Say Goodbye to Odors and Diaper Rash: The Ultimate Guide to Stripping Cloth Diapers

As a parent, you want to make sure your baby is comfortable, clean, and free from diaper rash. Using cloth diapers is a great way to achieve this goal, as they are gentle on your baby's skin and eco-friendly. However, over time, cloth diapers can develop unpleasant odors and cause diaper rash if not properly maintained. One way to prevent these issues is by stripping your cloth diapers. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of stripping cloth diapers to keep them fresh, clean, and odor-free.

What is Stripping?

Stripping is the process of deep-cleaning your cloth diapers to remove any buildup of minerals, bacteria, or detergent residue that may cause odors or lead to diaper rash. This is particularly important if you notice that your cloth diapers are retaining smells or your baby is experiencing persistent diaper rash.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to strip cloth diapers:

Step 1: Pre-Rinse

Before starting the stripping process, it's important to pre-rinse your cloth diapers to remove any solid waste. Use warm water to rinse the diapers thoroughly. 

Step 2: Hot Water Soak

Fill your washing machine (or tub) with hot water and add your cloth diapers. You can also add a tablespoon of Dawn dish soap to the water to help break down any buildup. Let the diapers soak for 30 minutes to an hour. If you have a front Ioading washer, simply run the longest cycle you have on the hottest settings (For me that's my "Power Wash" cycle with a temperature setting of "hot" and a soil setting of "heavy". It runs for 3 hours). 

Step 3: Rinse

After the soak, run 3 warm or hot water rinse cycles with no detergent ensure that all the soap is removed.


Step 5: Dry

Finally, dry the diapers as you normally would, either by air drying or using a dryer. Be sure to avoid using fabric softener or dryer sheets, as they can leave a residue on the diapers.

Additional Tips:

  • Don't overload your washing machine when stripping diapers. Make sure there's enough water and space for the diapers to move around freely.
  • Avoid using bleach, vinegar, or baking soda when stripping diapers, as they can damage the fabric and elastic.
  • Only strip your cloth diapers once every few months, or as needed. Stripping them too often can cause wear and tear on the fabric. If you find you need to strip every month, consider switching detergents to avoid buildup and maintain the absorbency of the fabric. Check out my article on the best cloth diaper friendly detergents and the ones to avoid.


    Stripping cloth diapers is a simple process that can help keep your baby's cloth diapers fresh and clean. By following these steps, you can remove any buildup and prevent odors and diaper rash. Remember to pre-rinse, soak in hot water, rinse, rinse again, and dry without fabric softener or dryer sheets. With proper care, your cloth diapers can last for years and provide a comfortable, eco-friendly solution for your baby's diapering needs.

    Reviews (4 comments)

    • 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 –

    • 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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