Strip ease!

One of the most common questions I get asked when people see me using cloth nappies is “Do they smell?” I always answer “no”, but to be honest, as time passed by this has become a bit of a white lie. Some of the flip inserts I’m currently using have been in use for a year and a half, and if truth be told were getting quite stinky!

I’d tried various wash cycles, and tried adding things like Napppisan or Ecover bleach into the wash but nothing was really shifting the stink. I also found that the smell was starting to permeate into our daily wash and our clothes were taking on a faint ammonia crossed with Ecover smell – nice! So how was I going to sort the problem? Stripping.

So what is stripping? Well, as far as I understand, please correct me if I’m wrong, but most laundry detergents contain fillers to bulk them up. These fillers can accumulate on nappies over time, causing them to be less absorbent, and to build up a smell. Stripping involves using washing up liquid to get rid of these fillers and take nappies back to a new-ish state.

I’d first heard that nappies need stripping a long time ago. I knew it involved washing up liquid, but had imagined that it meant a labour intensive scrubbing and scouring of nappies so I put it off for ages. Last week, the smelliness became too much and I decided I just had to get my hands dirty and get on with it.

But when I actually had a look on the Babycentre cloth nappy forum  (very useful if you have cloth questions) and found instructions for stripping I realised it was much easier than I’d imagined. This is how I went about it.

1. Run the machine empty on its hottest setting (95 degrees on mine).

2. Put cloth into machine, and run on a cold rinse cycle with 50mls of white vineger in the drawer.

3. Put one tablespoon of washing up liquid in drawer and run a 60 degree cycle.

4. Run a rinse cycle, and keep rinsing until the water is clear.


After doing this my nappies are noticably less smelly, and I’m sure they are softer too. I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier!

Since stripping the nappies, I’ve been using Violets Magic Laundry Powder from babipur. It contains no fillers, so hopefully less stripping required. To be honest, it’s quite amazing how small the pot is and how little you need to use. So far so good. It has a faint Lavender smell, and the nappies seem to be coming out of the wash feeling softer than they used to, although I don’t know if this is due to the stripping. They are so soft in fact that I accused hubby of committing the mortal sin of adding softener to the wash – oops!

One thing I was disappointed with after all this was that after a couple of loads our machine seemed to become stinky again. I think we may have found the culprit though – a rouge washable wipe jammed in the filter. Mini-mesh bags for the wipes from now on methinks.

I didn’t think you’d appreciate a pic of one of our stinky nappies ;), instead, here are some pics of nice things instead.

1. Took the boys to the National Eisteddfod (a big event in the Welsh cultural calender) and managed a whole day without disposable wipes thanks to the great advice from you ladies, thank you!  Better still, DW got to meet his hero, Welsh TV star Rapsgaliwn. Means nothing to all of you outside of Wales I suppose, but he’s kind of like a Welsh speaking Goldie Lookin’ Chain for kids and he’s a god in our house.  DW was chuffed to bits!

2. Took delivery of some lovely Pebble items from Babipur. We now have the rainbow blanket, rainbow hat and green octapus rattle. I’ve not tried any of the Pebble stuff before, but I absolutely love them! All the items are beautifully made, and so cute, the pictures really don’t do them justice.  The rattle is beautifully tactile, and I’ve been having a bit of a play with it myself.  A new addiction to rival my ‘plan toys’ one may be forming – be afraid bank balance, be very afraid!

3. Bread making is going well, in fact it’s getting quite compulsive and I’m feeling a desperate need to kneed! So far, we’ve branched out into multi seed bread as well as scones (from the same recipe book) and home made pizzas. Much easier than imagined and sooooo tasty!

4. The solar panels are up and running. I’d planned to take a pic, but forgive me but its torrential out there at the mo so I think I’ll leave it till next week.

That’s it from me for now. Take care folks!xxxx

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6 Responses

  1. Carrie-Anne Alexander says:

    Ooh, that powder sounds nice.

    I had to strip our nappies recently as like you say the smell of ammonia had got pretty strong. My daughters 14 months though so i think that is pretty good going to be using cloth since day 1 and make it this far without having to strip 😀

  2. Cat says:

    That is good going. Hope they are all soft, lovely and smell free now!xxx

  3. Jo says:

    Cat, we met Rapscaliwn too!!

  4. Cat says:

    @ Jo He’s a legend! 🙂

  5. Thanks, I’m committed to using cloth once we finally succeed in TTC our baby.
    I love reading positive posts like these that back up my decision to cloth diaper.

  6. Cat says:

    Thanks Kia! Cloth is a great option. 🙂

    Best of luck with TTC. Really hope you get the longed for little line soon.xxxx

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