Put the "Kick" Back into Your Cloth

Ever suspected your cloth diapers of losing their absorbency? Have they ever seemed to leak a little more than usual? I came across this issue a while back. I wasn't sure what the problem was. Was the baby wetting more than usual? Was I not putting his diapers on tight enough? Were cloth diapers just not going to work for us?

Then I realized that I was using the wrong detergent. I never got around to ordering the good stuff (Country Save, Rockin' Green, etc) from Nicki's Diapers, so a couple of weeks after Asher was born I picked up Seventh Generation's "Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender" scented liquid detergent. Which was not additive free. Duh, what was I thinking? I knew I wasn't supposed to be using the standard chocked-full-of-unnecessary-chemicals-that-linger-in-your-laundry kind of detergent, didn't I? We'll blame it on infant-imposed lack of sleep at two weeks post-partum. I also remember having the silly thought that because lavender is anti-bacterial as an essential oil (an ingredient in my diaper wipes solution), it would likewise fight bacteria as a detergent scent.

NOT additive-free=Cloth Diaper no-no.
So after realizing my big spoof and immediately worrying that I'd "ruined the diapers forever!", I came across Just Simply Baby, a great C.D. site that rates every detergent on the market based on it's suitability for cloth diapers. The less additives, the better. Surprisingly, certain household brands like Arm & Hammer Free & Clear and Woolite get pretty good ratings. (See the full rating list here- it's got everything.) I felt like I didn't have time to order one of the fancy brands online, so back to the store I went. I picked up Arm & Hammer's "Sensitive Skin- Free of all Perfumes and Dyes" liquid detergent, and it was only about $5 for a huge gallon of it.

Free & Clear

I was still curious about the more expensive detergents that are made especially for cloth diapers, and I was still worried that I'd compromised the absorbency of my cloth inserts because of the Seventh Generation I'd been using. (Whether I did or not, I can't be totally sure...but either way it was worth switching to a better detergent). So, I looked into Rockin' Green, which seems to get raving reviews from the C.D. pros, including the owner of Just Simply Baby, a stay at home mom that's developed her own line of diapers.

So when I saw a small sample at Supper Mommy's (a natural parenting store in Elizabethtown, KY) that was meant to clean unwanted additives out of your cloth, I had to try it. The sample size was only about a dollar or two.

I don't have a personal washer and dryer to use for soaking here at Motel K, so I filled up our bathtub with hot water, mixed in the detergent, and let my diapers soak in it for a while before washing. (We have a shared laundry room in the basement of the building). And voila! Leak issue solved! As far as I could tell, at least. And now that it's been a couple of months I'm thinking about giving the ol' cloths another cleansing. Maybe I'll even get the big bag of Rockin' Green since our Arm & Hammer is getting low.

Again, I can't say for sure whether it really was the 7th Gen. that was causing extra leaks, and I can't say for sure that it was the Rockin' G. that fixed it. Maybe it was just the "placebo" affect of giving the dipes a special cleaning. But it might be worth a try if you're experiencing the same problems. After all, a sample of the Green stuff is just a buck or two!

So, fellow C.D. moms, what detergents do you use? Have any special washing tricks to share?

---P.S. Did you notice the three latest additions to our stash of Best Bottom shells? Eeeee I'm thrilled! Just picked up Mint-Chocolate-Chip, Blue Moon, and Orange Sherbet through an auction on Under My Crib. They're second hand, but I saved about $21 bucks that way. And why not re-use instead of buy new all the time? Great site by the way, I've both bought and sold on it now.

---P.S.S. See my favorite C.D. products here!

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The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
-Psalm 24:1


~Tricia said...

We use original Tide in the powder. Or homemade (borax, soap, washing soda). I've tried about every cloth-diaper detergent out there and haven't found them to perform any better.

Sarah said...

You know, I've heard about people making their own detergent. How do you like it? I think I'm going to try it, it sounds super simple and cost effective. Thanks for the tip!

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