Saturday, February 25, 2012

Got Cloth Diaper Stink? Time to Strip!

Check out the clean diapers! I stripped the cloth prefolds and my all-in-one diapers.
Last week, I had enough of the diaper funk! One of Ava's caregivers has mentioned recently that Ava's diaper is very foul after it's wet. And last week she had a diaper rash, though probably unrelated, but who knows! After doing some reading on the cloth diaper websites, I felt it was time to strip the diapers of the build-up. Cloth diapers get build-up from a number of factors such as diaper creams/oils touching it directly or residue from detergent. In our case, we have a HE washing machine and hard well water. I suspect that our diapers have a build-up from the hard water more than anything. We struggle with residue in our coffee maker and kitchen. Recently, I bought cloth diaper fleece liners in case Ava needed barrier cream for a diaper rash to help protect the absorbancy of the cloth. Usually when we're home and Ava has a sensitive bottom, I add baking soda to her bath water and it really helps. Going diaper free for awhile helps too!

We do the basic fold (in thirds) inside the Bummis diaper covers.
The stuffed diaper. I send them like this to daycare.
We switched over to cloth diapers when Ava was about a year old and it's been awesome! We've saved so much money and it's really cool to save the environment's resources. The laundry duties isn't bad since we have a brand new appliances and the laundry room is on the second floor. Ava likes to help too!

I've never had to strip them until now. Some people strip them as often as every week or once a month. I plan to wait until they get build-up again.

I asked my Facebook Land for some suggestions. Lots of moms jumped in with advice of the methods that worked for them. I found a couple of sources that said the same thing that really seemed to work for my friends. So last night after daycare, I did a marathon of diaper washing! This morning, I finished with one more cycle of rinsing and drying. They smell great! Right out of the wash, the cloth diapers never smelled dirty. It was just after the first pee that the diaper smelled funky.

Diaper Stripping Method (cloth inserts and all-in-ones):
  • Step 1: Wash diapers normally (cold rinse, then detergent wash with extra rinse). On my machine, we use the whitest whites cycle. I removed my diaper pail liner, cloth wipes, and covers from the wash to dry at this stage.
  • Step 2: Optional to remove oil residue. Wash diapers with some dish detergent (Dawn). For HE machines, use 1 tsp. I did this on my whitest whites cycle.
  • Step 3: Bleach on whitest whites (hot wash + extra cold rinse). Yep! Bleach. It's old fashioned, but it works and you do lots of extra rinses afterwards.
  • Step 4: Rinse 3-4 times until there are no more suds. I used the Rinse Drain and Spin setting.
  • Step 5: Dry diapers.
Drying diapers in the sun will also help disinfect funk, but I live in Indiana and it's winter. Ok, and I need to install a clothing line! :) I think Aaron would call us Amish if we did. He grew up in the Amish country and they line dry their laundry all year long.

It would be easier to do this on the weekend or a day that you're at home. But, I spread it out over Friday night and Saturday morning because I worked in the office yesterday. While we had the cloth diapers in the wash, we used a few disposable diapers left over from our trip to Portland. When we travel by plane, we switch to disposables. But if we're visiting my in-laws or traveling by car, we launder the diapers before/after the weekend or ask nicely to use their washer and dryer.

  • Great blog post with instructions from 
  • I loved this video from the Mama Natural Blog. Her husband, Mike, runs through a tutorial of how they strip their diapers, which is the same method from
PS... I love that Mike is doing the diaper wash in the video. I need to show this video to Mr. Berkey to see if he's inspired to do diaper laundry! 

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