Which cloth diaper detergent should I use?
Have you seen a trend lately? There are lots of new detergent brands popping up that are formulated specifically for cloth diapers. How do you know which one is right for you?
Tough question! Really there are so many factors to consider when choosing a detergent and what works for you may not work for the next person. Different factors include water hardness, machine type, diaper type and material, environmental impact, and most importantly your babies sensitivity level. If you’d like to read some of my past laundry articles you’ll learn some important Do’s and Don’ts for cloth diaper laundry. (Start here and follow the links: http://www.backtocalley.com/2011/08/21/cloth-diapering-101-getting-started/)
Cloth Diaper Detergent Brands
- Rockin Green Laundry Detergent – Rockin’ Green was the first detergent that was formulated specifically for modern cloth diapers and has been around for over two years now. There have been several improvements made over the past few years and Kim (and her team) continue to find solutions for your toughest cloth diapering dilemma’s. Their current formulation (ReMix) is available in Classic, Soft, and Hard Rock for the different water quality types. In addition to detergent they also sell Funk Rock (an ammonia bouncer), Femme Rock (for menstrual pads), and the soon to be released dryer balls and room deodorizers. I’ve been a fan of Rockin’ Green since the early days and continue to use it as my regular cloth diaper detergent. I’m tempted to try it in my dish washer since I’ve heard rumors that it works well at removing hard water stains from glass ware. I green fluffy <3 love the Rockin’ Green ladies (and men)!
- EcoSprouts – Taking the market by storm is the new EcoSprouts brand. The packaging is reminiscent of the early Rockin’ Green days with zippered bags packaged within a hand stamped drawstring sack. EcoSprouts was started by a stay-at-home DAD, Jared, who was looking for the perfect solution for cleaning his families diapers. The Eco Sprout formula is deep cleaning and claims to kick out the dreaded ammonia stink. There is only one formulation that will work in all water types and machines. I’ve used EcoSprouts for about 10 loads of diaper laundry and didn’t experience any problems with the detergent. On one of the cloth diapering walls on Facebook that I help moderate parents swear by the results they’ve experienced with EcoSprouts. They also manufacture a Bottom Balm, pail freshener, and bottom spray. I’m loving the Bottom Balm+, not only for my babies bum but for boo boo’s, dry skin, chapped lips, and cracked heels.
- EcoNuts – EcoNuts is a brand of detergent that is actually a dried fruit shell. You can read all about the soap nut on the EcoNuts website, What are Soap Nuts? EcoNuts is available in both the solid form and in a liquid form – both which are safe to use on cloth diapers. I’ve used EcoNuts (off and on) for almost 2 years now and I’m so impressed with their cleaning ability. The new liquid formulation is amazing and I saw results with my cloth diapers after just one wash. In addition to detergent, Mona uses the soap nuts to produce linen spray, lip balm, body soap, and a multi-purpose cleaner. I’m dying to try some of the body soap since I’ve given up on liquid body soaps over 3 years ago!
- bumGenius Detergent – This is a brand that I’ve never actually tried myself. It is actually a store brand detergent (Country Save) that bumGenius has partnered with for private labeling. Many parents have good success with this detergent.
- Ruby Moon – A new detergent brand from Maine that was formulated for hard water. Lyndsay was having a hard time finding that perfect detergent that was economical and environmentally friendly so she started to make her own. I have washed a few loads using Ruby Moon and again haven’t experienced any difficulties – and other mom’s who have tried it swear by it too. Ruby Moon also sells wipes bits, wool wash, and a pail freshener.
- Charlie’s Soap – Charlie’s has been around since the 1970’s and is safe, non-toxic, and earth friendly. Charlie’s is more than just a detergent for cloth diapers – it can be used for almost anything you need to clean. I’ve only used Charlie’s a few times and again – didn’t experience any problems with the detergent. It’s suppose to be good for hard water as well.
- Planet, Tide, and other brands available at grocery stores and other local retailers – who says a detergent has to be specific for cloth diapers after all? I’ve used Planet regularly over the past few years and it worked very well with our hard water before we installed our softener. If I had to buy a detergent locally this is probably what I would buy. Economical and natural. Other mom’s swear by Tide. The only other detergent I’ve used with any regularity is Arm & Hammer (free or essentials free).
My personal feelings towards the detergent choices vary. I have established very good relationships with Kim of Rockin’ Green and Mona from EcoNuts. They have both been regular sponsors of The Eco Chic blog and I can’t thank them enough for their support. Does this impact my feelings towards a detergent? Maybe – maybe not! I’ve recently started working with Lyndsay of Ruby Moon and Jared from EcoSprouts – both of whom have been nothing but pleasant to work with. They are all wonderful people and incredibly talented in their businesses.
With those disclosures comes one big (HUGE) comment/statement – I am not a laundry scientist! That’s right, I’m not a laundry expert. All of the cloth diaper specific detergents claim to do the same thing – clean our dirty diapers. They also claim to be environmentally friendly which I honestly believe that they are (from the list of ingredients that I’ve seen). What makes one of these different from the rest? Aside from EcoNuts which has clear differences; the remaining are all very similar from the consumers point of view. But I have to go back to one of the things that I have stated at the beginning – everyone has a unique situation and may find one of these detergents to work better for them.
I know what works for me and I know what I’ve tried for extended periods. I’m afraid to mess with our routine too much because what I’m doing is working for us. Why should I mess with a good thing? We’re almost out of diapers also. My tot is almost completely potty trained so we’re only washing diapers 2-3 times a week (max). We also just purchased a new HE top loader – which I’m still trying to find the perfect routine with.
Whichever detergent you consider for yourself I encourage you to keep things SIMPLE! Don’t add or complicate your routine because that can cause more problems, more stinkies, and more rashes. On the last day of the Real Diaper Industry Association’s annual meeting there was a session on Laundry Science that I missed (I traveled home earlier that morning). Shirley Murdock from Bummis was very kind to take excellent notes and share them with her retailers and customers (Laundry Science notes by Bummis). It’s worth the read and will help you understand some of the diapering myth’s. I know I learned a lot from reading it but I still can’t consider myself an expert! LOL! As a science major myself (BS in Biology) I have to admit that Chemistry was never my best subject.
Looking for information on other detergents not mentioned above? http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
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