Strip Washing: Dealing With Detergent Build Up
Have your once reliable nappies begun leaking unexpectedly, or started coming out of the wash a bit stinky? It’s likely that the fibres in the fabric have got a bit clogged up with detergent which can cause nappies to smell and become less absorbent. There is an easy fix! All they need is a good strip wash to get rid of the residue build-up.
What causes residue build up?
You can get residue build up on your nappies from using nappy creams without nappy liners, using too much laundry detergent when you wash them, accidentally using fabric softener on the nappies, or simply because your washing machine isn’t getting all the soap out.
Okay. How Do I Do A Strip Wash?
As a rule, you shouldn’t need to strip cloth nappies; it shouldn't be part of a regular washing routine. So if you do need to strip them, it’s worth taking the opportunity to tweak your regular wash routine (we’ll talk more about this later).
Different cloth nappy manufacturers often provide their own strip washing method that is best suited for their nappies. It’s worth checking first for any specific washing instructions that were provided with your nappies, or on the manufacturers website before you continue.
1. Ensure your washing machine is clean. You should run a maintenance cycle once a month. If you haven't done this lately run this first.
2. You can start with your cloth nappies either clean or dirty. If they are dirty, give them a cold rinse.
3. Use a full dose of your usual laundry detergent (instead of using a small dose of detergent, which we usually recommend). Set on a long cycle, ideally at 60°C. If your machine has the option to use extra water (sometimes called extra rinse, super rinse or sensitive), then select it.
4. Wash the nappies again (no need to dry the nappies in between washes) using the same cycle, but NO DETERGENT.
5. When the second cycle is finished, it’s all about rinsing! Keep putting the washing machine on a rinse cycle until you see no suds in your washing machine.
Preventing detergent build up
If you find that you regularly see suds at the end of a cycle, or your nappies need to be strip washed on a regular basis, then it might be a good idea to tweak your washing routine. We would suggest starting with a cold rinse cycle, then put your nappies on a long wash at 60 degrees. It’s important not to overfill your washing machine with cloth nappies (it should be no more than 3/4 full) as they won't agitate enough to get clean. Nappies need much less detergent than you might think. Find the recommended dose of detergent for your type of water and halve it.
Need help with strip washing?
If you need any help with strip washing your cloth nappies, please get in touch.