stripping diapers, part 2

We are continuing our stripping discussion, this week being “how to strip” if reading last week’s post makes you think you need to strip. I do want to throw one more tidbit in, it drives me a little batty when I see websites promoting the “water drip test” to see if your diapers are repelling. The idea being you dribble a few drops of water on the diaper, if it doesn’t sink in right away the diapers need to be stripped. The truth is I can do this on my perfectly fine pocket diapers and you won’t see it sink in, the pressure of the baby against the diaper pushes urine into it, so don’t rely on that test to see if you have buildup and need to strip.

There was a method that was very popular a few years ago in stripping, and I sincerely hope it has completely died out but I know some still recommend it. It involves using your dishwasher to strip the diapers. Now, this is a fire hazard, and will render your snaps and elastic pretty useless, so under no circumstances should you ever put your diapers in the dishwasher, please please please. Another popular method is to put Dawn dish soap in the washing machine. We don’t recommend this either, your washing machine wasn’t made for dish soap, it is high sudsing and can clog the hoses. If you have a new washer under warranty, we have had customers who used Dawn, and when their machine broke and the repairman came, it was very easy to tell soap had been used, and the warranty was voided, so please take note of those problems if you go the Dawn route. What is safer for you and the machine, is to bleach the diapers if you have buildup. 1/3 cup of clorox in the detergent cycle with clean diapers, and hot water, will take care of the problem. If you have cotton print diapers, dyed fitteds or prefolds, or cotton outer wet bags, you can use color safe bleach. That is the best method to strip, and safe for your machine.

Make sure the diapers have been washed and dried, if they are soiled the bleach won’t do much. Once in a blue moon bleach is fine on your diapers, it is when it is used on a regular basis that you see premature wear and tear, just like you would on your clothing. PUL is dye fast and will not bleed from bleach.


February 22, 2011. cloth diapers, FAQ, Q & A.


  1. Dorsha Swartz replied:

    I love reading these. I feel soo enlightened. Its soo helpful for people like me. I didn’t even know you EVER stripped diapers till the last post.

  2. Laura replied:

    Thanks for this series! How often is normal for stripping diapers? If you need to do it more often, is there something wrong with your washing routine? We’ve only been using ours for 2 months and they are stinky!

  3. Jennifer A replied:

    I have a front loader, so would I use the same 1/3 cup or would I use less? If less, how much?

  4. sheilamom2six replied:

    I’m wondering what to do about stinky covers? It seems they are holding the smell these days. (Dipes are fine, though.)

  5. Kelly replied:

    Two questions:

    1. I understand why the diapers have to be washed before stripping, but is there any particular reason they have to be dried? I.e., is there a reason I can’t take the diapers that just finished washing and put them through another cycle with the bleach?

    2. When stripping, do you ONLY use bleach, or bleach + detergent?

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