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If your cloth diapers begin to give off an offensive odor and suddenly start leaking, then you might need to learn about a process called stripping. Cloth diapers can accumulate oils and fats that embed themselves within the fibers of the fabric. This oily build-up causes the diapers to begin to repel liquids, such as urine, which can cause leakage. Even worse, these oils can have foul smells. Stripping is a deep cleaning process that removes these oils and restores the cloth diaper fibers. Sometimes, you might also need strip cloth baby wipes, as they will also accumulate these same smelly oils which can cause the wipes to smell bad and potentially irritate your baby’s skin. Over time, even diaper covers may need to be stripped as they are exposed to the same oils which can infiltrate the cloth. It is important to remember that stripping is something that is not done frequently, but as needed, for maintenance purposes only.

When Should I Strip?

By properly laundering your cloth diapers, you can reduce the need for stripping. Cloth diapers can retain oils and ammonia that can result in repugnant odors and leakage. If your baby has a rash and you need to use a diaper ointment, then remember to use a liner to protect your diapers. Signs that it is time to strip include bad odors that are present after the diapers have been cleaned and dried, and leakage that is not due to fitting issues.

What Causes Oily Build-Ups in Diapers?

There are many possible sources of oils and fats that can cause problems with cloth diapers. There are a number of oil sources which are biologically normal. The primary source of these is fecal matter, which contains normal amounts of fats and oils. Like most people, babies also sweat, and can produce natural amounts of oily secretions from their skins. There are also extraneous sources of oils that can contaminate the diaper’s fabric. Common sources of oils include diaper creams, lotions, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and even residues left by some detergents.

The Process of Stripping Cloth Diapers

Even with proper care, you will probably need to eventually strip your diapers, cloth baby wipes, and sometimes even your diaper covers. The process should be repeated no more than once every three or four months. The stripping process for most brands of cloth diapers, such as Kanga Care, involves washing the diapers in hot water with a reduced amount of the recommended detergent, and then repetitively rinsing them until the water is free of suds. If you have hard water, then additional steps might need to be taken to soften the water. Each brand of cloth diapers varies slightly on instructions for stripping cloth diapers, and you should be careful to follow their directions.
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