When (and how!) to strip cloth diapers


As of today (our daughter’s 7 month birthday) we have been cloth diapering for 3 months. And its going great! I love it and don’t plan to quit. But there comes a time when the diapers themselves want to quit. Which is when they need ‘stripped’. Stripping them just means you strip the fabric of all the build up.

There are a few times in a diapers life that it needs stripped and it will indicate to you its time. Cloth diapers have 2 different, distinct smells that indicate stripping is necessary.

The barnyard stink and the ammonia stink. They are both caused by build up in the diaper and are totally normal. So don’t be freaking out if your diapers smell like a farm or ammonia. (Ammonia is in urine, that’s where it comes from). Build up can also be caused from other things like detergents or oils.

Another sign your diapers need stripped is when they start to leak. A lot. The build up makes the diapers less absorbent.  Your actually supposed to strip brand new diapers prior to use to increase the absorbancy.

The last, and worst, sign is if your baby cakes is getting diaper rash that won’t clear up.

So in short, the 5 main times to strip cloth diapers are-

1- When they are brand new
2- When they smell like a farm
3- When they smell like ammonia
4- When they start to slack off in their absorbency
5- Your squish butt is getting extra rashes that won’t clear up

So now you know when, but how?

There are a few different methods, but I’m gonna show you my favorite.

This way is chemical free and works wonderfully. Its time consuming, but worth it.

You will need:

Clean diapers
A stove
A large pot(s)
Vinegar (optional)

Fill the pot(s) most of the way with water and put the over medium heat. Get the water hot, steaming, but not boiling. If your stripping them to remove a stink, you can add a tablespoon or two of vinegar, it removes the smell. If your pots are big enough you might be able to fit up to 4 diapers, mine only fit 2 so I usually have 2 pots going at once to make it faster.


Leave them in for 20 minutes each, stirring occasionally so nothing gets stuck. Get them out with a pair of tongs and hang them to dry. Voila! Stink free, absorbent diapers!

Go get stripping =)

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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