Sunday, September 11, 2011


How to Strip Wash your Cloth Diapers

I'm on a group in FB called HERE, and I requested group owner to repost her well-written instructions about how to strip cloth diapers.

Stripping is done when the diapers:
  • seem to be "leaking" / less absorbent
  • start stinking
  • if you have bought 2nd hand diapers and are about to use them
Thanks Cheche for this!

What is a strip wash?

A strip wash is a wash meant to clear residue left over in nappies. Using too much detergent or the wrong detergent, fabric softeners, or just improper washing can leave residue on the nappies. Wee and poop can adhere to these invisible residue, affecting absorbency and causing smelly nappies.

When to do a strip wash?
  • If your nappies start leaking or if you notice a decrease in absorbency.
  • If your nappies start to smell.
  • If you just bought and will start using a secondhand nappy.
Step-by-step guide to strip washing

There are 2 options for a strip wash. Try the first one first, if it doesn't work, do the second one but this is a last resort and is better used for heavily stained nappies.

Option 1: Start on CLEAN NAPPIES. Put in the washing machine and start the water. Put a FEW DROPS of non-moisturizing dishwashing liquid. The same amount you would use in a sink of water is fine. Do a long wash (without detergent!). Rinse, rinse, rinse until there are no more suds. This is best done using warm water.  Detergent suds is different from bubbles from the water being agitated by the machine -- you can test this by collecting some of the water that comes out of the machine, wait and see. Bubbles will dissipate quickly, detergent suds will remain on top of the water. Line-dry under the sun. If the nappies still smell or leak, repeat as needed.

Option 2: This is done only for heavily-stained nappies. Start on CLEAN NAPPIES. Put in the washing machine and start the water. Put 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let the machine run for a while so the vinegar can mix in. Add 1/4 cup of bicarbonate soda (baking soda). Run for a while. Let it soak for a few hours, overnight if possible. This is best done using cold water -- bicarbonate soda loosens stain particles and heat will set the stain back in! Do a long wash. Rinse then line-dry under the sun.

Remember, you can strip wash shells, inserts, boosters, etc. -- everything. I do not find the need to strip regularly and definitely not for nappies that are new (or just a couple of months' old). You can do an overnight soak for Option 1 but just add the shells right before you start washing as soaking kills elastic.  Same for Option 2.

If you still have stains after a strip wash, make a paste of water and bicarbonate soda, apply it on the stain, leave under the sun but make sure to keep it moist as the heat of the sun will set the stain back in. Wash as normal. Repeat as necessary.

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