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Sunday, February 9, 2014

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Nighttime Stripping

I have successfully been cloth diapering for 10 months! My go to cloth diaper is the one size BumGenius 4.0, and I’ve been using those for about eight months. During our cloth diaper journey, my family has moved and went from extremely hard, iron filled rural water to moderately hard, city water. I also started washing diapers in an old top loader washing machine to a new HE top loader with no agitator. In this time, the diapers started to look a little dingy and some had a funky "barnyard" smell after my daughter peed in them. I also tried using Classic Rock Rockin’ Green detergent when we moved, but then decided I still needed to use Hard Rock Rockin’ Green. I decided to do a strip on them and give them a fresh start.

There are several different reasons to strip your cloth diapers. Some experience leaking or repelling due to mineral or detergent buildup. Non-cloth diaper safe cream can cause repelling and the need for a stripping. Hard water buildup is also a culprit, and sometimes diapers get ammonia buildup as well.

I wasn't experiencing any leaking or repelling, but I felt our diapers could use a good soak. I didn't want to do anything too time consuming or too harsh, so I bought a RLR capsule from Kelly's Closet and decide to simply soak my diapers in my washer. According to KC’s website on the RLR product description, “RLR Laundry Treatment can be used to strip diapers and whiten dingy diapers. If your diapers smell "funky" or like ammonia, or if they are looking yellow or gray, you can use RLR as needed to freshen the diapers and take out the dinginess.” This is exactly what I was looking for. RLR is not a soap or bleach. It works to remove unwanted buildup and residue from clothing and diapers.

Some people do a RLR soak in their bathtub or utility sink, but thankfully my washer has a pause button, so I decided to do the soak directly in the washer. I simply dumped 3/4 of the capsule in the drum with my clean diapers (the recommended amount for an HE is half, but I was soaking 21 pockets and inserts, a few fitteds, cloth wipes and a few doublers. My washer is also huge). I turned the machine on to the "bedding" cycle (it supply's the most water to my machine), let it fill and agitate with hot water for a few minutes, then paused the cycle and opened the lid. Then I went to bed! I woke up about 6 hours later to feed my baby, and then resumed the wash cycle. It took about an hour and a half to run the cycle, including an extra rinse. When I woke up in the morning, I ran it through another rinse and spin to ensure all the suds were out.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my microfiber looking brighter and whiter and even a little fluffier. Even though it was in the single digits that morning, the sun was out and shining, and I simply couldn't resist hanging the diapers outside. They got a few hours of direct sunlight, and then came into the house stiff and frozen, but so clean looking and smelling. I then threw the inserts and wipes into the dryer on medium-low, and let the covers continue to hang dry.

After the inserts came out of the dryer, I was very pleased with how they looked and smelled! My daughter has been wearing them for a few days now, and they have no questionable smell after she pees in them. Hopefully now that I have a good washing routine set, I hope to avoid any future issues. RLR gave my diapers a new, fresh start, and I look forward to continuing our cloth diaper journey with my daughter and hopefully future babies.

Bio: Jamie is a SAHM to a 10-month-old daughter, a Marine wife, and a knitter/crocheter in her free time.

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Meridith said...

I also have a top loading HE washer w/no agitator. I'm worried that I'm going to have a hard time getting my diapers to come clean once my LO gets here next month. I guess I need to figure out if I have hard or soft water and I can do what you did if the diapers begin to smell. Any other advice?

Amanda W. said...

Stripping can seem kind of time consuming and complicated oftentimes. I like the way you have detailed here. I am cloth diapering my 11 week old and I will be returning to work next week full-time. I am still super excited about cloth diapering but am looking forward to making the transition back to work easier.