Introduction: Got the FUNK??? How to Strip/Clean Cloth Diapers

Ok, so I don't care what the diaper companies tell you or what other people claim. At some point in time,  your cloth diapers might not smell April Fresh, even right after laundering. My husband & I refer to this as the "Funky cold medina." This funk, usually means that they have build-up & need to be stripped. Build-up occurs when residue left by detergents, oils or other substances remain in the fibers or you have really hard water (such as, well water-thats us). Diapers with  hemp or microfleece usually hold in the funk more easily than diapers with all-natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. Build-up can also cause your diapers to lose their absorbancy and even leak. Does this mean your cloth diapers are ruined forever??? Nope, they just need a good thorough stripping( and not the dancing kind).

Step 1: Important Information

1. It is important to note that you should only ever use detergents especially made for cloth diapers & never use more than is recommended.

2. Do not leave your diapers for days on end in whatever your using to keep them in. You can cause them to start growing mold not to mention yucky bacteria.

3. Keep a couple of RLR Laundry Treament pouches on hand for stripping your diapers. I've also heard you can use Calgon(only half the recommended amount the bottle says) but I have never tried it.

4. If all else fails to get rid of the Funky cold medinas, use 1/4 cup bleach  Yes, it does work & I have used it several times with no side effects. Here's a couple of links on bleach & cloth diapers. Now with that being said, there are lots of links telling you not to use bleach. Just like any debate, decide for yourself.

http://www.clorox.com/blogs/dr-laundry/2008/08/19/dispelling-bleach-myths-for-cloth-diapers/

http://www.bumgenius.com/help.php under  #8 Do you have any other washing tips?

http://mamanatural.com/how-to-strip-your-cloth-diapers/





 

Step 2: The Diapers...

If your diapers are soiled/dirty, please make sure to do your normal wash cycle routine first before Stripping them. Since the water is soo hot for stripping, it can cause stains to set in. And who wants stained undies... For hard to treat stains I usually set them outside and let the sun bleach them out for me. I've also left them stain side down in the grass and left them overnight. Something about dew & damp grass, etc. I don't question Mother Nature and how she works...

So... with clean, washed diapers, let's start the stripping prcoess. Oh, by the way, you don't have to dry the diapers after you've cleaned them since they are getting washed again.

Step 3: Getting Started

These are my diapers(pic 1). I keep them in the bathroom in a simple container, nothing fancy. I always rinse all of my diapers before putting them into the diaper container. If they are stained, I always rinse them really, really well and set them outside for a good ol' sun bleaching first before putting them into the diaper container. If I know I won't be getting to my diapers to wash them in a day or two, I always add 1/4 cup vinegar and enough water to the diaper container to cover the diapers. This helps prevent that yucky bacteria or mold I talked about earlier. Once a month it's a good preventative to strip your diapers, this will help stop funky cold medina before it starts. I also use a top loader as I find my front loading machine does not do a good job on my diapers, but I have heard other people say differently.

STEP 1
Doing a Hot Wash ONLY (NO Detergent,  bleach or RLR)_

- Up your water heater temperature( be sure to turn it back down afterwards) or fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil
Since you will have to lift this pot, make sure its not too big or heavy or have a large container you can pour the boiling water into.

-Take your diapers(don't add diaper covers) and add them to the washing machine, try to spread them evenly around.

- Set your washing settings
you'll want the most amount of water, the hottest setting, the longest run time & extra rinses

- Start the washing machine & add your boiling water( if using pot method)

- Stop the machine during the rinse cycle & see if  there are soap bubbles or film on the surface of the water 

   this is what's making your diapers STINK

- Rinse, rinse rinse...
Continue running rinse cycles and peaking for soap bubbles until the water is completely clear. This may take several rinses. I've had to do as many as 7 rinses. Make sure you're not confusing soap bubbles with agitation bubbles. Soap bubbles will remain when you pause the rinse cycle(See pic). Agitation bubbles all disappear.

- Dry in the Sun and fluff in dryer
you'll know if you just needed a HOT wash strip, if the diapers no longer stink the 1st time they are peed in. If this is not the case,  you need to try stripping method # 2. Move on to next step.

Step 4: Still Got the FUNK After Method #1

STEP 2: Hot Wash with RLR (no detergent)

So you did the Hot wash method and you thought the diapers smelled Apirl fresh & then your kids pee'd  and the diaper smelled like funky cold medina Again! Time to try Stripping Method #2

- Up your water heater temperature( be sure to turn it back down afterwards) or fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil
Since you will have to lift this pot, make sure its not too big or heavy or have a large container you can pour the boiling water into.

-Take your diapers(don't add the  diaper covers) & add them to the washing machine, try to spread them evenly around.
adding your diapers covers to stripping processing can cause cracking or even melting of the plastic lining. Plus diaper covers don't hold in the funk

- Set your washing settings
you'll want the most amount of water, the hottest setting, the longest run time & extra rinses

- Sprinkle 1 entire package of RLR onto the diapers

- Start the washing machine & add your boiling water( if using pot method)

- Rinse, rinse rinse...

Continue running rinse cycles and peaking to make sure all the RLR is gone. It will look like soap bubbles, but RLR is not soap or detergent.. This may take several rinses.(See Pic)

- Dry in the Sun and fluff in dryer
you'll know if you just needed a  RLR HOT wash strip, if the diapers no longer stink the 1st time they are peed in. If this is not the case,  you need to try stripping method # 3. Move on to next step.

Step 5: Bringing Out the BIG GUNS...

When you've tried the Hot wash and the RLR and those have failed to get ri of the Funky Cold Medina, It's time to use Method #3... 1/4 Cup Bleach.  I always use the first 2 methods everytime before I resort to the bleach. Using the RLR, usually works 90% of the time. But I have used the bleach method on my colored diapers with no ill effects. Also, doing a HOT Wash stripping once a month will greatly help reduce if not illiminate the funk most of the time.

STEP 3: Hot Wash with Bleach(no detergent)

- Follow Method 2 but pour in 1/4 bleach instead of RLR.

- RINSE, rinse, rinse & then rinse some more....

- Line dry in the sun, fluff in the dryer..

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