Every once in a while I have to strip my cloth diapers. For those of you that do not *currently — but will be cloth diapering then next time you need to diaper :D*, this does not involve dancing around the washing machine naked, so stop picturing that. There are a few reasons you might need to strip your diapers:
- someone gets a little overzealous with the laundry detergent which causes detergent buildup
- someone uses diaper cream or ointment without a liner, which then causes all your diapers to repel.
You will have noticed I said *someone*, because let’s face it, it’s never us, the regular cloth diaper washers in the family. At my house I test a lot of different stuff, laundry detergents included. Sometimes the detergents work great, and sometimes not so great. We also have really weird water here, we are part city part well water. So it has taken me quite a while to find the right mix of detergent and wash routine that works for my weird water and front loading washing machine.
You know it’s time to strip your diapers when they start to get a bit (or lot) of an ammonia smell. What causes this smell? Detergent buildup. Your diapers will probably smell clean right out of the dryer but as soon as your little one pee’s, wooohooo they will stink! Microfiber from pocket diapers tend to be the worst culprits when it comes to this problem.
Over the last few months I have tried out a few different detergents, all in the name of testing for my customers of course :D. That combined with perhaps not washing as frequently as I should (cloth diapers, not me) I ended up with a HUGE ammonia problem. An overnight diaper would burn my eyes and nose when I took it off my little guy in the morning. And the diaper pail when I had to open it up? I think my eyebrows were singed off. I had a serious detergent build up problem and none of my regular stripping methods was working as well as I needed it to. So I tried RLR.
RLR is one of those elusive products you hear about that is almost impossible to find. Some people can find it in their small-town grocery store, others order from web auction sites and some cloth diaper retailers carry it. RLR is made by a company called Cadie. This product and all their product packaging look like they were designed in the 50s and updated to the 70s. Very cheesy looking. But I had heard wonders and have seen pictures. RLR claims to take all your detergent residue and lift it out of your diapers, then wash it away. RLR is not a bleach, bluing, or detergent. Removes dried-in mineral deposits and detergent residue from clothing. Completely safe for cloth diapers. I ordered a couple of packets off a fellow cloth diaper retailer in the U.S. and waited patiently for my package to arrive.
I followed the directions given to me: cold rinse, then with the detergent hot cycle, add the RLR with the detergent. I was expecting to have to scoop suds out after the first wash. But no (and I was rather glad of this). I had quite a few suds and it took about 4 or 5 extra hot washes to get rid of them all. To be honest, I stopped keeping track. And if anyone wants to know what I spent my long weekend doing, well this was it.
After what seemed like days of washing my diapers (and to my visiting Mother-in-Law it was pure craziness), my diapers no longer smelled. We’ve run through all our diapers, have washed them and used them again and still no smell. RLR is amazing stuff. Now I’m off to figure out how to order some for the store…
Update: RLR is now available in Canada!