How to Strip Cloth Diapers the Easy Way

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
January 29, 2024
Baby Wearing Diaper

I caught on to cloth diapers rather quickly after becoming a mom, and I ventured into this new world of wrapping butts. When I realized cloth diapers were not as much work as I expected, I had no issue with the care and upkeep, including learning how to strip cloth diapers.

No one told me how much babies poop before I had kids. It seemed their favorite time to poop was right after a bath and when they were in their pajamas. I was also not prepared for the cost of diapers, and I went through so many.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers: You Want Me to Wash What?

Clothed Diaper 1 1
Image source: pixabay

Parents often look at the cost of making the switch. Cloth diapers don’t seem to be cost-efficient upfront, but over time the savings add up.

For me, the idea of tossing diapers in the trash didn’t fit with my plans of being an eco-warrior, either.

Despite my initial reservations, cloth diapers soon won out. Using cloth diapers turned out to be easy. My kids are older now, and the diaper scene is far behind us. I still advocate for cloth diapers, as do many experts.

Wow, That Stinks

Now that you have decided to venture into the world of cloth diapers, you need to have some necessary skills in maintaining them. Fortunately, it takes more work to run out for diapers when you unexpectedly run out than it is to take care of cloth.

Maty's All Natural Baby Ointment

Learning how to strip cloth diapers is one of those tasks that are necessary on occasion to remove the build-up of detergent and diaper cream or ointment. You can usually tell it is time because they lose some absorbency, and they start holding onto odors.

Stripping 101

bab diaper
Image source: pixabay

It's so hard!

Knowing how to strip cloth diapers in hard water takes a little bit of background knowledge. The minerals in hard water make soap less effective.

You will need to start with clean diapers. Fill your washer with very hot water. Many parents turn their hot water heater down to prevent accidental scalding of young children. This would be an opportunity to turn it back up, but please remember to adjust to a lower temperature when finished.

Do not add detergent to your washing machine but add a washing soda to prevent the minerals of hard water from taking up residence in your cloth diapers.

After the wash cycle, rinse the diapers. You will want to keep rinsing until there is no evidence of bubbles in the water. Expect to rinse a few times. The amount of suds that came out of my cloth diapers always surprised me.

What if it's soft?

Stripping your diapers in soft water is a little easier due to the mineral content of the water.

You will follow the same instructions as above, but you do not need to worry about issues with the minerals in the water.

Sometimes I traveled and it became necessary to wash my diapers in hard water. With extended trips, I noticed I had to strip the diapers as if I had hard water to remove the mineral build-up. A couple of washes in hard water did not seem to be an issue, though.

You down with RLR?

RLR Natural Powder Laundry Detergent

A popular option for stripping and refreshing cloth diapers is a product called RLR Natural Powder Laundry Detergent. This product works with hard water and is safe for sensitive skin and septic systems.

Read the instructions for how much RLR to use depending on your machine. After the wash, keep rinsing your diapers until you no longer see any suds in the rinse water.

The original, please

There is another way to strip diapers, and I always looked at this method as a last resort. Original dawn dish soap is a fantastic degreaser, and I had luck with it pulling out grossness from my cloth diapers.

I let my diapers soak in Dawn, and gave them a quick rinse by hand before adding them in my top loader. It is possible to use a small amount of Dawn in the washer, though. Just be careful and check your washing machines warranty info.

Add some bleach to your wash and run your diapers through a hot cycle and repeat a few rinses until the suds disappear.

For a video that walks you through this option, click here.

Never Should You Ever

If you are using pocket diapers or other non-absorbent pieces such as covers, they do not need stripping, as they do not have absorbent parts. The inserts for pocket diapers are a different story.

Do not plan on having to do this on the regular. Stripping diapers takes a minute, and it can be hard on diapers. It is fantastic to rejuvenate diapers that have lost their oomph, but it is not a weekly chore.

You will also want to verify the warranty on your diapers. In some cases, the use of unconventional stripping methods may void your warranty.

The Payoff

Clothed Diaper 1
Image source: pixabay

Learning how to strip cloth diapers is just one of those extras we learn to do to keep the wheels moving at home. Once you get into a routine, you can spot the start of trouble and handle those diaper issues rather quickly.

What cloth diaper stripping method works best for you? Answer in the comments!

Featured image source: pixabay

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