If your diapers are retaining a 'funk' smell even after washing, or the absorbency is not where you would like it to be, you may want to try stripping your diapers. The problem is most likely a build-up of detergent residue, skin oils, or diaper creams/oils. While stripping is a wonderful way to get your diapers back to 'new, fresh & clean' status, you do not want to do it very often, as it will shorten the life of your diapers if it is performed frequently. I would also encourage you to identify the reason behind your funk/absorbency problem & try to correct that first.
I VERY RARELY have to strip diapers. I think there are multiple reasons why I can don't have to strip! One reason is I almost always use a Bummis Bio-soft liner. My little guy is prone to diaper rash, and I use a dollop of Grandma El's cream at most diaper changes (which works wonderfully by the way). And while the cream is safe for cloth diapers, using any cream all the time is a great way to get build up. I also use a teaspoon of Rockin Green Funk Rock in my pre-soak at each wash. This really helps cut the ammonia smell before washing even starts. And lastly, I do an extra long rinse to be sure all detergent is removed from the diapers at each wash.
But, when stripping is necessary, I prefer to start with the Dawn Method. Why? It's cheap & it's easy.
1.) If your diapers are dirty, wash as you normally would - no need to dry.
2.) Run a hot wash with just your diapers and Dawn Dish Soap - just the good old-fashioned Blue Dawn, no additives, no bleach, no softeners. You can do this one of two ways. Either add the soap to the wash (1 teaspoon for an HE or 1 tablespoon for a regular washer), or scrub a tiny amount of soap into each diaper. Remember with dish soap, a little goes a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way. DO NOT use to much.
3.) Keep running additional wash/rinse cycles (with no detergent) until there are no more suds in the tub. You may need a flashlight for an HE machine. ;) Do not confuse the agitation bubbles with suds. Do not shortcut this step, make sure ALL of the bubbles are rinsed out.
Turn your hot water heater up to get a really hot wash. Do not forget to turn it back down after the stripping is complete.
Pocket diapers and All-in-ones may be damaged if the water is to hot. Always check and adhere to manufacturers warranty information.
High Efficiency washing machines are wonderful. They use 1/2 to 2/3 the water, they use less detergent, my clothes come cleaner, but... it is not as easy to get your cloth diapers washed. Have no fear, it is possible to use your HE machine to wash your cloth diapers.
Have you ever noticed when you wash a regular load of laundry, there are 3-4 inches of water sloshing around in the bottom of the washer with your clothes ~ when you wash 20 or so diapers, there is no water? This is because your diapers have absorbed all of the water. At that point you are just spinning wet diapers around in your washer without washing anything. The trick is to make sure you get enough water in the drum to really move through your diapers.
1.) Pre-wash or rinse. Use the cold setting with no detergent. If you have a no-spin option, use it. The point here is to get the diapers as wet as possible. This will allow the water in the wash cycle to move through the diapers instead of soaking them.
2.) Normal Wash or Whitest Whites Wash. Use the Hot/Cold setting for the longest amount of time you can. Use the recommended amount of detergent - Usually 1 Tablespoon. Be sure to use a HE formulated product. We like: Charlie's, Nellie's and Rockin Green.
3.) Normal Wash with no detergent. This is to get the rest of the detergent rinsed through your diapers. Use the fastest spin cycle possible to reduce drying time.
Tips & Tricks:
Do not wash more than 20 diapers at a time.
Use the sanitary cycle about once a month. This will keep your diapers fresh without wearing them out to quickly.
Use a little Rockin Green Funk Rock with the pre-rinse (I do a 30 minute soak with a teaspoon between the rinse & wash steps) or soak with 4 tablespoons once a month.
Extra Water Tricks:
Add water through the detergent dispenser after the cycle has started
Add a wet towel or 2 to the load to make it heavier - the washer thinks you have more in it
Use 2 shorter washes, increasing the amount of clean water you use
Ammonia Smell (urine eventually turns to ammonia)
If your diapers smell when they are removed from the. dryer, try using a little more detergent, hotter water setting, or use the tricks above for extra water.
If your diapers smell ok when you remove them from the dryer, but smell bad when you take them off of your baby, then you need a better rinse method. Use the tricks above for extra water, run an extra rinse cycle after the wash.
The biggest question Ben & I have been getting since we bought Nell's Natural Baby is why cloth diaper? There is an excellent article on the site titles 'Cloth Guide' to help answer the question, but let me lay it out in simple terms & then I'll tell you why we decided to swith to cloth.
Your baby ~ Disposables contain: 1.) Dioxin, a chemical the EPA lists as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. 2.) Tributyl-tin (TBT), know to cause hormonal problems in humans 3.) Polyacrylate, can cause skin irritation, severe allergic reaction, vomiting, staph infections & fever
Your money ~ save $1000-$1500! In the first 2 years, you will spend approximately $1800 on disposables. Even using a high end modern style, you can easily get by on $600 with cloth.
Your environment ~ 1 ton of waste
Disposables generate 60x more solid waste, use 20x more raw materials & take an estimated 250-500 years to decompose. 1 child in disposable diapers = 1 ton of waste in a landfill
These are the main reasons, and we switched for all of them! Carson has terrible diaper rash. Even with cloth diapers I fight it, but it is better with cloth - probably a victim of the polyacrylate. Every time I change a cloth diaper I think "there goes 0.25 into our bank account"! Everytime I change a disposable (which I still do sometimes) I think "250 years later & this will still be rotting somewhere".
So, although the question is easy to answer, it was not one single thing that caused us to use cloth diapers. The fact that they are just so darn cute is just a bonus! =)
So I have missed half the month of February and it is already March 8th! But, I have a GOOD excuse. We are happy to announce we are going to have a brick & mortar store. You will find Nell's Natural Baby items inside Hapinstance Designs in Tipp City, OH. The ladies there are working extra hard to open in late March/early April, and we are sooooooooooo excited to be a part of it.
We will be offering most of our diapers & lots of soap, diaper sprayers, wipes, wetbags, accessories...pretty much everything that is in our on-line store. Can wait until the store is up & running, you should really run down & check it out - it was super cute 2 weeks ago & there was barely anything there yet! I am headed down this week to stock shelves & help in whatever way I can. Don't worry I will report back.
So anyway, that is why you haven't seen me here for the last couple weeks. While I was out, my big guy turned 4! Happy Birthday Braden! He asked me today if I remember when he was born. It was one of the happiest days of my life - one I am not likely to EVER forget.