Stripping Cloth Diapers: Can You Avoid Detergent Build Up?

The funky odor.  The leaks.  Oh how I loathe detergent build up on cloth diapers!

With my first baby, I had no idea why his cloth diapers suddenly smelled like dirty sweat socks after being washed or why they refused to soak up even small amounts of liquid.

Then I learned how to use less detergent, I switched to greener detergents,(like Biokleen and, later, Country Save) and I found out how to strip diapers.

For us, one hot load with an extra rinse every few months totally does the trick.

Some people apparently have to strip diapers much more frequently and run them through several loads of hot water before the diapers work again.  But others don’t ever seem to need to strip diapers. (I’ve especially heard this from users of Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder.)

I’ve even heard stories about mothers putting their cloth diapers into the dishwasher to be able to get the water hot enough to truly strip away the build-up. We’d have a small kitchen flood if I tried something so risky!

Do you strip your diapers?  If so, how often?  If not, what’s your secret?


  1. I use Purex F&C as my diaper detergent, so I do have to strip the diapers every few months or so. Usually a squirt of Bac-Out and an extra hot rinse (with a tea kettle of boiling water added) is enough. I know I should probably find a better detergent, but it’s one of the few ‘okay’ ones my grocery store carries. So it’s easy to pick up when we’re out. Plus it’s less expensive!

  2. I have never stripped our cloth diapers. My son is 18 months old. We use Shakley Detergent for the diapers & covers (only! We use our homemade detergent for the rest of the laundry) and use the “sanitize” setting on our HE washer.

  3. ive never had to strip my diapers
    ethan is 23 months old.
    i use rockin green classic rock,
    i do cold rinse
    hot rinse
    sanitary cycle with 2 scoops of the rockin green and then 1/4th scoop of oxi in the drum
    extra rinse
    and done!

  4. I’ve heard the trick is to use only 1/4 of the amount they call for on the detergent bottle.
    We use Natural Choice powder. 1 tablespoon of the detergent and 1 tablespoon of the oxi boost. I do a cold rinse, normal cold wash and rinse and then dry. I have only ever had to strip them 1 time in 19months.

  5. White vinegar in the wash strips them perfectly – I only have to do a warm wash (uses less energy) and pour a cup or 2 of white vinegar into the machine before turning it on, and have never had any build up problems.

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