Thursday, August 6, 2009

FAQ - What detergent is best for washing cloth diapers?

We try to offer answers to lots of different questions from our customers and cloth diapering friends. Many of these questions are often the same, so we are going to begin "FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions" posts to highlight some of these in hopes that it can be helpful to others.

THE ANSWERS PROVIDED ARE SIMPLY OUR SUGGESTIONS BASED ON OUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. THERE ARE MANY, MANY DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT WHAT IS BEST, AND WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU READ THE LABEL & CONSIDER THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF YOUR FAMILY FIRST.

FAQ #1 - What detergent is best for washing cloth diapers?

Why it matters: Function and healthy skin. Detergent additives can cause build up on the inside of your diapers. This build up creates a barrier that will often repel liquid, causing leaks. The biggest culprits of this type of build up are softeners and oils, as well as, dry sheets...you don't want to use any of these with your cloth diapers.
In addition, diapers washed with detergents containing perfume or dyes can often become irritating to baby's skin and cause rashes.

What we recommend: We believe it is best to use only additive free detergents for your diapers to function properly and endure lengthy use. Additive free means no softeners, no bleach, no perfumes, no dyes, no oils....just plain ol' washing goodness! We have chosen to use Charlie's Soap http://www.charliesoap.com/ We use this detergent for all of our laundry and being a family with sensitive skin, we love that it gets the job done while still being gentle on our skin. It costs around $8 for a bag that washes 80 loads, and if using this only for your diaper laundry, would then last for 160 loads.

What we've heard from others: There are other detergents that we have heard also offer a great option for cloth diaper care. These include Allen's, Country Save & Free & Clear detergents. With Free & Clear detergents, again, we suggest that you read the label, as we have heard some reports of the Free & Clear detergents still containing some additives that over time caused build up on the inside of the diapers, in turn causing leaks.
We've even heard of families that continued using the same detergents they always had....some with no problems, others had to "strip" their diapers from time to time to remove build up.
Being that cloth diaper loads only require half the suggested amount of detergent, any of these options are going to be long lasting and cost effective.
For those looking for an even less expensive option, we've heard of mixtures of common household items like Dawn dish liquid, baking soda & vinegar, so you can certainly be creative since there really are many possibilities. (we just chose the simple route!) :)

POINT TO REMEMBER: Less is more! Stay away from perfumes, dyes, softeners, oils and other additives when choosing a detergent for your diaper care system.

Concerned about stains and lingering odor? Want to know how to "strip" your diapers when necessary? Stay tuned for our next FAQ posts!

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