You may be wondering what stripping has to do with cloth diapers. Well, the type of stripping I’m referring to is not the kind that might come to mind although W sure likes to strip off his diaper whenever he can! Stripping your cloth diapers is a washing process that helps remove detergent buildup and other residue that may be causing stink issues or repelling issues. There are a number of ways you can do this and I have read advice on using Dawn dish detergent, baking soda, and soaking your diapers in cloth diaper friendly detergent as ways of getting rid of residue.
In the past, I have gone the soaking method and it did improve the stink issue we were having but after a few months it had returned so I decided to try something that felt a little bit more daring to me – original Dawn dish soap. I have read good reviews of this method and bad ones so proceed at your own risk! You just have to be very diligent throughout this process and keep your eyes on the washing machine.
I started by tossing in all of my stinky microfiber inserts. I had rocked a soak with Rockin’ Green in the past to help reduce some stink in these inserts and it did help but some still remained. I only stripped the inserts this time and I did not include any of the diapers themselves.
Once the washing machine was filled with enough HOT water to cover the inserts, I added just a few drops of Dawn detergent. I didn’t want to use too much and cause trouble in the washing machine. At the last moment I did add one extra drop because I got worried I hadn’t added enough!
Then I turned on the machine and closed the lid so it would begin to agitate. I peered in more than a few times to see what was going on and to make sure that we weren’t going to be attacked by bubbles. It wasn’t even close to being out of control so my fears were laid to rest. Once I felt safe about the Dawn in the washing machine, I let the cycle run with an added rinse.
The most important thing to remember while stripping cloth diapers with Dawn is that you need to be sure that you get all of the soap out of the diapers!
After the first cycle, I ran the diapers again with an extra rinse. Then I repeated it a third time to make sure that all of the suds were out of the inserts. I figured it was better to be safe and do one too many rinses rather than not doing enough!
I have to say that there was definitely an improvement in my inserts in terms of the stink. The color wasn’t much better. I was hoping they would come out of the dryer looking fresh and revived but they didn’t really. When I use vinegar in the wash, I get a much fresher feel but the strip with Dawn really seemed to get rid of some of the stink. Yes, you might notice I didn’t say all of the stink. Some of the inserts still have a slight odor and this is something I have read can be common with microfiber inserts. I did end up bleaching a few of the Bum Genius inserts that still had an odor based on the directions found on the Bum Genius website and that helped them a bit more.
I am glad I took the time to try this and it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be! I think my next step is to sun all of my inserts to try to get rid of the last of the faint, lingering odors. I will let you know how it goes!
Have you ever stripped your cloth diapers? What method worked for you? Are you battling stink in your microfiber inserts? How do you plan to try and resolve the issue?