Stripping stinks!

cloth diapers

We’re on week 10 of using cloth diapers and they haven’t added much hassle to our diapering routine at all. Just recently though, we started to get more leakage, the inserts no longer smell clean when washed and an unmistakable ammonia smell burns the nose when dirty diapers sit in the pail for a day. I couldn’t really explain the smell of ammonia if you asked me to describe it, but you would still be able to recognize it immediately.

Where that pungent ammonia smell is coming from:
“When protein is broken down in the body it is converted into ammonia. However, since ammonia is highly toxic to the body, the body converts ammonia into urea, a non-toxic substance, which is then excreted in urine. Once outside the body, in this case the baby’s diaper, urea will begin to convert back to ammonia slowly. Diapers that are left unwashed for days will begin to smell as the urea coverts back into ammonia.” (source)

It was pretty clear we needed to strip the diapers of the gradual build up. After reading that stripping is needed on average after 2.5 months of use, I knew this day was coming soon for us. There seems to be lots of different ways to strip cloth diapers, including using plain old hot water for minor build up. Thinking that was a good place to start, I ran the inserts through a rinse cycle, a wash cycle and then boiled in batches in hot water on the stove top followed by another rinse cycle. I’m not sure I stripped them correctly but when dry the inserts do smell fresh and seem to instantly be leaking less.


I think next time I will go the bath-tub route, filling the tub with very hot water, dish or 4-6 tbsp cloth diaper detergent and letting my diaper inserts soak overnight, followed by a rinse cycle. I saw the bathtub trick in a YouTube video. Clever!

Cloth diaper mamas, how do you like to strip? Diapers, I mean.

6 thoughts on “Stripping stinks!

  1. Malgré tout le respect que j’ai pour le choix que vous avez fait d’utiliser des langes réutilisables, j’ai le droit de dire que j’ai bien rigolé en lisant ce billet ? 😉

  2. Haha. Oui biensûr que tu as le droit de rigoler…mais seulement si je peux rigoler de nos économies 😉

  3. Tu peux aussi rigoler ! Encore une fois, grand respect et grand bravo pour ce choix !
    Ce qui m’a fait rigoler, ce n’est pas le boulot supplémentaire, c’est la description de l’odeur d’ammoniaque 😉

    PS : il me semblait avoir posté un commentaire il y a une heure environ, mais il n’apparaît pas alors je recommence 😉

  4. I got 16 pages of instructions how to take care of cloth diapers :S Just bought our own and got this bible with them.

    After 5times of reading it, I think I understand it 😀

    I have two copies, tell me if you are interested 😉

    1. Yes, I am definitely interested!! 🙂 I did the bathtub soaking after writing this post, but not sure I had the appropriate products to lift the build-up. Really curious what the manual says. Hey, congrats on buying cloth diapers of your own!

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