Sunday, November 13, 2011

Detergents for Cloth Diapers

What kind of detergent to use to wash you cloth diapers can be a bit confusing.  Also, there are a lot of detergents that are recommended by some, but not recommended by others and so on that makes it even more confusing.  Well, this is going to be just my personal opinion and experiences, but this may be able to help some of you with detergent questions.  Please note that all of my experiences are with HARD water.

The first thing you should always do before using any kind of detergent is know what kind of water you have.  Don't know how to know?  Well, there are a few ways to figure it out easily!
  1. Simply call your water company and ask :-)
  2. Leave a cup of warm water out over night to evaporate.  If there is white residue, most likely you have HARD water.
  3. If you take a shower and it is hard to get the soap off of you, most likely you have SOFT water.
  4. Make a cup of tea in a glass mug.  Using a microwave, bring the water to a boil in the mug, place the tea bag in the hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes.  Remove the bag.  If the tea is clear your ater is on the SOFT side.  If there is a film on the top of the tea or it is cloudy, your water is on the HARD sideThis is the most accurate test besides calling your water company.
Now that you know what kind of water you have, you can determine what detergent to use (or how much detergent to use).  Please note that with HARD water, you want to use MORE detergent and with SOFT water you want to use LESS detergent than recommended.  Not much more or less, just a bit more or less.
  • GroVia Tiny Bubbles: Great for normal water.  I used it once with well water (super hard water) and it didn't work too well.  
  • Rockin' Green: Great if you use EXACTLY the amount they say to use and also use the right formula for your water.  Get any of that messed up and you will have a big problem on your hands!!!
  • Purex Free and Clear: DO NOT USE THIS!!!!!  Can you say build up!?!?  That is all this detergent will give you!!!  Stay away!!!
  • All Free and Clear and Tide Free and Clear: I would stay away from these too.  You may experience chemical burn on your child's bum from these.
  • EcoSprout: By far the best I have ever used.  Worked with the well water and with my normal water. This is by far the most recommended by me.
  • Tide: I wouldn't use Tide...ever, for any reason.  All Tide does is hide problems, not fix them.  Not only that, it makes elastic not work as well.  
I recently (December 2013) took a picture of a BG OS diaper that is 4 years old and a Fuzzi Bunz size Medium that is only 2 years old.  The  FB was sent to me for elastic repair after use with Tide.  The BG was only washed in CD safe detergent (BG detergent until EcoSprout came out).  Look at the difference in the life of the is crazy!  BG is on the left and FB is on the right.

same Rumparooz Diaper, the orange one was used with my son, for SIX months, same exact routine only I used Tide back then. Purple diaper has been used six months, even more than the orange one because my stash is a lot smaller now. I have only washed with Ecosprout, or Rockin Green. Everything else about my routine is exactly the same.

Please remember that these detergents are just my recommendations from my personal experiences of finding a good detergent for my cloth diapers.  Many other people have their own recommendations, but I highly suggest trying EcoSprout out because, like I said, they are by far the best I have used so far!


  1. I'm looking for a detergent and this helps.
    i wasnt too much of a fan of rng after a while and i'm currently using tide since we already use tide for our clothes.
    i was suggested ecoSprout today so I'm going to look in to them!


  2. the tide free and clear has worked really well for us-but I always do an extra rinse and I don't put hardly any in to wash my diapers. it's also really easy because it's what we already use on our clothes so there are no allergies :)

    (we've been using it for 5 months and counting and haven't had any problems yet-we also have normal water)

  3. Ruby Moon has worked best for us. We have hard well water and Eco Sprout and RnG did not work at all.

  4. intersting about tide and all free and clear. ive heard mixed reviews so ive stuck to using my own detergent

  5. Thanks for the info! I would've messed up my new stash without it :P

  6. Thanks for this tip. :) At first I was a little anxious regarding this topic but I feel more at ease now.

  7. Thanks for the tips! I feel much more prepared to begin cloth diapering!!

  8. Thanks for the tips on figuring out if you have hard water. Im supposed to be in a soft water area according to RNG water map but I have hard water :)

  9. I appreciate the hard water tips and the EcoSprout recommendation. Our laundry routine is working decent, but occasionally we still have odor problems. Anne Sweden

  10. I've never heard of that tea experiment! I was wondering about the hard/soft water situation and now i know where i stand, thanks for this!

  11. Thanks for the info on how to tell what kind of water you have! I have always used ecos detergent and recently started using econuts too and have had no build up issues yet...

  12. great overview-thanks! i've actually occasionally used purex free and clear on my son's CDs but now I may not! That was when I ran out of Rock'n Green det but I may switch to Tide or All free and clear instead.