I’ve been cloth diapering for over three years now, and just last week learned about “stripping” cloth diapers. Evidently, an occasional stripping is a necessary maintenance. Why did it take me so long to learn about this… I have no idea.
Baby Xia has been battling a HORRIBLE diaper rash for the past month or so. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to clear it up, including letting her run around bare bottomed for most of the day and just wiping up her messes as she made them!
None of the many organic and non-organic diaper creams have worked, and I’ve splurged on many.
You just can’t put a price on stuff like this! Airing her out helped tremendously, but as soon as she’d wet her overnight diaper her rash was as fresh as it had been before. It was a never ending cycle.
It all started when I washed her diapers in a new detergent… ONE TIME. She broke out, and never got over it.
I went back to the homemade soap I’d been using, but it didn’t do any good. In my reading online on how to treat the diaper rash I came across the idea of “stripping” the diapers. I hadn’t heard of this before, so I looked into what it meant.
There are a lot of different ways to strip cloth diapers. Some people use vinegar, some use bleach, and others use a combination of the two.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to make sure that you do it properly so that your diapers are clean and ready to go for the next time.
Here are some instructions on how to strip cloth diapers using vinegar and bleach.
Happy stripping! (And try not to giggle too hard when you read that line!).
Table of Contents:
What Does it Mean to Strip Cloth Diapers?
For many families, cloth diapers are a more economical and eco-friendly choice than disposable diapers. However, cloth diapers do require a bit more care than their disposable counterparts.
One important step in caring for cloth diapers is stripping. Stripping is a process of giving the diapers a deep cleaning to remove built-up oils, detergent residue, and bacteria. Stripping can be done using either chemical or natural methods.
Chemical strippers rely on strong cleaners to break down residue, while natural strippers use baking soda or vinegar. Whichever method you choose, stripping cloth diapers on a regular basis will help to keep them clean and free of bacteria.
Basically, stripping cloth diapers is just washing them over and over and over in a regular load until any detergent residues have been thoroughly removed. What you do is throw your diapers into a washer of hot water, with no soap, and wash them.
Why Do Cloth Diapers Need Stripping?
If you’ve been using cloth diapers for a while, you may have noticed that they sometimes need stripping. But what is stripping, and why do you need to do it? Here’s a quick overview.
First, stripping is simply the process of removing built-up detergent, fabric softener, oils, and other residues from your diapers.
Over time, these residues can make your diapers less absorbent and more prone to leaks. They can also cause repelling, which is when urine and feces bounce off the diaper instead of being absorbed.
Stripping can be done in a few different ways, but the most common method is to soak the diapers in very hot water. This helps to break down the oils and other residues so that they can be rinsed away.
You can strip your diapers as often as needed, but most experts recommend doing it every few months or so.
That’s why you need to strip your cloth diapers from time to time. By keeping them clean and free of built-up residue, you’ll help them last longer and perform better.
How Often to Strip Cloth Diapers
Stripping cloth diapers is often recommended when you are experiencing leaks that cannot be solved by other means, such as adjusting the fit or washing routine. But how often should you strip them?
The answer may depend on the type of diapers you have, the materials they are made from, and how often you use them.
Generally speaking, however, it is safe to strip them every few months. More frequent stripping can actually damage the diapers and shorten their lifespan.
If you do strip your diapers more often than that, be sure to use a gentle stripping method and rinse them thoroughly afterwards. With a little care, you can keep your cloth diapers clean and in good condition for many years to come.
When to Strip Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable diapers, but they require a bit more care and maintenance.
One important question that many parents have is how often to strip their cloth diapers. The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of detergent you use and the frequency with which you wash your diapers.
If you’re thinking about whether or not you should strip your used cloth diapers, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, it’s important to understand that stripping diapers is not the same as washing them.
When you wash cloth diapers, the goal is simply to remove any visible dirt or debris. However, stripping diapers is a more intensive process that is designed to remove anything that may be stuck to the fabric, even if it’s not visible. This includes things like detergent build-up, urine crystals, and even mold or mildew.
As a result, stripped diapers will often look and feel cleaner than ones that have just been washed. I always recommend stripping cloth diapers that you’ve purchased, used or been given as hand-me-downs.
Ammonia is a common by-product of urine, and it can build up in cloth diapers if they are not properly washed. The ammonia can cause irritation and even burns, so it’s important to strip the diapers on a regular basis.
Seem Less Absorbent
Cloth diapers are popular among parents who want to avoid the chemicals in disposable diapers. However, many parents find that cloth diapers seem less absorbent than disposables, especially when used over a period of time.
If this is the case, stripping the diapers may help. Stripping is a process of washing the diapers multiple times with hot water and no detergent to remove build-up from soaps and fabric softeners.
Although it may take some time to strip the diapers, it can be worth it if it makes them more absorbent. In addition, stripping can also help to remove any bacteria or fungi that may be growing on the fabric.
As a result, stripping cloth diapers can be a helpful way to make them more absorbent and reduce the risk of diaper rash or other skin irritation.
Have a Funky Odor
Many cloth diapers have a funky odor. Stripping them can help. When you strip your diapers, you are essentially taking all of the build-up off of the fabric.
This can be things like urine, sweat, detergent, and even natural oils from your baby’s skin. Stripping your diapers will leave them smelling fresh and new.
There are Stains
Although some parents choose to simply wash their diapers in the washing machine, others prefer to strip them first.
Stripping cloth diapers is a process of using a strong detergent to remove built-up residue, and it can be especially effective at removing stains. However, it is important to note that stripping diapers can also damage the fabric if it is not done carefully.
As a result, many parents choose to strip their diapers only occasionally, when they feel it is necessary. When done properly, stripping cloth diapers can be an effective way to remove stubborn stains.
You Regularly Wash in Hard Water
If you live in an area with hard water and don’t have a water softener, you may have noticed that your cloth diapers tend to get dingy and stained more quickly than they did when you lived in an area with soft water.
This is because hard water contains high levels of minerals, which can build up on the fibers of your diapers and make them less absorbent.
In addition, hard water can cause metals to leach from your diapers, which can lead to skin irritation. To help keep your diapers clean and fresh, it’s important to strip them on a regular basis.
How to Strip Cloth Diapers
There are a few different ways besides this that you can strip your cloth diapers. Allow me to walk you through them!
Hot Rinse Stripping for Cloth Diapers
Let it go through the entire cycle, then start over and wash them again. You do this until the water in the washing machine has no bubbles, or film, or any sign of soap whatsoever. You don’t use bleach or anything, just wash and wash.
Once the water stays clear, hang them out to dry. The sun will help finish the sanitizing process.
It’s no wonder a poor baby girl broke out! Like I said, I’ve been washing these diapers for over three years now, and have never stripped them once. They probably had all kinds of build-up on them.
RLR Laundry Treatment is a product that is safe to use on cloth diapers. It is a powder that you mix with water and then soak the diapers in for 30 minutes. After that, you just wash the diapers like normal.
RLR helps to strip away build-up on the diapers so they will be more absorbent. It is also helpful in getting rid of stains. You can find RLR at most major retailers that sell laundry products.
Use GroVia Mighty Bubbles
This solution is perfect for diapers that are particularly smelly due to urine…or perhaps even due to mineral buildup from your water.
GroVia Mighty Bubbles is an essential tool for anyone who uses cloth diapers.Mighty Bubbles is also ideal for stripping diapers that have become built up with detergent or fabric softener.
Simply fill a sink or bucket with warm water and add a few drops of GroVia Mighty Bubbles. Submerge the diapers in the solution and agitate gently. Let the diapers soak for at least 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Be sure to follow up with a wash cycle using a cloth diaper-safe detergent. By using GroVia Mighty Bubbles on a regular basis, you can keep your cloth diapers clean and free of buildup.
Try Bummis Laundry Sanitizer
This sanitizer is particularly effective if your little one has been battling a virus, yeast infection, or bacterial infection.
Bummis Laundry Sanitizer is a safe and effective way to strip cloth diapers. It is made from natural ingredients and is gentle on both babies and the environment.
For parents who use cloth diapers, keeping them clean and free of stains can be a challenge. Some parents opt to use bleach when stripping their diapers, as it is an effective way to remove built-up residue and set the fabric back to its original color.
However, using chlorine bleach can also damage cloth diapers, causing them to deteriorate more quickly. In addition, bleaching cloth diapers can release harmful chemicals into the air, which can be dangerous for both parents and children.
As a result, many parents choose to avoid using bleach when stripping their diapers. There are a number of alternative methods that can be just as effective at removing stains and residue, without the risk of damaging the fabric or releasing harmful chemicals into the home.
Blue Dawn Dish Detergent Strip
Blue Dawn Dish Soap is often touted as a miracle cleaner. It can remove grease, grime, and stains from dishes, clothing, and even cars.
But did you know that it can also be used to strip cloth diapers? Yes, that’s right – Blue Dawn can be used to remove build-up from cloth diapers, restoring them to their original absorbency.
Borax and Calgon with Washing Soda
There are a number of ways to strip cloth diapers, but one of the most effective is to use Borax and Calgon with Washing Soda. This method is safe for both machine-washing and hand-washing. Simply add a quarter cup of each Borax and Calgon to your washing machine, along with a half cup of Washing Soda. Run the cycle as usual, and then rinse the diapers several times in freshwater.
When Do You NOT Need to Strip Cloth Diapers
While regular stripping of cloth diapers is often recommended, there are some circumstances when it is not necessary.
For example, if you use a quality detergent and change your diapers frequently, you may also find that stripping is unnecessary.
However, if you notice that your diapers smell or leak more frequently, then stripping may be necessary in order to return them to optimal functioning. In general, it is best to consult with a cloth diaper specialist or a pediatrician in order to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Tips for Stripping Cloth Diapers
It doesn’t matter whether you’re stripping your cloth diapers in a bathtub, a sink, or a top-loading washing machine. These tips will help you get your diapers clean in no time!
Don’t Use the Dishwasher
If you’re using cloth diapers, you probably want to know how to strip them properly so that they last longer and stay clean. Luckily, stripping cloth diapers is relatively easy, and there are a few different methods you can use.
One thing you should never do, however, is use the dishwasher. While it might seem like a good way to get rid of any build-up, the harsh chemicals in dishwashing detergent can actually damage the fabric of your diapers. Stick to gentle methods like soaking in the hottest water you can or using a cloth diaper-specific cleaner.
Not only that, but a dishwasher often can’t handle the amount of suds produced by the remedies mentioned above.
Don’t Put Dish Soap in the Washing Machine
Similarly, don’t put dish soap in the washing machine. This can actually damage the diaper fabric and make it less effective. Instead, use a dedicated diaper stripping solution or a gentle detergent.
There’s No Need to Strip Pocket Shells, PUL Covers, or Any Other Covers
For many cloth diaper users, the term “stripping” conjures up images of harsh chemicals and intense scrubbing. However, stripping does not necessarily require the use of harsh chemicals or a lot of elbow grease.
Not only that, but you really don’t need to strip things like pocket shells or PUL covers. These don’t accumulate minerals and odors like other cloth diaper components and more absorbent parts do.
It Might Not Remove the Stain
Unfortunately, striping doesn’t always remove the stains.
If you’re dealing with persistent stains, you may need to resort to stronger measures. Urine stains can be treated with hydrogen peroxide, while feces stains may require enzymes or oxygen bleach. Remember to test any new cleaning solution on a small area of the diaper first to make sure it won’t damage the fabric.
You Might Need to Scrub With a Bristle Brush
If you’re having trouble getting your cloth diapers clean, you might need to break out the big guns. A bristle brush can help to loosen up tough stains, making them easier to remove in the wash. Just be sure to use a brush with soft bristles so you don’t damage the fabric.
Maintain Cloth Diapers to Minimize the Need to Strip Later On
Cloth diapers are a great way to save money and be more eco-friendly, but they require a little bit of maintenance to keep them in good condition.
Stripping Cloth Diapers: My Experience
I’ve had Xia in disposable diapers for two weeks now, trying to clear her bottom up. Doing so, along with caking her with corn starch at each change has worked wonders. I also used a little anti-fungal cream as a last resort. She’s all healed up and I’ve got her back in clothes today.
Hopefully this will have done the trick and she won’t break out anymore. I’m still letting her go bare skinned as much as possible though.
It’s funny, too, because I got her some leg warmers to keep her little legs cozy so she’s walking around in a shirt and leg warmers with her little fanny showing!
Oh, I’ve also switched to Charlie’s Soap. After reading TONS of reviews and opinions, I’m convinced that this was the best choice, even over Soap Nuts, which have a reputation of leaving a film after a while, and diminishing the absorbability of the diapers.
So there you have it! My tried and true tips for stripping cloth diapers. We hope that this information was helpful and cleared up any questions you may have had about the process. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Do any of you cloth diapering mamas strip your clothes every now and then? What type of detergent do you love, and how do you keep your diapers maintained?
updated 05/26/2022 by Rebekah Pierce
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.