Over time you may notice that your Piggy BedSpread smells bad even though you just washed and dried it. Or, you may notice that it doesn’t absorb urine as quickly as it once did. This is perfectly normal and means that your Piggy BedSpread has been working its heart out, and now it’s time now to give it a good stripping.
Piggy Bedspreads perform a lot like cloth diapers. They absorb urine, come in contact with poop, and after a while, their fibers become clogged with minerals, detergent residue, and waxy secretions. This means they will get stinky faster and will absorb less efficiently. In order to get your spread performing its best again, I recommend stripping it.
There are many ways to strip cloth diapers and many ways to strip your Piggy BedSpread, but here are 2 methods that I recommend:
1. Dawn dishwashing detergent
The easiest and way to strip your Piggy BedSpread is to run it through the washer with a teaspoon of original Blue Dawn Dishwashing detergent (omitting your typical detergent) in hot water, and rinse until no more bubbles are present during agitation. This may take 1-3 rinse cycles. Thorough rinsing is imperative because if any detergent residue remains in the fibers of your spread, it will bind with the ammonia molecules in urine and immediately magnify the smell the next time your piggie pees on it. So, if you’ve just washed, dried and installed a fresh spread but you notice it really stinks after a few hours or even a day, chances are you have detergent residue in your spread.
2. Distilled White Vinegar
Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue. The acid in white vinegar is mild and won’t harm fabrics, yet is strong enough to dissolve the alkalis in soaps and detergents. It prevents yellowing, reduces static cling, and kills mold and mildew. Vinegar can be added to any final rinse to dissolve the last of the detergent residue. Don’t worry, your Piggy BedSpread won’t smell like vinegar after it dries. (Make sure not to use flavored or colored vinegar as they will leave build up in the fibers for urine to bind with resulting in more stink!)
Add ½ cup of bleach to the hot wash cycle and rinse, rinse, rinse. Simple as that! I have never seen bleach stain a Piggy BedSpread, however, I add bleach when I fill my washer with water & detergent, and THEN I add the spread. Do not pour bleach directly on your Piggy BedSpread.
An Ounce of Prevention
Detergent in moderation: Many people think that using extra detergent to wash their soiled, Piggy BedSpread will make it cleaner than if they used the recommended amount. This seems right but it couldn’t be more wrong! Extra detergent means residue in the spread.
Extra detergent + Piggy BedSpread = Clogged Stinky Fibers
Tide Laundry detergent: I do NOT recommend using Tide brand detergent with Piggy BedSpreads because it is highly fragranced and contains dyes and oils. Both of these additives work AGAINST the performance of your Piggy BedSpread, preventing proper wicking of urine and leaving fragrant molecules behind for the urine to bind with.
Tide + Piggy BedSpread = Clogged Stinky Fibers
All Natural Detergents containing Essential Oils: I do NOT recommend detergent containing oils of any kind because again, they prevent proper wicking of the spread and leave behind a residue.
Essential Oils + Piggy BedSpread = Clogged Stinky Fibers
Never use Fabric softener of any kind with your Piggy BedSpread! Fabric softeners work by coating the fibers of fabrics with a thin layer of chemicals which are hydrophobic. This makes your Piggy BedSpread repel urine instead of absorbing it! They also deposit fragrance and a waxy substance which further impairs the performance of a Piggy BedSpread. These chemicals are the # 1 enemy of your Piggy BedSpread.
Fabric Softeners + Piggy BedSpread = Clogged Stinky Fibers
Tip: Keep a spray bottle of distilled white vinegar handy. On wash day, after sweeping the cage clean, spray the 4 corners of your Piggy BedSpread to pre-treat them before washing. This gives you a head start breaking up deposits in those areas where your piggies frequently pee.