Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Choose a Cloth Diaper Detergent

When we started cloth diapering, I didn't find our preferred detergent over night. It took a lot of trial and error. Truth is, there is no 'best' cloth diaper detergent. If one works in my washer and my water, it may not work for yours. But in my quest I did find a few very helpful tips and resources and I am here to share them with you!

First, if you haven't already, check out Helena's tips on keeping cloth diapers clean. There is a lot of helpful info there. There are so many factors to consider, like the diaper material, hardness of your water, and the type of washer you have. I have no short answers. But if you just don't feel like the diapers are getting clean, don't stop experimenting. Here are my tips:
  • Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart: This very handy chart helped me immensely. Not only will you find detergents that you simply never heard of before, but there is info on price per load, ingredients, and whether other users have experienced problems with it. Don't let the noted problems turn you off from trying a detergent though, my detergent of choice happens to have caused problems for others but works great for us. 
  • Ask the Company: Sometimes all you need to do is ask the manufacturer/seamstress that made your diapers about the best detergent to use. They receive a lot of feedback from customers on what works and what doesn't. 
  • Ask fellow fluff moms: Along the same lines, online forums and communities are great resources to find out what works best without doing all the work yourself and wasting money in the process. Many moms have been there, you can compare cloth diaper brands/materials, water type, and what detergent simply works. I recommend browsing Mothering, Diaper Jungle Forum, Diaper Swappers Forum, Diaper Pin Forums, and CafeMom cloth diaper communities. 
  • Experiment! There is nothing wrong with trying every cloth diaper friendly detergent on planet earth. If it doesn't work for the diapers, you can always use it on your regular laundry which will not be nearly as picky. I've always done that with detergents that simply did nothing for our fluff - no waste! There will always be laundry, right?! Don't forget that experimenting may also involve adjusting water levels, water temperature, soak times, and number of rinses - it may not always be a problem with detergent alone. I found that since I can't dry our diapers outdoors in the sun, a tea tree oil rinse does wonders for stinkies. It kills everything in it's path. For stains there is really nothing better than leaving them out in the sun, it's great if that's something you can do.
Are you confused why your diapers are still still stinky? Just don't feel they are clean? Perhaps we could help you brainstorm what the problem is. Feel free to share your feedback and questions in comments here. If you have found something that works for you, please tell us!

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