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Stripping Cloth Diapers

image of washing machine
You will need to strip your diapers if you have residue or diaper odor. Residue can be caused by hard water, diapers than are not cleaned or rinsed thoroughly, detergents, or from greasy products such as diaper creams or fabric softeners. You could also have soap scum if you use a non-approved soap or detergent. Following are the instructions for diaper stripping. Strip only as needed, as it can be harsh on your diapering products.   Standard machines: Maximum load size is 24 XS/S or 18 M/L diapers. Starting with clean diapers:
  1. Fill machine with Hot water on the highest water level, using a heavy cycle.
  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of Dawn Classic dish soap to the wash water and agitate for about 10 seconds.
  3. Add diapers and run wash cycle, adding two extra warm rinses.
  4. If the rinse water is slimy or has any bubbles during the last rinse, you should add another rinse.
HE machines: Dawn dish soap is NOT low sudsing. Please do not use dish soap in a High Efficiency machine, as this will most likely void the warranty on your machine. You will need to use a top loading machine or the bathtub to strip with Dawn dish soap. If you need to strip your diapers in an HE machine, you can use RLR. This can be found online. Maximum load size is 15 XS/S or 12 M/L diapers. Start with clean diapers, and follow instructions on the RLR package. *RLR can be harsh on components, especially Aplix fasteners. Please use only when needed. Important: If you have residue on your diapers, you will want to strip the diapers but also take care of what is causing the problem. First make sure you are using the correct wash instructions. If you are not using a recommended detergent, you will want to strip your diapers and change to acloth diaper safe detergent. Make sure that if you use a diaper cream that it is cloth diaper safe. You may want to use a liner when using diaper creams. For hard water, you will need to use a water softener such as Calgon Water Softener or 1/4 cup baking soda to your wash load. Please send any questions to
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  • Do you find vinegar works as enough of a water softener?

    Arnamentia on
  • I’m with Lindsay, I used cloth diapers for 4 kids and NEVER had an issue with stains, stink (other than the diaper pail-which was solved with deodorant cakes) or residue. Hot water, quality detergent and extra rinse worked the best. When I was using laundromat machines I rinsed them by hand first then full wash. With a touch of laundry booster or bleach (too much and you destroy the fibres) and your diapers will be just fine. Don’t over think stuff moms!

    Beth on
  • I just purchaed a bunch of used cloth diapers so this is very helpful! Thanks!

    Ashley Lindberg on
  • Needed this! Thanks for the info!

    Darian B. on
  • I’m sorry, but Dawn is for dishes, not fabric. I am appalled at the number of “experts” telling moms to put dish soap in their washing machines!!! Stop the madness, people!!! If you stop and think about it, you’ll realize that you’ll use so much freakin’ water to get the Dawn out of the machine it HAD to do something! :( Or you could have saved your water and just used a really good detergent like Tide (a REGUALR scoop full, too…you are washing pee and poop out of fabric, after all!) and a few extra rinses if you’re worried about residue. Seriously. I have cloth diapered for ten years now, and this is getting ridiculous. I am posting all over the place because I want moms to know it is NOT rocket science to clean diapers. I even live in a super hard water area with no water softener and the only time I have to “strip” is about half-way through my little ones’ cloth diapering days. I wash my clean diapers once with some concentrated washing soda (a real fabric cleaning agent) and do a few extra hot rinses. That’s it. No stink, no battling ammonia and rashes. And if you don’t leave pee and poop saturated fabric (you wouldn’t do that to clothing, right?) laying around for more than two days I am just betting you might kick all those problems in the rear. I did, and I sincerely hope y’all do, too. Blessings to you all you mamas out there! <3

    Lindsay on

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