Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stripping Diapers

I guess that one of the unspoken aspects of cloth diapering is that as much as we all love them, there are flaws with every system. Don't believe me? Go to the cloth diaper review sites and check out what other moms have to say. There just isn't a perfect diaper out there- no matter who tells you otherwise... However, just like so many things in life, you have to weigh the pros and cons. For me, the positives far outweighed the negatives. We have been successfully cloth diapering for 2 years in October and I wouldn't go back to disposables for anything. I enjoy the little nuisances of cloth diapering and am secretly amused when folks look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them that I am using cloth for not one, but two babies simultaneously. For me, it is just worth it. It's worth not having diaper rash. It's worth not exposing my kids to unnecessary chemicals like dioxin (which is banned in most countries). It's worth it to me to save thousands of dollars to put towards other important things like education, fresh natural foods, and quality toys made out of sustainable, non toxic materials in places other than China.

But one of my least favorite activities regarding cloth diapering is stripping them. I have stripped my diapers four times now, on average every 6 months. And there are various ways to tell if you need to strip your diapers. First, if you have used any sort of diaper cream on your baby's bottom and the diaper is no longer absorbent you should strip it. If you can smell immediately that your baby has peed in her diaper, it's time to strip. If your baby is soaking through diapers at a more rapid rate than usual or if your baby's clothes are wet every time they pee, it may be time to strip them.

You will need a few things to get started:

A workplace for your diapers in your sink or bathtub that is a convenient height (to avoid killing your back. I don't know about you, but carrying two babies and playing sports has made my lower back a lot more sensitive than it used to be). I used my dish drainer (which I realize is kind of gross) flipped upside down. Don't worry, I sanitized it afterward. You could easily have one that you use exclusively for this purpose.
Then you need a scrubber of some sort. An old toothbrush is fine. I used a large scrubby thing that my husband found for me.

Finally, you need Dawn. Not the expensive smelly makes-your-hands-feel-like-you've-just-had-a-mani-Dawn, but the Original blue Dawn that you can buy at the dollar store for fifty cents.

Take each diaper and wet it with warm water, and put a small amount of Dawn on it.

Scrub the Dawn into the diaper and make sure to move it into the fabric at several different angles to allow the detergent to remove all the deposits.

Rinse thoroughly and place the diaper in a pail. Repeat with each diaper. After you have completed this step, take your diapers to the washer and put them in for a rinse.

Then do a full cycle with a tiny amount of your regular detergent (I love Allen's Naturally) with about 1/8 cup of bleach. Hang them out to dry. Don't think about it again for 6-8 months!!


  1. i havent stripped yet, but not looking forward to it. thanks for your post though - I'll be coming back to it when it's time for me to do the deed!

  2. Yeh, I can't say it's my favorite, but if that is what it takes for their upkeep, it's a small price. I can do all 40 or so of our diapers in about an hour... not fun by any means, but once it's done I don't think about it again for a long time! Good luck with yours, Jackie!

  3. No stripping (of diapers) here either but I do add a few squirts of Dawn to my wash. It's been 11 months and no issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!