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Do you have stinky cloth diapers?  Does the ammonia smell make you want to give up on your cloth diapering adventure?  Don’t give up!  There is hope for your funky stash!

When Hawk was little, his diapers developed that “stunk” as I like to call it.. stinky-funk.  Perhaps, it’s just because as a child, I always called skunks “stunks”. Same thing!

I hadn’t heard about dishwasher stripping, and I’m sure I wasn’t the first, but one day, it dawned on me that even though I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed., there was always murky water left over in the washer.

HELLO!  That’s because even though the water drains after the rinse, there are still particles left behind on the diapers (this is the same as clothes, towels, etc.)  Eventually, what is left behind starts to build up.  Build up causes repelling as well as stink!

I decided, after this wash, to do a final rinse in the dishwasher.  Sure, coming out of the washer, they looked clean, but I knew better!

FOUR RULES:

  1. Only use this experiment on diapers that have been washed (no soiled diapers), or diapers that need to be prepped before use.
  2. Make sure there is no rinse aid in the dishwasher (Jet Dry or something similar).
  3. Do not use detergent in the dishwasher.  
  4. Turn your heat dry OFF.

The purpose behind using the dishwasher is to let the jets in the dishwasher actually push the water through the diapers breaking up whatever funk is inside them.  The, the water is pushed up to the top and back down the sides of the dishwasher, which leaves less of a chance for left over particles to actually remain on the diapers.

*DISCLAIMER – DO NOT USE YOUR DISHWASHER IF YOU HAVE A RINSE AID IN IT.  ALSO, DO NOT USE DETERGENT!

I lined the bottom of the dishwasher with Hawk diapers.. I made sure to fold them with All in One the inners out because that’s where the funk builds up.  I also made sure that the tabs were tucked in so that they would not hang down.

I set the dishwasher to the longest, most vigorous setting so that the diapers would be completely rinsed.

Because they are smaller, I lined the top basket with all of the inserts, snap-ins, doublers, and a couple of diapers that that didn’t fit on the bottom rack.

IMPORTANT PHOTO:
TURN OFF YOUR HEAT DRY! 

By turning off your heat dry, this keeps your heating element from turning on at the bottom of the dishwasher in the event that some of your diapers hang down.

After about 15 minutes in the dishwasher, I opened it, and this is what I saw.  There were lots of suds at the bottom of the dishwasher from the left over soap particles that were in the diapers.

This actual photo experiment was done a couple of years ago, and although I remember running the diapers through the washing machine again just to see if the water was clean, I’m unable to find the photo.

The rinse in the washing machine proved my point.  The water was clear after stripping these diapers in the dishwasher.  I also found that the “stunk” was gone, and there was no more ammonia build up on the diapers!

If you find yourself in need of a good de-funk, don’t hesitate to use your dishwasher to strip your cloth diapers.

Disclaimer:  The dishwasher stripping method is controversial, but if you think about it, what ISN’T controversial when it comes to cloth diaper care?  Pick your battles and do what works best for you!  You can use this as a last resort if you’d like, but because PUL was invented for medical purposes, it was made with the intentions of needing extremely high heats to sanitize.  I’ve never had a problem with this method, although, it’s not something that I do every day!  This is a once-every-six-months-to-a-year process and it will probably void your warranty, only because it’s an unorthodox method of stripping —— however, so will bleach, and vinegar, and Dawn dish soap on most major brands!