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.