How do I know if I need to Strip Wash?
It is important for you to only strip wash if it is needed - strip washing too often may alter the lifetime of your nappy. If you are washing your nappies properly throughout your regular/daily washing routine Strip Washing shouldn't be necessary very often if at all. Remember to use a liner with all barrier creams and avoid the use of fabric softeners etc. These create build up in your nappies which alters their absorbency and may cause other issues such as rashes.
Bottom creams/Nappy Balms//Barrier Creams
Barrier creams and nappy balms are usually oil or fat-based. Even some natural oils that some parents use like coconut oil, will build up in the nappy. Build-up is often more noticeable if you always wash with cold water. This is because oils and fats can't break down in a cold wash. A hot (check your brand's washing tips but generally this needs to be at 60 degrees) wash occasionally can help to break down some of this build-up.
When using cream/oils on your baby's skin it is a good idea to regularly wash on a warm cycle. This helps to prevent oils and creams from building up in the nappy fabrics.
There are some simple tests to see if you have build-up in your nappy.
For pocket nappies, hold the cover under a dripping tap (with the water dripping onto the inner lining where your baby pees)
For inserts/absorbent layers. Try holding that under a dripping tap. You will know if you have build-up If the water beads on the top of the fabric and does not get absorbed.
It is important to realise that if the pocket nappy cover has build up it will affect the moisture getting through to the absorbent inserts and may cause you to have leaks and other problems.
Washing - Fabric Softeners
Fabric softeners or any detergent that has fabric softener in it, will prevent your fabrics from being absorbent. This is because it puts a coating on the fabric to make it soft and then this coating prevents the fabric from being absorbent, especially if it is used regularly.
When you need to strip wash your reusable cloth nappies we recommend choosing a suitable method on the Clean Cloth Nappies website.
Please be very careful when doing things like strip washing to your nappies. If you use harsh products (like vinegar) it can drastically shorten the lifespan of your nappies and may void your warranty. Always check the manufacturer's information first as they may have another option for getting their specific brand clean.
If your nappies are just really smelly it may pay to just hot wash them (generally up to 60 degrees) with an extra rinse cycle and hang them outside to get them a bit fresher. The moon, frost, UV light and even being left in the rain can make a huge difference to your nappies and help to freshen them up.