So, I’ve decided that I need to earn a little extra cash and what better way than….
Just kidding. I couldn’t resist! This post is actually about a different kind of stripping. But you probably already guessed that.
I’m waging a serious war with rash-inducing stinkies as I’ve blogged about in the past. We have ammonia. We have stink. We have painful, red rashes. And we have one very frustrated mama.
Our issues tend to go in cycles and we are coming off an impressively bad one. The rash situation is so bad right now that we are basically doing a week of cloth diapers, followed by a couple days of disposables while I load on the Triple Paste and heal the vicious red rash on my daughter’s nether regions. Then another week of cloth followed by a few days of healing in disposables. I know it’s time to move to healing mode/disposables when we have a restless, wakeful night – usually that means that it has started to burn when she urinates and she cries out from a deep sleep in pain. And that’s how it’s been: a week of cloth, a sleepless night for both of us, a few days in sposies, repeat. I’m not ready to give up on cloth yet, but something had to change.
For starters, I am doing a controlled detergent experiment with a couple different brands to see if I can get some improvement (more on that in coming weeks). But I decided I also needed to try again to “strip” all of the diapers and start fresh.
I’ve stripped them before but I still wasnt 100 percent confident I was doing it the right way. What exactly does it mean to strip your diapers? How exactly do you do it? How long will it take? How often am I supposed to do it? I was worried I wasn’t doing it right and could somehow make the stink worse.
So what’s a confused mama to do? Go on an Internet hunt to track down the answer, of course. And what I discovered made me feel a little better: Turns out that the term “strip” can mean several different things and there are several different methods to strip diapers. Aha! So in case you’re as unfamiliar as I was, here are some of the best ways to strip your diapers (I think the method that works best for you will depend on what’s causing your issues, what type of water you have, etc). So here you have it:
1. Rinse like crazy: Run the inserts and diapers through several hot wash and soak cycles with no detergent until there are no more soap bubbles or film in the water (you may need a flashlight to look into an HE machine). After several hot cycles and no bubbles left, you should be good. This helps remove detergent residue which can cause stink and ammonia rashes. (This is the method I’m currently trying).
2. Boil: Swirl your inserts in a huge pot of boiling water on the stove for about 10 minutes to help kill bacteria that may be causing problems.
3. Scrub: Use a small brush and a couple drops of blue liquid Dawn dish soap to individually scrub each insert (and/or diaper covers too if you think they are also riddled with stink). The soap cuts grease and other grimies that could be the root of your problems. Don’t know why, but almost every post about this said the original blue formula works best.
4. Detergent soak: Soak your diapers and inserts in a tub of warm water with a couple scoops of detergent, then rinse well. (Okay, this is what I thought stripping was and is the method I’ve used in the past but I think that probably wasn’t very smart since my issue is likely detergent build-up in the first place!).
5. Additives: Some experts recommend adding other products to your wash cycle occasionally to strip your diapers. Additives like baking soda, RLR, Oxi-Clean Baby, Bac Out, vinegar or Calgon are said to help depending on your problems. Bleach could be a last resort on the inserts only. I’ve actually tried bleach and it did work for a while – you need just a little; I think I used a couple tablespoons for like 18 inserts. I have two warnings about this, however: 1) You have is to rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse after using any of these additives to remove any residues that could harm your baby. Start with a little and gradually add more if necessary, and 2) Be careful – many of these “tricks” could voice your warranty. Check with your cloth diaper manufacturer first before doing anything – or do it at your own risk.
I’m sure there are other very effective methods of stripping, but these are the most popular. Except for what it might do to my water bill, I think the rinsing method is the safest and what I will be trying for the first round of stripping (I always do extra rinses when I wash but I never check the level of bubbles). Oh, and I should probably say that most diaper manufacturers have rules about what you can use on their products. Some additives or detergents may void your warranty, so check it out before you try anything.
Another thing I learned is that I probably need to strip my diapers much more regularly than I have been doing – like once a month – to try and keep the stink away.
So there you have it – stripping your cloth diapers in a nutshell. If I’ve learned anything from my cloth diaper experiment is that patience and persistence pays off.
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.