Oftentimes we’re asked, “Why can’t I use free and clear detergents to wash my cloth diapers?”
Or, “My friends use X Free and Clear to wash their cloth diapers. Why can’t I?”
Excellent questions. While detergent recommendations are a dime a dozen, first it’s important to understand what works for one doesn’t work for everyone. There are so many variables to consider: type of cloth diapers being laundered, washing machine, water condition (soft or hard), washing routine/frequency, etc…
Therefore, we definitely recommend following the guidelines set by your diaper manufacturer. All diaper manufacturers provide the same disclaimer when it comes to detergents:
NO: enzymes, dyes, perfumes/fragrance, optical brighteners, whiteners, or fabric softener
Nearly all commercially available detergents found at your local grocery store and box chain store will have most, if not all of these “no-no’s” in the formula. Free and Clear detergents are no exception. While “Free and Clear” sounds great, in reality the only thing the detergent is free and clear from is fragrance and dyes. Free and Clear detergents usually still have optical brighteners, enzymes, or even worse – fabric softener (leaving behind waxy residues).
More often than not these ingredients will cause buildup on your diapers and ultimately lead to wicking or complete repelling (ie. the diaper is unable to absorb any fluid). Therefore we do no recommend using a free and clear detergent for this primary reason; the consequence and hassle is not worth the risk!
We do recommend Charlie’s Soap, Allen’s Naturally, Country Save, FuzziBunz Detergent by Vaska, Tiny Bubbles and new to our cloth diaper recommendations and coming soon to Kelly’s Closet: Rockin’ Green!