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Stripping Cloth Diapers to Stop Leaks, Odors and Diaper Rash

April 04, 2016 2 Comments

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.

Need help?

I love to help other parents! Please send me an email or PM me on my Facebook page with any questions you have.

Stripping Diapers - a tried and true method

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.
  1. Place diapers in your washing machine
  2. Set water temperate to HOT and let the washer fill until it looks like a diaper stew in your washer
  3. Turn off the washer
  4. Add a DIY mix of baking soda, borax and calgon (3 tbsp each)
  5. Add ½ cup of powdered detergent directly to the load (not through the dispenser)
  6. Let the diapers soak for 4 to 8 hours
  7. After soaking, turn the washer on to finish the wash cycle
  8. Next, fill the washer with cold water
  9. Add 1 cup of bleach or a DIY mix of 1 cup Borax + 4 cups Peroxide
  10. Turn off the washer and let the diapers soak for 30 – 45 minutes (not longer)
  11. Turn the washer back on and finish the wash cycle
  12. Finally, wash hot with recommended amount of detergent (usually 1 cup) *add 1 capful of Calgon if you have hard water
  13. 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.

  • 2 Responses


    April 24, 2017

    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
    Lauren Dean

    October 09, 2016

    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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