We have all heard the term “strip your cloth diapers” before, but what does it mean. When I first learned about stripping my diapers, a friend told me that you wash the diapers several times on hot with no detergent. But then friends began to say to me how they stripped their cloth diapers using bleach. So much for just using one method. I hope this post shows different ways to strip your cloth diapers and that some practices may work better for other people depending on their resources or the type of diapers they use.
Six Ways to Strip Your Cloth Diapers
This was the first way I started stripping my diapers. Wash your cloth diapers as you usually would. For me, this is a cold rinse, hot wash, and hot rinse. After your regular cycle, run 3-5 more hot washes with no detergent. This method seemed to work very well for me until my daughter became one year old and her urine started to become stronger.
Dawn, the original blue liquid formula, is often used to strip your cloth diapers. First, wash your diapers as you usually would. Then start with a hot rinse, followed by a long hot wash with one tablespoon of dawn for a regular washer, and one teaspoon for a HE washing machine. Follow the dawn by 2-3 rinse cycles. You will know the diapers are done when there are no more suds.
Dawn helps to remove any grease or oils from your diapers. I have even heard of people scrubbing down into the microfleece parts of their diapers to remove residues as well. One reader even used a toothbrush with dawn. Please beware of how much dawn you use and how much you scrub it in. The more scrubbing, the more rinses. Always rinse until there are no more bubbles.
Bleach is NOT something to be scared of if appropriately used. I have friends who use bleach on their cloth diapers all the time and have never had a problem with it being too harsh on their baby’s bottoms! But remember that every baby’s sensitivity level is different. Also, remember when using bleach that it may void some cloth diaper manufacturers’ warranties. I use a lot of Flip cloth diapers. The manufacturer of the Flip recommends using 1/2 cup of bleach during the wash cycle. Please be sure not to put the bleach directly on the cloth diapers but in the liquid bleach compartment. Go HERE to see a picture of what I am talking about. Remember that after using bleach, do a couple of rinses to ensure all of the bleach is removed.
RLR by Cadie is a well know laundry agent that helps to get rid of the stink and any detergent or residue build-up on cloth diapers. RLR is not bleach, a detergent, or a soap. Many people use RLR to help remove the “ammonia” smell in their diapers. RLR is phosphate and perfume FREE and completely biodegradable. It is safe on all fabrics, including PUL and TPU. Some people use RLR monthly to keep the stink at bay. To use, add one packet into a HOT wash cycle with nothing else (no detergent, no softeners, no dawn, NOTHING). Follow the wash with a few rinses or until the water is clear of suds.
Bac-Out is an all-natural cleaning solution with live enzyme cultures that help to eat away from organic waste and bacteria found in cloth diapers. Many people use Bac-Out by Biokleen as a way to strip their cloth diapers. Not only does it help with stains, but the live enzymes also fight against odors. Bac-Out is also safe for septic systems. Biokleen also makes a foaming spray that you can use once a dirty diaper is taken off the baby and thrown into the diaper pail. If you want to add Bac-Out to your wash routine, add it during the wash cycle, following the directions on the bottle. The nice thing about Bac-Out is that I can often find it in health food stores such as Whole Foods!
Specialty Stripping Formula
Many cloth diaper detergent manufacturers make specialty products made specifically for “stripping cloth diapers.” Each formula comes with specific instructions on the use. Some popular brands are Rockin’ Green’s Funk Rock, Laundry Tarts Strip It, and Penguin Sport Wash. A lot of these brands sell sample size packets as well for you to try out.
**As I mentioned before, please be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions before using any of the above methods for stripping your cloth diapers. Improper use may void the warranty of your cloth diapers**