Monday, April 15, 2013

Must-Know Monday: Cloth Diaper Safe Laundry Detergent


Because we will be cloth diapering Billy, there are many layers for me to peel back and different topics to learn about. Last week I learned all about cloth diaper safe laundry detergents - so I'm here to share what I've learned!! 

Even if you don't have a tot in cloth diapers, you may learn a few interesting nuggets about eco-friendly detergents now! 

All along I planned on using our standard Kirkland Powder Laundry Detergent on our cloth diapers. I'd heard that Tide works well on cloth and is safe, and since the Kirkland is basically a knock-off of Tide (it smells the same to me!) I thought, "We're good to go!"

Then, I started reading horror stories of moms who made the mistake of using whatever detergent they had on hand or detergents they hoped were CD safe. What happened is they ruined their (expensive!) stash of cloth diapers because the chemicals in these 'standard' detergents blocked the pores in their cloth diapers, causing them to lose their absorbency. 

Diapers that don't absorb what they should = leaky, stinky, yucky diapers. That's not welcome on my child, thank you!! (Some moms described the smell like 'a wet dog' or 'very strong ammonia stench' - eww.) 

Knowing I needed an answer from the source, I posted the question on a number of forums as well as the OsoCozy Facebook Page to see what exactly was recommended. I wanted a detergent I could buy in bulk, because I am already at Costco weekly. They were extremely helpful!! 

They sent me this link from Bummis on cloth diaper safe laundry detergents. On another forum I found this link from Pinstripes and Polka Dots spelling out lots of cloth diaper safe laundry detergents.

OsoCozy is the brand I chose for unbleached prefolds, so I knew they would know the answer on how to wash their diapers! They quoted Bummis in the explanation of what can happen when diapers are washed incorrectly that helped me understand why the right detergent is so important: 

"Optical Brighteners are added to many detergents. Words like “brighter, “whiter,” or “cleaner” on packaging are signs that a detergent might include them. Optical brighteners (also called optical bleaches or fluorescent whitening agents) are fluorescent white dyes that absorb ultraviolet light and emit back visible blue light. This gives the impression that clothes are brighter and cleaner – but these dye particles can build up on fabric causing leaking and wicking and sometimes eye or skin irritations. Optical brighteners have also been identified as being toxic to fish and other aquatic life – and some are even capable of causing mutations in bacteria. On top of that, they are very slow to biodegrade. So far, science does not know the full extent of their presence in our environment, and how their presence affects animal health…"

In the end, we discovered that Costco sold the ECOS Earth-Friendly Detergent.
On the two lists linked above, ECOS is mentioned to be an acceptable choice for CDs, so I sent Hubs to Costco last week for a bottle of it. Upon further review, I will unfortunately need to return this product. The specific line of ECOS which Costco sells includes fabric softeners AND brighteners, both "unsafe" for cloth diapers. Bummer! 

Thankfully... yesterday at our baby shower someone gave us a large bottle of BabyGanics Laundry Detergent which is listed on both lists as "Maybe" safe for cloth diapers. 
According to some reviews on the product, it works well on cloth diapers, so I will use it on our cloth diapers for Billy! This week I will begin "prepping" the diapers and get them all ready for our little's arrival.

Can you believe all the things you can learn from researching something like laundry detergent?!

*P.S. Tomorrow I will give a run-down of the baby shower, full of photos!! In short, Billy is the luckiest little boy on the planet.*

UPDATED TO ADD: After 22 months of cloth diapering, I wanted to give you an update! We use Norwex Ultra laundry detergent and LOVE IT. Click here to buy it.  I use Tide Original (powder) with oxyclean on our regular laundry and if my diapers start to get a stink, I use Tide Original (powder) with 1/4C of bleach once a month to freshen them up. I have an old-fashioned top-loader washer so it uses lots of water and gets our diapers REALLY clean!! Hope this helps :) 


  1. Good ones are a little more expensive than normal diapers, BUT, I save money in the long run because the diapers don't leak, hence his clothes don't get soiled, and I don't have to do the baby's laundry that often. I'm not going back to any other diaper!
    honest diaper

  2. How did it end up working for you? Did you continue to use babyganics or have you switched?

    1. Hey Sarah! I ended up going with Norwex detergent, after trying several and not liking them. Here is a link:,1658,200.aspx