Friday, 15 July 2011

How to Strip Cloth Nappies.

I have thought that recently my nappies have started to still smell of ammonia after washing. I have had this before and I adjusted the way that I wash and it got much better, it turned out that I needed to use more detergent and rinse a couple of times after the main wash so that all of the extra bubbles washed out. I have continued to do this but they started to smell again so I needed to take action.

I did some research and I came across stripping. I had heard of this before but never looked into it as I hadn't thought my nappies needed it, but they definitely did now, the smell was putting me off using them. After researching it made sense that stripping my nappies was the best course of action. I have been using them for over a year now, and quite a high proportion of them are preloved so I think it was sensible to strip for general maintenance. As I use a full dose of detergent a build up would be more likely, plus they have been wicking recently.

There are three popular ways of stripping cloth nappies.

The first method is manually cleaning with dishwasher liquid.

* Fill a bath up with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
* Soak all nappies, wipes, liners, boosters, and inserts over-night.
* Scrub the surface of all nappies with a scrubbing brush and neat dishwashing liquid.
* Soak the scrubbed nappies over-night again.
* Wash and rinse all items in the washing machine over and over again until no more bubbles can be seen
* Hang everything on the line to get as much sunshine as possible.

This method is very time consuming but gives brilliant results. It makes the nappies and boosters look like new and they no longer smell. The scrubbing and soaking in the bath gets rid of all of the hidden muck in the nappies that you can't see, so you know that they have had a really thorough clean, the evidence will be in the bottom of the bath.

The second method is using a dishwasher tablet in the washing machine.

* Put all PUL items in the washing machine
* Add 1 dishwasher tablet to the drum of the machine with the nappies
* Set machine to wash items at 60 C on a good wash cycle
* Set machine to do an extra rinse one first cycle has finished
* Hang items on line to expose to sunlight.

This method is good for ease of use and is very simple for someone like me who doesn't want a lot of faff when doing something for the first time. It isn't the best method for stain removal, but it is fantastic for smell busting. This could be a good method if you haven't got much time and are hanging out to dry on a very sunny day, as the UV rays will bleach the stains away.

The last method is a vinegar soak.

* Soak all items not containing PUL in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water over-night.
* Rinse out the vinegar in the washing machine.
* Hang items on the line to dry and expose to sunlight.

This method is excellent for eradicating smells and is also quite good for stain removal. It is also pretty simple to follow, not as simple as a dishwash tablet, but still pretty easy. Vinegar is a natural grease remover which is brilliant for getting rid of a detergent build up, it is also very good for putting in your washing machine on an empty wash to get rid of the excess detergent in your pipes and drum. The downside to this method is that as my stash is mostly pocket nappies and as vinegar can erode the elastic and PUL I couldn't put my whole nappies into the wash, so they are not completely stripped. Something to counteract this would be to use a squirt of washing up liquid in with a PUL wash as it is also a grease remover, but milder than vinegar.

I decided to go with the vinegar method and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. The inserts are very fresh, they don't have any smell at all which is perfect. The only negative that I have is that the method took longer than I thought it would. I started at just before lunch and my machine was still rinsing at 8pm. There were an awful lot of bubbles so that shows how much of a build up there was, and also how well the vinegar was working. The inserts are not as white as I thought they would be, maybe I was a bit too hopeful there, and they are drying on the line now so I will see the end result in a few hours.

I am very pleased that I took the time to strip my nappies, it feels good to know that I am maintaining them and also I know that they are fresher against Zane's bottom. I will definitely do the dishwasher liquid method when I have a lot of time, it seems to produce brilliant results and I would like to know that they have had a really thorough clean.

1 comment:

  1. Oo thanks for this, some of my son's nappies are really stinky, didn't think there was anything I could do about it! :)