It can be frustrating to take extra steps in the care of cloth diapers.
Our clothes hardly ever require anything outside the normal detergent.
Cloth diapers, however, consist of several layers of fabric and are always being peed and pooped in.
How do you know if you need to strip your diapers and what exactly is stripping?
I say “simply” but there are times when this process is anything but simple.
How do you know if your cloth diapers need to be stripped? If they smell like an animal died, ammonia that burns your nose hairs, leak suddenly and furiously or don’t appear clean through other signs then you should consider stripping.
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When my diapers need to be stripped I first add more detergent or switch detergents. Then I rinse several times in HOT HOT water. I pull out the shells and covers before I run several hot washes.
Then I use the diapers and see if the problem is g0ne.
If not it’s time to soak. If you have soft water a vinegar soak is very effective at stripping buildup out of your diapers.
If you have hard water (like me) RLR is my go-to option.
What is RLR?
RLR is a laundry additive, not a detergent. It is phosphate and perfume free and helps to bind to the buildup in your diapers (minerals, detergent or ammonia gunk) and strip them. After using RLR you will notice your cloth diapers are remarkably different, mostly in the odor department.
But, what IS RLR Laundry Treatment? What’s it made of?
Well, call me sheltered or naive, but I had NO IDEA that RLR is mostly washing soda. Shocking, I know.
I was so excited when I learned this last week on one of my Facebook cloth diaper groups.
RLR is not just washing soda. There are other additives that cause it to suds heavily.
What is washing soda? Washing soda is sodium carbonate. What is sodium carbonate?
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If you have a top loading washing machine soaking can be done by filling the basin and stopping it. This makes it easy to proceed into the washing cycle when the soak is done.
If you have a front loading machine the bathtub is where you can soak your diapers. Just cover clean diapers with HOT water and add packet of RLR. Stir around to distribute powder. Once you have your diapers rinsed out after the soak. You can either wring out by hand or transfer to a bucket.
Run them through a normal cycle with your detergent. I suggest using hot water for this cycle. If it’s still really soapy looking you can do one more hot rinse.