Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tried and True, Or: The Dawn-in-the-Sink Diaper Stripping Method

So, you think you need to strip your diapers. Either they're stinky, or they're repelling liquid, or they're just not working for you. Stripping your diapers can give them a new lease on [butt]life. Before you go straight to stripping, make sure you check the fit of your problem dipes, at the legs and waist. Diapers that are too loose can allow liquid to leak as baby shifts around, or if the diaper is unevenely stuffed, with the insert bunching up on one side. Make sure they're not too tight also, because that can cause "compression leaks", where the dipe absorbs just fine, but the liquid is actually *squished* out of the absorbant insert. Like squeezing a soaking wet sponge. With your baby's bottom. 

SO! If you're still in need of a fool-proof stripping method, try this.

You'll need:

  • Your problem diaper covers. Make sure they're "clean" first; wash them however you would normally. It doesn't matter if they're wet or dry, just not straight from the dirty pail! 
  • Plain blue Dawn dish washing liquid. No Oxy-, no anti-bac, no nothing. I only use the plain blue kind, because I know for sure that it works.
  • An empty sink, or bathtub.
  • Plenty of water
  • Your washing machine (to rinse, rinse, rinse at the end)
  • Stockpot of boiling water (just for good measure)

(If you want to make sure they're extra super-duper clean, boil your biggest stockpot of water while you're stripping them, we'll come back to it later.)

Put your covers in the sink. Fill the sink with enough water to cover the diapers you're stripping. Grab a wet cover, squirt a few drops of Dawn on it, and scrub it against itself. Rinse as much soap out of the covers as you can in the sink, then dump 'em in the washer Hot water wash, and set load size to "Large". If you have an HE washer, set to "bulky items" as this will trick your washer into using more water per load, which will help rinse your diapers easier. [If you boiled water at the beginning, here's where it comes in: Let washer fill, then dump the whole pot in. Make sure there's already water covering the dipes, or the super hot water may damage them.]  Run through regular wash/rinse cycles (DON'T ADD SOAP) until there are no more lingering bubbles in the water. Hang dry. 

The End! 

I usually wash all the covers, and then rinse them all together, but if you're cramped for space, you could wash one, rinse it, and then set it aside while you do the next one.

If you have any questions about this method, Please email me: MamaSuperPow@gmail.com or better yet, Tweet me: MamaSuperPow

Happy Diapering!


  1. Seems like a major waste of a precious commodity--water. The diaper is just going back on a butt to get pooped and peed on again. Why does it need to be so clean? Only 1% of the water on this earth is drinkable and comes out of the tap. The processing it takes to get that water clean is major. So I guess one has to weigh water waste vs. plastic waste. Or just go with diapers that aren't rinsed so much. I know that diapers are different now, but when I was a baby, I know my mom didn't rinse so many times. And she saved her rinse water to use again and again. My butt turned out fine--a bit bigger than I hoped, but no other problems.

  2. Thanks for this post! I haven't had to strip my diapers with Dawn but I had NO CLUE how to do it.

    As for the "waste," it's a big ol' waste of money to keep purchasing disposable diapers that sit in landfills for eternity. I've already save close to $1000 by using cloth diapers. Yeah, you have to choose between using a lot of water or spending a lot of money & filling up landfills. The choice was easy for me.

  3. The good thing is, if you strip properly the first time, you shouldn't have to use so much water on a regular basis! Stripping isn't something that should be done often, if ever. I use about the same amount of water to wash diapers as I do a regular load of clothes. (I just add a soak at the beginning for a load of diapers.) That said, I've tried to cut back on the number of cloth diapers we wash by letting my son use the potty. There is always going to be some sort of trade off when it comes to impact on the environment. We just have to do what we feel is best and most practical for us. :)

  4. Great post! I have stripped my cloth diapers using blue dawn before, but wasn't sure if I did it the "right" way.

    Reusing rinse water? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....