“I don’t want to use some special cloth diaper detergent. What if I just use whatever I have on hand? Right now I think it’s Baby Purex.”
Don’t. As much as I love using cloth diapers, a lot of people who want to don’t because of the initial start up investment. I spent over $300 on diapers before my kid was even born, and that was with a volume discount. I made the mistake of using Tide Free and Clear because the directions said that they were okay. It took forever to get the stench out… and this was only after a month. I was constantly stripping my diapers (without really knowing what I was doing) trying to get the stench out after I switched to a cloth diaper safe detergent. I started using Country Save, and while my stinky cloth diapers didn’t stink any worse, they weren’t getting any better.
It took me a couple of months to fix it, and that was only after making my cloth diaper laundry routine a strictly Rockin’ Green based one. Maybe I’d have gotten away with just using the far less expensive Country Save for my cloth diaper laundry if I’d only started using it from the get-go. A friend of ours who lives in our area (and has the same water) has.
As for Baby Purex in particular… a local mom used Baby Purex. She then contacted me because her baby was getting horrible rashes in her cloth, but would clear up in a sposie. So she brought her diapers over to me… and it floored me. The scent of the detergent about knocked me over (I do have fragrance sensitivities) and I could actually feel something on those beautiful, blindingly white diapers. It took a week of stripping (hot washes after soaking in RLR) to get the detergent out.
Another issue with using the wrong detergent is that your diapers may start repelling moisture instead of absorbing them, thus making your diapers essentially useless. That’s no good, either. (Again, stripping them will fix that.)
It seems to me that if you’re willing to make that initial investment into using cloth diapers (and believe me, it’s most definitely an investment), shouldn’t you protect your investment by using a cloth diaper detergent that’s actually a cloth diaper detergent? Yes, it’s more expensive. But my $20 bag of detergent lasts me three or four months. My Funk Rock bouncer lasts me a month or two for a $17 bag.
It’s worth it. Since I rocked a soak in Funk Rock and then rocked a soak in my Rockin Green detergent, I’ve never had to strip my diapers again. And no stench.
I’m not going to say, of course, that all “regular detergents” are bad. They aren’t. There are some detergents that are worse than others. Even though I personally loathe Tide, there are other moms out there who use it and absolutely swear by it. There are things that you want to avoid in particular, such as optical brighteners and fragrances. As much as some people out there like to claim that cloth diaper build up is a lie, if detergents didn’t leave things behind, your clothes wouldn’t smell nifty from Gain, your clothes wouldn’t be blindingly white from the optical brighteners, and your clothes wouldn’t be softer from the softening ingredients in Arm & Hammer FabriCare.
(And this is your cloth diapering PSA for the day. I’ll climb off of my soap box now.)
Do you use a cloth diaper safe detergent on your diapers? Why (or why not)?