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Oh boy, this dreaded topic! There are so many different answers out there! How do I pick? Let me start off with saying you really don’t need the specialized cloth diaper detergents. You must be thinking I am nuts. No really, you don’t need it (if you are using it with success, ignore me, do what works for YOU). One it is expensive and why have special detergent that you only use for ONE thing. Why not one that can do everything?
People make washing diapers more complex than it actually is. When I was researching I was over saturated with information overload and half of it was no help! Hopefully I can make it easier to swallow.
Onto the cloth diaper detergents…
Look I’ve tried special detergents and I used the recommended amount. I did my research and all that jazz. I found that these detergents just didn’t cut it. My diapers still smelled and they had a odd residue build up. And before you jump to conclusions, no I don’t use fabric softener at all.
So what detergent do I use and have been using for almost a year without ONE SINGLE problem? Tide Powder Original. Yep, you heard that right. Good ol’ Tide. Let me tell you I have never had an issue with stink. Use the RIGHT amount, too. Not half like some people have been saying. I promise you using the RIGHT amount will NOT ruin your diapers. In fact using half will ruin your diapers. They will end up stinking.
Make sure to read your cloth diaper washing instructions! Some wash in warm others in hot. To be honest I wash all of mine on hot. A good hot rinse will wash the smell away. So I am going to break down my washing routine for you! Hopefully it will give you some insight. I will also through in some tips and tricks.
How I wash my diapers
(for a whole year no problems..)
- I load in my tide powder original and 1/2 of vinegar into the softer well or some people use a fabric softer ball that will release the vinegar as the diapers wash
- I always pre-wash cold, then wash hot, then rinse with warm water (I don’t do an extra rinse, hey, it has been working for me)
- I hang dry my diapers, but dry my inserts. Nothing like trying to stuff a stiff insert into a diaper.
- If I notice stains on my diapers I hang them in front of a window or outside, even if it isn’t sunny! The UV rays will make those stains disappear within an hour or less!
- If I notice a stain on my insert I dry it then hang it where there is sun, with the same results
You may have noticed I use vinegar. Vinegar helps with the stink, it does an amazing job getting rid of the ammonia smell.
When drying my inserts I also toss in some wool dryer balls. They are a life savor.
Okay, you must be thinking well how much detergent should I be using? Well this handy little table should help.
Please for the love of everything cloth diapering, do not use fabric softer at all in any of your washing routines. Use wool dryer balls instead. Any residue that is left over in your previous wash may get onto your diapers and cause your diapers to repel. That will be a sad day when your little one begins to leak.
How about other detergents?
Now if you can’t use powder, Tide Simply Clean & Fresh (liquid), or purex liquid is a good alternative. Any tide works, really. Just be mindful of softens added in!
I would love to hear from you, drop a comment below. Happy cloth diapering!
**DISCLAIMER: Although I recommend the use of Tide (Purex,Gain, arm and hammer…etc) the detergent contains optical brighteners as well as enzymes. The use of the additives could void the warranty of your diapers. Please check the manufacturer warranty guidelines before using these products.**