I just had all of Penny's diapers professionally stripped, and I am really happy with the results, so I wanted to share the experience with you all. Around the first of the year, Penny developed a persistent diaper rash that looked like blisters. I wasn't sure if it was because she started eating more acidic foods when she turned one (citrus, tomatoes) or if it was related to something about her diapers. We tried everything we could think of (zinc oxide, coconut oil, shea butter, all different creams and ointments), and then finally took her to the doctor, who prescribed a combination of perscription-strength antibiotic cream (i.e. super strong neosporin) and an antifungal. That finally kicked it, but I decided to get her diapers stripped in the meantime just to make sure it wouldn't come back.
When you read online, you can see all different ways to strip diapers at home. I had tried some of these methods in the past, but this time I really just wanted to let someone else take care of it so that I wouldn't have to worry about it. I will admit that I haven't always been the most vigilant diaper-launderer. I didn't really take seriously some of the laundering recommendations out there, and it definitely shows on some of my older diapers. I have gotten much more strict with my routine of late, but more on that later. Our local cloth diaper store/diaper service, Baby Junk (Diaper Du-Dee Service), offers professional diaper stripping, so that's what I used. It costs $1 per diaper. One diaper counts as 1 all-in-one, 1 pocket with 2 inserts, or 3 inserts/prefolds on their own. I did my entire stash of pockets and inserts, and it cost me $33. All I had to do was leave my clean diapers on the porch, and the service picked them up and returned them to my house a week later. If you don't live in Omaha, Baby Junk will actually still offer this service for you, but you have to mail your diapers to them. Return shipping is free. Details are on their website if you're interested. Anyway, I am so glad that I had our diapers stripped professionally. They look super clean, seem more absorbent now and definitely aren't causing any rash issues. The organic cotton ones are actually softer too. It's something I would probably like to do about once every year or two to prolong the life of my diapers and get rid of any build-up.
While my diapers were being stripped, I pulled out the flats that I had used during the Flats & Handwashing Challenge last May. Swaddlebees had sponsored me in the challenge and provided 24 flats so that I could participate. I thought I would use my flats while my modern diapers were being stripped, and could avoid using disposables during that week. Another option would have been to purchase a week of diaper service, especially since the service was picking up and dropping off my diapers anyway. But, I had flats, so I used them, and I have to say that I really, really liked using them. I think last year when I was participating in the challenge, the handwashing sort of over-shadowed my ability to appreciate the flats, but they really are great diapers. Flats are just huge squares of birdseye cotton that you can fold in different ways to fit inside of a cover. They're sort of like prefolds except that prefolds are sewn to have extra layers in the middle, while flats are just left flat. They are uber cheap and dry super fast, so they are extremely economical. They're also not picky about laundering, especially being made of natural fibers. I exclusively used the padfold, where you basically just fold the flat down to a small rectangle and lay it in the cover. We aren't dealing with stage 1 or 2 poo anymore, so the padfold works just fine for us.
I also attended a CD laundering webinar, which just so happened to occur the week my dipes were being stripped. It was quite serendipitous actually! I don't know if I've told you all, but I'm trying to start a diaper circle in Omaha through the Real Diaper Association, and the webinar I attended was offered through the RDA training program. It was a fantastic program. I learned a lot about CD laundering, and I really loved that the information was based on professional laundering resources. It wasn't just like, somebody's opinion on what works, like so much of the CD laundering info out there. What I took away from it was that the number one mistake people make is not using enough detergent–I thought this was interesting because I feel like I always read about how you shouldn't use too much, but not using enough is actually worse. I will definitely share more about it with you all once RDA finalizes the program and their handouts. The webinar I attended was a preview of sorts. In the meantime, if you are having buildup or ammonia stink issues, consider having your diapers professionally stripped. Also consider using one detergent for all of your clothes and diapers so that you don't get buildup in your washer. I love Pinstripes & Polkadots for detergent info. There is also a good chart at Diaper Jungle.