next, fill the washer with cold water
Add 1 cup of bleach or a DIY mix of 1 cup Borax + 4 cups Peroxide
Turn off the washer and let the diapers soak for 30 – 45 minutes (not longer)
Turn the washer back on and finish the wash cycle
Finally, wash hot with recommended amount of detergent (usually 1 cup) *add 1 capful of Calgon if you have hard water
Dry in the dryer or on a line
How do I know if my cloth diapers need to be stripped?
Are your diapers leaking but the inserts aren't fully soaked?
When you sprinkle water on top of your diaper, does it bead up instead of soaking into the diaper?
Does your baby get a rash when you put a diaper on, but the rash immediately disappears if she wears a disposable diaper?
Do your diapers still stink or smell of urine AFTER they’ve been washed
Do your diapers have a really strong ammonia smell that could burn your nose or make your eyes water?
What causes them to stink?
Detergent Build-up: This comes from using too much detergent or non-cloth diaper friendly detergents
Hard Water: Hard water has minerals in it that can settle on your diapers and make them harder to clean
Not enough detergent: Using too little detergent will leave some urine and poop odor particles behind on the diaper
Synthetic Fibers: Microfiber and fleece tend to hold on to odors more than natural fibers like cotton, bamboo or hemp
Oils and Creams: Some diaper rash creams are not cloth friendly and can stick to the fibers in your diapers
How often should I strip?
Not often. If you have a good wash routine you can go at least a year without needing to strip. So if you find yourself stripping often (e.g. once a month) then you probably need to change something in your wash routine.