EFF logo for round

Cloth Diapers | Another Stripping Diapers Post

Thankfully for us, cloth diapers are made of.. well, cloth! That means that they can be washed and it would take a whole lot to actually ruin them. In my four years of cloth diapering experience I have yet to see a diaper ruined as the result of anything but general wear & tear or the PUL wearing out or being defective.

There is no need for regular stripping if you have a good wash routine and are using a detergent that works for you. If you find that regular stripping is necessary, you might consider a different detergent. The tips below should cover the basic scenarios that you run into with cloth diapering. If you have other question, please feel post below so that I can answer them, and hopefully it will help others in the same situation.

General Stripping

Hot washes with no detergent.  It’s that simple. Often times there is a bit of residue left behind in your diapers from using too much detergent, overfull loads of laundry, or just extra dirty diapers that just didn’t quite come clean.

You may find that diapers with microfiber manifest problems sooner, as the tightly weaved fibers are susceptible to buildup and often start repelling (the diaper doesn’t absorb properly), but it is also seen in natural fibers often as ammonia smells or “stink”.

  • Wash your diapers as you usually would.
    You should always start with unsoiled diapers for any stripping process.
  • Wash 1-3 more times, without detergent, using warm or hot water.
  • Dry as usual.

Chances are this will get rid of any buildup left behind and you can continue your diapering as usual. If your problem persists, try again.

Detergent Changes

Cloth diaper users sometimes find that their detergent is no longer working for them or that their child has developed a sensitivity to it. Often times this happens around the same time that infants or toddlers begin eating solid foods. Typically what is needed is a change in the wash routine (more detergent, extra cycle, etc.), but sometimes the detergent just isn’t getting the job done – or you’ve tried a new detergent only to find that your diapers now smell like a barn or leak!

  • Wash your diapers as you usually would.
  • Wash 1-3 more times, without detergent, using warm or hot water.
    If you see many suds, wash again. Some sudsing is normal, as it is just a part of the water agitating.
  • Optional: Use RLR alone in a hot wash. RLR is a laundry aid that helps to remove minerals and buildup.


Ammonia is a natural part of the breakdown of urine, so don’t freak if your diaper pale knocks you over, but if your baby’s diaper puts you on your back the moment you pull it off – you have ammonia problems!

That this is hard on your baby’s little bottom.  Parents and physicians often mistake ammonia burns for yeast rashes, leading to ongoing issues as the result of misdiagnosis.  A good wash and some EMAB Bottom Balm could be all you need to get back on track.

  • Wash your diapers as you usually would.
  • Option 1: Try adding RLR in a hot wash (without any other detergents).
  • Option 2: Try Funk Rock from Rockin’ Green

I found that the EcoSprout Detergent and Thirsties Pre-Wash and Super Wash combo were my favorite detergents for deterring ammonia issues.

Some other cloth diaper safe detergents are:


Daycare provider use a non-approved rash cream? Husband use fabric softener on your diapers? You might be ready to strangle them, but thankfully it can be fixed! Don’t hate them for ruining your diapers just yet.

The animal fats used in most softeners create a waxy buildup that can cause repelling issues and can lead to serious stink. Original Dawn (about a tablespoon for non-HE machines) can help to strip these fats and oils from your diapers.

  • Wash soiled diapers normally before starting the stripping process.
  • Wash with about a tablespoon of Original Dawn for non-HE machines and half (or less) for HE machines.
  • Follow up with several warm or hot washes until most suds are gone. Remember that light sudsing is normal – if the suds remain when the water is still that means there is still soap in there!

Rash creams can be a bit more difficult, but a toothbrush, Original Dawn and some elbow grease can really go a long way.

  • Wash soiled diapers normally before starting the stripping process.
  • Using warm water and a toothbrush, scrub the stained areas with a bit of Original Dawn until you are satisfied that the oils have been lifted.
  • Follow up with several warm or hot washes until most suds are gone.

Special Notes

  • Be sure to use Original Dawn (not Ultra!) and remember that Dawn is meant to strip oils, so it is not generally needed for basic stripping.
  • Boiling is one popular method of stripping that you may come across on Google searches. NEVER boil – or using boiling water – on covers, pockets, shells or any other diapering component that has PUL on it. If you must boil, do so only with inserts, prefolds and like items.
  • NEVER strip your diapers in a dishwasher. This one seems to hit the message boards in waves, but this is a risky practice for a number of reasons ranging from damaging fabrics to fire hazards. This is not a good idea.

Good luck and if you have any questions, please post below!

  • About Me

  • © 2023 Breathe Love Play, LLC. All Rights Reserved

    This website accepts select banner advertising and features affiliate links which help me generate income.