When you first start using cloth diapers, picking the diapers is a lot of fun. When you get your new diapers in the mail, you’re so excited to get them washed and on your baby! So you look up the washing directions for your various brands, and there your fun ends. It becomes confusing.
There are popular brands that recommend using ONLY natural detergents without dyes, perfumes, enzymes, or brighteners. Then there are brands that recommend you DO use enzymes, or the diapers won’t get clean. And then there are brands that say use regular Tide, but not Tide Free. And then there are brands that say to use Tide Free, but not regular Tide. Some say Rockin’ Green, some say no Rockin’ Green. Some say, some say, some say… and pretty soon your head is spinning.
When did washing diapers become so complicated? Back in the day our ancestors were hand-washing their flats/prefolds with a bar of soap, and later throwing them in the washer with some bleach. Easy! But with the advent of the “modern cloth diapers” made with elastic and stay-dry fabrics, more “rules” came into play.
Well, I am here to tell you this: It’s not as easy to “ruin” diapers as we’re afraid it is. There are definitely detergents out there that are known to cause repelling on diapers, but they may not be the ones you’d expect!
I have been washing cloth diapers for 4 years. Of those 4 years, 2 years I have washed my diapers in Tide. Plain ol’ regular “Original” Tide. And when I was washing my diapers in Tide, I never ONCE had to strip the diapers. I didn’t have any stink issues, and no repelling of my diapers.
Am I suggesting you go out and buy Tide? No. I’m just sayin’ is all.
I’ve tried a slew of “diaper-safe” detergents. I’ve tried: Country Save, Mountain Green, Crunchy Clean, 9 formulas of Rockin’ Green, Planet, Eco Sprout, Lulu’s in the Fluff, Ruby Moon, Purex Free & Clear, Tide Free, Original Tide (HE powder and liquid), Arm & Hammer Sensitive, and Tiny Bubbles.
The detergents I’ve had luck with in my washer/water are the Tides, Arm & Hammer, and Tiny Bubbles.
There are brands that recommend using the “no-no” detergents. And honestly, I understand why. I help people all the time who are dealing with stinky diapers and diaper buildup. It’s frustrating for them! No one wants to constantly have to strip their diapers or feel like their diapers are never getting clean. Is it harder on a diaper to use an enzyme cleaner, or is it harder on the diaper to be stripped every week because of stink? *shrug*
Using some detergents will void the warranties of some brands. That is my disclaimer in bold print. But for me, I ended up throwing out the multiple lists and just trying what worked. I certainly would rather use an eco-friendly detergent on my diapers, but it has to get my diapers CLEAN. If my babies are getting rashes from buildup and ammonia in my diapers, I’m not doing them any good by avoiding the detergents that get their diapers clean, right?
When it comes to detergents, they are not all created equally. The key is to find one that gets your diapers clean, and then stick with it!