Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stripping? What's that mean?

I couldn't possibly count the number of times I get this question from cloth diapering families. I remember my first experience with hear this word associated with cloth diapers when my first set of cloth diapers were leaking. I remember standing in the kitchen calling the previous owner of Wee Willie Winks and saying I think my diapers are defective. I had just started using them and they were leaking. Kristy assured me they were not defective, but I need to strip them. I have had the same conversation with many families.

How does build-up happen? First of all it comes from using too much detergent. When you think about washing dirty, stinky diapers you would naturally think to use more detergent, but with cloth diapers using less detergent is more. Using half of the recommended detergent from the label is standard. Secondly, build up can just happen from having hard water. Hard water has more minerals in it than soft water. The minerals trap dirt in the fibers. Lastly, maybe your wash routine is not effective. A wash routine should consist of a cold rinse cycle, a long hot wash cycle, and a cold rinse cycle. That's three complete washing cycles.

What's an effective way to strip diapers? There are many ways to strip diapers. One of the first ways is to add extra rinse cycles at the end of your wash routine. If you are still seeing bubbles in the washer after rinsing the diapers on the last cycle then you need to rinse again. Bubbles indicates detergent still in the material of the diapers. If the material is full of detergent residue then they will leak. If rinsing is not working for you then you may want to first check and see what the manufacturer suggest you do to strip them especially if your diapers are still under warranty. Check on the manufacturer's name below for their recommendations:



Happy Heinys





All the cloth diaper companies vary slightly in what they recommend for stripping which can make it difficult when your diaper stash is a mixed lot.

My favorite method for getting out detergent build up is to use regular blue Dawn. With this method, wash your diapers first then add 1 Tablespoon (about half with a front loader) to a long wash cycle. You will need to do many rinses until all the bubbles are gone and the water runs clear. This can be a very long process because it's dish detergent and it bubbles up more than laundry detergent, but it's worth it.

If mineral build up is the issue with your diapers, then using RLR Laundry Treatment will help. RLR removes minerals from fabric. It's amazing what it will do for microfiber inserts. To use RLR, do a rinse cycle, then add RLR and a little detergent to a long hot wash, then follow with rinse cycles until bubbles are gone.

Another method is to soak in Rockin' Green Soap. I've soaked my diapers over night in the washing machine with Rockin' Green. Using Rockin' Green fill your washer with hot water and 3 Tbsp* of Rockin’ Green, along with your diapers. Let it soak for approximately 30-60 minutes. Then launder as usual, skipping the soap. If you have a lot of build up you may need to repeat this process a few times. Because Rockin' Green brings all the build up to the surface your diapers may get worse before they get better, but don't give up.

Leaking, stinky diapers are never fun! So if you are in this dilemma don't despair ask your local retailer for help or contact the manufacturer for suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. My dipes are not repelling but they are holding on to the poop smell like crazy! I have pockets with microfiber inserts and both the inserts and pockets themselves smell like hot poop when they come out of the dryer. I rinse, wash, rinse. I have used RLR and Rockin Green to strip. I use Charlies soap but I have also used Arm and Hammer free and clear, Rockin Green and 7th Gen. I havent done the dawn but will try it on my next wash cycle tomorrow.
    Is there anything else I can try? My prefolds are not stinky at all so I have been using those instead.



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