When I was pregnant and spent countless hours researching which cloth diapers would make up my initial stash, I thought choosing what to wash them with would be the easy part. Was I wrong! I expected there to be a quick solution that I could add to my registry, but one web page led me to the next, and the next, which all seemed to be filled with conflicting information. At first I thought any mainstream “Free & Clear” detergent would suffice until I stumbled upon different detergent charts. Then after reading glowing reviews on Charlie’s Soap I decided on that, until I kept reading and saw that it gave some babies horrible rash. Expecting clarity after more research, I became more confused. I didn’t want my new diapers to get a bad case of the stinks, and I definitely didn’t want my newborn to have a red bum!
I finally decided on Country Save as it seemed like a safe bet. It worked great for the first few months when we were living in our old house with an old washer that probably used more water than I’d care to admit. Then we moved to a home with a smaller washer, but the same amount of diapers to wash…then came the dreaded stinks that I had read about.
First I tried stripping with just load after load of hot water. The success of that was very short lived. I picked up some blue Dawn and again, noticed a slight improvement but not worth all the time and water it took. About this time I had seen more and more about Rockin’ Green and read positive reviews; I did an overnight soak (this was before Funk Rock came out) and switched to using that as our detergent but it just didn’t work for us.
I decided I needed to boil all my prefolds and microfiber inserts – another “tip” I had read about online – so I went to a discount store and picked up the “diaper cauldron” as my husband calls it. After boiling several small batches for 15 minutes each I was very pleased with the results…until about a month later when the stinks gradually made a comeback.
I didn’t want to have to resort to baking soda and vinegar, but I caved. I would sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda in the diaper pail (which helped my daughter’s room smell better) and bought a Downy ball and filled it with ¼ cup vinegar. I always do a cold pre-wash, followed by the hot wash with detergent (this is when the Downy ball would be added too), and a cold rinse. This added more work, but I was convinced it would be worth it. It wasn’t.
As a die-hard CDer, I couldn’t resort to using Tide even though I had read that it worked well on fluff. That stuff wasn’t even allowed in my house! After a severe inner struggle, I decided to buy some original powder Tide. It felt weird putting it in my shopping cart, like I was doing something illegal. I even had a coupon, something that hasn’t happened with me and laundry detergent in a long time. But, I was desperate, so don’t judge me!
Well, it worked – and continues to work! I use about half the recommended amount and it hasn’t give my daughter a rash either. After this whole ordeal I’ve learned that just with cloth diapers, what works for some may not work for others, and what you think you’d never do may just be now what you’d never do without.
Ann J. is a cloth diaper fanatic with a 14-month-old daughter who has the cutest diaper butt on the block!