Stripping & restoring your diapers

Stripping & restoring your diapers

by Noras Admin August 14, 2018

You're a couple months in, you've tackled the first stages of cloth diapering and are feeling like a cloth pro until something smells. 

There are two main types of diaper stink – ammonia and barnyard. Which one do you have?






  • is recognizable by a “burn your nosehairs” smell
  • often will become obvious only after diapers are wet (they will smell clean out of the wash)
  • is caused by bacteria which convert urea in urine into ammonia
  • can cause chemical burns to baby’s skin if left untreated


  • often smells like a barn or cattle truck, but can also smell stale, fishy, or just plain stinky
  • is more obvious when diapers are warm (if they have just come out of the dryer, for example)
  • in severe cases, diapers will smell even when they’re “clean” and on the shelf
  • is caused by bacteria and soil left over in the diapers after washing
  • can cause persistent rashes

If you have either one of these odors, it's time to restore your diapers by stripping or “deep cleaning”. Let's get started:

  1. Turn water heater up to 140F or higher.
  2. Wash everything 3 times on HOT, using a detergent of your choice.
  3. Then run the wash cycle 2 more times with no detergent in there.
  4. Pull the covers out and dry them on high for 10 minutes, then pull to hang dry. (The idea behind drying the covers on hot is to potentially “re-seal” the PUL in the covers.)
  5. Wash the inserts two more times, once with detergent, and once without.

For those using hard water and are experiencing mineral build-up, our friends at Fluff University have some helpful additional steps to get your diapers back in shape.

If after trying this stripping method you continue to experience an odor, we can help get to the root of the problem - contact us for an extra hand!

Noras Admin
Noras Admin


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