Cloth diapering parents, I had no idea that so many of you were dealing with stink issues that I can solve for you! The first thing I ask when someone tells me they’re dealing with stinky diapers is: how often do you strip your diapers?
I have been shocked lately how many have responded with some variation of “Um, never?”.
Parents!! What are you doing?!! We need to be stripping regularly!!
Why do you need to strip?
Here’s the lowdown: even cloth diaper-approved detergents leave some degree of residue on cloth fibers. Considering how often your diapers are washed, after several weeks (maybe as long as a few months if you’re diapering only one child or have a large stash) that buildup is sitting on top of the cloth fibers. The result is 1) leaking because the fibers are coated with residue and cannot absorb, and 2) stink, because basically the stink is trapped inside the coated fibers. YUCK!
Stripping is easy!
There are several ways to do it, but I prefer the Dawn method. By this, I mean Dawn dish detergent, the Original formula. All you do is wash your diapers as usual, and then run an additional wash cycle with Dawn instead of laundry detergent. For a top loading (old school) machine, you’d use 1-2 tablespoons of Dawn. For an HE machine, 1-2 teaspoons. My HE machine only requires 1 teaspoon. After you’ve run the cycle, stick your head inside the washing machine. If you still smell Dawn, run another rinse cycle (for an HE machine that doesn’t have a rinse cycle, just run a short cycle without adding anything) until you don’t smell it anymore. The diapers should smell completely neutral.
That’s it! See how easy it is?
Go! Do it NOW!
4 thoughts on “We should all be stripping!”
I don’t get all this stripping talk. I have been cloth diapering for six years straight and have only stripped twice. If your diapers are stinky that often I would say you have one of two issues: wrong detergent or not enough water and/or rinses in your wash routine.
Regular stripping wears out your diapers. Good old hot water and some sunlight should do the trick.
Where does your water supply come from? We are in a very large urban area, so our water if full of a number of things over which we have no control, which likely contribute to buildup. It’s great that you can go so long without stripping, but that is just not the case for most people in this area.
The reason buildup causes ammonia smell is because the fibers tend to hold the pee longer when they haven’t been stripped recently.
I’ve actually had no wear-and-tear issues with my PUL despite cloth diapering 2 children simultaneously for over a year, and using the same stash non-stop since 2009.
The reason why blue Dawn is recommended is because it will bind to oils. Fragrance oils, fabric softener oils, things that shouldn’t be in your wash routine anyway. Dawn isn’t going to help with ammonia buildup, and be careful when putting it in an HE machine as it can ruin the pump or hoses!
I’ve been told that the ammonia smell is just due to the fibers being affected by buildup. My cloth diaper associates tell me that stripping is a remedy for ammonia smell. It’s not the only remedy, but I’ve not had to resort to any other options since regular stripping eliminates the issue.
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