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Stripping Cloth Diapers to Stop Leaks, Odors and Diaper Rash

Stripping Cloth Diapers to Stop Leaks, Odors and Diaper Rash

Stripping Your Diapers

Stripping is the process of deep cleaning your diapers in order to eliminate stink, smells, ammonia burns, prevent diaper rash, and improve absorbency.

You need to strip your diapers if...

  • your diapers are leaking but they're not fully soaked
  • when you sprinkle water on top of your diaper, the water beads up
  • your baby gets a rash when you put on a cloth diaper, but the rash immediately disappears if she wears a disposable diaper
  • your diapers stink or smell of urine AFTER they’ve been washed
  • your baby's diaper has a really strong ammonia smell after being worn all night
  • your baby has an ammonia burn or a contact diaper rash

How to strip diapers 

  1. Place clean diapers in a tub
  2. Fill the tub with hot water
  3. Add 1/2 cup of Tide original powder detergent
  4. Let diapers soak for 4 to 8 hours
  5. Drain the tub
  6. Rinse each diaper thoroughly under cold running water
  7. Place rinsed diapers in washing machine
  8. Run a full wash cycle on HOT with no detergent and 1 cup of bleach (*add 1 capful of Calgon Liquid Water Softener if you have hard water)
  9. Run another full wash cycle on Hot - no detergent, no bleach
  10. Watch the rinse cycle. If you see soap suds, repeat Step 9 until you no longer see soap suds in the rinse cycle.
  11. Dry in the dryer or on a line

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.
  • Comments 4

    jerin jahan on

    Do cloth diapers leak a lot?
    With cloth diapers, you might find yourself changing your baby every 2-3 hours or as needed. If the diaper is fully saturated and soaked, it will likely leak. Tips for dealing with absorbency related leaks: New cotton, bamboo, and hemp inserts may need to be washed 3-6 times before they become fully absorbent.

    jerin jahan on

    The average newborn may need to be changed every 1-3 hours, so you may want to have 12+ diapers for a day. A nice stash of cloth diapers consists of about 15-24 diapers. Many families find that cloth diapers are too cute and may have much larger stashes.

    Pooters on

    To strip in a front loader you’ll follow the same steps. Load your washer, turn it on and it run for a few minutes. Then turn it off, letting the diapers soak for 4 to 8 hours. You can use Tide (I highly recommend it). I’ve never used Purex but the word on the street is that it’s safe for cloth diapers. Borax is similar to Calgon but in my experience, Calgon works better for hard water. For general washing in a front loader, you’ll want to do a prewash in hot water with 1/2 cup of detergent and then a full, power wash in hot water with a full cup of detergent. For specifics on how to do that with your machine – check out this list by Fluff Love University – http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/how-to-wash-cloth-diapers/hey-thats-my-washing-machine-starter-wash-routines-by-brand/

    Lauren Dean on

    How do I strip if I have a front loader? Also can I use Tide or Purex to wash and is Borax the same as Calgon? Lastly how should I wash with front loader?

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