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Washing Used Cloth Diapers + A Guide to Stripping Cloth Diapers

So, you’ve bought used cloth diapers to save money… Now what?! Here’s how to wash used cloth diapers and the best methods of stripping cloth diapers.

Stripping Cloth Diapers

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Last week we talked about where it was ok or not to buy used cloth diapers. Most of you that commented agreed that buying used is an option for you. I already gave you my opinion, but I definitely want to say again, don’t rule out the option to buy used

There are ways to make sure your diapers are cleaned really well so that it’s definitely a safe and clean option!

It seems the only two real real hurdles to buying used cloth diapers is: 1) Not having a warranty. This isn’t a big deal to me, especially if you’re getting a great deal on used diapers. 2) Sanitary and cleanliness of buying used diapers. This post is all about how you can feel better about knowing you can get your used cloth diapers completely clean.

How do you clean used cloth diapers?

If you know where the diapers are coming from, personally [like a close friend], you might be fine with just washing them normally… as in your normal cloth diaper wash routine, but even then, I would still advise you to really strip the cloth diapers and get them super clean.

Bleaching cloth diapers

There are a few methods of stripping [cloth diapers… get your minds out of the gutter] and I’m going to cover them all and give MY opinion on them… you choose which you like the best!

  • Rock a Soak – This is a super popular type of stripping within the CD community.  You simply take your Rockin’ Green Detergent and add in about 4 tbsp of detergent with Warm-Hot Water and let your inserts and covers soak for a few hours, even overnight. 
    You can soak in your Top Loading Washing machine or if you have a Front Loader, you can soak in your bathtub.

Rockin' Green Hard Rock Laundry DetergentRockin’ Green Hard Rock Laundry Detergent

My opinion?  I’ve rocked a few soaks and to be honest, I was never truly happy with the results.  I didn’t have the “nasty water” that so many share pictures of, so maybe my diapers weren’t that dirty to begin with?  I’ve also read that soaking PUL in water tends to lead to de-lamination, so this could be an issue of you decided to “rock a soak” often and for long amounts of time.  However, some have great success with this process.

  • Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid – This is also very well known in the CD community.  Dawn Original BlueDawn Original BlueIt’s how I used to strip and it does seem to work.  I simply think it really gets all of the yuckiness out of your diapers, but beware… you WILL have to rinse, rinse, rinse after this process. 
    Maybe a total of 4 times to make sure you get all of the soap out.  When I used this method, I washed the diapers normally once and then during the 2nd wash, I use no detergent and squirt in about 1-2 tbsp of Blue {supposedly can’t be any other type of Dawn} detergent.  Then… RINSE!

My opinion?  Like I said, I used to do this as my primary method of stripping, but I don’t anymore.  Actually, I don’t need to as I’ve got a great washing routine down and hardly need to strip my diapers {other than when I buy used}. 

I’ve also read warnings about this method on Front Loaders saying that it creates too much suds which can clog your washer and tear it up. Not sure if those are true or not, but just let it be known that the theory is out there!

  • Bleach – Yep, as much as I’ve started to go green and get rid of chemicals in cleaning, I still rely on bleach for the cleanest of clean in my diapers. But, please read this part: NEVER BLEACH YOUR PUL COVERS!!! Bleach does lead to de-lamination and can void any warranties on your diapers that you may have [on ones that you’ve bought new].
    Now that I’ve said that, I DO bleach my covers but with SUCH a small amount.The process I use is to wash the diapers normally, twice like I always do, but I do separate into two loads – inserts in one load and PUL covers in the other. If you’re using AIO’s, I’d suggest treating them as I do covers.
    I then add in bleach to my detergent tray and wash twice. I use approximately 1/4 cup of bleach for a load of inserts and only approximately 2 tablespoons in a load of covers. I prefer a hot wash with cold rinses.
    Then, RINSE, RINSE, RINSE!  At least 3 times. You want to make sure ALL the bleach is out of your covers and inserts.

This is definitely my favorite way to get a deep clean and I was having to do it about once every 1.5 months, but lately, after finding the best cloth diaper detergent for my family, I haven’t used bleach in about 3 months!

Washing Used Cloth Diapers

I really think that buying used cloth diapers is a totally safe opportunity and great for when you’re cloth diapering on a budget. I hope you see that it’s relatively easy to clean them like they’re brand new!

You may like these other posts:

DIY Reusable Diaper Liners

Buying Selling Cloth Diapers
Should You Buy Used Cloth Diapers?
Fluffy Friday: Cloth Diaper Storage Ideas
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