Cloth diaper washing issues

I am going over two new tips on washing that I have been experimenting with. Just to show how much I love solving washing issues (or how neurotic I am to do these things in my spare time, you make the judgment call on that one-LOL), I have been purposely “stinking up” my diapers and seeing what solves it quickly and easily. Two things I have found in the past month running experiments:

-As much as I love my liquid Tide, I have really found a new appreciation and am possibly converting to Tide powder. I shake a tiny bit of detegrent (really tiny amount, maybe half a teaspoon) in the pre-wash (warm or hot pre-wash), then add the rest before the wash cycle hits. Having a detergent boost in the prewash actually cuts down on the powder I have to use in the regular wash cycle.

-The second thing I have found, if you have a TOP LOADER (not an HE machine) and have trouble with buildup from too much detergent (meaning the diapers smell fine out of the dryer, but stink when fresh pee hits, meaning there is detergent being left behind), try the HE version of your detergent. As silly as it sounds, in my experiment of purposely using too much to create residue, I was able to fix it pretty quickly by using an HE detergent on the next few washes. HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing, and need less water to rinse out properly. If your washing scenario is sensitive to the amount of detergent you need to get the diapers clean, try the HE brand even if you don’t have an HE machine. Now, if you use regular detergent in an HE machine, you will quite possibly destroy your machine from the suds, but using an HE detergent in a regular top loader is perfectly fine.


August 26, 2010. cloth diapers, Q & A, Wash routines.


  1. Leasa replied:

    How much tide do you use per wash? I can not get ride of my stink, still smell coming out of the dryer, and I an currently tring Rock in Green samples with no luck so far. I have held off on Tide because my daughter has eczema and I’m afraid it will react with her skin? How much of either should I be using?

    • Amanda replied:

      I found that powder Tide rinses out better then the liquid in my HE machine. I used 3Tbsp for a 2 day load, meaning about 12 diapers. Any more detergent and I found I got a machine full of suds I had to scoop out by hand. Sometimes if I had just a few too many suds, I throw in a few towels and that really helped.

    • abbyslane replied:

      Leasa, I can work with you closer via email at if you need more help 🙂
      I use to the 1 line at least, sometimes to the 2 line of Tide powder. What are you using now?

  2. Julie replied:

    Wait, doesn’t Tide HE have fabric softener? I was afraid that would coat my diapers. ???

    • Amanda replied:

      You just have to look for the box that says Original Tide HE powder. I found that different stores carry different varieties of Tide. I can only find the big box of original HE at Target.

  3. J replied:

    Have you found that, in general, putting a tiny bit of detergent in the pre-rinse cycle cuts down the amount needed in the wash cycle? That is, not just for Tide? Interesting idea, b/c most people just advise a cold water cycle. I may have to try that, although I seem to have found my wash cycle.

    • abbyslane replied:

      J, I don’t usually advise detergent in the prewash. It is almost like putting a tiny bit of shampoo in your hair when you wet it down. It gets washed right out, and isn’t enough to do the job, so I would just say put the detergent in the hot wash cycle, let the warm or hot prerinse do the work with the water and the temp ~

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