Sunday, January 31, 2010

FAQ: What Happens if I Run Out of Detergent?

Q: Have you tried store laundry brands? Say [you've ordered some detergent] but it hasn't reached your door- no local store sells it and you need to do a load of diapers?
Thanks to Ashley for submitting this question!

A: Recommending detergents is very tricky because everyone's water supply and washers react differently to detergent ingredients. As a general rule, it's best to avoid detergents with a lot of additives-perfume, fragrance, enzymes, brighteners, etc. Unfortunately, most detergents available in grocery and chain stores include at least one of these ingredients.

What's so bad about those things? (I do realize that many people use Tide with their diapers and love it.) For some children, certain additives can react badly with urine and wet skin, causing a rash. Some diaper warranties are void if you've used a detergent with additives. Some detergents are also not as environmentally-friendly as others. For those reasons, they are not on my "recommended" list. Weigh the different factors with what you know about your child's skin and your diaper washing instructions.

So what can you use until your favorite detergent arrives at your door?
~Dawn-Regular, no-frills Dawn is a favorite when diapers need a good "stripping." If you need to, use a very small amount instead of your normal detergent. Less, is more-you can always add more if you need to, but if you add too much, you could be rinsing for a long time. Some diaper companies OK the occasional use of Dawn, so it should be fine in a pinch.

~Country Save- This is available in some areas, not in others. Check the retailer listing to see if it's near you. Country Save is a "recommended" detergent for many diaper brands.

~Baking soda-Often used as a laundry booster, you could just use some baking soda in your wash. Some people like to balance baking soda with vinegar. I actually haven't found that to be necessary, but as always, water and washer can play a role here. I would use Dawn or Country Save before the baking soda option, but it's something to look into.

There are other detergents you may be able to find. Check the natural foods section of your grocery store, or your natural foods store. They may have some lesser-known options that will work well.



David said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I'm not sure how many people know this but that is what they were originally created for. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain.