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Liz wants to know:
What is the best way to strip cloth diapers when you have a septic tank.
I’d first ask why you feel the need to strip. Often adding things to your wash in order to “strip” can make things worse rather than better. The reason Liz mentions the septic tank is that septic systems rely on bacteria to break down organic material. Generally it is recommended that tanks are pumped every 3-5 years but with good maintenance and practices, pumping may be required less often.
Talk to your septic professional for their recommendations, but in general it is advised to use phosphate-free detergent, and avoid large amounts of chemical cleaners or excessive water consumption. Of course there are many other recommendations such as not allowing grease to go down your drains, but I am specifically talking about laundry related recommendations.
My first suggestion when dealing with diaper laundry issues is to try increasing the amount of detergent you’d normally use, and add extra rinses, rather than add things to your wash to “strip.” However, there is no one-size-fits all method. With hard water, additional rinses without adding detergent can lead to mineral buildup on your diapers. If you are experiencing stink or repelling, you most likely need to take a look at your wash routine including what settings you use, how much water & how many diapers, what detergent & how much etc.
Some manufacturers recommend periodic bleaching, or you may want to sanitize used diapers with bleach. You may find some resources that say never to use bleach with a septic however, it is my opinion that properly diluted bleach, used every so often will not cause issues with a septic. Clorox says “As long as you use the recommended amount […], the bulk of the sodium hypochlorite active will be broken down to salt and water while attacking the stains, soils and germs in the wash load. Any un-reacted hypochlorite will find lots of ‘things’ to react with going down the pipes before it enters your septic tank field to be converted into salt and water.”
Follow your diaper manufacturer’s recommendations for washing and maintenance in order to preserve your warranty, but don’t worry too much about your septic. If you have a good wash routine, you should rarely, if ever, need to strip your diapers.
Do you have a septic tank? How do you strip diapers?