How To Strip Cloth Diapers

What does it mean to 'strip' cloth diapers? How do you strip cloth diapers?  Is it really necessary?  Do you need to do it?

Basically 'stripping' just means removing any build up in your diapers which might be causing repelling, smells, leaking, rashes etc.  Stripping your diapers is not necessary unless you are having issues.

Long story short, there are a number of ways to do it, but here is a few of the best ways in order of preference. You can also do one of these periodically as part of your regular diaper maintenance to prevent problems as well and prolong the life of your diapers (aprox. every few months or even montly if desired).

To strip your diapers, do the following…

Option #1 - Hot Rinses (great overall, especially good for excessive detergent residue or rashes due to detergent build up or detergent sensitivities)
Place clean diapers in the washing machine and run several HOT washes with NO detergent.  Simple, easy and effective. 

Option #2 - An RLR Strip (great overall, especially good for mineral deposit residue due to hard water conditions and will improve dingy diapers)
- Place 12-16 clean diapers in the bathtub
- Fill the tub with hot water till the diapers are covered
- Add a package of RLR and swish it around until it's dissolved and the diapers have soaked it up
- Leave them to soak 3-4 hours
- Place the heavy wet diapers in the washing machine (try not to wring them out too much)
- Run 2 hot washes (no detergent)
- Dry as usual and Ta-Da, your diapers will be sparkling clean.  RLR is like magic for cloth diapers.

* The quick method for this is to just put clean diapers in the washing machine and add a pack of RLR instead of detergent followed by an extra rinse at the end*

Option #3 - GroVia Mighty Bubbles (especially good for smelly diapers due to urine and/or mineral buildup)
- Just toss one packet into the washing machine with clean diapers and no other detergent.  Run a hot wash and extra rinse.  Dry as usual. 

Option #4 - Bummis Laundry Sanitizer (especially good after a virus , bacterial or yeast infection, or for residues on cloth diapers)
-Soak for 10 minutes, using 22 ml (1.5 TBSP) per 4 L water, then rinse  OR wash diapers with laundry soap and then add 22 ml (1.5 TBSP) to the rinse cycle. 
Important: do NOT use with laundry soap

Option #5 - Chlorine Bleach (use for bacterial buildup/persistent smell, mold etc.)
- This option will void many warranties, however, some diaper brands like BumGenius recommend bleach in the wash every few months if desired.  Make sure to use real chlorine bleach, not color safe bleach or splashless bleach etc.  Use 1/4 cup in the rinse cycle using the bleach tray of your machine if you have one to make sure it gets properly diluted.  Bleach will not fade the colors of PUL or TPU and is fine for use on synthetic fabrics such as microfibre, microfleece or microsuede.  Natural fabrics should be bleached sparingly if at all.  It's possible for some fading to occur on natural fabrics.

Option #6 - Blue Dawn Strip (best for oily residues)
- This is not one that we recommend highly, however, many people on message boards will suggest it, so we will address it here.  Dawn dish detergent is best suited for residue build up of an oily nature (ie. baby is on a high fat diet like full fat goat milk, accidental use of petroleum based diaper creams, etc.).  Blue Dawn is specifically suggested as it has the least amount of additional fragrances and additives compared to the other versions of Dawn.  If you can't find it in the supermarket, you can usually find original blue Dawn at a Dollar Store.  DO NOT put Dawn into your washing machine in any quantity.  Dish soap creates  A LOT more suds than laundry detergent.  Too many suds can 'suds lock' your washing machine and break your washer, not to mention void your warranty.  If you are going to use it, use it in the sink and spot treat the areas that have build up by gently rubbing in a small amount of dish soap with a soft bristled brush.
- Thoroughly rinse the diapers by hand until no suds remain
- Place diapers in the washing machine and run hot washes until the rinse water has no more suds.

*Note, this would be a last resort option that will void most warranties.

How Not To Strip Cloth Diapers
- Do not use the dishwasher.  Yes there are people who suggest this and no it is not a good idea.  

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