The Strip-washing Question

When is a nappy in need of strip-washing and what is the best method to do this?

These are really two separate questions. As the groups started to think and discuss what it means for a nappy to be in need of strip-washing (which we’ll abbreviate from now on with INOSW), it became obvious that we were facing a subjective judgement (what I define as INOSW might be perfectly fine to someone else!) and therefore we would need to do some qualitative research (based on opinions rather than direct measurements).

The group chose to create a survey which would ask people exactly this question, when is to you a nappy INOSW?, as well as a few other questions which we thought would be interesting to try and correlate to the need of strip-washing (like hardness of water or detergent used). The survey can be found at this link and anyone who uses cloth nappies in the UK is more than invited to fill it in!

Once we analyse the results from the survey and figure out what people mean by a nappy INOSW, the plan devised by the Strip-washing group is to select three nappies which correspond to these criteria. These will therefore represent nappies that most people would consider as in need of a special wash treatment. We will also select a control nappy, of similar age and type but that doesn’t show INOSW symptoms. We will then send these four nappies to Shirley Technologies Ltd. who will chemically extract all soluble matter within the nappy material, quantify it and analyse its nature. Our hypothesis is that a nappy INOSW will release something (detergent build-up or soiling or something else), which is normally trapped between the fibres.

Once we have associated a qualitative definition of a nappy INOSW to a quantitative measurement, we will start testing for methods to strip-wash. We will select three popular methods for strip-washing and each volunteer to this part of the experiment will test three nappies INOSW (according to the definition found earlier) and one control nappy, using the three different methods and recording washing machine type, machine age, water hardness, detergent brand and quantity used. Finally, the efficacy of the strip-washing methods will be tested by means of a second lab test at Shirley Technologies Ltd.

Check back here for updates on the results and if you’d like to help NSG out with any of this, get in touch with us, comment below or find us at our Facebook page!