Stripping Diapers

16 fitted diapers

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.

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Fitted Diapers – SALE and Information

fitted cloth diapers

I mailed out a custom order of size Large fitted diapers this week, and am also sewing some for inventory while I’m at it.

So I thought I’d put them on sale for the week. This week and next week only, Fitted diapers are 2 for $20. Can’t beat that with a stick. (Ends 10/19, in stock only, while supplies last.)

I wanted to share with you parts of the email I received from the gal who ordered the custom dipes.

“I had been growing increasingly frustrated with our one-size diapers and the poor fit on [my son]. After his last growth spurt, I decided that was it! I couldn’t stand them any longer! Even though I hope he will potty train soon, I realized I could sell off our current stash of one-size diapers and replace them with your fitteds and still have some money left over, so it’s a win as far as I’m concerned. I bought a two of your large fitteds a few weeks ago, and I’m in love with their fit on my boy. No more leaks, no more gaps, no more bikini fit. I can’t wait to get this order!”

Many families find that one-size diapers don’t provide the fit or performance they’d prefer, or that their little one outgrows them before he or she is ready for potty training. Wallypop Fitted Diapers are the perfect solution to this cloth diapering problem. 🙂

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fitted cloth diapers fitted cloth diapers

What about the environmental impact of laundry?

Tie Dye Experimentation

There is no doubt that laundry causes an environmental impact.

There is no zero-impact method of dealing with human waste. The closest we have come so far would be to use 100% elimination communication with your baby and put their waste into a composting toilet.

That might be out of reach for most families.

Taking as a given that most families will choose to use diapers on their babies (at least part time – even most EC families use diapers some of the time), if we’re looking at what causes the least amount of environmental impact, it seems clear that cloth diapers win.

The Real Diaper Association has an excellent run-down of the various environmental costs of disposable diapering. After looking through that list, two or three loads of laundry per week pales in comparison.

Unfortunately, there have been no good, unbiased studies that compare cloth diapers and disposable diapers in terms of lifecycle impact.

How do I treat diaper rash in cloth diapers?

Before you treat any diaper rash, attempt to determine the cause of the rash, because that will help you decide how to treat it.

If your rash seems to be caused by a reaction to the diapers themselves (redness all over the diaper area), you’ll want to reconsider your wash frequency, your wash routine, your detergent, or the diapers themselves. (Some babies are sensitive to fleece in their diapers – my middle child got a bright red rash every time she had fleece lined diapers on.)

If your rash is caused by an infection – bacterial or fungal – you’ll want to apply appropriate pharmaceuticals or herbals or other natural treatments aimed at these types of infections.

If your rash seems to be the run-of-the-mill irritated skin caused by sitting in a wet diaper too long, heat, or just general irritation, you can treat it with breastmilk (really!), fresh air, and sunlight. Wash baby’s skin with plain water – use running water if the skin is really irritated, rather than using a wipe. And treat baby’s skin with a good-quality diaper rash cream. You can use one that’s safe for cloth diapers (usually sold by cloth diaper companies or labeled as being Cloth Diaper Safe), and not have to do anything special while you’re using it. Or, you can use something that’s not cloth diaper safe and just make sure to use disposable liners between the cream and your diapers. Many families use old cut-up Tshirts and rags for this purpose. If you choose to wash these liners, do NOT wash them with your diapers.

For any rash that doesn’t seem to be responding to regular diaper cream within a reasonable amount of time, or that worsens instead of improving, you will want to consider seeing your child’s doctor. Some rashes warrant a doctor’s opinion.

Do Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash?

Disposable diaper companies would have you believe that rash is caused by feeling wet, but it’s actually caused by a combination of factors, including moisure, heat, and bacteria in the diaper area. Cloth diapers actually breathe better than disposables, and are cooler inside, as well. (And CD families tend to change diapers more frequently, as well, also reducing the moisture and heat inside the diaper.) Desitin has a nice chart showing causes of diaper rash.

Another factor that can contribute to diaper rash is sensitive skin. Disposable diapers contain various chemicals and chemical by-products of the manufacturing process, not to mention the gel substance, which can cause many babies to break out in a rash. Cloth diapers, free from these chemicals, can help clear up rash in babies with sensitive skin.

Even Procter & Gamble’s studies show that diaper rash increases with the increased use of disposable diapers (“A Review of Procter & Gamble’s Environmental Balances for Disposable and Re-usable Nappies” The Landbank Consultancy Limited, 1991).

Regardless of the type of diaper used, newborns should be changed every 2 hours max, and older babies and toddlers should be changed every 2-4 hours. (Generally speaking, disposable diapered babies are changed far less often, partly because it’s hard to tell when they’re wet, and partly because caregivers often feel that the superabsorbent disposables “can hold a lot more” than just one pee.)

Can babies in cloth diapers get a rash? Certainly. Most rashes aren’t attributable to the type of diaper used, and babies in cloth diapers can certainly get rashes just like babies in disposables. There are two types of rashes that are specifically related to cloth diapers – a rash caused by diapers that aren’t getting clean enough or aren’t getting rinsed enough (watch for a future blog post on this subject), and a rash caused by a reaction to the material in the diapers (most commonly, fleece or other synthetics inside the diapers). The solution is a better laundry routine (or different detergent), in the case of the former, or switching the type of diaper you use, in the case of the latter.

Some common causes of rashes are:

– Teething.

– Yeast.

– Heat.

– Bacterial infection.

– Eczema.

– Not changing diapers with enough frequency.

WebMD has a useful article on rashes.