Monday, June 20, 2011

Beware of Bad Cloth Diapering Advice!

 Guest post by Rebecca

We all know how extremely overwhelming cloth diapering is when we first start. There is so much to know, so many questions- we ask questions just about anywhere to anyone who uses cloth diapers. Especially, when it comes to how to wash them! This is all fine and dandy to ask advice, but BEWARE of the Destructive, Detergent used with Cloth Diapers, Advice!

What does she mean? You say to yourself. I will share with you what you need to know about washing your cloth diapers, so you can recognize potentially bad or damaging advice.

On my internet journeys this past week I saw something in a forum that really bothered me.
A mom was telling a new cloth diapering mother that it doesn't matter what type or brand of detergent you use on your cloth diapers.
-Let me say, ^ this is wrong!
(It's best to start with Eco Sprout, Thirsties, Rockin Green, Charlies Soap, Soap Nuts, Tide Original or All Free & Clear).

This is why:
 #1- By not being careful with the detergents you use- you can burn your child's bottom (chemical burn), cause your diapers to not absorb properly and waste precious time & water trying to strip out whatever you did to your cloth diapers.

#2 - If I would have used just my plain ole' detergent of my past- I would have burned off my girls' rears! I would have been devastated, discouraged and angry at the person telling me to try whatever detergent I felt like using. This advice is setting new cloth diapering families up for failure by telling them to go with what they have always used!

#3 - Just because your child has no reaction to the detergent you use right now on their regular clothes, doesn't mean you're in the clear to use it on cloth diapers! Detergent reacts differently once poop & pee interact with it and then touches your child's skin! Having a mild, safe for cloth diaper detergent will limit bad reactions!

I personally know! When I was running out of my cloth diaper detergent a few months ago, I picked up a store brand of detergent. I read the labels- it seemed okay in my book. I used it to only wash our clothes and the cloth diaper detergent to wash the cloth diapers. The little residue that was left from this detergent in my WASHING MACHINE- left a nasty chemical burn on my baby's rear-end. See the picture of my poor baby's diaper area! I had ALWAYS been careful with detergent, my washing machine and cloth diapers. My one tiny mistake cost my child's butt for a week. The burn then was compromised by yeast... it was a mess! I had to wash the diapers almost 10 times (all with 2nd rinses) and stripped my washing machine 2x, to get rid of the residue left behind. I wasted water and energy from the earth and money from my wallet! I never would have known how sensitive my child's bottom was if this didn't happen. It goes to show, that it is important to play it safe- than possibly cause pain to your child! Those of you who have not ran into issues with using detergents that get bad ratings normally with cloth diapers- you are some lucky families!
It is true- every baby's urine & feces effect that baby in an individual way, every type of urine & feces reacts differently with different detergents, everyone has different water... Basically, every situation is different for anyone! However, there are many cloth diaper safe and recommended detergents to use that are the same price as regular detergent. This means, you are better off using something mild that you know is safe for and that you know will or will more than likely, rinse clean from your cloth diapers.

I also have seen posts about how natural detergents are causing "burns". More than likely the detergent has not caused a burn, but not washing properly did. You need to use the proper amount, follow instructions from the manufacturer and do your extra rinse(s). Did you know, that cloth diapers using natural detergents, need a disinfecting once or twice a month? This is because there is nothing in these detergents to disinfect and discourage bacteria growth! So, you have bacteria breeding and growing, which attacks your baby's bum!

There is so many factors to washing cloth diapers- it is just silly to add another with a detergent that just isn't right for cloth diapers in general!

Here Is How You Can Kill Rash Causing Bacteria for Sensitive Bums:
*TTO breaks both my daughters out, but Bleach does not. This is not the case & opposite, for other cloth diapering families I know.*
-use 1 to 2 capfuls of bleach to a large/extra large wash load with detergent and extra rinse,
-a few drops  (4-5) of Tea Tree Oil to a large/extra large wash load with detergent and extra rinse,
-a few drops of Grape Seed Extract/Oil to a large/extra large wash load  with detergent and extra rinse.

Great Washing Tips: has a wonderful article on washing cloth diapers! Visit the article by CLICKING HERE.
I personally can only use Vinegar a few times a month on our cloth diapers because that is another sensitivity my baby has!  Read the article to help you understand how to use Baking Soda, Washing Soda and Vinegar in your dirty cloth diaper wash.

Happy diapering and keep in mind to be aware of advice that could cause more harm than good!

About Rebecca:  Rebecca is a Christ Follower, Blogger and Stay at Home Momma to 3 children, ages 4 1/2 years, 2 1/2 years and 8 months.  She and her family are modern but highly embrace natural living. She started cloth diapering over 2 1/2 years ago.   As a complete cloth diaper advocate, she has started a non-profit, cloth diaper lending charity, in her local area.  She also introduces strangers to cloth on a daily basis. Rebecca has been through major cloth diapering adventures, giving her insight and advice into the world of cloth diapering!

Visit her blog at


Anonymous said...

That happened to my daughter when we used Rockin' Green. Needless to say, we don't use that anymore.

Anonymous said...

My question is..why does my GroVias give my daughter this chemical burn but the velour doopseys dont?? Theyre all washed together all the time. But as soon as pee or poop but espeically pee hits the grovias she gets a red rash ( not diaper rash i know the difference! ). I was officially done cloth diapering two weeks ago after struggeling with this very issue. I bought a box of disposables and havent had one single rash. But still makes me feel bad! Especially when ive got $300 worth of diapers just sitting there! lol

momtolots said...

Tide powder in original scent works just fine, and is my plain old detergent for all of our clothes. I tried so many, "just for cloth" detergents but had stinky diapers and rashes in my lo. I switched to Tide after Linda from Happy Heiny's diapers recommended it. It was wonderful to see that I could use the same detergent on our clothes and diapers. With 8 children, 2 in cloth, it saves me a lot of time and money. So yes you have to be careful in your detergent choices, but some regular detergents work for cloth too.

Anonymous said...

Rocking Green made my son look like your pics so every so called cloth diaper soap isn't for every baby. My son had blisters and a real bad burn from it:(I know use Gain HE and it works wonderful no build up or stink over 8 months now!!!!

Enas said...

i did the same wash treatment with the bleach and it worked like a charm . got ride of the bad bact. and amonia !I wish i new this 6 months ago when dd was having bad rashes. i called steph from abby's lane and she was the one who told me . then i saw this blog you r doing a great job thanks so much for helping other moms like me .

Nate and Aimee said...

I am just discovering this today...I've always washed my pocket diapers themselves with diaper-safe detergent, but have used any old detergents on my clothes. Now my pockets are all repelling and I'm honestly about to give up! :(
Hoping the good stripping of both the dipes and the washer that I did this morning will do the trick, or else I'm getting rid of them!
I'm not especially new to cloth, I've been using it for my 2 year old since she was about 4 months and now have a 2 month old in cloth as well. Thankfully she's mostly in prefolds and covers. But the pockets are driving me crazy!!!

Jenmomof4 said...

Thanks for the great advice and the link tot he article on Diaper Pin... been using RNG since I moved and have a well with a softener and TRYING to make it work.

joyfilled said...

Great advice! I am very picky about my detergents, especially since our horrendously hard water is so difficult to work with. I find I have to switch them up on a regular basis...and even though I've avoided it and recommended against it many many times, after 5 years and 3 babies the one I'm finding that actually works best for us right is *GASP* Tide. I know, I know...

Heather M said...

Will Bleach affect printed diapers or PUL?
I'm so afraid to use Bleach in my diapers.

Suzy said...

My daughter had bad diaper rash before and it got better when I stopped using Rockin' Green, but now I am worried that she has chemical burns. I wasn't sure until I saw the pictures of the chemical burns on your baby. I use All F&C on our clothes and Charlies soap on her diapers. I have spent 300-400 on cloth diapers and I don't want to have to give up because of these burns. Not only because of the money, but because I am committed to CDing.

Natural Momma said...

Thank you ladies! Like I said, every baby & situation is different! I just wanted to point out Tide & All were mentioned by me as good detergents to start with besides the Natural ones! I have personally used all of these detergents on diapers except the All Free & Clear with success between my 2 daughters. My youngest has not had any diapers washed in Tide because she is much too sensitive for me to try. As long as I disinfect once a week- we are rash free!

Feel free to discuss this on my Facebook page! Just remember- be careful with what you use and go with your gut!

Natural Momma said...

If you would like to have an active discussion on this topic, feel free to start one under "discussions" on my Facebook page!

Thank you all for your feedback! Personal experiences is what helps moms choose what they are going to do in their cloth diapering life! Your experiences are helpful and IMPORTANT.

I know many moms who use Tide Original and All Free & Clear- I have been too afraid to use them on my youngest, but I never had an issue with Natural Detergents as long as I DISINFECT weekly! My youngest breaks out in rashes from almost anything- so I have to be so careful with what touches her skin.

For those of you with RNG issues- email Kim (the owner). She is sweet and HELPFUL. You may have picked the wrong detergent for your water- I did that (oops). I chose Hard Rock for Well Water with a Softening System when I should of chose Soft Rock. (Hard Rock has Water Softeners in it, so my water was TOO SOFT to clean my diapers!)

Thank you for sharing, ladies! <3


Kim Webb said...

The new Rockin' Green remix formulas were designed for really sensitive skin. We went through cosmetic testing to help even the most sensitive of babies, and passed with flying colors. If anyone wants to try a sample, or help finding the right formula or troubleshooting please contact us.

We are always available to answer washing questions, even if you aren't using our products!

Julie said...

Suzy when you use Charlies you are not supposed to switch back and forth between detergents, you're supposed to use Charlies for all. Otherwise you need to strip your washer with Charlies before each time you use it so that it will work properly. Otherwise your diapers won't be getting clean enough.

I just spoke with Taylor of Charlies about this very thing.


Anonymous said...

We had all kinds of problems with RNG. It worked for a while but then we had ammonia issues. I tried the funk rock but it only worked for a little while. I thought it was crazy to spend all the additional money. I tried Eco Sprout and I am hooked! Love this detergent!!! I have been using it for about 7 months and have no issues since, and no more stripping. I got mine at but you can also get it right from them It is very well worth giving it a try. Plus their bottom balm is awesome ;)

Anonymous said...

I've actually heard of far more reactions to Rockin' Green, Charlies, Tide, and All then I ever have with Country Save. It's a great detergent for babies and sensitive skin, and one I highly recommend families new to cloth diapering try. It works great for normal family wash also so only having one detergent for everything is a plus.

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