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I Stripped All Day for the Good of the Baby

By caseymullins |

I stripped all day! For the baby!

Cloth diaper humor! HA!

Perhaps stripping cloth diapers should be called something a little less, dirty. Perhaps clarifying? Degunking? Regardless, I spent the day stripping diapers and it’s thanks to you.

You see, when I wrote about a strange rash appearing as if from nowhere yesterday, a few of you mentioned stripping the diapers because there could be some sort of bacterial funk going on. (Thankfully it wasn’t yeast!) As I thought about it, it had been a long time since I had done a really heavy duty strip. Today I cleared my schedule and dedicated myself to having very clean diapers by sundown.

If you’ve ever googled “how to strip cloth diapers” then you know just how many answers come back. There are so many variables and so many methods that when it came to my first time stripping them? I ended up covered with water head to toe and exasperated by the end of the day. At the moment I have three things working against me, a majority of my diapers are synthetic fabric, I’ve slowly been making the switch over to bamboo, cotton and hemp but the reality is most of my diapers use microfiber pocket inserts. Second I have water so hard that if you throw it at someone it hurts and third I have an HE washing machine. In theory HE sounds amazing! But in cloth diaper reality the diapers need a lot of water to swish around in and that’s not something an HE washer can provide. I could say a fourth is living in the Midwest and being unable to sun my diapers for 5 months out of the year.

So far what I’ve learned with my washer and water situation is that I have to use Borax in every load. The first time I stripped my diapers was the first time I used Borax I was shocked at how many bubbles came out. I also have to use liquid detergent, it simply dissolves and washes out better. I’ve gone back and forth between baking soda and vinegar and I’ve experimented with the very occasional bleaching or use of OxyClean. Nothing has really worked well enough to really stick with or claim miracle.

Today I used the Dawn method (soak in very hot water for a half an hour, I used a tablespoon of dawn to about 24 diapers) and while my diapers soaked I added a few extra pots of boiling water (Tedious? Perhaps, but I only have to do this every few months so it’s cool.) I then washed and rinsed several times using just Borax and in the very final rinse I added about a half cup of vinegar. I hung them all out in the sun for about 6 hours (bless you sunshine) and ended the day with stink free and soft diapers.


Vivi’s rear end rash didn’t really flare up today, I used a combination of the disposable Flip diaper liners as well as the organic cotton prefolds and she seemed to do just fine. I still have no idea what caused it but hope that it won’t be returning.

The cloth diaper community has been and is outrageously helpful and supportive and I would certainly be lost without them and their years of expertise.

Find more Casey on her blog, twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and facebook.

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About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “I Stripped All Day for the Good of the Baby

  1. Katie says:

    Did you add the boiling water to the HE machine through the detergent spot? I know it sounds like a silly question, but I’ve read about adding hot water before too but worried that the boiling water might harm my machine (melt plastic detergent area maybe? Haha!) and that then the machine might not rid itself of the extra water. I know it sounds crazy (stupid even?) but I really can’t afford to damage my machine because I felt too silly to ask for clarification! And my diapers need a good strippin… ;)

  2. Kel says:

    Don’t know if it would help, but I have a front-loader and have two ways of tricking it to add water. First, I add a couple of hand towels to every load. Once they’re wet, they help trick the machine into using more water. Second, every load I start with a rinse/drain with NO spin. That way as much water as possible is staying in the diapers when I start the actual wash. If your machine doesn’t have those options, you can start a rinse cycle, let it add some water, and then stop it. Then, when you start the wash, the machine (which judges load size by weight) will be tricked by all the soaking diapers and use more water. I’ve heard good things about Calgon to combat the hard water, have you tried that?

  3. Amy says:

    I have super hard water too, and Calgon is my lifesaver.

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