Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Don't worry! I haven't begun a new profession. Although I'm sure I would make more money doing that than my job. haha Dang morals. Anywho! So Stripping in the cloth diaper world has a whole different meaning. If you are a cloth diapering mom or dad you probably know what this is but if not this post is going to save your sanity. Even if you already know about stripping there might be something new for you to learn.

Stripping your cloth diapers gets rid of the extra build up that forms overtime that reduces the absorbency of your diapers. The build up is what causes, rash, leaks, repelling and stink.  So what is the build up? It can come from using the wrong detergent, too much detergent, hard water and just using them for a long period of time. Ideally you should strip your diapers every couple months.

Sean and I have been in constant battle with diaper rash on Noah. We have been going back and forth between cloth and disposables for the last two months. Every time a rash would come we would stop using the cloth and would load Noah's bum with aquaphor and the rash would be gone in 3 or 4 days. Then we would go back to using cloth diapers and a couple days later the rash would be back with a vengeance. On top of that our cloth diapers were stinky (major ammonia issues), stained and nonabsorbent. We were having leaks and Noah was getting rashes from the wet just sitting on his skin. To say the least we were pretty frustrated cloth diapering parents! We didn't want to give up cloth but we also really didn't want to see our Noah in pain. When we wiped his bum he would sometimes cry. It was getting ridiculous. We had stripped our diapers many, many, many times with no luck. They still smelled afterward and still weren't as absorbent as they were when they were new.  So Aunt Jessica came to our rescue! She showed me a youtube video of a mother stripping her diapers in a way I hadn't heard of before. This saved our cloth diapering experience and most importantly Noah's bum.
This is what our diapers were like before stripping them. See those little dots? Thats water I dumped on them. They just sat on top of the insert!! So not what is supposed to happen.

There are many ways of stripping. Here are a few:

1. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse!: Run the inserts and diapers through several hot wash and soak cycles with no detergent until there are no more soap bubbles. (we had done this before and in the beginning it worked perfectly. After a year of using cloth it was no longer enough for these diapers) 

2. Scrub: Use a small brush and some dawn dish soap to scrub each insert. I haven't tried this but it seams like entirely too much work for me to want to do. But I have seen it all over the place. Mom's are obsessed with dawn soap. If it can help ducks in oil spills it can do anything I guess! haha.

3. Detergent soak; Soak your diapers and inserts in a tub of warm water with some detergent, then rinse really well.

 Now 4 and 5 I had not heard of doing before but this is what I did just 2 days ago and I am thrilled with the results!

4. Boil
5. Additives

So what the magical youtube that Jessica saved me with said to do was to boil my inserts and then wash them with some calgon to help with hard water.

It turns out my issues were that we were using the wrong kind of detergent and that we have hard water at our house. Both of those factors made our inserts lose their absorbency because they had build up of hard water minerals and detergent and even ammonia from the pee! Gross! Thats why they still stank even after a wash. So here are the steps I took.

1. Wash the diapers and inserts in the washer with hot water and detergent. We use Charley's soap. (now)

2.  Get a large stock pot and boil the inserts only! (boiling will ruin the PUL in your covers) with Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. I didn't like the idea of using one that I will use again for food so I went to Savers and bought a used one and tongs for $5. Pretty darn cheap! I fit about 10 inserts and used 1 1/2 cups of washing soda. I had to do 4 batches to get all of my inserts. When boiling the inserts puff up. That means its working. It is getting all the nasty minerals, pee, and detergent and other build up into the water and out of the inserts making the inserts absorbent again! ****Warning**** Its going to stink. Don't worry thats the stink leaving the inserts.
My Awesome Stock pot! 

3.  After each batch  use the tongs to pick up your inserts. Hold them over the pot for a couple seconds and let the excess water drip off the insert. Then I places them into a garbage bag.

This is all the yuckyness that is left after each batch. Each time you obviously start with new water. I can't believe that stuff was on Noah's bum. No wonder he kept getting such bad rashes. 

4. After all my inserts were done boiling the grosseness and all in the garbage bag I dumped them into the sink. From the sink I put the garbage bag on them and pushed down so the rest of the water would come out.

5.  Then in the washer they went, with the covers this time. In the washer I put half the amount I would normally use of detergent, and Calgon to fight the hard water.

6.After they were washed I put them through rinse cycles until all the soap bubbles were gone. It took 4 rinse cycles for the water to be clear.

All together this process took about 2 1/2 hours. I was slow because I was watching netflix haha.  It may seem long but it was totally worth it. Now our diapers are clean and as good as new. Seriously! They are white as white and so very very soft again. Also they are absorbent again. No more stink, no more build up, no more rash!! This means a happy rash free baby and happy happy cloth diapering parents again! 

Here is a before and after picture. The right one is the like new pretty beautiful smelling insert. The left is is icky insert before the magical process.

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