Small Scale: Strip & Sanitise (AU/NZ)

Before undertaking an S&S, check whether the process is actually needed, see What To Strip? What To Sanitise? (AU/NZ) prior to starting. See Strip & Sanitise FAQ’s for the most common questions asked about the process.  

There is one strip method, and two sanitisation methods, choose one of the sanitisation methods.

Once the strip process has been done, follow on with sanitisation. If sanitisation can’t be done immediately after the strip, it can be completed the following day.

Sanitisation is a must after stripping to oxidise ammonia and kill any remaining microbes, both of which can cause rashes. Only bleach or 90/95⁰C cycle sanitisation will oxidise (remove) ammonia.

These nappies were all purchased together and were all the same grey colour on arrival. The one white nappy has been S&S’d, the remaining three grey ones hadn’t been yet, it shows what can be achieved with this process!

Small Scale Strip overview

This method is useful for

  • Small scale tub sanitisation

See the Front Loader and Top Loader pages for the alternate methods.

What can be put into the strip?

This strip process is suitable for all absorbent materials.

  • Inserts, flats, prefolds, terry toweling.
  • AIOs, anything with elastics, terry toweling, flats, prefolds and inserts.

PUL covers or pocket shells do not need to be stripped, but do need to be sanitised with bleach if there are rashes occurring from elastics. Soaking PUL is detrimental to the fabric, which is why it should be avoided. PUL (polyurethane laminate, smooth outer fabric of covers/shells) and Minky (fluffy outer fabric of covers/shells) are colourfast and will not fade.

All in Ones (AIOs) and fitted nappies should be limited to 4 hours.


See the Cloth Nappy Types. Fabrics page for a detailed explanation of fabrics and nappy types.

Before starting

If you are doing this process on your own nappies, make sure they are clean, or have at least been prewashed (on a short cycle with detergent for 30-60mins).

Don’t add other items if the nappies are obviously quite unhygienic.
Nappies, breast pads and hygiene products need to be sanitised after the strip process. Clothing, tea towels don’t require sanitising.

Other items such as clothing, tea towels etc can be added for stain removal to this strip process, ensure they aren’t bigger than a standard terry towelling nappy, and not coloured or dark. Only add other items if the nappies seem quite clean to begin with, otherwise there is the risk that some disgusting funk can leach out of the nappies and the other items will pick it up.

Small scale strip products

  • Use a powder or liquid detergent eg. Omo/Persil, Biozet, Radiant, Cold Power etc.
  • Use powder laundry booster eg. Vanish Gold Crystal White, Sard, White King Oxy-Lift Triple Enzyme, Di-San Laundry Soaker, or Woolworths Select BOOST. Or liquid laundry booster eg. Vanish Napisan Oxi Action Inwash Gel. Laundry booster is a stain removal product. 
  • For plant based/ Eco/ Sensitive detergents, see the Detergent Index for those recommended, plus quantities. Use Earth Choice Laundry Soaker and In-Wash Booster (powder).

Small scale strip process

Per 7L bucket add:

  • Add the amount of laundry booster listed on the label for a bucket soak
  • 2 tablespoons of powder detergent or 1/3 cap of liquid detergent
    See the Detergent Index for plant based, pre wash cycle quantities.
  • Dissolve well in 40- 60⁰C water
  • Soak items for 2-4 hours
  • Stir occasionally
  • Drain and wring out excess water
  • Rinse thoroughly, in water only, at any temperature
  • Remove any items that were added to the strip process, which do not require further stain removal or sanitisation

Sanitise Option 1: Small Scale Bleach

Only bleach sanitisation or 90/95⁰C cycle sanitisation will oxidise (remove) ammonia. To learn more about bleach, see the Chlorine Bleach page. For more information on safe bleach use, see the Safe Bleach Use page.

What bleach do I use?

Laundry bleach that contains between 42g/L (4.2%) or 52.5g/L (5.25%), sodium hypochlorite. The concentration of sodium hypochlorite is listed on the package. Check that the bleach is still within expiry, bleach degrades to salt water over time and becomes ineffective at sanitising. 

What items can be put into the small scale bleach sanitise?

Bleach sanitisation is suitable for all items including shells, AIOs, anything with elastics, and inserts. PUL (polyurethane laminate, smooth outer fabric of covers/shells) and Minky (fluffy outer fabric of covers/shells) are colourfast and will not fade.

Items with embroidery, cotton outers, coloured velour or cotton, may fade. 
See the Cloth Nappy Types. Fabrics page for a detailed explanation of fabrics and nappy types.

Small scale bleach sanitise process

Use 10mL of bleach per 5L of water

  • Measure out cold water into a bucket
  • Dilute the bleach, in cold water in a separate container, add it to the total quantity of water
  • Soak for 30 minutes 
  • Keep nappies immersed in the solution by covering them with a white towel
  • Rinse with hot water
  • Follow with either a thorough hand wash with detergent and rinse in hot water, or a Post Wash cycle

Post Wash following Small Scale Bleach sanitise

  • If stripping and sanitising was done, add the nappies to 1-2 regular length wash cycles, using warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water, with detergent.
  • If only sanitisation was done, add the nappies to one regular length wash cycle, using warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water, with detergent.
    See the Detergent Index for detergent quantities.
  • The S&S’d nappies can be added to a main nappy wash.

Sanitise Option 2: Front loader 90/95° sanitise cycle

This option is only suitable for inserts, prefolds and flats.

The 90/95°C cycle is not suitable for AIOs, PUL/Minky or anything with elastics.
Only bleach sanitisation or 90/95⁰C cycle sanitisation will oxidise (remove) ammonia.
See the Cloth Nappy Types. Fabrics page for a detailed explanation of fabrics and nappy types.

  • Add the usual amount of detergent for a pre wash (ie. half of what is used for heavily soiled quantity as listed on the packaging).

Benzalkonium Chloride Sanitise can be found on the Caring For Wool page.

Clean Cloth Nappies ©2019

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