How to Strip Cloth Diapers: The Best Guide

Striping Cloth Diapers

Knowing how to strip cloth diapers is necessary for removing buildups resulting from many factors. It is needed after regular washing over some time. Washing your cloth diapers in untreated water and using too much soap or detergent can make your diapers clean. However, this can result in harmful residues. 

Stripping rids your cloth diapers of such residues only if you do it right. It goes beyond keeping your nappies in hot water for hours and involves removing ammonia from them. With the right ingredients and the proper process, you can salvage your diapers and make them as good as new.

Let’s explore the different ways to strip cloth diapers and achieve the best results.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers With Borax

Stripping your diapers with Borax is the cheapest homemade solution, and it is inexpensive yet highly effective. Thus, you can redeem your diapers with Borax without going bankrupt.

Firstly, you need to prepare your homemade stripping agent. Get some borax, washing soda, Calgon, and some hot water. You will need your washing machine; otherwise, a bathtub is fine.

Pour some hot water into your washing machine or bathtub. Measure three tablespoons of Borax and add to the hot water. Next, add three tablespoons of washing soda and Calgon to the water and mix. Following this, dip your diapers in the hot water mixture. Stir for some time until the diapers are well soaked in the solution. Gently scrub your cloth diapers for a few minutes. After washing, check the absorbent areas of the diapers to ensure they are well washed. Scrub again if necessary.

Leave the cloth diapers in the solution for about 6 hours. You may even leave the diapers soaked all night. Next, rinse the diapers properly. If you use a washing machine, you can set it to 3 rinse cycles. Rinse until you are sure there is no soap left on the diapers. Then, lay the cloth diapers out in the sun to dry. The sun disinfects the diapers and gets rid of the bad smell.

You can always use the borax mixture to clean other fabrics and household items.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers With Vinegar

Vinegar is a common household ingredient and is known for its fantastic job in cleaning. Therefore, it is effective for stripping cloth diapers too.

To strip cloth diapers with vinegar, you need vinegar, a pail, and a washing machine. First of all, pour the cup of vinegar into the water. Then soak the cloth diapers for some time.

Remove the diapers and put them into your washer machine. Pour half a cup of vinegar into the washing machine in place of detergent. Let the machine do its work. The vinegar helps to remove stains without exposing the cloth diapers to harmful chemicals.

Vinegar also helps prevent the need for stipping your cloth diapers. Each time you wash with detergents, rinse the diapers thoroughly. Then add a cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle. This is a sure way to eliminate every trace of detergent from the diapers. This process also makes the white vinegar soften the fabric of your cloth diapers. 

After washing or rinsing with vinegar, you can use a dryer or hang out the cloth diapers to dry. Either way, your diapers will not smell of vinegar.

Effective as vinegar may be, avoid using it to strip cloth diapers too frequently. It can eventually affect the fabrics, causing them to lose their elasticity.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers of Ammonia

Ammonia is a common issue when talking about cloth diapers. It results from not washing your cloth diapers for a long time. Ammonia can be harmful to babies and can cause a nasty odor, and that is why you want to rid cloth diapers of it. 

There are three easy ways to strip cloth diapers of ammonia. Wash the cloth diapers regularly with detergent, bleach-soak the diapers, or use vinegar.

Wash Cloth Diaper With Detergent

It would be best to wash your cloth diapers regularly with the proper detergents that promise the best results. RLR, for instance, is suitable for stripping cloth diapers. 

A packet of RLR is sufficient for 30 diapers. Pour the RLR into the washing machine and add some hot water to it. Soak your diapers in hot water for up to six hours. Then rinse the detergent off the diapers. You may need to rinse a few times to remove the detergent altogether. Regularly doing this can help avoid ammonia and eliminate it.

Bleach Soak Cloth Diapers

Bleach-soaking cloth diapers help sanitize the diapers, and it is a quick and reliable way to strip cloth diapers on ammonia. So here is how to bleach soak diapers.

Mix some bleach with cold water. Then soak the cloth diapers in the water. After about 40 minutes, remove the diapers from the water and place them in the washing machine. Do a quick hot wash with the correct quantity of soap or detergent, preferably RLR. This should clear the ammonia in your cloth diapers.

To prevent a buildup of ammonia in cloth diapers, we recommend that you do this process regularly, maybe once a month.

Stripping Cloth Diapers of Ammonia With Vinegar

Vinegar gets rid of ammonium and soapy residue in cloth diapers. While ammonium is a base, vinegar is an acid that neutralizes the ammonium base. The acid in white vinegar is strong enough to remove the ammonia and alkalies. Moreover, it is safe and will not damage your cloth diapers.

Things to Avoid While Stripping Diapers

In your quest to rid your cloth diapers of dirt, you may want to try a lot of options. Some things are safe to do, but others are not. You should steer clear of practices that can harm or damage your cloth diapers. Below are some of them.

Using Vinegar in Hard Water

Hard water mixed with the acid in vinegar can further cause an unwanted smell instead of removing it. Therefore, do not use vinegar with hard water if possible. 

However, if you must use hard water, add some water softener. You can also rinse the diapers with boiled water after a wash. Reducing the amount of vinegar mixed with hard water can minimize the reaction.

Mixing Vinegar and Baking Soda

As earlier mentioned, ammonia is a base while vinegar is acid. Vinegar helps neutralize the base in ammonia. Baking soda is a base too, and therefore, it compromises the acid reaction of the vinegar and makes it less effective. Avoid using baking soda and vinegar together when stripping your cloth diapers.

Using Spashless Bleach

When doing a bleach soak, always use regular bleach. Using splashless bleach is ineffective against ammonia. Regular bleach works best in removing the bad smell from your cloth diapers.


Your cloth diapers require stripping when there is a buildup of residue and ammonia after several routine washes. Moreover, ammonia can be harmful to your baby, so you need to get rid of it quickly. Stripping also restores your cloth diapers and eliminates a bad smell.

Overwashing your cloth diapers is not the same as stripping. In fact, you may not need to strip your diapers at all if you wash them properly. But when your cloth diapers require stripping, following our guide can help you get a satisfactory result. However, we do not advise that you strip your diapers too often. Frequent stripping can damage the fabrics and eventually do more harm than good.

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