Monday, March 28, 2011

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The Laundry Diaries: Uncensored

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!

23 comments:

Nicole said...

Okay I always use tide for everything but was told NOT to use Tide on my diapers.. right now we're using All Free n Clear which is alright I guess.. no problems right now .. but i may just use Tide as long as it won't kill my diapers as I've been warned hah

Andrea G. said...

What kind of washer do you currently have? Is it a normal top-loader, or do you by any chance have an HE of some sort?

rosiewiklund said...

Glad you found something that worked. I did try charlie's and just loved it. No chemical burns, no stinks. Good stuff. :)

RachelS said...

This article is LONG over due. I too started with Charlie's but not because of all the charts I found online, but a CDing friend. She raved about it! The weirdest part is that it worked great for awhile then problems started to crop up, but I thought I got 'em fixed. Not so. I ended up buying some Allens and so far that seems to be doing the trick. (Country Save isn't available at my local Whole Foods.) It just seems like an uphill battle though. I've been thinking about giving into the Tide but powder is a big no-no with my hard water and Original Tide in liquid form has a lot more "junk" in it. I do the vinegar too - I use it on all my loads, not just diapers. What a difference in softness it makes!!

Christina D said...

I've been using Country Save for my son's diapers for a few months with my HE washer and haven't had a problem yet. When did your diapers start having stink issues? Also, did you make sure to use less detergent than what is recommended? Sometimes the HE washers need even less than what is stated on the box. I tend to use about a third of a scoop per diaper load. Also, how many times do you wash them? I do one quick cold wash with detergent, one hot wash with detergent and then a cold rinse.

Just wondering what you did, because if it's the same thing I'm doing then I want to know that I should start expecting the stinks soon, hehe.

ericarae said...

Thank You for posting this - Tide may be my next step. I am getting sick of forking out money for special "cloth diaper detergents" that just aren't working. We have really hard water, but a top-loader and I've tried Allen's, Rockin' Green, Hard Rock and Ecos (a store brand). It is all good on my prefolds, but those microfiber inserts get STINKY. Now I pre-soak with bac-out and use a VERY SMALL amount of Allen's and it takes about a million rinses to get all the bubbles out. I may have to try Charlie's before resorting to the old Tide, but I'm glad to know that I have more possible solutions out there then online ordering and adding the cost of shipping!

Sarah Schulz said...

Tide seems to be a mystery! I think it works best when absolutely nothing else works, but then it's amazing! At least that's what I've heard whenever I've heard about a mama switching to Tide.

Jenny said...

That wonderful to see i'm not the only one!! I used everything..country save, rockin green, free and clear, etc...and then finally gave in and bought tide..i use baking soda, tide then vinigar in the rinse and havnt had a smell, leak, or rash in 4 months. (my daughter is 11 months old)

dezi1986 said...

Thank goodness.. I'm not the only one that couldn't find a detergent made especially for cloth diapers thats continues to work past the first time I used it. I have tried everything, RNG,ecosprout,Charlies, Lulus, and so many more-- nothing works like my Tide original! Even with hard water it's a blessing to have an easy wash routine that works everytime!

Johanna said...

This is exactly our story with washing cloth diapers: Country Save, Baking Soda, Boiling, Dawn, etc. Country Save didn't work for us either after the stinks arrived about 6 months in. I even emailed with the Country Save rep to come up with a laundry routine including dissolving the detergent and adding water. I too eventually bit the bullet and bought Tide with much guilt. Turns out the Tide and a monthly Funk Rock soak and I think we are back on track.

Lindsay said...

I've been CD'ing for almost a year now and using Tide for about 10 months. For the first 2 months, we tried a ton of "safe" detergents. NOTHING worked. I was so afraid to try Tide because of the lists it was on. I decided to try it after a ton of money spent on detergents that didn't work. My baby girl had a terrible rash and her diapers were terribly stinky. I started with the powder and loved it, but after reading on a few diaper manufactuer websites that powder is bad for diapers because it's more abrasive, I decided to try the liquid. I am very happy with both options. I won't go back to any other detergent. We have VERY hard water. Tide is the only thing that can cut through the minerals. I also noticed that excessive rinsing causes stinkies witht he hard water too.

Suzy said...

This blog could not be more relevant to me. My daughter had a horrible diaper rash when she was just a week old. I was using disposables that had been given to us at the time because she was so small I wasn't sure my BG 4.0's would fit. I thought for sure that just by switching to cloth the rash would go away, but it didn't. I too did tons or research and started out with Rockin' Green as the soap for my cloth diapers. I didn't even for an instant think that could be what was causing the rash, but then I read that some other people were having problems with it, so I stripped all my diapers and started using regular All F&C, but it isn't getting my diapers clean. I was going to try the Thirsties Pre and Super wash, but it's really expensive, so I may bite the bullet and use regular tide now after reading this.

Beth @ Sand To Pearl said...

There are so many different stories about people with cloth diapers, and the different techniques they use. It all depends on the water, and the kid. We tried Tide Free and Clear, and WOW, it gunked up my diapers SO much! Yucky smell, but we have different water. For us it's cold rinse, home made laundry detergent with oxi-clean, and sometimes some vinegar, then a nice hot rinse. Seems to do the trick for us.

Momma said...

I use liquid Original Tide HE in my front loader. We love it and never had a problem with it! No stinks, no rashes, no repelling, and we use it on all our other laundry too. If you find something that works, stick with it. :)

Little Tiny Love said...

Ahhh everyone is talking TIde and my family is allergic too it. Boo. So far Tiny Bubbles is doings its job okay though as soon as I can find something else to try I'm gonna do it!

Melissa Duckett said...

For Country Save... check it out on Amazon. We bought four boxes of it (I think that's how it was available to order). We got free shipping. We have opened two boxes to fill my giant detergent container, but it looks like we haven't made a dent (after 4 months of CDing). And now we use it for all of our clothes!
Totally worth it.
I have Rockin' Green, but I use it for soaks, only, and I have to be careful because it sometimes causes a little rash. We've never had trouble (knock on wood). I do a hot soak, hot prewash/wash, double cold rinse. We just set the washing machine (no setting for a cold soak if you want to "set it and forget it" with a hot wash, so I got lazy and did a hot soak and it seemed to work BETTER for us!).
Everyone has a different routine though!

ashleylynn61287 said...

so true, what works for you, tide original powder, didnt wor for me. i couldnt stand the smell that tide left on my dipes. i currently use tiny bubbles, and when switched the first few times washing the dipes smelled like nasty dead fish water, which i was told was the nasties coming out that the tide held in. kudos to you for loving what i didnt!!

ashleylynn61287 said...

so true what works for you, tide original powder, didnt work for me! i couldnt stand the smell tide left on my dipes, so i switched to tiny bubbles. the first few washes my dipes smelled like dead fish water, which i was told was the nasties coming out that tide held in. but hey, kudo's to you for loving what i didnt!

TheCraftyQueen said...

I probably could have written the same article! Now, near the end of my second round of diapering a child from birth to potty, we are fairly settled into a cold cycle with either Country Save or RnG (half the amount) and then a hot cycle with Tide (half the amount) with a double rinse. I found Tide to be a lifesaver with my first daughter's prefolds and never looked back, even when I added in some AIOs for DD2. Scented or unscented, Tide does the trick for u.

Erin said...

I tried all the special CD detergents and ended up on the Tide bandwagon. No stinks and no problems :) I still can't figure out the big deal about RG because it didn't do jack to help my diapers out...

Heather said...

I've been having stink problems for a while and was about to give up on cloth during the night (my boy would wake up with AWFUL rashes). I finally realized two things... 1. rinse, soak and wash on cold first (no detergent), otherwise you are cooking in the smell 2. wash every two days (maybe 3, but seriously, no more than that). I haven't had stink issues since!

Sarah said...

I think it's great that there is an article on how "normal" detergents can work in a CD wash routine, too! So many places I read about how you should use special cloth diaper detergents, it's nice to know that there are plenty of great CDing moms out there who have success with regular detergents. :)

Mommyto4 said...

This article is awesome! We've tried every CD detergent and nothing works, not to mention wasting a ton of money and water!! I'm going to try Tide. What would you mamas recomend as a good way to switch over? Should is strip the diapers first? Boil the inserts? Which kind of Tide works best, original, Free and Gentle, liquid, powdered? I'm desperate!! I can't take the among smell anymore and my DS has rashes because if it now at almost every diaper change!! HELP!!