Diaper Tips Tuesday: Go Easy on the Detergent

Today’s tip is not just for cloth diapers, but applies to many appliances you use daily in your home. I read an article I saw linked on Facebook by Crunchy Clean today and I really wanted to share it with you as it has many great reminders or explanations for the detergents and products we use to clean with our modern appliances almost daily. This includes our washers, dryers, dishwashers and ovens.

If you have been researching or using cloth diapers for any amount of time you should know by now that the more water and less detergent is best for cloth diapers to avoid urine or detergent build up. In a nutshell, more water allows the urine and other “ickies” to be thoroughly rinsed out so that the detergent can get into the fibers and clean. Less detergent prevents build up in the fabrics and preventing anything from irritating your baby’s bottom or compromising the fabrics’ absorption.

You will have to make slight adjustments depending on whether you have hard or soft water, but should have an idea of 1) the type of water you have depending on where you live; and 2) the amount of detergent that works best for your diapers or laundry after a few loads. The article briefly brings up the need to adjust detergent quantities for ANY laundry depending on the type of water, although most people probably just keep adding more detergent and wasting more money in an effort to resolve this problem (A perfect, affordable and eco-friendly solution for harder water would be to purchase hard water specific detergents like those by Crunchy Clean or Rockin’ Green). 

Although I’d encourage you to read the article, the quick summary in my words is: Washers use less water and detergents are ultra concentrated compared to our parents’ day and when we were growing up and learning to do the laundry and wash the dishes. This means that most people are using 5-10 times more detergent, water or energy than they need to and in some cases they are causing film on dishes or build-up in fabrics due to using TOO MUCH detergent. Also remember to initially read your manuals and the labels of detergents as they are all built differently or formulated in different concentrations. 

I feel that I am pretty good about my cloth diaper washing routine although I am always on my toes re-adjusting as I review different detergents; however, I know now that I use too much detergent in my dishwasher and need to clean my oven and dryer more thoroughly. Luckily I have been using CD-safe detergents in reasonable quantities with all of my laundry so I don’t anticipate much or any buildup in my other laundry, but I am intrigued enough that I may need to do the towel experiment mentioned in the article!


Thanks Crunchy Clean for filling me in on this article!

{If you enjoyed reading Diaper Tips Tuesday: Go Easy on the Detergent I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}


By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. Hey! Thanks for the great summary and links. I think I'm guilty of over doing it with the laundry and dish soap as well!

  2. Great info!…I am always wondering if I am using a bit too much detergent with my cloth diapers (I'm a newbie to cloth diapering)…so this is very helpful! Thanks!

  3. Shannon (Coupon Mommy Of 2 ... Now 3) says:

    Great info you have left here.


  4. The Wife says:

    I have to cut the dishwasher tablets in half to keep the film off the dishes. What a waste of money and product if I didn't do this!

  5. Thanks for this article! I think I tend to over-use detergents, too!

  6. ♥Mama of the Littles♥ says:

    Thank you so much for this… its really helpful info!

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