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Six Ways to Strip Your Cloth Diapers

by julie on November 12, 2012

Stripping Cloth Diapers

We have all heard the term “strip your cloth diapers” before, but what does it actually mean. When I first learned about stripping my diapers, I was told that you just wash the diapers several times on hot with no detergent. But then friends began to tell me how they stripped their cloth diapers using bleach. So much for just using one method. I hope this post shows that there are different ways to strip your cloth diapers and that some ways may work better for different people depending on their resources, or the type of diapers they use.

Six Ways to Strip Your Cloth Diapers

No Detergent

This was the first way I started stripping my diapers. Simply wash your cloth diapers as you normally would. For me this is a cold rinse, hot wash, and hot rinse. After your normal cycle, run 3-5 more hot washes with no detergent. This method seemed to work very well for me until my son reach 1 year, and his urine started to become stronger.

Dawn Original

Dawn, the original blue liquid formula is often used to strip your cloth diapers. First, wash your diapers as you normally would. Then start with a hot rinse, followed by a long hot wash with 1 tablespoon of dawn for a regular washer, and 1 teaspoon for a HE washing machine. Follow the dawn by 2-3 rinse cycles. You will know the diapers are done when there are no more suds. Dawn helps to remove any grease or oils on your diapers. I have even heard of people scrubbing down into the microfleece parts of their diapers to remove residues as well. One reader even used a toothbrush with dawn. Please beware of how much dawn you use and how much you scrub it in. The more scrubbing, the more rinses. Always rinse until there are no more bubbles.


Bleach is NOT something to be scared of if used properly. I have friends that use bleach all the time on their cloth diapers and have never had a problem with it being too harsh on their baby’s bottoms! But remember that every baby’s sensitivity level is different. Also remember when using bleach that it may void some cloth diaper manufacturer’s warranties. Personally I use a lot of Flip cloth diapers. The manufacturer of the Flip recommends using 1/2 cup of bleach during the wash cycle. Please be sure not to put the bleach directly on the cloth diapers, but in the liquid bleach compartment. Go HERE to see a picture of what I am talking about. Remember that after using bleach, do a couple of rinses to be sure all of the bleach is removed.


RLR by Cadie is a well know laundry agent that helps to get rid of the stink and any detergent or residue build-up on cloth diapers. RLR is not bleach, a detergent, or a soap. Many people use RLR to help remove the “ammonia” smell in their diapers. RLR is phosphate and perfume FREE and completely biodegradable. It is safe on all fabrics including PUL and TPU. Some people use RLR monthly to keep the stink at bay. To use, simply add one packet into a HOT wash cycle with nothing else (no detergent, no softeners, no dawn, NOTHING). Follow the wash with a few rinses, or until the water is clear of suds.

Bac Out

Bac-Out is an all natural cleaning solutions that has live enzyme cultures which help to eat away at organic waste and bacteria found in cloth diapers. Many people use Bac-Out by Biokleen as a way to strip their cloth diapers. Not only does it help with stains, but the live enzymes also fight against odors. Bac-Out is also safe for septic systems. Biokleen also makes a foaming spray that can be used once a dirty diaper is taken off the baby and thrown into the diaper pail. If you want to add Bac-Out to your wash routine, simply add it in during the wash cycle, following the directions on the bottle. Please note that I have not yet tried this product, but with all the good reviews, I will be purchasing some shortly. The nice thing about Bac-Out is that it can often be found in health food stores such as Whole Foods!

Specialty Stripping Formula

Many cloth diaper detergent manufacturers make specialty products made specifically for “stripping cloth diapers.” Each formula comes with specific instructions on the use. Some popular brands are Rockin’ Green’s Funk Rock, Laundry Tarts Strip It, and Penguin Sport WashA lot of these brands sell sample size packets as well for you to try it out.

**As I mentioned before, please be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions before using any of the above methods for stripping your cloth diapers. Improper use may void the warranty of you cloth diapers**

Looking for more information on this topic? Check out these resources:

I Bleached My Diapers!!!!

Poll: How often do you strip your cloth diapers?

Let the Stripping begin, Cloth Diapers that is!


Have you ever stripped your cloth diapers before?

Which method do you use for stripping your cloth diapers?


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