Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Detergent Debate

Left Photo Credit: Erica Dunhill of WP Inks
As a cloth diapering momma, one of the most challenging things about actually successfully using cloth on our kids is finding a washing routine that works.  No family is the same when it comes to their particular cloth diapering practices. It's really about finding what works for you, your particular washing equipment, and learning how to successfully match your baby's chemistry with your washing routine.  I have been a bit curious about trying out different detergents, and maybe sprucing up my routine a little bit...even though I am not currently having any problems. I wanted to test out different detergents to see how they stack up against one another. So here is my current washing routine: cold pre-wash, no detergent. Hot wash with detergent, followed by a hot rinse, then a second cold rinse. I strip my diapers using the blue Dawn method once every three weeks to keep everything so fresh and so clean! The detergent I currently use is Tide original powder (regular, not free and clear) because the bulk of my stash consists of Rumparooz G2 pockets, and Tide powder is the recommended detergent for that brand.  I tend to use a milder detergent for my clothes, however, I have never had issues with sensitivity from the enzymes in Tide, and I am very happy with how clean my cloth diapers are.  I have never had poop residue on my diapers, and up to this point, I have never had any staining or had to sun my diapers for stain removal.  They always come out of the washer really clean and white.  I have had my eye on Eco Nuts.  I am always looking for great products, whether it be new diapers or accessories, or detergents.  I really wanted to try Eco Nuts. I have been curious about how they would work, and love the thought of having a more natural approach to laundry.  It fits in nicely with our family's continued efforts to make our lives a little greener. I got a cute little bag of Eco nuts with 5 nuts in it. I followed the manufacturer's directions for laundering, which are as follows; cold pre-wash with no soap nuts and a half cup of baking soda. Followed by a a hot wash (with Eco Nuts added in the bag provided in the box) with a cold rinse and a final cold rinse.  To finish it off, all the diapers were tumble dried on low heat.

The verdict: The diapers and inserts that were washed with Eco Nuts were extremely soft...surprisingly soft. And they had no smell whatsoever, which is great! However, the cloth diapers that were pooped on did not come out as clean as I would have liked. One of my Rumparooz even smelled like poop and had little poop "particles" all over the gusset. Simply put, the diaper was not clean. Having said that, if I had been a bit more diligent about hosing off the diaper completely before placing it in the wash, I think the Eco Nuts would have done a great job.  For children with sensitive skin, this would be a great alternative to the traditional (perhaps harsher) brands of detergent.  Eco Nuts worked very nicely on my LO's clothes, but as far as the cloth diapers, since my LO does not have sensitive skin, I think the Tide does a better job for keeping the poop off the diapers.  Round one goes to Tide!


  1. Thanks for this comparison. You use the Tide powder right? How much do you use. I'm leaning towards using EcoNuts on our cloths and Tide on the diapers. But I am torn because Tide is recommended for Rumparooz. I have 7 of their pockets and 8 covers now. But I also have 1 SoftBums pocket and 4 covers now and they recommend avoiding enzymes. What should I do?

  2. We use Tide powder, the Softbums recommends Purex, which I haven't heard recommended on any other diaper. They don't say anything about the enzymes though, they recommend avoiding "...anything with oxygenating additives or whiteners...". For a more natural alternative, Ecover which is a detergent recommended for Rumparooz which would also would work fine with the Softbums. And for that matter, so would Eco Nuts if you make sure to COMPLETELY hose off all particles of poop before the diaper goes in the wash. Hope that helps!

  3. I too use tide after trying lots of "cloth safe" detergents. Ever since doing the switch to tide I have not had to strip my diapers. I have even tried going back to the other detergents just to end up with stink. Since my wash routine works now, I'm sticking with tide but I'm intrigued by these soap nuts hmmm