How to Strip Your Cloth Diapers

When your cloth diapers get less absorbent and super stinky, it’s time to strip them. In this post and video, we’ll show you how.

When your cloth diapers get less absorbent and super stinky, it's time to strip them. In this post and video, we'll show you how.

When your cloth diapers are less absorbent and they stink like rotten radishes right out of the wash, it’s time to strip them. And in this video Mike will show you how to do it.

Do YOU need to strip your cloth diapers?

Find out in our video, 8 Signs It’s Time to Strip Your Cloth Diapers.

What You’ll Need to Strip Your Cloth Diapers

OK, here is the old school, not so “natural” option.

All you need is some original liquid Dawn dish detergent (blue formula), as well as some bleach.

The process is pretty simple. Wash your diapers once in super hot water with some Dawn dish detergent.

  • one teaspoon of detergent for high efficiency machines
  • one tablespoon of detergent for regular washing machines

Also, add up to a 1/2 cup of bleach in the wash cycle. This is key.

Do a couple more hot water rinses with no detergent to completely rinse diapers clean. If you see suds at the end of the rinse cycle, keep rinsing!

Dry your diapers as normal, and enjoy the absence of stank!

Isn’t Bleach Harsh on the Diapers and on the Baby?

Our preferred cloth diaper manufacturer, bumGenius, recommends using the bleach, so we’re okay with it on the diapers we use.

Their stripping instructions are:

Wash once in hot water with one teaspoon (for high efficiency machines) to one tablespoon (for regular washing machines) with original liquid Dawn (blue formula) and up to 1/2 cup bleach in the wash cycle.

Do two additional hot water washes with no detergent to completely rinse the diapers clean. If you still see suds, keep rinsing until the diapers are rinsed clean.


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A Natural Bleach Alternative

Luckily, for those that don’t want to use bleach (rightfully so), there’s another option. You can make your own natural version.


  • 1 1/2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 12 cups of distilled water
  • 1 gallon jug

Directions: Pour your hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice into a gallon jug. Fill the remainder of your jug with distilled water.

How to use: You may want to use 1 cup of this natural bleach when you strip your diapers (versus 1/2 cup of regular bleach). You would combine this natural bleach with your regular non-toxic or “green” laundry soap in the same quantity as you normally use for washing clothes. You can also add 10-15 drops of lemon or thieves essential oils to your liquid washing soap for an added cleaning boost and a nice, clean scent.

How Often Do You Strip Cloth Diapers?

It’s recommended to strip cloth diapers every 3 to 4 months. But you may want to add a teaspoon of bleach to a diaper load once a month to stay on top of stink.

What’s Your Cloth Diaper IQ?

Do you know your prefolds from your AIOs? Your hybrids from your cloth wipes? Check out our post, Cloth Diapering 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started, for the full scoop on CD-ing.

How About You?

What method do you use to beat the cloth diaper funk?

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. Does the jug of the natural strip mix need to be refridgerated because of the lemon juice?

  2. So after doing this, then i started reading the comments about NOT mixing dawn and bleach. Why is this post still up if your not supposed to mix them?? Sitting her freaking out after i’ve already done it. Some reassurance would be great.

    • I really hope that she takes this down. Dawn dish soap has palm oil, which is linked to deforestation in Sumatra and Borneo and the critical endangerment of both subspecies of Orangutans left on the planet. No, thanks.

  3. Is this for just the inner parts of the diaper or can the colorful covers be stripped this method too (natural homemade hydrogen perioxide bleaching method)?

  4. My mother in law is a respiratory therapist and said that combining bleach with Dawn soap is extremely dangerous. So I researched it and she is right. It can cause immediate lung damage, even death. You need to take this advice down before someone gets really hurt!!!!

  5. Never bleach diapers. Ammonia burn comes from the ammonia in the urine. Urine not fully washed out is what causes the burn. Bleaching diapers makes baby’s butt even worse by causing a horrible reaction (what people are freaking out about in other posts) between the ammonia in the urine and the remaining bleach in the fibers. You smell a faint whiff of “clean” chlorine? That’s the future baby butt rash.

    Rinsing the diapers of pee and poo right away helps. A cool/warm water 1st wash, hot water 2nd wash with an extra rinse in an AGITATING washer kept my baby’s butt awesome. I washed every other day. The only problems came if someone *cough* husband *cough* didn’t rinse the pee out. Never use softeners, never use creams with the diapers. Natural oils, like coconut, are fine, but commercial creams are not. They clog the fabric, trapping… ammonia!!! Repeat awful butt burn cycle.

    The only problem I ran into was with my 2nd child and a different house with an HE washer. I seriously hated that machine. I honestly don’t think that HE washer can fully clean diapers. I used my exact same methods and was continuously having diaper rash. It was so bad we couldn’t cloth diaper. We eventually replaced the washer and ta-da! no more problems.

    Just don’t bleach your diapers, mine were pristine. I would have no problem using them as face towels. Didn’t have a single stain. Also, to make it easier to clean, I used a reusable liner of fleece (baby fleece from the fabric store.) Helped enormously with poo disposal, was soft against the butt, and kept a “moisture barrier” between her butt and the diaper.

    Take what you want, leave the rest. But it worked great. Chemistry and biology don’t lie. Don’t bleach your diapers, clean them fully, and you won’t get ammonia burn.

    • Hey I am running into the same problem. My diapers have the ammonia smell after my son pees. I have an HE washer and don’t know how to go about this. Help? I feel so bad for my son so I end up washing his diapers twice every time I wash.

      • can help with a proper wash routine on an HE machine. I have an he machine and have no issues. Also make sure you check your water hardness!

  6. WARNING!!!!!

    Please be advised and read the warning labels on your bottles – become aware.

    It is astonishing to know that any (although well-meaning) blog or/and major cloth diaper company would ever recommend doing so to its patrons. Let’s hope there are no toxic accidents. Ammonia and bleach are a chemical no no. This information is found not only on your warning labels, but too, on many internet websites that have specific knowledge in science and chemistry.

    Warning number 2: Adding dish detergent to your wash machine will void the warranty in most new models. New meaning within the last ten years or even more. See your owner’s manual for your machine. If you do not have one you can look up your model number and find one on the internet.

  7. Please look up the Fluff Love University website and Facebook page. Lots of science involved in washing human waste out of fabric and then putting it onto baby’s bottom!!! Cloth diapered now for 2.5 years. I have never had to strip them!!!

  8. Any suggestions for parents who sir an apartment building washer and can’t add stuff during rinse cycle. I need a one and done solution.

    • Check out Fluff Love University

  9. So I just dropped by to say that putting Dawn dish soap in your washer isn’t a good idea. Neither is vinegar. Vinegar also isnt good for your diapers as it will wear out the elastics and PUL, as will bleach if done too often. Dawn will strip the oils in your washer, causing it to break. Vinegar will ruin the plastics in your washer, causing it to break. If you have a good wash routine with a decent detergent, whether plant-based or regular, you shouldn’t need to strip at all. I feel that information like this can scare people away from cloth, because this just seems like wayyy to much on top of everything else you have to do with a baby.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Ok someone may have already asked this but I don’t have time to read the load of comments to find if its been asked and answered. I have two questions, first is can you use homemade, natural bleach? Mine is hydrogen peroxide, water, lemon juice, and lemon essential oil. My second question is can I use homemade fabric softener for the cloth diapers?I know its said not to but I thought it was just because store bought ones leave a film my homemade does not seem to. Its ice cream salt, epsom salt, a few drops lemon essential oil and white vinegar

    • You could definitely give it a try. Let us know if it works!

  11. has anyone mentioned yet that detergent (being a base) and chlorine bleach (being an acid) neutralize each other when you put them in the same water?

    • Bleach is also basic.

  12. I’m surprised you use blue dawn to strip if you’re a proponant of natural living. It is TERRIBLE for the environment and marine life. I only use biodegradeable, non-toxic cleaning products and I was hoping to find an eco-friendly option for stripping here. I use cloth diapers to help the earth, so why would I pour toxic goop on them regularly?

    • Blue dawn is regularly used as a safe way to get oil off of wildlife after disastrous oil spills!

      • Yeah because it cuts grease well BUT if you do some research you will find it is horribly toxic for us and wildlife.

  13. If you’re still cloth diapering, Fluff Love University changed my life! I still use detergent that makes my crunchy side happy (Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus) but they have very detailed instructions that make cloth diapering a breeze. I cloth diapered my first and struggled with barnyard stink and ammonia and found myself stripping and using bleach way more than I should have!! I’m now 6 months into cloth diapering my second without incident 🙂 They also have a Facebook group for troubleshooting.

  14. I have raised 4 children and they have all been on cloth diapers. I used bleach in the wash and then rinsed twice, adding 1/2 cup of vinegar in the first rinse. Then I always hung them in the sun for 1 hour. In the Winter, I would hang them out for 1 hour then hang them again in the house to dry. My diapers have never smelled bad. I used the same set for all 4 children and passed them on.

  15. Grovia says stripping is unnecessary if diapers are cleaned properly can you help explain why the manufacturers disagree with all of this! Thx

  16. Good morning! Just a thought, your husband mentioned in this video that your diapers did not smell brand new but better. I watched the video twice and then i heard him say wash them first. I got to thinking when i started cloth diapers 4 years ago i was having this same stinky issues and then another CD momma suggested i started doing a rinse cycle before i wash my cd’s every single time. Then they started smelling fresh & brand new after every wash. Just a thought. BTW Love your site, Keep up the great work! : )

  17. I have Dawn Ultra Original, what is the difference between Dawn Ultra and not Ultra? Will the Ultra even though it is original still work? Thank you!!


    • We’ve used the ultra and it’s been just fine 🙂

      • buy a Miele washer, wash the diapers from 60 or 75 or 90*c and forget about all the other stripping hoopla.

  18. Good morning, girls.

    After baby boy got an immonia burn from his diapers, we had to try “stripping” them. I followed this method – perhaps not understanding the directions – but I washed the diapers with regular detergent, then washed again with 1 tbsp. dawn, and when it started agitating, added about 1/4-1/3 cup bleach. Afterwards, I ran 2 whole cycles with no detergent to completely rinse them out, and now they’re line drying. Only AFTER these 2 chemicals (dawn & bleach) were in the wash, did I read that this mixture could release a poisonous cloud that could kill my family.

    It’s possible someone else would come on here panicking and reading every comment. Helpful as it is to post “never mix these, don’t even think about it”, I hope this is helpful for someone who’s in the “WHOOPS, I ALREADY MIXED THESE” stage (or to avoid that for the future. It’s an uncomfortable place to be).

    After contacting Dawn, Dawn Chemicals Division, downloading the ingredients list, referring to the bottles, and contacting the PCC, here’s what I’ve come up with (you know us natural mamas; we’re like this):

    Yes, be on the safe side, don’t mix these things. I opened all the windows and fanned the place out. I didn’t notice any particularly strange smell, and neither did the men around here.

    Turns out there is no ammonia in dawn, according to the ingredients list, the PCC, and the Dawn Consumer Line. As a side note; there is ammonia in your diapers if your baby is getting “ammonia burn”, so that’s something to consider. Wash diapers several times thoroughly in very hot water before using any bleach.

    Use dawn if you want, then rinse, rinse, rinse. Use bleach separately. When I contacted Dawn to find out what the “harmful when mixed with bleach” ingredient was, they mulled around and were very unhelpful, until finally the representative admitted that it is NOT recommended, but they aren’t sure which ingredient it would be. It’s more of a disclaimer, and download the ingredient list if you want to research which one it is yourself.

    After more research online, it looks like people have been mixing these things and surviving for a while.

    To sum it up: While it is in fact VERY dangerous to mix ammonia and bleach, there is no ammonia in Dawn. It may be harmful to mix the other ingredients in Dawn with bleach. Do it at your own discretion and risk.

    Finally: My diapers seem nice and fresh, although to save myself some emotional grievance, I’m definitely not doing it this way again. If you just did this, open a window just in case, and calm down. Rinse, rinse, rinse.

    • ok so i have accidentally put both in at the same time. are they going to be ok?? i also have washed my diapers before i did this. i wasnt even thinking.. will my diapers be ok for child to wear?

    • BUY A MIELE WASHER, WASH THE DIAPERS AT 90*C with some Claudia’s soap and forget this blog ever existed.

      • I just looked up a Miele washer…I’m sorry to say but most don’t have $2000 to spend on a washer in hopes that it cleans their cloth diapers. I rather strip then every couple months because I LOVE my Samsung top loader and dryer

  19. I was just wondering; aren’t you concerned about using bleach? Isn’t there an EO blend that would work??

    • Does not the bleach damage your color/print diapers?

  20. The diapers should be rinsed before washing. Do you have a diaper sprayer? It is a tremendous help. Throwing diapers full of urine and feces in the washer is not a good idea. I have a front load washer, and it is not an issue. Remember, though, that adding the Dawn or any other non-washer detergent to a front loader could possibly void your warranty. It might be a good idea to check first. If they smell, they’re not getting clean, period, Try changing HE detergents, run a rinse cycle first, and run in the full-length cycle.

    • I guess no one here has heard of Miele. Wash the diapers at 90*c and they will certainly be clean afterward. As far as I am concerned anything by Miele is the best investment one can make. My wife and I are not rich by any means, but the wash/dryer combo and dishwasher are worth their weight in gold. We were so impressed with Miele that when it came to shopping for a vacuum, after doing some research we again went back the well. High quality products with extremely good warranty.

      Back to washers: Our Miele Novotronic 1623 has an extra white setting and the base temperature is 60*c… it then can go to 75*c and 90*c. At 90*c with Claudia’s soap, there is nothing left with regards to bacteria.

      • Nobody here has or is just going to drop 2000 for a washer just to wash diapers. Seriously the most unhelpful reoccurring comment.

  21. Hi there, need some help. Our cloth diapers smelled strongly of ammonia when our daughter peed in them and they were giving her nasty diaper rashes. I have stripped them 3 times using the method you mentioned above and also 3 other methods using baking soda, biokleen, apple cider vinegar, and one with no detergent. The diapers still smell strongly of ammonia and are giving her diaper rashes. What am I doing wrong? We have been using disposable for several months now and I want to go back to the cloth diapers. I have only ever washed them with Charlie Banana detergent. Any advice that might help I would love to know! Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah,

      We’ve been having the same issue for a while last year, and it took me a while to figure things out for us. I think for us the main issue was – I wasn’t using ENOUGH DETERGENT. Apparently the ammonia smell could be there because there was not enough detergent to wash it off. You have to find that perfect amount though of course. The second thing I think was not ENOUGH WATER in our HE washing machine. I’ve started to put in as much water as I could. (I even open the washing machine and add a bucket full or as much as it allows without splashing out.) The third thing I think was – leaving the diapers sit in the pail without first RINSING THEM. (In summer time I also hang them outside to air dry, and when it’s time to wash, just take them off and put them straight in the washing machine.)

      I also found then the ‘proper’ washing cycle (at least proper for us): 1st – rinse in the cold water, 2nd – wash in hot water, 3rd – wash/rinse in cold (if not enough repeat step 3 as many times as needed. We normally do only 3, but I add as much water as possible to each cycle.)

      The above seemed to have helped us remove the strong ammonia smell on the regular basis. OF course we still have to do the occasional stripping.

    • Do you have a front loading washer? I learned the hard way that front loaders are terrrrible for cloth diapers. The diapers are pretty much just wishy washing in a circle in its own urine and filth, never really ridding of all the soiled grossness.

      • Buy a Miele…

        • Seriously, nobody here is going to buy a new washing machine just to wash their cloth diapers. That defeats the purpose of trying to save money with cloth diapers!!

    • I discovered that the cloth diapers by themselves weren’t a big enough load for my washing machine to actually clean them. They would just stick to the sides and still stink/be full of soap suds no matter what settings I used. I now use 2 old towels to bulk up the size of the load and it works SO much better. One wash and one rinse cycle and they’re clean. I only use the towels to wash the diapers now because I’m picky like that. It also helps them dry faster in the dryer. Hope this helps!

    • HI there, I don’t know if you’re still on this post or not, but. thought I’d share my wash cycle. I too use the charlie banana detergent. If my diapers are peed in, I just take and throw them in the pail (I use a garbage can w a reusable liner) if they’re pooped in, I have a bucket I throw them in and fill w water and leave sit in the shower. Once I have 3 or 4 poopie doapers, I use the diaper sprayer attached to my toilet. In the summer, I use the hose as its much more powerful. I rinse all of the poop off, and if they stained (which is very rare) I use a little felsnaptha soap and let them soAK. Once I rinse the poopie diapers, I use a diaper genie (no bag or anything) and I put them in there. I keep them separate from the peed diapers. I wash every 3 days. I then take all diapers to my top loading washer. I separate the inserts, as I use picket diapers, and throw all the diapers, inserts, liners, and the reusable bag in the washer. I always use the next size load up from the actual load size. You want enough water to wash them properly, but not too much that they don’t agitate in the washer. I use a cold rinse to begin, and then I do a heavy wash on hot with a full scoop of Charlie banana. The container says to use only one scoop. As the detergent can burn the baby if too much is used. I set this cycle up w an extra rinse. Once the heavy wash and rinse is complete, I do another rinse cycle just to be safe. Since I’ve starated washing my diapers this way I haven’t had to strip them, and there Is no smell. I line dry or use a drying rack. As I ruined several diapers when I first started using CD nearly 2 years ago. I was having a stink problem, and I found in wasn’t using enough detergent. Now that I follow the detergent instructions and do a prerinse, a heavy wash w a rinse, and an extra rinse. I haven’t had any problems. The step I spend the most time on is washing the poopie diapers. I make sure they look clean before they go in the diaper genie. I smell the diapers every time theyre done washing, and they never smell like anything. Which is what you want. I have used the same diapers and inserts for 2 years, and they look and smell brand new for the most part. I hope you find this useful.

    • Do not use Baking soda. Bumgenius told me it ruins the pH of the diapers.

  22. We had what I’ve herd called as “the barn smell” to our diapers. Did a long hot soak in rock in greens hard rock formula (was using the classic rock at the time) problem solved.

    • Rockin Greens Classic Rock has given us “the barn smell” also! I accidentally bought it (was previously doing the Motley Crue scent). So glad I came across your comment!

  23. Hi Mama, thanks for the info! When you give the steps 1-3, you say add dawn and then add bleach to wash cycle. Do you first rinse diapers with just water…then wash with dawn AND bleach, then run multiple rinses until suds are gone? I was confused whether the dawn and bleach cycles are together or separate.


    • Actually, isn’t it bad to mix vinegar and bleach in the same wash/rinse cycle? Doesn’t bleach and vinegar together emit chlorine gas? Thinking back to my high school chemistry class…

      • I believe Karetha is saying to replace the bleach with vinegar.

      • It is bleach and ammonia that create chlorine gas when combined, not bleach and vinegar. So don’t mix bleach with ammonia. I believe bleach and vinegar are fine.

  24. I live in mexico so I cant get RLR or Dawn dish soap so I boil my prefolds! Its easy I build a fire and put a huge metal pot over the fire and throw all of my prefolds in you can actually smell and see the scum that was on the diapers! I also try to use roma soap on them in the wash since I baby my diapers and hand wash them the roma is the only thing that rinses clean in my opinion I also throw all of my pockets and covers in a vinegar soak every time I wash to help with stink but the microfibers I agree a bit of bleach is all I can find that helps I boiled them once but I felt that it might be too hard on a man made fiber.

  25. During the summer (I live in CT so this wouldn’t work during the winter unless you want frozen diapers ha) I sun bathe them after I wash them to get rid of the stink. It also helps get rid of stains. But I was looking for something during the not so sunny days and very cold days Thanks!

  26. I think our cloth diapers may need to be stripped. They no longer smell fresh out of the wash, and smell horrible of ammonia after a small amount of urine goes into them. I noticed that you put in bleach, with the pockets and inserts. Is that ok to do with colored pockets? I dont want to bleach the colors out of them. Thanks!

    • Those are all symptoms of needing a stripping. But Dawn contains ammonia and should never be used with bleach. Try 1/4 cup distilled vinegar instead. Add them both to a hot wash cycle and let agitate, then let sit overnight. Finish the wash, run three more hot wash cycles (till no more suds). Rinse. dry. Awesomeness.

      • It actually doesn’t contain ammonia.

  27. is bleach a good detergent to use even if you’re not stripping? I am new to cloth diapering & I am trying to get as much information as possible I don’t want to ruin my diapers and I don’t want to cause discomfort on my son.

  28. Do you put your shells and inserts in the wash with regular bleach? I don’t want to ruin my shells with bleach!

  29. I really think I need to strip my diapers. I just bought them from a lady that I found on a diaper swap fb page. The diapers leak and have a smell after worn. They are bum genius pocket diapers. If you have any input on them please feel free to share. My two questions are, when you put the bleach in a HE washer do you stick it in the slot or directly in the wash? Also, do I put the shell and insert in the wash to strip? Thank you for your help.

  30. Loved this video! I am going to strip my sons diapers today! The bleach will not harm the colored ones will it? I am excited to get rid of the radishes! HA

  31. Wish I would have found this before now….

    Would there be a reason for them leaving rashes on my baby’s skin? Even the all natural ones if I dot change them every hour leave her wee wee read (just that nothin else) – I am striping them as we speak.

  32. I had some used Bum genius diapers I bought (They were well loved and I got a GREAT deal on them). They had a funny smell. It was really weird. I soaked them in rocking green, I used dawn, vinegar, baking soda, sunned them, washed them about 50 times and COULD NOT get rid of the smell no matter what. They smelled even after being washed. It was almost like a grease smell like they were stored somewhere funny. Finally i was about to give up and get rid of them. I washed them with normal Era. Then rinsed about 10 times. So happy they don’t smell. I used them they don’t leak and they aren’t bad smelling (any more than normal) after soiled. SO HAPPY.

  33. I think bleach is ok if you’re stripping washed diapers.

  34. I’m researching that this can actually be toxic. That’s why it says on the label not to add with chlorine bleach, because the reaction emits toxic fumes into your house. Well now I’m up at 1am worrying about this, since I didn’t realize until after all was said and done. Please review your method and update so more people don’t do this!

    • You are 100% correct. Dawn contains ammonia and should never be used with bleach. Try 1/4 cup distilled vinegar instead.

      • But in certain circumstances, vinegar can set stains in.

      • Dawn doesn’t contain ammonia

  35. I loved this post! We have really weird, hard water–I’ve gone to war with it, and won!! Yes, the dish soap and bleach work great. But I’ve found that, for everyday use, Rockin’ Green Hard Rock and soap nuts (used throughout the cycles and re-used many times) work awesome! It took a year and a half to figure this out–now we can never move. I find I really don’t care too much what kind of unnatural stuff I’m using on the diapers to strip, as long as it washes clean and WORKS!!!

  36. Momma’s I need some help. I am very low on funds and work 45 hours a week so I don’t have the time nor resources to make our own dipes right now. Disposables are killing me! I tried cloth before but didn’t have a washer to use every week, which resulted in some ruined dipes. We have about ten dipes right now. what’s the cheapest, yet best brand to invest in? I need my punkin back in cloth.

    • Well, I think this is kinda off the topic of this discussion, but since you asked… You need to go with a waterproof cover and absorbant diaper on the inside.
      Except for plastic pants, Econobum covers are the cheapest you can get (but they still work great and may fit a slender baby through potty training. Not the case with me because all my babies are, well…sturdy). Flip covers are great too and are bigger so they should definitely work through potty training.
      As to what to use on the inside, if you’re on a really tight budget, you can use receiving blankets and just fold them like a flat diaper (you can find videos on youtube) or do a YouTube search for “the no sew t shirt diaper”. Both of those ideas are practically free if you shop at a second hand store. Of course you can also use prefolds or flat diapers (I like OSoCozy flats from for my 5 month old and Econobum prefolds for my 2 year olds)
      Just keep in mind the age of your baby. If his poop is still all runny (sorry :-p) then you’ll want something that you can fold and pin or Snappi around him to keep the cover clean so it can be reused. If he’s older and on to the more solid stuff then you can just lay whatever diaper in the cover and put it on him.
      I hope this helps! Check out Sometimes they have sales on their seconds. Have fun!

    • Sunbabies diapers are the cheapest I have found. They work great! I love them as much as the bum genius I have. They are about 4.50 a diaper including an insert. You have to buy at least 12 though.

  37. We use apple cider vinegar to strip our diapers. We have heard of bleach ruining diapers by eating holes in them and causing more wear in them. Our son ended up getting a horrible yeast infection and the apple cider vinegar seemed to help the problem and got rid of the stink of the diapers. We also put a little bit of Oxi Clean in every load including when we strip. No need for Dawn dish soap and bleach, and the smell that brings with them. Hope this helps someone:)

    • How much apple cider vinegar do you use to strip them?

  38. I’ve heard of using dishsoap to strip the diapers and a friend of mine said that’s all she used and it worked great. My thought with bleach…you aren’t supposed to mix it with ammonia…BAD…and that’s what urine leaves behind. Not to mention you aren’t supposed to mix it with dish soap. Mixing it with vinegar is totally fine and makes a great cleaner. We avoid bleach because we have a septic system, but I hadn’t heard of using bleach with cloth diapers before reading this. I’d be warry…

  39. I have been using regular Clorox bleach once per month on our BG diapers (4.0, Freetime and Elementals), per the manufacturers’ instructions. I started looking at using chlorine-free bleach, and decided to e-mail CottonBabies to ask for any recommendations, and I’ve just received their reply:

    “We actually recommend using 1/4 cup of regular chlorine bleach, it’s best to sanitize once a month. The oxi clean types can actually wear the diapers faster.”

    So, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Clorox takes care of any stink (mostly very light) and also stains we may have in our diapers.

    Cotton Babies also recommends not to use vinegar or baking soda to wash cloth diapers.

  40. Genevieve, please let me know the exact amount of vinegar you used. I’d love to try your suggestion. Many thanks

  41. If you have hard water don’t use vinegar in your wash or rinse! It can make the stink worse. This happened to me. So I am going to start using a diaper safe detergent, add a softener in the wash and use baking soda for my fabric softener and hope that helps get rid of the stink! I have been having to strip every 2 weeks bc of the stink caused by my hard water mixed with vinegar usage!

  42. Does it have to be dawn? Could I use any dish soap that cuts grease? Like a more natural Meyers soap?

    • I would think that any de-greasing soap would do — but, the BumGenius web site was very specific about the old school blue Dawn, so that’s what we use.

  43. I used RLR once and loved it. But at $2 I hate the price. So, I did some internet sleuthing and discovered that it’s basically “washing soda”. You can make this SUPER cheap: take regular ole baking soda, put it on a baking sheet, bake it at 450 for roughly 45 minutes until the consistency changes. This process removes H2O.

    To use: wash as usual. in the first rinse cycle add about 2 TBS, then continue to rinse as normal until no suds are left.

    Cost: about $2 for a large box of arm and hammer!

    • That’s the first I’ve heard of DIY RLR. My LO is almost 6 months and it seems it’s time to strip our diapers, so I was looking online for options. I have RLR from my baby registry, but have been trying to save it since it’s SO expensive. Thanks for this tip!

  44. I was also wondering about the bleach–I use a combination of BG 4.0s, Elementals, Freetimes, Fuzzibunz pockets, and a few other types. Before I had problems with leaking, I just threw them all in together and had no problems, other than some light staining. Now that I’ve moved and have a new washer (Amana front loader), they are unusable! Can I use the bleach on the covers of the various pockets? Or should I separate out the microfiber inserts?

    • I usually soak the microfiber and other inserts/prefolds for a while in the bleach/vinegar, and then throw the covers in at the end so that they get a bit of the bleach, but not the full soak.

  45. Can you bleach the pocket diaper covers even though they are colors? I also have lots that the exterior of the cover is the minky fabric.

  46. I don’t have a problem with the stank (LOL!) but with stains and absorbancy. I always rinse with cold, and use Nellie’s Laundry Soda to wash in warm, then hang in the sun to dry. But we still have lots of staining. Would stripping help? I have never used bleach in my life!! Also, they seem to be leaking a lot more, and wondered if there was a detergent buildup. So many things to learn as a new mom *sigh* 🙂

  47. I am trying this method as i type 🙂 my daughter got a yeast infection and i have tried everything to get her back into cloth (seems everytime we put her back in IMEDIATELY she gets a rash) so we were told to try bleaching the diapers, i found this method and im gonna give it a try! fingers crossed it works!

    • PineSol is the best for killing yeast in diapers!!!!
      Leaves that smell in the dipes but it will definitely kill the yeast organisms.

    • I’ve heard that grapefruit seed extract is the only thing that will kill yeast spores in diapers. We added about 1.5 tsp of it to our hot wash, and all of my babies yeast problems cleared right up.

      • We used GSE in the wash (20 drops) & sunned everything outside when we had yeast.

        • Where do you guys find GSE? Thanks!

          • You can get GSE on amazon or at Whole Foods. I use cloth wipes as well, and to keep the yeasty beast away I make my own wash for the wipes: 1 cup water, 1 tsp. baby wash (right now we use California Baby Calendula) and a few drops of tea tree and lavendar oils. Works great. We also use coconut oil as our diaper cream. It’s antiviral and antibacterial, and no buildup so far! (Our girl is 6 months old.)

  48. We actually have a laundry pure Hooked up to our washer so we cannot use hot water. How important is that hot water rinse? I never had a problem with the smell of the diapers, they are just very non-absorbent now (gdiapers). I just assumed it was the brand. They’re now going to be a back up.. Your other video talked me into ordering the bum genius. 🙂

  49. My stripping was a success (sounds funny!)! I used a few drops of Dawn and 1/2 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle. I ran 2 hot washes and maybe 6 rinses (I only have the option for cold rinses). I also added about 1 quart of boiling water to each hot wash to make the water EXTRA hot. Worked like a charm and my baby boy is skunk-smell free! 🙂

    • Very nice and good thinking, mama!

  50. We have stripped with vinegar and several whitest white cycles. We use cotton inserts for day and microfiber at night. When I notice ammonia smells, I strip and switch detergent. We go back and forth between country save and ecos brands. It works great for us.

  51. I put baking soda in the bottom of the diaper pail (not inside the liner), and then I put a few drops of Peppermint oil in the diaper pail liner. I use my own homemade detergent (borax, washing soda, and a bar of organic soap grated), and after the wash and rinse cycles, the diaper still smell like peppermint. 🙂 Not to mention the diaper pail smells like peppermint too, even with the dirty cloth diapers!

    • I loved your Sh*t Crunchy Mamas Say and my kids (not little anymore) think it’s funny, too. We thought the raw milk sale was pretty funny.

      We cloth diapered for several years (three kids) and learned some things about washing. We found that everything got cleanest and lasted the longest if we washed the covers and the diapers separately. We washed the covers with our whites on warm. When we tried washing them with the diapers, they would deteriorate faster and get stinky. I’m not sure what we would have done if we used pocket diapers because then the covers get poopy and not just the diapers. I think if we used the pocket type diapers, we would have used liners against the inside so that those could be washed with the dipes and the covers could be washed with the regular laundry.

      We also discovered that ointments like A&D wrecked diapers and would actually make rashes worse due to the zinc oxide not washing out of the dipes. Our favorite ointments were and still are miracle salve and miracle salve plus from Kerry’s Herbals

      We washed the diapers (the absorbent part) with a soak before the wash and two rinses after. Sometimes we used vinegar in the rinse and sometimes we soaked for a few hours in Biokleen Bac-out. You have to use cool water for this soak because the enzymes in Bac-out are destroyed by heat. Also, don’t soak overnight like we did for a year or so. Our washer ended up getting rust in it from the long soaking.

      Anyway, as long as we didnt use zinc oxide or other greasy ointment, our diapers stayed fresh even though I was lazy and often didn’t wash for 5 days or so.

      • THANK YOU for saying that the Bac-out has to be with cold water! I’m trying to figure out how to use it during my first battle with ammonia, and no one else mentions this, they just say to squirt a little in the wash, or do a soak, but not much more descriptive than that. I appreciate the specifics!

  52. I am new to your site, and I am loving it! I love your sense of humor; it is really refreshing. Both of my kids were born at home, I co-sleep and nurse my toddler, and I also eat “real” foods just like you do.

    And your Sh*t Crunchy Mamas say had me and my husband laughing so hard (meanwhile our 5-year-old kept asking what was so funny).

    I’m really excited to try the diaper stripping technique. We’re using Fuzzi Bunz that were also used for our first child, so they can have some serious stank. Some have even been permanently retired because of the smell. Oh, one note for anyone else with Fuzzi Bunz: apparently it is okay to use bleach on the inserts, but NOT on the covers (that’s what the FB website says anyway). Looking forward to my non-stinky diapers!!

    • Welcome mama! So glad you’re here :). XOXO.

  53. Just FYI: I have heard cotton is the most stink-free option. Microfiber and hemp (I have all 3) have a tendency towards stinkiness. We recently stripped and changed detergent to green mnt have have noticed a huge difference. I also have started rinsing the diapers before putting them in the pail and spraying with bac-out (amazing!)

  54. Hi Genevieve! Love your site and the videos. Noticed you might have the same washer as we do. We use FuzziBunz and get the stinkies, but I think it’s been reduced lately because I’ve been adding extra water to our washer (front loader, Whirlpool Duet). I have a hose attached to my laundry sink, and I just run a bunch of water in after the cycle starts, through the detergent drawer. If you can reach a sink, you might want to try it! Also, I think the bleach is just one of those necessary evils, especially with microfiber, and all those layers that are sewn together. It’s more difficult to clean effectively, than, say, prefolds, even.

    • Thanks Jen for tip. Yes, I do think you’re right about microfiber. I’m going to experiment with bamboo inserts. We don’t have a sink attached but good to know for future reference!

    • I am going to use the dawn stripping method, but I have bad reactions to bleach, or even chlorinated water. Also uncomfortable with the thought of bleach and ammonia ever mixing. As such the necessary evil of bleach is just too evil for my house, but what else can I use?! I have been searching for a way out that still leaves my diapers nice and today I happened upon a variation of this method that I am really excited to try. You use the dawn in the washer alone, then take out the diapers and soak in lemon juice water, rinse and hang in the sun. Supposedly works as well if not better than bleach for the stink and the stain. I’m gonna try it out! Also liking the tea tree oil idea. Thanks all!

  55. I was always told to never use bleach on my cloth diapers that have PUL (the waterproofing laminate on the inside of pocket dipes such as Bumgenius). From what I’ve been told, and I think according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the bleach can eat away at the PUL and then they won’t be waterproof anymore. I do run a bleach load with my microfiber inserts when they get stinky though.

    • I think it has to be OK with BG since it’s in their directions on stripping.

  56. Ok, I need remedial help here. I’m not clear on exactly when to add the Dawn and bleach. Do you add them both at the same time, at the beginning of the wash? Or do you do Dawn in a pre-wash and bleach for the main wash? Also, does the bleach mess up the color of your diaper covers? Thanks!

    • No one has answered this yet (I know it’s old! But maybe it will help someone else!) You add them both in the beginning of the wash. I usually wait until the washer has completely filled with water and started washing, and then slowly add in whatever extras I am using (bleach, dawn vinegar, etc) so that it is well incorporated.

      Also someone recently told me that Bac Out has been found to have a high level of reproductive toxicity, so please be careful using it!

  57. I find that using the Non-concentrated Dawn cuts down a lot on the number of times you rinse. You can find it at your Dollar General or online. And Mircofiber=you HAVE to use bleach. Cloth diapering is a such a science, I find. You need to know your water type, use the right detergent, and detergent amount, which is way less than you think, and use a lot of water for rinsing. I stay away from microfiber, although I really like the BumGenius design, I just use other inserts in it, and I never need to use bleach. I wouldn’t even have to use anything but detergent if I didn’t have hard water. Making sure they get rinsed thoroughly every time (no bubbles or cloudyness in the final rinse cycle) and using the proper detergent and amount=no stripping ever!

    • Hmmm…. now that’s an idea! We have hard water too which is why bleach seems to be the only thing that works. But I never thought of putting in different kinds of inserts. I’m going to be trying the hemp inserts soon. Perhaps that will work since they’re more natural. Thanks mama!

    • I use other inserts too. Just organic cotton prefolds (green mountain diapers rejects) with an imse vimse cotton couplers. BUT I can’t give up the bumGenius casings. They are SO WONDERFUL!

      • Oh, and the red rimmed ones fit great

  58. Our first baby will be here in about 6 weeks and thanks to our wonderful friends and community, we are stocked up on Bum Genius. We have most of the same colors that you show in your videos and I was curious about the bleach and the colors. I’ve actually never used bleach in any wash and have always thought that it would blotch out the colors. Do you find this happening or is it so diluted that it doesn’t happen?
    Thanks for all of your tips! My husband and I have learned a lot from you and Mama Natural.

    • Aw, thanks Kessa. No our diapers haven’t faded or blotched using bleach.

  59. So fun. I love your videos, even if they don’t pertain to my life in the very least. You guys are just great. I love me some bleach. There is nothing like it!

    • Thanks Katie! Love having your here :). Your positive and fun spirit make me happy 🙂

  60. In order to avoid using bleach, I put white vinegar in my rinse cycle every time. Works like a charm to get rid of the odor. Also, I don’t use any diaper cream, just calendula ointment – doesn’t stain or leave any buildup.

      • Vinegar is not recommended for bumGenius so an FYI

    • How much vinegar?

    • How much vinegar do you use? I’m going to try both methods and see which one I like better. Thank you

      • I know about 1/4 cup of white vinegar is recommended in the rinse cycle.

  61. We use Dawn as you do, but we put a drop or two of Tea Tree Oil in the wash to get the “stank” out. 🙂 Works for us. I strip ours every couple of months normally, but I add a drop of TTO every week to two of the washes (so we basically get all of them since half is in one load and the other half is used and then washed). That weekly drop of TTO in the wash keeps stinks away from all our cotton stuff and will help keep the stank down in our Microfiber inserts so they last till the next stripping.

    • Hmmmm, will have to try that. Thanks Samantha!

  62. Gimme dat STANK! LOL! Loved this. My husband and I don’t have itty bitties yet, but when we do, it’s good to know that information like this is around to help us. Awesome job, guys!

    Oh, and, Mike… no more butt sniffin’, ‘kay? 🙂

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