Sunday, February 17, 2013

Using Dawn dish soap to strip cloth diapers

Stripping cloth diapers with Dawn dish soap is another popular method for removing build-up from diapers.  Dawn is especially effective at breaking down oils, and it will break up deposits on diapers that can cause repelling. Because of the limited ingredients, Dawn is specifically recommended over other dish soaps and is often recommended for stripping fleece-lined pocket diapers.  Dawn is also a good last resort if a non-cloth-diaper-safe rash cream (usually containing zinc) was applied and used with your cloth diapers.

To strip pocket diapers using Dawn:

1. Begin with clean diapers (wash diapers as usual if necessary)
2. If stripping fleece lined pocket diapers, squirt some Dawn onto the fleece lining and gently rub it around using a toothbrush.  Brush both the inside and outside of the fleece lining to remove all the oily build-up.
3. After brushing, soak the diapers and inserts in warm water for 20-30minutes to help break down remaining oil.
4. Wash the diapers without detergent
5. Rinse until no bubbles appear

Our experience:

A labor of love to remove build-up

Stripping cloth diapers using the "Dawn and toothbrush method" is labor intensive.  If you have a large stash of cloth diapers, it may take hours to fully complete the process.  Dawn is very effective at removing oil from diapers: be it oil from wipe solution, or natural oils deposited from baby's skin.  If you are looking for a good method to break down oil, this is a great way to do it.

Relief from rash cream woes

If you've used a non-cloth diaper safe rash cream with your cloth diapers, all is not lost.  You can salvage the functionality of your diapers by using this method, however light staining from the cream will remain.  Be sure to avoid repelling and staining by using cloth diaper liners in combination with rash creams, and notifying daycare providers that only cloth-diaper-safe cream can be used on your child.

Use care when scrubbing

Be careful not to over-scrub your diapers when using the toothbrush.  You want to apply enough pressure to foam the dish soap into the fabric layer, but not so much pressure as to damage the fabric or create thin spots.  If you have older diapers with fleece that has thinned, you will need to be especially cautious.  You may find it better to lightly rub Dawn into the fabric using just your fingers, and soak diapers for a longer period of time.  Because scrubbing could damage fabric, this method of stripping should be used with care and, preferably, infrequently.

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