Cloth Diaper Kids Blog

FuzziBunz cloth diapers and other green baby products


DO NOT DO THIS EVER! – The Worst Way To Strip Cloth Diapers

Before I begin this post, let me say that I rarely pass such a strong opinion on what people choose to do with their cloth diapers in their own homes.  If you want to go against the years of research and testing that manufacturers put into the washing instructions on their products, and do something contrary to the manufacturer’s guidelines in your quest to find the perfect wash routine – fine by me.  Whatever works.  I’ve done it too (I don’t recommend it, but I’ve done it 😉

BUT please please please don’t EVER put your cloth diapers into your DISHWASHER to ‘strip’ them clean.  This is terribly terrible, very bad, ill-informed and DANGEROUS ‘advice’ stemming from inexperienced cloth diaper users that sometimes floats around the internet.

Here are but a few reasons why you should NEVER EVER put cloth diapers of any kind in your dishwasher in an attempt to get them clean:

  • It is a fire hazard – there is a heating element inside your dishwasher.  If it touches any fabric it will melt or burn it.  You could start a fire.
  • A dishwasher is made for dishes – not diapers that contain human waste.  Do you really want to wash poopy residue out of your diapers and then wash your dishes in that machine?  That could be a health hazard.
  • It will void all your warranties – the diaper’s warranty will be gone as well as the warranty on your dishwasher.  Simple as that.
  • Dishwashers heat the water up to be scalding hot and generally speaking diapers should not be washed in super heated water.  Hot yes, super hot, no.  It can cause fabric breakdown, elastic degradation and premature delamination.
  • It’s a hassle and a half – it’s much easier to tweak your wash routine to troubleshoot rather than resorting to a dishwasher.

If you’re having issues with your cloth diapers of any kind, do what you would do when you have car problems.  Consult a professional (ie. an experienced retailer or the manufacturer of your diapers directly).  We have years of experience helping lots of clients and manufacturers spend money perfecting wash routines and running tests on the materials they use in their products.  We can help you.  So please, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, even if they claim to be experts.  And don’t ever put your diapers in the dishwasher.


1 Comment

Dish It: The Scoop On Stripping Diapers With Blue Dawn Dish Soap

Stripping cloth diapers has got to be one of the most confusing things for people new to cloth or considering cloth diapers for the first time.  All the stripping ‘rules’ seem so complicated, and so contradictory and everyone seems to have a different opinion on how to do it ‘correctly’.  (For time tested proper stripping guidelines and methods see here).

Amidst all the mis-information out there is the mysterious Blue Dawn recommendation.  This recommendation says that to strip your cloth diapers you should go and find Dawn dish soap (specifically the original blue kind) and use some to ‘strip’ the residues off your diapers and walla your repelling or odor problems will be fixed.  Just put a squirt or two into your washing machine instead of your regular detergent and you’re done.  Blue Dawn can fix all the world’s problems you know.

So first of all why must you use Dawn dish detergent and no other brand?  Apparently someone has decided it is more gentle and/or has fewer harsh chemicals than other dish soaps (yah right).  And second why must it be blue?  Supposedly the original blue version of Dawn has the fewest additives (umm, okay).

Alright, now let’s think about what dish detergent does.  It’s made to remove greasy residues from dishes.  Hint: greasy residues.  Not ammonia, not odors, not mineral or detergent buildup.  9 times out of 10 you are going to be stripping for smell issues or buildup issues, not grease issues.  But, on the small chance there is something on your diapers which is greasy (i.e. you accidentally used lots of petroleum based bum cream and enough of it got on your diapers to cause repelling, or if your baby is on a high fat diet of some sort that causes greasy/oily bowel movements that have coated your diapers which is causing repelling issues, then yes, a SMALL amount of dish soap MAY assist you in getting your diapers clean again.  But you know what?  A couple of hot hot washes with a bit more of your usual (high quality) detergent will usually do the same thing too and if not, then honestly, your diapers were probably too far gone for Dawn to help anyway.

Why then, am I so cheeky about blue Dawn if there is in fact a reason to use it?  Because if used carelessly it can cause you some major headaches.  Of primary concern is this:  Dawn dish soap should NEVER be used in your washing machine EVER.  Not even  a little tiny bit.  A ‘squirt or two’ is a completely ambiguous measurement and dish soap is designed to foam up much more than laundry detergent creating a condition called ‘suds lock’ in your machine.  This is an actual problem that happens to actual washing machines when you have too many bubbles from an overdose of detergent.  The result is a costly repair and a sheepish grin when you have to confess to the repair guy what you were trying to do when you broke your washer.  But I won’t put in too much you say?  That won’t happen to me you say?  Well maybe not, but do keep in mind that even if you successfully choose an amount that doesn’t hurt your machine, it will hurt your warranty.  The warranty on your washer will be null and void if you use dish soap instead of laundry detergent.   No questions asked.

We almost never suggest dish soap as a solution to diaper problems, but if you insist on trying it, what’s the proper way?  In the sink with a toothbrush.  Put a dime-sized, tiny bit of dish soap (any dish soap) onto the problem area of the diaper and gently scrub it around into the fabric of the diaper with an old, soft toothbrush and hot water.  Then RINSE that diaper A LOT.  Dish soap is not meant to be on a baby’s bum so any soap left behind has the potential to cause a skin reaction on a sensitive baby.  So, rinse and rinse and rinse until you’re not getting any more suds and then put it in your washing machine for a hot wash cycle with no detergent and then a hot wash cycle with your usual detergent plus extra rinses until you no longer see bubbles in the rinse water.

Or, better yet, just make sure you have a good wash routine (rise, wash on hot with detergent, rinse) and you’ll never have to worry about stripping anyway!



How Do I ‘Strip’ My Cloth Diapers?

Basically ‘stripping’ just means removing any build up in your diapers which might be causing repelling, smell, leaking etc.  Note that here is no need to strip your diapers unless you are having issues and a proper wash routine can prevent you from having to do it at all.

Long story short, there are a number of ways to do it, but this is what we like to do. You can also do this periodically as part of your regular diaper maintenance to prevent problems as well and prolong the life of your diapers (aprox. every few months) if you want.

RLR Strip
Most commonly used to remove mineral buildup and whiten diapers especially in Canada where harder water is common even in cities.  RLR is an additive that helps suspend residue in the wash water so that it can rinse away instead of re-depositing on the diapers. Best for sprucing up older, dingy diapers or those whose absorbency has been compromised do to mineral buildup in the fabric.  RLR may help for smell issues, but Funk Rock is usually better for this (see stripping with Funk Rock below).

– Simply add the packet of RLR to a clean load of diapers (12-16 diapers) and do a hot wash followed by several rinses with no detergent.

*Alternatively for a deeper clean, put clean diapers in the bathtub, add hot water to cover them.  Add the packet and mix around to dissolve.  Leave to soak 3-4hrs or overnight.  Transfer diapers to washing machine.  Do a hot wash or rinse with no detergent until they rinse clean. Dry as usual.

Simple, Fast & Cheap
Before spending money on any stripping method.  First try a few hot wash cycles with no detergent followed by drying as usual.  This can often help a lot of cloth diapering issues, especially if baby is having rashes because of detergent left behind on the fabric that they are sensitive to.  In this case, change detergents after stripping and make sure you’re using the correct amount for the load size you are washing.

Funk Rock Strip
For ammonia buildup, and smell issues.

– Follow the package directions and add the recommended amount of Funk Rock to clean diapers in a bathtub similar to doing an RLR strip.  Then transfer diapers to your washing machine and wash on hot WITH detergent.  Rinse until no bubbles, dry as usual.

Oxiclean Strip
Good for a deep clean once in a while.  Doesn’t treat any particular problem specifically.

– Put your clean diapers in the wash and run a hot soak or rinse cycle with NO detergent of any kind.
– Then add 4-5 scoops of Oxiclean Regular or another oxygen bleach (NOT the Oxiclean Free and NOT chlorine bleach) and run a hot cycle. (Use the Oxiclean that comes in powder form). Dry your diapers as usual.

Blue Dawn Strip
This is one I don’t often recommend, but it is rampant on internet message boards and is often thrown around as a ‘cure all’.  Read more about it here.

Remember, you shouldn’t have to strip your diapers all the time.  If you’re needing to strip for any reason more than every 3 months or so, it’s time to look at changing your wash routine to be more effective.  A simple, effective wash routine should minimize or eliminate the need to strip in the first place.  And PLEASE make sure you are using a good quality detergent in the correct amount recommended on the package for the size of your load to wash your dirty diapers.  And as usual.  Contact us if you have questions.



Leave a comment

Can I Use Bleach On My Cloth Diapers?

Yes and no.  You can use bleach on microfiber, PUL or TPU and fleece.  These fabrics will not be affected by the occasional, minimal use of bleach, however, we discourage using bleach if it can at all be avoided. It can weaken fibers and is bad for the environment.

If you run into a smelly insert problem that doesn’t seem to be helped by stripping, you can try sunning them, using oxygenated bleach or as a last resort, chlorine bleach.

To use chlorine bleach, add 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle and then continue rinsing until the diapers no longer smell like a swimming pool.

**Bleach cannot be used on natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo or hemp and will compromise the integrity of the waterproof laminate in pocket diaper shells and covers if used repeatedly or in strong concentrations.