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What kind of detergent do you use for cloth diapers?

by Karen on October 15, 2010

I’m not sure how many of my readers are active cloth diapers (or were in the past). But I’m struggling with a dilemma here, and I’m hoping you can help me out.

We’ve always used the cheapest detergent I could find, but we’re going to have to switch to something cloth diaper-friendly now.

Here are the brands I’ve read/heard about that I’m considering:

  • Country Save
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • Rockin’ Green Detergent
  • Original Tide (Most expert sites do not recommend this, but many of the cloth diapering moms in online forums swear that it works well for cloth.)

I liked the idea of Country Save because it’s the cheapest, so I could go ahead and use it for all of our laundry. The problem with Country Save is that I can only find it in unreasonably huge bulk amounts. I’m not sure if it’s going to work for me or the baby, so I’m hesitant to drop $60 on a year’s supply without testing it. I haven’t been able to find it locally.

The other huge problem: hard water. The water in my city has the highest lime content in the state. I’m worried that some of the cheaper detergents (like Country Save and Charlie’s Soap) won’t work as well for us because of our hard water.

I’m strongly considering Rockin’ Green Detergent. It has excellent reviews, it’s particularly environmentally friendly, and Rockin’ Green offers a special formula for hard water. The downside? It’s going to cost about 35 cents a load. Ouch.

To save money, I’m thinking about using the Rockin’ Green for diapers only. I’ve read that using ordinary detergents for the rest of your laundry can cause buildup to accumulate in the washer and affect diaper absorbency. So I’m thinking I might get a cheaper, relatively diaper-friendly detergent like Original Tide to use for the rest of our clothes.

Some commenters have suggested adding Calgon to the wash to combat the hard water. I’m definitely considering this as an option, but I’d like to keep things as simple as possible in the beginning as we adjust to the baby and cloth diapers. I really don’t want to fiddle too much with our washing system right away, so I’m hoping if I choose a high-rated, hard water detergent it will simplify our washing process.

Once I’m used to caring for the baby and washing all those diapers, I will experiment with less expensive brands to find something cost-effective and diaper-friendly. But in the beginning, I want to keep it simple.

So tell me: what detergent do you use for cloth diapers? Do you use the same detergent on all of your clothing? I’m especially interested in your system if you have hard water.

Photo by rickyromero

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