Debunking The Tide Myths

Cloth diaperers tend to be firmly in two camps when it comes to laundry detergent. The first group believes that you should only use expensive cloth diapering detergents on your precious fluff. I used to be in this group, but our budget didn’t really allow for pricey diaper detergents. The second group (myself included) believes that whatever you use on your regular laundry will work just fine, within reason. The two exceptions to this rule are generally “natural” detergents that use citrus oils, since these can build up and cause repelling, and anything with “a touch of Downy” or added fabric softener (Dreft included).

So what are the concequences of using Tide versus Rockin Green?

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Before I go any farther, I will say that we’ve had essentially the same stash of diapers for 18 months or so. Each diaper is used every other day or every three days, and hung to dry. So far, I’ve only had three diapers delaminate, and all three were BabyCity, which are notorious for being cheap and generally worthless.

  • Scent. Tide does leave behind a scent, whereas Rockin Green does not. I personally like a little scent on my clean clothes. Some people believe that this means the detergent isn’t washing out correctly, I personally do not.
  • Amount. I had to use 3 tablespoons of Rockin Green to even start to get diapers clean. Tide takes up to the first line to wash a load, and they always come clean.
  • Enzymes. Tide has enzymes in it, whereas Rockin’ Green does not. I’ve never had an issue with these bothering Little Man’s buns, but if your baby is sensitive, Tide is not for you.
  • Wear and tear. Clearly, we haven’t had any problems with Tide wearing out our diapers. We’ve stripped once, when Little Man was going through his “pee every ten seconds” stage. I will note that this was while we were using Rockin Green. Since switching to Tide, we haven’t had any ammonia or stink issues. Our diapers are all still in great condition, and still in rotation. *Update- Hubby nicely reminded me that we have three that are currently out of rotation. One is waiting to be converted from velcro to snaps, one lost a snap at some point before I bought it, and one needs new elastic (my only BumGenius).

What about the “special” versions of Tide that are now on the market? I personally have used Tide Original, Tide Plus Febreze, and Tide Plus Bleach Alternative on my diapers, with no ill effects so far. The Plus Febreze version does leave behind a much stronger scent, which I’m not a fan of, but they seem to be identical in every other way.

Wait- aren’t you only supposed to use Tide Powder? This one seems to depend on your water. Where I live, the water is so hard you could cut it with a knife, and I had issues with Tide Powder not washing out properly. I was still seeing lots of suds after four or five or six rinses, and the diapers didn’t come clean. I switched to a comparable amount of liquid, and it’s worked a lot better. This could very well just be my washer, since it doesn’t seem to deal well with ANY powder detergent, but it’s worth mentioning.

I’ve also used Purex, Sun, and Extra (Xtra?) on my diapers, with no ill effects. Tide does get them the cleanest, however.

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4 thoughts on “Debunking The Tide Myths

  1. It probably depends a lot on water type and type of diapers. Also, I have noticed that when people sell diapers, they will list the type of detergent they use. I sold some and the lady I sold them to wanted details of the wash routine I used. So this might effect the resale value of the diapers, depending on how picky folks are. If you have new ones, using non-approved detergent can void the warranty for some brands.

    I started out with Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers (which were a very generous gift from my mother in law) and I used regular free and clear detergent, which is what I use on everything. I just buy whichever is cheapest, though this usually ends up being Arm and Hammer. This does include optical whiteners. After about six months of this, the diapers did start repelling. I stripped them and switched to Ecos or Planet for diapers, both of which I found on a cloth diaper approved list. At a year, our son had outgrown the one size Fuzzi Bunz. The rise was just not long enough, he had plumber butt in them no matter what I did with the elastic and snap settings.

    I switched to prefolds with Thirsties covers. The prefolds seem much more tolerate of whatever detergent I happened to use. They also don’t require such an involved wash routine- just rinse and wash. They dry much faster. They don’t leak! I like them so much more that the pockets and I love that they don’t require stuffing diapers (we don’t pin them, just trifold them and lay them in the diaper.) Were I to do it all over again, I would go with prefolds and covers from the outset.

    • Thanks for sharing! It definitely depends on your water, as well as your individual washer. We used to live 20 minutes north of where we are now, and the water there was much softer and nicer. I had to change my entire wash routine when we moved, and it took probably five months to figure out how to get my diapers clean again!
      Most of our diapers are pockets, all-in-twos, and fitteds. I never really considered that the type of diaper would affect your wash routine- I just throw all mine in together!
      I’ve never used Arm and Hammer on diapers, but I know one of my friends also had problems with repelling while using it. I’m wondering if it contains citrus oils, which cause diapers to repel?

      • The prefolds are just cotton as opposed to the minky and microfiber fabrics that pockets and all-in-twos are made of. The microfiber did a great job of wicking away moisture, but it also held onto stink more. I was having to do a hot soak on those as well as an extra rinse at the end.

        I looked up the ingredients and the Arm and Hammer Free doesn’t include citrus oils. But it does include brighteners, which I have read can cause repelling.

      • That makes sense, as we use mostly microfiber, hemp, and bamboo inserts. Now that I think about it, I have adjusted my wash routine to the hardest thing to get clean, which is the microfiber.
        I’ve also heard that over time, MF can lose absorbency, although I haven’t experienced this yet and our diapers are all around 18 months old!
        I’ll have to watch out for detergents with brighteners, thanks for sharing that!

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