Thursday, October 14, 2010

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The Importance of a Good Detergent (and following directions!)

There was a time, I'll admit, when I did not know what I was doing. Yep, me. The cloth diapering mom who can get stains out, get funk out, freshen up my diaper Velcro, who knows just the right diaper & doubler combination for leak proof nights, can perfectly strip my diapers, uses only the best detergent and cloth wipe solution...did not always know "everything". As a matter of fact, when I first began cloth diapering, I didn't know anything.

Once upon a time, I had three brand new, beautiful and bright, soft & fluffy FuzziBunz for my 15 month old daughter. That's it, just three diapers to start out with. When it was time for wash day, I did what any "normal" person would do, and threw them in the wash with some lovely Purex detergent. Washed, dried, stuffed and used again. I loved it so much, I bought more! Until I had 16 Fuzzibunz in my stash. A few weeks into this, I began to notice an awful smell the minute the diaper was soiled. So awful my husband refused to change the diapers anymore. A few days later, they began to leak. Leak so bad I could put my daughter in a fresh diaper and load her in the car. Drive 2.6 miles down the road to church, and by the time I took her out of the car her pants were completely wet. By this point, I hated cloth diapering, but would not stop after all the money I had spent on diapers. I had no idea what I was doing wrong (HA, like I said...I didn't know anything...) so I finally asked a fellow cloth diapering friend what she thought about my issues. She advised I do some stripping and that if it didn't help, to do some research. Stripping? I had to figure out what that meant first!

I pulled out the washing instructions from KellysCloset that they send in every fluffymail package and read about stripping- and tried it. Tried it again, and again, and again. Nothing was working, I knew that the instructions said not to use regular or free & clear detergent, but my friend used it and never had a problem, so I ignored it and continued using it. I eventually became worn out and tired of cloth, tired of the leaks and the stink and all the stripping I was doing trying to get rid of it. So, I got rid of my beloved stash, and went back to disposables.

Six or so months later, I became pregnant. I don't know why, but I began think about cloth diapers again. My husband said "No way, not again", but after discovering TCDW Blog and all of the support and advice on the TCDW and Diapershops Facebook pages, I knew there was hope. After all, if cloth diapering was working for thousands of other moms, I had to be doing something wrong. After endless hours, and hours, and hours of reading my brains out about diaper care, I figured it out (like it was that hard...), my detergent ruined my diapers! You see, cloth diaper laundry is a little tricky. It's easy, but it's also a pain sometimes. You can't "just wash" your diapers like I thought. You have to: " Run a light wash, cold. Run a heavy wash with detergent, hot. Extra rinse, hot." Line or hang drying is best, but you can use a dryer, just don't use dryer sheets. Then the most important "rule", use a good detergent! I like to say, INVEST in a good detergent.

As a new cloth diapering mom, I never would have thought that washing my diapers in regular detergent would literally ruin them. But since I did know now, I decided I was going to use cloth with this next baby, and I was not going to ruin them or have a hard time with them! I was going to do everything right, starting with the purchase of our favorite, life-saving diaper detergent, Rockin Green. Yep, Rockin Green has spared me from having any funk or leaks with my new stash, it smells yummy, and I feel so secure knowing that I am not going to murder( R.I.P old stash) my new soft, fluffy, and beautiful Fuzzibunz. P.S- Don't take the laundry directions lightly! Every rinse counts- literally! If you have to, (I had to...) stick the directions somewhere in your laundry room!

Lesson Learned (the hard way...),
Shay P.

19 comments:

Ashley said...

I was using rockin green for awhile but found clean green monkey detergent. Its on Etsy and its much cheaper. I have hard water and couldnt afford the 16$ detergent of RNG every month-2 months. The clean green monkey detergent is a blessing! she has tons of sweet scents that fill my laundry room with delight! my diapers finally smell clean and no more microfiber stink! I love Clean Green Monkey Detergent!

Laundry Lady said...

Oh the trials and tribulations of diaper laundry. After 17 months I'm still getting the hang of the perfect laundry formula. When I first started with my ancient top loading washer I was using Purex Free and Clear. I used a fraction of the detergent recommended and I had no problems. But when my washer broke we replaced it with a front loader. The new Purex HE detergent had added back in optical brighteners, so I opted for a store brand. Within weeks I had smelly diapers and my daughter had a raging rash. I realized when I examined the ingredients of this store brand HE free and clear detergent, that there were enzymes. Fortunately, I was able to strip my diapers and start over with Country Save. I wish I could say that it has been smooth sailing since then, but we have still had off and on issues with stink (never leaks thank goodness) and rash. When my daughter started solids, I couldn't get out the stains anymore. Even sun drying didn't help. I was stripping my diapers once a month. Finally I've begun adding wet towels and extra water to every wash load and slightly increasing the amount of detergent I was using. (I was only using 1 tsp per wash load). Finally, my diapers smell totally fresh and my daughter is rash free. I've also discovered that the minerals in the water determine which detergents work for you. It's really all worth it. In spite of all the trouble, we have still saved a ton of money over disposables and I still have way fewer leaks than disposables too. Too bad your old stash can't be salvaged. I've been able to save almost every diaper I thought was beyond help with a combination of plain blue dawn, bleach and lots of hot water.

Katie S said...

this sounds like me. :) I've only been cloth diapering a few months and still have no idea how to strip diapers. But when the time comes to, I think I know where to find out! Anyway, thanks for posting this story and advice, because I've been a little relaxed about the detergents I use, and I think it's time I start investing in the best detergents also. I would hate to end up with a bunch of ruined diapers that I've worked so hard to accumulate (it is work acquiring them, since my husband doesn't support me getting them!) Anyway, I think it's time I try some Rockin' Green. I've been considering it, and I need to make that step for the sake of my diapers!

Stephanie said...

Right there with you on the "post instructions in the laundry room" part. I actually went to the trouble of printing it out before I had my son, knowing that during the sleep deprivation phase I might need a reminder.

Stephani said...

I did something similar-used the Free & Clear detergent and got stinky, not so absorbant diapers. Fortunately I figured it out before I got rid of my stash! I'm glad you found the cloth diaper love again :-)

Anna said...

Great post! I totally agree that a good detergent is key. We use Rockin Green at our house too. :)

Sarah said...

How long have you been using Rockin Green? It seems so new, I am worried about eventual build up as with any "Natural" detergent.

Ashley said...

AND not every washing machine is equal!

The diapers always smell funky when I use my mom's washer (an HE top loader). I have to rinse on hot a lot!

kkyc816 said...

started cloth diapering a few weeks ago. been testing charlie's soap and allen's natural laundry detergent, but diapers started smelling recently. got my first shipment of rockin' green. hope it works!

Missy!! said...

I have yet to wash my new diapers (my first baby isn't due for another month) but I am using Bum Genius diapers. Is there an advantage to the Rockin' Green over the Bum Genius detergent?

The Suess Family said...

I am currently using half a scoop of Nellie's Natural Laundry Soda and half a scoop of Borox. It seems to work. I have only been cloth diapering for 3 months and DS is still exclusively breastfeeding so we haven't hit the smelly poos yet ;) We will see if our routine changes at all once we start on cereal and solids.

Shay said...

@Missy-
I have never used the bum genius detergent (I do have some BG's though!), so I can't say why using Rockin Green would be better. I bought Rockin Green after tons of research and reading/reviews. Since it got tons of amazing reviews and I watched the video's on it too, I decided that I probably couldn't go wrong with it & I'm too afraid to risk it this time!
Just keep reading reviews & such, then make the purchase that you feel most comfortable with. In the end, if you buy BG and don't like it, just use it up and you can switch! Vice versa :) Good look & congrats to you!

Shay said...

@Sarah-
I've been using RG for three months and have not had build up problems yet! I do an extra hot water rinse at the end to try and rid of any possible build up too. But so far, no build up :)

RouensDream said...

This post was very helpful. I'm building my stash right now and really trying to figure out what kind of detergent to go with. Right now I have planet. Which is supposed to be okay..but it seems like a lot of people prefer RNG...So it is probably worth a try! Thanks!

Nicole said...

So what detergents DO you recommend for cloth diapers? I have tried several, and some "natural" cleaners like Charlie's soap have given my child terrible rashes.

Tricia said...

I have been using Tiny Bubbles for a while now and really like it. I like that it sanitizes the diapers and I've never had a need for bleach. Now that summer is over I haven't been able to sun much but no stinkies! I have a front loader and saved a custom setting for a Prewash (sometimes use 1/2 scoop tiny bubbles), Hot wash cold rinse (heavy duty) with 1 scoop detergent, skin care rinse (cold). It is as easy as turning on the machine, hitting that button and start. Even DH can do it :) For good measure, when I have time, I will do an additional cold afterward or I will run a pre-rinse with no spin so it stays soaked before running my custom setting.

The Cozy Pumpkin said...

Tried Rockin' Green. Always ended up with problems. Now I use Tide. No build up, no leaking, and perfect diapers every time. (And they smell good too.)

Anonymous said...

My Bum Genius always stank horribly, and my baby was getting horrible rashes. I finally took her to the doctor and it was a bacterial infection. The horrible stink left in microfiber is bacteria. So I switched to all cotton that is much cheaper and I can use a tablespoon of bleach on without worrying about ruining them. Flats are the easiest thing to use and wash. They always fit and always come clean.

The Learned Lady said...

Thanks for this post. I've been using Purex Free & Clear (just a tiny amount) because that was recommended on a cloth diaper site (ironic, isn't it?). Now, I'm starting to think that's the problem with my diapers...and why I'm becoming disenchanted and frustrated with them. We've been using GroVia biosoakers because those have been the only things that can actually contain all the pee and poo. Is it possible I can salvage my cloth inserts if I invest in a better detergent?