How To Strip Diapers
Parenting Toddler Safety

How To Strip Diapers

Are you looking for practical ways on how to strip diapers? 

It’s not unheard of for baby cloth diapers to have an unpleasant smell even after thorough washing.

Primarily, this is due to leftover detergent and mineral buildup leading to absorbency issues.

This, in turn, causes the diapers to have a fetid odor and constant leaks. The good news is that you don’t have to discard the cloth diapers.

Instead, they need stripping to get rid of the bacteria buildup.

This post elucidates more on how to strip diapers and everything about stripping. 

Stripping Cloth Diapers

Stripping nappies is the process of removing buildup from your diapers. Cloth diapers are cost-effective and good for the environment.

Unlike disposable diapers, you can wash and reuse cloth diapers as your baby grows. 

Unfortunately, cloth diapers require constant cleaning and laundry time.

As a result, they are susceptible to accumulation of buildup, especially when you constantly wash them in untreated hard water or use too much detergent.

In addition, the buildup can also result from using inappropriate detergents, diaper creams that aren’t nappy friendly, and using fabric softeners or dryer sheets with your diapers. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to eliminate that excess icky buildup by stripping diapers.

Stripping leaves your nappies brighter, more absorbent, and as good as new if done correctly. 

Moreover, and contrary to popular misconception, stripping doesn’t just involve soaking diapers in hot water with some detergent.

It’s not bleaching, washing, or laundering with only water. Instead, it’s a more complex process to help with odor and absorbency issues. 

Here is a quick guide on how to strip diapers. 

How To Strip Diapers

First and foremost, your diapers must be clean to ensure the stripping process is successful.

The nappies don’t have to be dry. Also, clean diapers ensure the striping agent focuses entirely on the buildup.

The only parts that require stripping are the absorbent parts such as prefolds or flats, pocket diapers inserts, and AIOs. 

Then, fill your washing machine, bathtub, or an appropriate washing container with hot water.

Next, add in an ideal mineral removing solution and dissolve well.

There are several mineral removing solutions, but we have pinpointed the top three options preferred by other cloth-diapering parents. 

Read a related post: How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need For A Newborn

1. Using Dawn Dish Soap

Stripping nappies with dawn dish soap is a gentle and effective method to eliminate residue and buildup caused by oils:

  1. Add a tablespoon of blue Dawn dish soap to a washing container and stir. You can add a few more tablespoons of Dawn if you are washing on a tub.
  2. Place the clean diapers in the solution and stir again. Leave the diapers to soak for an hour.
  3. Scrub the diaper linings with a soft brush to ensure you altogether remove all the diaper cream from the surface.
  4. Rinse the diapers properly. 

Also, it would be best if you didn’t use dawn dish soap in your washing machine as it can cause mechanical issues. 

2. RLR Cloth Diaper Strip

The RLR method is ideal for buildups caused by hard water.

Add a packet of RLR detergent in hot water and soak no more than 30 diapers.

Also, you can use a small amount of an appropriate detergent.

Soak your diapers for six hours, or you can leave them in the solution overnight.

Finally, rinse your diapers in hot water until all the bubbles disappear. Importantly, don’t use any detergents while rinsing the diapers. 

3. DIY Mix

It’s also possible to make your stripping agent in the comfort of your home. All you need are a few ingredients, and your diapers will appear new. 

You will need washing soda, Borax, and Calgon as a starting point.

Mix three tablespoons of each ingredient into the washing machine or washing container filled with hot water.

Add diapers to the solution and stir. Then, soak the diapers for six hours and rinse thoroughly until there aren’t any signs of soap in the diapers—finally, sundry the diapers to eliminate bacteria. 


You don’t always have to strip diapers. In fact, it’s not advisable to constantly strip diapers since it takes a toll on the fabric.

So, it would be best to take preventive measures from the beginning of a proper laundry routine to keep your nappies in perfect condition.

For instance, you can use soft water when washing diapers or add softeners to hard water.

Nonetheless, if your nappies retain an unpleasant smell even after washing, it’s paramount to strip them.

This post on how to strip diapers pinpoints the most effective and practical methods to help you with the process. 

Frequently Asked Question

How Often Should I Strip Cloth Diapers?

Preferably once a month if you follow a proper laundry routine. Still, it depends on the state of your nappies.

It’s best to strip diapers only under certain circumstances, such as when they have an unpleasant odor. 

When Should I Strip Diapers? 

There are few signs that your diapers need stripping.

For instance, if your nappies still have a fetid odor after washing, they seem less absorbent or even after receiving second-hand diapers.

In addition, if you constantly wash your diapers in hard water, it’s best to strip them. 


Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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