Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cloth Diapers: Stripping Cloth diapers.

Every once in a while cloth diapers need to be stripped to keep them in good working condition and clean. It removes buildup of detergent, oils, or minerals. There are many things that can build up on your diapers that can make them less absorbent.

What causes Diaper Buildup?

     Detergent Buildup: The most common reason to strip your diapers is detergent buildup. You know if you need to do this if they smell a little funny coming out of the dryer or stink really bad in the morning or when they are just wet. The diaper will smell stronger when it needs to be stripped than a normal wet diaper.Two ways to reduce detergent buildup is to use a little less detergent than it calls for or to use a cloth diaper detergent. 

Fabric Softener Buildup- The job of fabric softener is to stick to fabric. This would make your diapers less absorbent. In general I would avoid using fabric softener with your diapers because of this but it can cause buildup if used with cloth diapers. 

Mineral Buildup- Your diapers may get mineral buildup if you have hard water. They may look dingy and smell bad when newly wet.

Diaper Rash Cream buildup- Any cream can cause build up. It is generally recommended to use baby powder when possible. If you are using creams however, it is a good idea to use a fleece or disposable liner.

How often should I strip my cloth diapers:

We strip our cloth diapers ever three to four months, but every month or so I run then on an extra cycle just to keep caught up on it.

What do I need?

Method 1:  You'll need some liquid dawn dish detergent (blue formula) and some bleach. Use 1 teaspoon for high efficiency washers and 1 tablespoon for normal washers. Wash your diapers once in super hot water. Then you'll add 1/2 cup of bleach to the wash cycle.

Then do a couple more rinses with no detergent or soap in it to get them completely rinsed free of the bleach. If there is suds at the end of the cycle, keep rinsing.

Method 2:  Set your washing machine on a heavy duty cycle with a hot wash and don't add any detergent. Add your clean cloth diapers. When the washer is done filling and begins to agitate, open the lid and check for an suds. If you see any or a layer of film you will want to repeat the wash cycle until you no longer see any detergent in the water during agitation.

Method 3:  Another option is RLR. This is a water softener and is available in most major grocery stores and online. It is free of harsh and harmful chemicals. It acts by removing mineral deposits and detergent build up. You will want to wash your clean cloth diapers on a hot wash with one package of RLR added to the wash.  Continue washing and rinsing on the hot cycle until you don't see any more suds in the washer. 

Method 4: Baking soda and Vinegar. You can put a little bit of baking soda in with the wash and fill a downy ball to the correct mark with white vinegar and put it in your wash. It will release during the first rinse cycle. Include a second rinse cycle to the wash. This is a great way to wash All in one and pocket diapers.

After looking at a few different ways I decided to try method number 4: Baking soda and vinegar. I wanted to see if it worked before trying the others. They came out looking pretty good and without the smell straight from the dryer. 

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