Bleaching Cloth Diapers: What You Need To Know

(Last Updated On: June 28, 2019)

If you’re a cost-saving mom, you’ve probably ended up getting rid of the commercial diapers and stared using cloth diapers to be more efficient.

It’s not hard to make the change, as cloth diapers are a great thing to have and use. They’re eco-friendly and they help you save up on diaper costs.

Plus, you’re sure that they’re safe for your little one.

Sure, you need to wash cloth diapers to be able to reuse them. But that’s a small matter when compared with the huge costs that you can build up from constantly buying and disposing regular diapers.

Read more about cloth diaper pails for your baby

Cloth diapering can honestly be challenging though. There’s just one thing, how do you get rid of the lingering smells on stinky cloth diapers? How to clean used cloth diapers?

What about Bleaching Cloth Diapers?

Ideally, you should prevent the smells from even settling by washing your cloth diapers as soon as you can.

Don’t let them sit in your diaper pail for too long or you’ll find that the stains and smells would really stick and make your clean up harder.

You wash your used cloth diapers as soon as you can so the smells and stains won’t settle, but even after washing the smell seems to stick. What do you do then?

You’ve washed and washed and still the smell is there, making you think twice on your decision to use cloth diapers. But don’t throw them out just yet! Here’s the proper way to strip your cloth diapers.

What Is Diaper Stripping?

Stripping is what you do to stinky cloth diapers to help get the nasty smell that remains even after you’ve washed it out. Plus, it also restores the absorbent properties of older cloth diapers so you get more use out of them.

Diaper stripping may sound like a tedious process, but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s just another word for washing your cloth diapers really well so they won’t stink anymore. Don’t strip used diapers, wash them first before stripping!

Diaper stripping should be done every 3-4 months, but you must clean your

Bleaching Cloth diapers

How to clean used cloth diapers? Bleaching cloth diapers? You’ll need some liquid dish detergent and some bleach. First, you’ll have to wash your diapers in the washing machine with really hot water and detergent. Turn your water to the highest setting, even letting your water heat up before you start washing to get the hottest temperature that you could.

If you have a regular washing machine, you’ll need one tablespoon of detergent. For high efficiency machines, you only need one teaspoon.

How to bleach cloth diapers? Simply add a half cup of bleach in your wash cycle. 

Make the diapers go through one wash cycle in the hot water.

Afterwards, rinse the diapers with hot water. No need to add detergent or bleach in this step, though you can add either vinegar or baking soda (not both unless you want some science experiment happening in your washing machine!) to get rid of particularly stubborn smells.

If you still see suds after your rinse cycle, keep on rinsing until they’re gone.

If your machine allows you to switch the temperature of your rinses, you can switch them back and forth each rinse cycle until the suds are gone.

Afterwards, dry your cloth diapers as you usually do. If you find that they still smell despite the stripping, feel free to repeat the process once more. Twice usually does the trick.

A Natural Bleach Alternative

If you’re worried about the use of bleach being harmful for your baby’s sensitive skin, then you can opt for this natural alternative. You’ll need 1 ½ cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide, a half cup of lemon juice, 12 cups of distilled water, and a 1 gallon jug. You’ll have to pour the hydrogen peroxide and the lemon juice in the jug, followed by the water.

This alternative can be used instead of bleach, with 1 cup of natural bleach for every ½ cups of bleach required in your washing. You can also use this for your regular washing and not just your diaper stripping.  

No Washing Machine? No Problem!

If you don’t have a washing machine at home, diaper can still be done. For one, you can opt to use your dishwasher as it has even hotter water temperature options as compared to washing machines, which can be really helpful to your stripping process. However, it’s also a fire hazard, so this isn’t really recommended even if you take special cares when doing it.

You can also hand wash the diapers, though this is not a fun chore when you have a lot of diapers to deal with. This can be done easily if you only have a few diapers to wash. All you have to do is wear some rubber gloves, get the hottest water you can tolerate, and start scrubbing your diapers vigorously.

Scrub until you can, but it can take a while and a lot of effort before the smell disappears.

Lastly, you can opt to simply boil the diapers. But take note that this is only efficient if your diapers don’t have any straps that can potentially be damaged due to the heat of boiling water!


If your cloth diapers have started to stink even after multiple washes, then it’s probably time to strip them. Another sign is when they seem to have lost a significant amount of absorbance.

The next time you think your stinky cloth diapers have done their time and are of no use anymore, don’t give up on them quite so easily.

Now that you know how to strip cloth diapers and deodorize cloth diapers, you will be able to get more useout of them.

Don’t forget that prevention is better than cure. So make sure you clean your cloth diapers thoroughly and quickly after use.

This will ensure that you can go without stripping them for a few more weeks or months than necessary, and you’ll thank yourself for making things easier for yourself.


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