stripping diapers

We are continuing our stripping discussion. I do want to throw one more tidbit in, it drives me a little batty when I see websites promoting the icewater 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. For disinfecting purposes, color safe bleach may not be appropriate as it uses hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine to bleach, but for residue purposes it can work.

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.


July 9, 2011. cloth diapers, Q & A, Wash routines.


  1. Enas Farrell replied:

    i did what she recommended and it saved my diapers . i was ready to throw mine away ….

  2. abbyslane replied:

    Enas, I have been wondering how the diapers fared, is the new wash routine working?

  3. stripping diapers, part 3 « It's The Cloth That Counts. replied:

    […] Last week we described the “how” of stripping, I am going to finish it off with a “try this routine” if you have gone through the stripping process and want to avoid it in the future. I often get asked “how often should I strip” and truly, if you have a good wash routine, you shouldn’t unless you run into a bacterial rash issue or yeast and need to disinfect. The only times I have to strip with my wash routine is when I test new detergents and end up with buildup or bacterial issues that leave stink behind. This is what we have seen working best for our customers, of course your routine may vary, but if you had problems before, it may be worth a shot […]

  4. Sam replied:

    It’s a shame the actual content of this post is in the 4th of 5 paragraphs, hidden after a bunch of things you SHOULDN’T do. I definitely appreciate the help, but it’s not the best HowTo I’ve read.

  5. heidi replied:

    what about the minky fabric can that be bleach?

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