We are discussing the detergent selection in your diaper laundry. Like last week, if you have a good wash routine that is without odors or excessive stains, do not change a thing and skip right over this section. But, if you are having trouble with diapers smelling out of the dryer, or especially awful smelling with the first urine that hits them, or in general unhappy with your wash routine, this is geared towards you~

If you have read our website advice, you know our first detergent recommendation is regular Tide, for front loaders, Tide HE. We prefer powder over liquid. Tide is on top of consumer reports year after year because it is a good, strong detergent and it works very well with diapers. If already you want to throw your computer out the window in disbelief I am mentioning Tide, take a peek at what Happy Heiny recommends as their top pick:

I have spoken with Cotton Babies personally, contrary to internet rumors, using Tide will not invalidate your warranty on Bumgenius diapers.
Tide does have enzymes, which are little living guys that like to eat stains and fecal and urine residue. The controversy over Tide is whether or not these enzymes also eat away at your baby’s skin after the diaper has been washed. If you are washing your diapers daily, or every other day, with hot water, and rinsing well, you will not have this problem. Truly, in over 4 years of this business, talking with thousands of women, we see insanely few true reactions to Tide, compared to numerous reactions with Charlies, Sports Wash and sensi clean. If your child is sensitive to Tide, in most cases it presents as a pink tint wherever the diaper is touching, within the first 1-2 hours of having the diaper on. There is also concern with perfumes and dyes, but Tide is formulated to be strong enough to wash out these additives, and we see very few babies react to them

Tide does make a “free” version, while we don’t recommend it as highly as the regular Tide, it is a good option if your child is sensitive to dyes and perfumes.
We will get into more brands next week, but at a glance, we do like Planet as a more eco-friendly detergent, you do have to be washing on hot with this one, though, it is also friendly from HE machines as well as top loaders.

On our website, we don’t have a chart with name brands and spread sheets marking which detergent has which ingredients. We feel that ingredients alone do make the detergent what it is. I like to use the analogy of making cookies, you can take butter, eggs, flour and sugar and still come up with some pretty awful tasting cookies, the issue isn’t with what is in it, it is how much of each, and the way they interact with each other. Some of the most natural and “non-impacting” detergents are absolutely the worst with diapers. We have seen on local babies the genital scars they have gotten from Charlie’s, and 9 out of 10 customers who e-mail us with odors issues are using either a Free and CLear detergent, or a green detergent like Shaklee, 7th Generation, Allen’s, Dr. Bronners or Method. In other words, you have to see how a detergent works with your water conditions, temperatures and level of waste left behind. Truly, the more natural the detergent, the less success we see with it overall. Now, I know some of the ones I just mentioned work for moms, and that is fine, keep using them. But, for the majority of our customers we have to state the facts of what we see working and not working, and hopefully this will help those having problems.

Another problem we see, people using too little detergent. A good rule of thumb:
-If your diapers smell like a barnyard out of the dryer, you did not use enough detergent, or you are using the wrong kind. This can be dangerous physically to your baby, as well as a cosmetic issue, as leaving behind old feces and urine, only to be re-wet and then placed in a dark and moist pail for 24-48 hours is a haven for breeding bacteria, yeast and staph.
-If your diapers smell immediately after putting them on the baby, there is detergent buildup, either from too much or the wrong kind.


July 1, 2010. cloth diapers, Wash routines.

One Comment

  1. stephanie replied:

    I thought I loved my Tide until I tried Tiny Bubbles. It washed out much easier & left the diapers smelling much better than I thought possible.

    I do still think the key is in the rinse. If you see suds still in the water, they need another rinse or you’ll have issues.

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