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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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  • I wouldn’t use 2 whole tablespoons of Dawn, even in a top loader. It took me nearly 20 rinses to get all the suds out. Very very very frustrating! I did this with a LARGE amount of Craigslist diapers in 4 batches and by the fourth batch, I only used 1/2 TEASPOON of Dawn and it worked just as well. I also had a 1/4 c of bleach (per BumGenius’ website), but I think even that is too much. I’d say 1/8 cup of bleach would work just fine if you’re doing BG diapers. Careful with other brands since I don’t think it’s allowed.

    Seriously though, one extra warm rinse will not get all that Dawn out, especially if you have hard water like me. You’ll be up all night!

    Meredith Smith on
  • Thanks for this helpful article! My hemp prefolds are 6 months old now (along with my daughter!) and they are getting some stains that aren’t coming out. I hadn’t thought of using water softener, but we are in a hard water area, so I just purchased some. Hopefully that will help to get them cleaner! :)

    Jessica on

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