Monday, July 15, 2013

Using Hot water Washes to Strip Cloth Diapers

The simplest way to strip cloth diapers of residual build-up is to use hot water washes.  This method works very well for those who have applied too much detergent to their diapers.  You may notice detergent bubbles in your rinse cycle when too much detergent is added, and those with High Efficiency washers may struggle more with adding excessive detergent.  To remove the detergent from the diapers (or "strip" them), wash the diapers without detergent.  Typically diapers are washed in hot water to help loosen trapped detergent.  It is critical to check with your manufacturer's instructions regarding water temperatures that are safe for their brand of diaper, and to follow their suggested stripping method to avoid damaging diapers and voiding any warranty.

Our experience:

Good method when you've added too much detergent

It is typically recommended to use 1/4 the amount of detergent with your cloth diapers and to use the recommended amount of detergent if using a detergent formulated specifically for cloth diapers.  You may need to fiddle with this amount, as those with soft water or HE machines may need even less detergent.  Those who are new to cloth diapering are more prone to adding excessive detergent.  If you notice bubbles forming during your wash cycle, an immediate wash in hot water (or additional rinsing) can remove this detergent before it creates a build-up issue.

Not a solution to all problems
If you do not notice excessive bubbles coming out of your diapers when washing them without detergent, the diapers may need a more rigorous method of stripping (such as RLR, Dawn, or Oxiclean) to help loosen and remove trapped particles.  While hot water washes or additional rinsing can remove minor build-up problems, issues which have taken months to develop will also take harsher methods to treat. Check with your diaper manufacturer for the preferred method of stripping diapers.  Most manufacturers recommend a secondary method of stripping if hot water washes have failed to resolve the issue.

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