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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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  • Why Dawn Classic versus the many other dishwashing liquids out there?

    “Maximum load size is 18 XS/S or 24 M/L diapers.”

    Are you sure that’s not backwards?

    SarahD on
  • Thanks for the comments, ladies! I am glad if it was helpful.

    Yes, Sarah, I had that backwards, and I fixed it! 24 XS/S or 18 M/L diapers! Sorry about that!

    The 2 Tablespoons of Dawn (yes, the Classic works the best), is for the largest load setting. You need to make sure it is on the highest water level. :)


    Sonya on
  • This is great because ive never been told 2 tablespoons of dawn. I’ve just been told a couple drops which is obviously hard to determine a good amount.

    Also, you recommend 24 diapers max and ive never stripped more than 15 at a time because I had no idea of the size

    You also are the first company to suggest calgon for hard water. Not enough people ive asked have used it for me to try to use it. I have 37 cloth diapers so I was nervous of ruining them on accident by using a product not many people knew helped clean diapers and helped hard water.

    Thanks Thirsties!
    Love your diapers and especially this post :)

    michelle bardos on
  • Tips for using diaper creams – first off you all know how good Thirsties Booty love is but sometimes you run out and before you get it in the mail you have to use something from the grocery store.

    I have learned that yes you have to use a cloth layer above your Thirsties super absorbent diaper, but in my case that was not enough. I learned that I have to wash that cloth layer totally separate from all of my other Thirsties diapers. If I washed the cloth layer with the diaper cream on it with the other diapers it would just mix the diaper cream with them all. Then I would have to strip ALL of my diapers by hand to fully remove the diaper cream residue. So just an FYI – wash anything with diaper cream on it separate from your other diapers. Of course just to clarify – the first wash only… once the cloth layer with the diaper cream is washed it is fine to be washed with the rest of your Thirsties diapers.

    Natasha Walker on
  • If you can’t use a machine or it is not fully doing the job you can try what I do since I too can’t use my machine due to warranty.

    I first wash the diapers like I normally do and then I dry them. After they are somewhat to fully dry (your choice) I get a big pot that I use for soups and fill it halfway with water (so I can lift it and pour it safely later) and I bring that water to a rapid boil. I then take my dry/almost dry diapers from the dryer and place them in the (stopped up) sink. I then take 1-2 tbsp of Dawn liquid dish soap (it HAS to be Dawn) and lightly pour it across the diapers. I generally use 1 tbsp per 10 diapers. I then mix the diapers up to attempt to spread the dawn out to the bottom as well as the top.

    Then I carefully pour the boiling water slowly onto the diapers in the sink. They will soak up alot of the water so as soon as you are done fill the pot again and boil… even if you don’t need it for this… you will need it later :). If you do need it now be sure to fill it back up after this and start to boil again.

    I use a big spoon or whatever you like to mix the diapers around in the hot hot water. I let them soak for 5-10 minutes, then comes the get your hands wet part. I use a medium sized thin plastic chopping block (you can even buy them at the dollar store, walmart, and any other store that carries dishware). I take each diaper one by one and place it on the block and with a soft dish scrubbing brush you can buy at your local grocery store I gently scrub each diaper… very gently people… don’t be mad at your husband when you do this! :) I scrub both sides and place it in an empty container. After I scrub all of them (again gently – make sure mother in law in not in town when you do this :) I then let all the water out of the sink. I rinse the diapers out by hand under the warm running water and then after they are all rinsed out I plug the sink back up and place all the wet diapers back in. You are done with the Dawn so skip that and go straight to pan with the boiling water. Gently pour it on top of the diapers. Again use a big spoon, spatula, or whatever you like and stir the diapers in the water real good. Let them soak for 5 minutes and then pull the plug and start to drain the sink. Wring by hand gently each diaper and put into a container so that you can transport them back to the washer without spills or drips.

    All that is left is to wash them without detergent and dry them.

    That is it. I do this every 4-5 months and never have problems with absorbency or smell. Next post will be about using diaper cream with disposables.

    Natasha Walker on

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