What does it mean to strip your diapers? It’s essentially working with your diapers to remove anything that might be lurking in the fibers – detergent, residue, diaper cream, fabric softener, etc.
When do you need to strip your diapers? Stripping is most commonly used when parents start noticing their diapers just don’t smell that great any more. The long-term solution is a better wash routine, but stripping can help remove the gunk that’s been left by your old wash routine. You might also want to strip your diapers if you’ve inadvertently used a product on them that isn’t compatible with cloth diapers – like fabric softener, or non-CD safe diaper creams. If you’ve noticed your diapers getting less absorbent over time, that’s a good sign that you need to strip, as well.
There are a few different ways to strip your diapers.
1. The easiest way, if you are only trying to remove old soap, is to wash your (clean) diapers in hot water several times without detergent until you no longer see bubbles in the rinse water.
2. The Blue Dawn way. If you’re trying to remove greasy build-up (softener or diaper cream) or you have diapers that use synthetic fabrics, you might have better luck using Blue Dawn. I personally recommend using Dawn for HAND washing and scrubbing ONLY and NOT in the washer. Others say it’s ok to put a teaspoon or two in your washing machine. Do this at your own risk – obviously, Dawn is not intended for washing machines. You might void your warranty, you might ruin your washer. I’ve warned you. After you use Dawn, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse.
3. The Dishwasher. Some families strip their diapers in the dishwasher. Dishwashers have their own water heater to heat the water hotter than the water that comes out of your tap, which does make for superior stripping, but can also harm your diapers. I’ve read in a few places (blogs like this one without any citations) that it can be a fire hazard – I’m not really sure how, but now I’ve passed that along.
4. Boiling Water. If you have all natural fiber diapers without snaps, you might consider boiling them. I’ve never done this. It seems like a LOT of work. But if you want to do it, get on with your bad self.