Stop Telling Me to Use Tide on Cloth Diapers

People, please.  Stop telling me to use Tide on cloth diapers.  No, really.  Just stop.

Just in case it’s not sinking in:

Stop telling me to use Tide on cloth diapers.Stop Telling Me to Use Tide on Cloth Diapers. (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

I don’t need to use Tide on cloth diapers.  Really.  I have a routine that already works for me.  I am not going to deviate from a perfectly functional cloth diaper laundry routine.  I am a Rockin’ Green acolyte for a reason: it works for my diapers.  In fact, it’s one of the top two diaper detergent choices in my city.  (Nellie’s is the other popular choice.)

I am not going to tell you that using Tide on cloth diapers is bad.  It works for some people.  There are some companies out there that recommend it.  Or there are some companies that recommend the Free and Clear Tide formula.

I should state that I’m not just anti-Tide for the heck of it.  I don’t write this to say that Tide is the devil and it will destroy your cloth diapers.  Really, most things won’t destroy your cloth diapers after just one use.

So why am I so anti-Tide for my personal diaper laundry use?

1.) I started out with using Tide on cloth diapers.  Just like FuzziBunz recommended, I used the Free and Clear version.  I was elated; that was the same detergent that I used on my regular laundry.  Within three months, I had such a horrid stink that I nearly quit cloth diapering.  Had it not been for sheer stubbornness, I would have given up.  In short: I tried it, and it was horrid.  For me.  For the variables in my laundry set up.

2.) We have fragrance sensitivities in my family.  The scent of Tide is one that we find bothersome.  Therefore, the Tide powder that many people love is not something that is welcome in my home.  I understand that other people use it and it works for them.  That’s GREAT!  No, really.  Finding a cloth diaper laundry routine that works for you, with whatever little tweaks you require from the basic “prewash, long hot wash, double rinse” routine can be difficult.

3.)  There really isn’t a third reason.  It just seems like whenever one is making a numbered list, there should be at least three reasons.

I will also never tell people who are using Tide on cloth diapers to stop.  It works for them.  But coming on my blog and leaving a profane comment and then DARING (yes, the word “dare” was used in the rejected comment) isn’t going to convert me to your cause.  So just stop.  It’s getting old.  I’m not going to change a routine that is working for us.  If my cloth diaper laundry routine ever stops being effective, then I’ll look for other alternatives.  Until then, no thank you.

What kind of unwanted cloth diapering advice have you received?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. After trying homemade & expensive cloth diaper detergents…and having horrible ammonia issues, I switched to Tide and haven’t had a problem. As you’ve said before – different area, different water, different detergents will work better. For us, Tide’s been the answer, but it may not be for someone else (I’m just glad that we got rid of the ammonia!). Use whatever works for you…
    Lauren S. recently posted…SIDS: Back is Best! HALO Sleep SackMy Profile

  2. I’ve never tried Tide, but after hearing some people have great success with it, it is DEFINITELY a temptation… but then when I reconsider what is in Tide and how I would like to keep my family more “natural” in the ways that work for us, I’ll still with my Rockin’ Green. It works for us, my diapers are clean, and my husband doesn’t mind the added expense. Until we encounter an issue, I’m a happy “cloth diaper safe detergent” kinda gal 🙂
    Jenna @ A Mama Collective recently posted…Body Changes During Pregnancy {& an Earth Mama Angel Baby Review}My Profile

  3. Unwanted piece of advice : Tide, as well.

    Nothing will ever convince me to use that detergent, mostly because of what is in it. I am not claiming to be “holier than thou” because I prefer to use truly “green” detergents, but I just can’t get myself to use a detergent that contains ingredients that are potentially harmful to my child & ocean life.

  4. Tide works the best for me in my very hard water without having to perform laundry gymnastics but I totally understand why people don’t want to use it. I used to be allergic to Tide as a kid. It gave me an itchy rash on my chest and I am not alone. It stopped bothering me in my later teens but Tide is a common irritant to some people. When I had softish to normal water I used several cloth friendly detergents and they worked fine except for one, Lulu’s. My thought is if something is working for you, do it. If not, don’t.
    Regan recently posted…Picking Pumpkins {Wordless Wednesday}My Profile

    • As far as unwanted advice, I think it would be to use too little detergent. We had nasty, weepy open rashes for a long time due to using the “recommended” amount of detergent. When I upped the amount, the rashes stopped. My diapers weren’t getting clean enough with 2 tbsp of detergent.
      Regan recently posted…Picking Pumpkins {Wordless Wednesday}My Profile

      • That’s very true. While 2 tbsp might not do it, 2.5 or even 3 just might! This is where the whole “personalize your routine for your variables” comes into play.

  5. Love this post! If Tide works for you and your diapers, fine. Whatever. Good for you. I also do not use Tide but use Rockin’ Green instead. Tide makes me itchy, and I dislike the smell. Even if my daughter could use Tide, I would still not use the detergent because I do not like Tide. Yes, my beloved Best Bottoms recommend Tide, but Rockin’ Green works great for me and my diapers.

  6. I think the cost of Tide is rather expensive and I don’t buy it either. I usually use Purex, it is cheap, there are coupons, and I am not allergic to it.
    Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families recently posted…The Last Great Adventure: A Novel About Heaven by Phillip D WilsonMy Profile

  7. Blogs from a Single Mom says:

    I love this. I can’t stand when someone tells me to use Tide like it is some kind of magical holy soap. I once had someone tell me that no other detergent could be used on cloth diapers. I’ve also had someone tell me that I should use Tide on my diapers even though it gives my daughter severe rashes. I’m starting to think these people work for Tide.

  8. I used to be a Tide addict…! Then the diapers made me switch. We luckily have a store brand (yep really!) natural detergent that has been working wonderfully for us with the diapers. I agree though that you have to tweak stuff to make it work for you. Which is the most annoying part about this process, I think. I wish there was one right answer to solve all our problems!!! But that would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

    Love the blog – enjoying all the cute bottoms in cloth! 🙂
    Kara recently posted…Honey Whole Wheat BreadMy Profile

  9. Christina Howell says:

    I don’t use Tide on my cloth diapers either. I use Nellie’s and it works great. I think people need to calm down and realize that it is okay if someone doesn’t use their type of detergent!

  10. riannemarjielle says:

    Wow! I have been using Tide because a group told me it is the safest among regular detergents. I’ll take this as a precaution!

    • Some people use Tide and love it. If it’s working for you and your diapers, then, by all means, keep using it until/unless it doesn’t. There are a whole lot of factors involved with choosing the right detergent: your washer, your region’s water, your hot water temperature, etc. It didn’t work for me, though, and I get so tired of people (including one nut that I banned who went on a profane laden tirade actually “daring” me) insisting that I need to use Tide.

      I am a Rockin Green evangelist, period.

  11. I’ve never really had issues with any sort of stink or build up of any kind, and I will admit, I just use whatever the heck is in the house for washing (using the bare minimum of detergent). Once in a while I will give our diapers a good washing with Charlie’s soap, or even some baking soda (just a little) and never had issue with the baking soda being too harsh on the fibers.
    That being said, if I did ever have a build up/stink issue, I will definitely pick up Rockin Green because that just seems to be “the” detergent I hear the most about.

  12. I think your 3rd reason is the best one!

  13. StoneFamily says:

    Amen! I use homemade detergent I’m on my 2nd kid and combined we have 3 years of cloth diapering without any issues (unless you count the times we tried a commercially available detergent). I’m glad Tide works for some, but some of us have a functioning routine and no stink issues so we’re happy. I’m part of a cloth diaper forum and the women there are a bit “passionate” to say the least about their Tide.

    Your post was a breath of fresh air in the Tide debate.

  14. Laurie P says:

    To each his own, right?

    I’ve used tide before, but not because people insisted on it. I use what I have in the house, which is usually something I’ve purchased knowing it was o.k to use on cloth. Never had any smell/build up issues….so whatever I’m doing is working.

    • Exactly. It works for you? Great. I’m not a fan of Tide, myself, for a number of reasons. I just hate the insistence that there’s only One True Way. Whatever works for you and your variables!

  15. I guess people just like to try to convince people to use what works for them…..sorry they’ve been so pushy though :/

  16. Michaela says:

    I agree! On that note, do you have any tricks for getting the Tide scent out of diapers? I have some seconds that I can’t get the scent out of. I’ve done two Rock a Soaks and one strip with Calgon. I’m hesitant to move onto stripping with bleach because I don’t want to over do it and damage them.

  17. I just started using Tide Free and Clear on diapers with second child. We always use natural detergents so I went that route first. Tried em’ all, plus booters, biokleen oxybleach, etc.. & was still having issues w/ stink & ammonia. I finally gave in & tried Tide..and BAM! Clean diapers! Yes!!
    With my first child I used soap nuts & did just one rinse, one wash (prefolds) & never had an issue. Recently I was doing 3-5 washes, soaks, etc & couldn’t get diapers clean without using bac out. We have VERY hard water so I guess that is the reason. I wonder though if another conventional detergent would work as well?

    • To each’s own, really. 🙂 I have moderately hard water. And the smell of Tide makes me ill. If someone else wants to use Tide, go for it. But I really really hate the idea that one absolutely MUST use Tide.

  18. Elishia says:

    Hallelujah! Tide Free powder does an excellent job of keeping our diapers clean without the irritating scent of original Tide. However, there are hundreds of ways to clean diapers, just as there are hundreds of ways to get a toilet clean. As long as you are not regularly stripping the gunk out of your diapers, carry on!


  1. […] It’s not completely crazy and unreasonable to use a mainstream detergent.  (Yes, I hate Tide with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but there are people who have only been able to have […]

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