Detergent Build Up (Strip Washing Nappies)
78 CommentsMonday, 4 August 2014
Modern washing machines are incredibly water efficient and use far less water than they used to. Modern detergents are also very strong. A combination of less water and strong detergents means if you use too much detergent or don't rinse enough detergent residue can build up on your nappies. If you find your nappies start to have a strong smell when they are wet, it is highly likely you have detergent build up if you've been generous with your detergent. This problem is most noticeable when baby is teething and their wee becomes strong.
The good news is it’s easy to cure and can be prevented from returning. To cure the problem you need to follow a process called strip washing. I've read MANY versions of "strip washing" on the internet including using fairy washing up liquid, dish washer tablets, vinegar. The Nappy Lady DOES NOT recommend any of these. Would you wash your underwear in washing up liquid or dishwasher tablets? I wouldn't! Vinegar can destroy fabrics so it should never be used with modern nappies.
Here is how i always recommend you strip wash.
- Ensure your machine is clean. You should run a maintenance cycle once a month. If you haven't done this lately run this first and check your machine filters are clean.
- Next put the nappies through a rinse cycle only with NO detergent. If your machine doesn't have a rinse only cycle use a cool quick wash. This is to get them nice and wet already so there is more water held in them for the main washes.
- Next wash using a FULL dose of detergent and wash at 60 degrees on a long cycle (approx 2.5-3hours) and ideally additional water (sensitive or sometimes called super rinse)
- No need to dry in between for the second wash, use 60 degrees on the longest possible wash as above with NO detergent and ideally additional water( sensitive or sometimes called super rinse)
- Finally put your nappies through a rinse cycle again as in step 1. If you see any detergent bubbles in the rinse keep on rinsing until you don't see any more.
This should sort them for the short term.
Preventing Detergent Build Up
Ongoing to prevent this happening again we would suggest doing a cold rinse cycle then put your nappies on a long wash at 60 degrees. You shouldn't fill your washing machine drum more than 3/4 full when wet. If you over fill your machine the nappies won't agitate enough and nappies need a good jiggle to get clean. Fine the recommended dose of detergent on your packaging for your type of water and halve it as your drum isn't a full load it's maximum 3/4 full. Start with this amount and monitor how the washing goes and increase the amount of detergent slowly if you feel it is required.
Ensure you run a maintenance cycle on your machine monthly.
If you dry pail your nappies try to rinse them before they go in the bucket or at least the overnight nappies as these are the worst.