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What Detergent Is Best For Cloth Diapers

What Detergent Is Best For Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious parents. It reduces waste and is a cost-effective alternative to disposable diapers. In turn parents are often drawn to plant based or homemade detergents to wash their diapers. While plant-based and homemade detergents may seem like a natural and eco-friendly option, they can actually cause more harm than good.

Here are some reasons why you should carefully consider the use of plant-based or homemade detergents to wash your cloth diapers:

They may not clean your diapers effectively
Plant-based and homemade detergents may not contain enough of the necessary ingredients to clean your cloth diapers thoroughly. This is especially true of homemade soap based recipes that contain mostly washing soda. Cloth diapers are really dirty laundry and as such they require strong a strong surfactant to remove the buildup of urine and feces between many layers of fabric. Homemade detergents often lack the necessary enzymes, surfactants, and cleaning agents that are found in mainstream detergents. As a result, if your diapers don't get fully clean over time, residual organic material (pee and poo) or buildup from soap scum on the fabric can lead to smelly diapers or a rash on baby. 

There are some commercially produced plant based detergents that do have surfactants a little stronger, but you may have to use more of the detergent than usual to get a proper clean on diapers which ultimately makes it more expensive in the longer run. 

They may void your diaper warranty

Most cloth diaper manufacturers have recommended detergents that they know work and maintain the integrity of their products/fabrics. So if maintaining warranty on your purchase is important to you, check with what the manufacturer recommends when you are choosing a detergent. 

In general, you don't have to have a specific or special cloth diaper detergent, any detergent you find in most stores can be used for diapers and you can choose powder or liquid as you wish (depending on what your machine uses). Many of our families find success with ones like Tide, Tide Free & Gentle, Gain, Purex, Arm and Hammer etc. I also find switching detergent from time to time can be beneficial, so if something is on sale, go for it. 

Just keep in mind that plant-based detergents may not be strong enough for harder water or diaper styles like AIOs with many fabric layers. So it may take some trial and error and/or adjustment of quantity to find the sweet spot. Or consider using plant based options for other laundry and stronger detergent for diaper laundry. Leave homemade detergents off the list of possibilities all together, they just won't get diapers properly clean. 

By using the right detergent, you can ensure that your cloth diapers remain clean, fresh, and free of damage, ensuring the longevity of your investment in reusable diapers and a successful cloth diapering experience.

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