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?
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.