Top Loader: Strip & Sanitise Instructions (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.  

This method is useful for

  • Top Loader washing machines where the cycle can be paused and the water is held in the machine

See the Front Loader and Small Scale pages for the alternate methods.

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

All items should go into the sanitise solution, including PUL covers and pocket shells.

Top Loader Strip

What can be put into the strip?

This strip process is suitable for all absorbent materials.

  • Inserts, flats, prefolds, terry toweling.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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).

AIOs, anything with elastics, terry toweling, flats, prefolds 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.

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. But only 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.
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.

Products to use

  • 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). 

For larger machines
The Detergent Index is based on 7.5kg capacity washing machines. For larger machines, increase detergent and laundry booster quantity by 1/4 of a scoop/lid per kg.

Process

  • Add the nappies to the machine.
  • Add the usual amount of detergent for a main wash (ie. heavily soiled quantity as listed on the packaging). Increase quantity for machines larger than 7.5kg, see above. See the Detergent Index for plant based quantities.
  • Add the amount of laundry booster that is listed on the packaging for in wash use for a top loader. Increase quantity for machines larger than 7.5kg, see above.
  • Start a standard length main wash cycle, with warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water. Allow the machine to fill and agitate.
  • Pause the cycle and allow the items to soak for 2-4 hours.
  • Un pause the cycle and allow it to finish.
  • Remove any items that were added to the strip process, which do not require further stain removal or sanitisation.

Option 1: Top Loader Bleach Sanitise

Only bleach sanitisation or 90/95⁰C cycle sanitisation will oxidise (remove) ammonia.

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 can be put into the top loader bleach sanitise cycle?

Bleach sanitisation in a top loader 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.

Process

Use 10mL of bleach per 5L of water

  • Choose either auto or set water level, start a standard main wash (cold water) cycle, pause the cycle and don’t let the machine fill with water.
  • Measure the total amount of water (cold) needed, per bucket into the machine.
  • Dilute the bleach, in cold water in a separate container, add it to the total quantity of water.
  • Unpause the cycle and let it agitate for a while.
  • Pause the cycle and allow everything to soak for 30 minutes, keep nappies immersed in the solution by covering them with a white towel.
  • Unpause the machine and allow the cycle to finish.
  • Follow with Post Wash cycle.

Post Wash

  • If stripping and sanitising was done, follow with 1-2 regular length main wash cycles, using warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water, with detergent.
  • If only santisation was done, follow with only one regular length main wash cycle, using warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water, with detergent.
    See the Detergent Index for detergent quantities.

Other laundry items, such as clothing, tea towels etc, can be added to this post wash cycle, ensure they aren’t bigger than a standard terry towelling nappy, and not coloured or dark. The towel used for submerging the nappies can be included.

Option 2: Top Loader Benzalkonium Chloride
Sanitise

This option is:

  • Is not suitable for Septic Systems. Benzalkonium Chloride does not readily break down like bleach does, therefore will kill the bacteria in septic systems.
  • Will not oxidise (remove) ammonia, use bleach sanitise instead.
  • Is not suitable for sanitisation after a fungal rash, use bleach sanitise instead.

Products to use

Canesten, Di-San Laundry Sanitiser, Dettol Laundry Sanitiser or Coles Laundry Sanitiser.

What can be put into the top loader Benzalkonuim Chloride sanitise cycle?

Benzalkonium Chloride sanitisation is suitable for all items including shells, AIOs, anything with elastics, inserts. As well as items with embroidery, cotton outers, coloured velour or cotton.
PUL (polyurethane laminate, smooth outer fabric of covers/shells) and Minky (fluffy outer fabric of covers/shells) are colourfast and will not fade.
See the Cloth Nappy Types. Fabrics page for a detailed explanation of fabrics and nappy types.

Process

¼ standard measuring cup per 5L water

  • Start a standard regular length main wash cycle, using cold water, pause the cycle.
  • Measure the total amount of water (cold) needed, per bucket into the machine.
  • Dilute the Benzalkonium Chloride product, 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.
  • Un pause the machine and allow the cycle to finish.
  • Follow with Post Wash cycle.

Post Wash

  • Follow with 1-2 regular length main wash cycles, using warm- hot (40- 60⁰C) water, with detergent.
    See the Detergent Index for detergent quantities.

Other laundry items, such as clothing, tea towels etc, can be added to this wash cycle, ensure they aren’t bigger than a standard terry towelling nappy, and not coloured or dark. The towel used for submerging the nappies can be included.

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