Post originally published on the Knickernappies Blog
If only cloth diaper washing were as easy to figure out as stuffing a pocket diaper. There's one way to stuff a pocket and a million ways to wash your cloth diapers.
Something that I vividly remember when I first started was learning that there's such a thing as "stripping," and no, no poles or naked people are involved in this kind. lol Stripping your diapers is recommended when you think you have an odor or buildup problem or if you suspect your cloth diapers of repelling. Repelling is when water beads up instead of being absorbed or wicking through.
There are a lot of recommended ways of stripping, some have even claimed that putting them in your dishwasher works. We do not recommend that method...
Anyhow, this post is not necessarily about how to strip your diapers as it is about how to tell if that's what you really need to do in the first place.
One of the most common problems when it comes to diaper odors and other funk related to cloth, is that you may simply not be using enough detergent. I know, you read somewhere, from someone, that you should only use 1/3 to 1/4 of the recommended amount. But we all know that not all detergents are created equally and definitely not all detergents are created with cloth diapers in mind.
First thing you should do is directly ask or consult with the brand of detergent you are using. Get it straight from them and not just a fan or fellow cloth diapering mom. Remember that everyone has different washing machines, different diapers, different types of baby poop and definitely different types of water. From chlorinated, to soft water, hard water, city water, well water and more, there's a lot to know and there's absolutely no way that another mama is going to be able to 100% troubleshoot with you. So it's best to consult with the manufacturer of the detergent you use.
Then check your cloth diaper manufacturers warranty and make sure that stripping them or using certain brands of detergent will not void their warranty. They'll no doubt have some other great washing tips and info for you on their Care and Use page.
Chances are, you are simply not using the right detergent or the right amount of detergent, and you might not even need to bother stripping your cloth diapers.
Curious as to what repelling looks like? Watch the Rockin Green video below for a great demo on how to tell if your diapers or inserts are repelling.
Lastly, if you want to experiment with different types of detergents, stripping techniques, etc. you might want to just try it on one diaper before you decide to do your whole stash.