Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cloth Diaper Chronicles: Tide

I'll get right to it: we switched to Tide detergent for the cloth diapers. Follow along with me...

You see, when I first started cloth diapering, Charlie's Soap was all the rage. I mean ALL THE RAGE. Meaning, if you weren't washing with Charlie's you might as well just burn your diapers because they were going to decompose anyway. This chart was popular when I was doing research, and it supported the idea that cloth diapers needed special laundry detergent (such as Charlie's). In case the chart ever gets taken down, here is a compiled screen shot of how this particular chart rated the detergents I will be talking about in this post:

After about a year of using Charlie's, I somehow became privy to Charlie's being out and Rockin' Green being in. So in. More in than Charlie's ever was. I also learned that I needed to be using more soap than I previously thought. So I changed detergent, upped the amount (per the instructions on the Rockin' Green packaging), and I was all set. For many months we were truly experiencing cloth diaper bliss, including finally being able to line dry the diapers because we moved in with my dad who has a glorious back deck that gets direct sunlight during the sunny months. Insert me doing a cloth diaper induced happy dance!

A few months ago I posted my most recent cloth diapering update saying how everything was going great, and then of course directly after that (like, the same week) we started having problems. Drew started getting horrible rashes after wearing the cloth diapers overnight. Never during the day, only overnight. I started researching and was able to conclude that the nighttime rashes had something to do with the duration of time his urine was being left against his body. Apparently as babies turn into toddlers and start eating more adult foods the composition of their urine changes, which makes sense. And this new toddlery-adult-like-urine left on his tushy all night was causing rashes. Bummer.

So we had several options:
1) Wake him up in the middle of the night to change his diaper (you can guess our likelihood of doing that)
2) Try fleece liners that are used to wick any moisture away from his body and into the diaper
3) Switch to disposables at night
4) Scream at the internet and consider burning the cloth diapers

We chose to do option 2 first, then option 4 when option 2 didn't work, and then option 3. 

Which leads me to a rabbit trail about disposable diapers:
We've never thought twice about using Costco's Kirkland Signature disposable diapers for the infrequent times we need to put Drew in a disposable. However if we were going to be putting him in a disposable every night I wanted to do my research on which diaper I wanted pushed up against his skin for 12 hours at a time. A quick google search led me to this chart comparing brands of disposable diapers. For a variety of reasons I narrowed our options down to Honest Company (HC), Earth's Best (EB), and Kirkland Signature (KS).

Several things really mattered to us: price point, ease of procuring, and the healthiness of the diaper (meaning it's not just loaded with chemicals). Like I said, I'd never even researched our current brand before, so I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out that KS diapers are chlorine, perfume, and latex free. The other two brands I was now looking at were also free of those components, so I felt happy with our choice to just stay with KS diapers. Then I noticed the KS were rated the lowest of the three for absorbency. We hadn't ever felt like the KS diapers weren't absorbent enough, so I actually ordered a small amount of both the HC and the EB diapers to compare. The HC are so cute and I really wanted those to perform well so that I could justify paying nearly double the cost per diaper...but sadly, Drew leaked through out the top of all 7 of the HC diapers when wearing them overnight. So then we tried the EB and the same thing happened! A straight week of leaking through. Then we switched back to KS diapers leaks. What the what?! So my rabbit trail ends with me offering up three cheers for Kirkland Signature diapers...way to go Costco, way to go!

Back to my Tide plunge. In doing research on the overnight rash issue, a lot of ladies were pointing me to a website I have never heard of called Fluff Love University and repeatedly telling me to switch to Tide. The website has a detergent index that looks the polar opposite of the detergent comparison website I showed you above: Tide is listed as a "top pick"! So confusing. 

So I did some more research about new trends in cloth diapering detergent (my days of doing graduate school research on cutting-edge topics have certainly passed!), and it turns out Tide is now what's up in the world of cloth diapers. So maybe it's the pregnancy hormones making me all brave, but I decided to give Tide a try.

I reviewed the diaper washing instructions on the Fluff Love website and can't bring myself to ditch the final rinse cycle in our wash routine or the dash of vinegar (old habits die hard). So here is our new, new, new, new (I've lost count) wash routine. This is for a standard size load of diapers (12ish), in a non-HE machine, with super soft water:

1) short rinse, cold water, water level low
2) regular wash with Tide powder detergent (line 2), hot water, water level medium
3) short rinse with a tiny splash of vinegar, cold water, water level low 

As for sanitizing, I now follow the instructions on the Fluff Love University site and do a sanitizing wash with bleach about once a month.

We've been using this routine for a few weeks and so far I have no complaints. Interesting to note is this new routine did not solve the overnight diaper rash problem, so we've stopped trying to figure that out and just happily settled on the KS diapers overnight. 

I'll report back if we start having issues with the Tide (as I know you'll all be on the edge of your seats!). Any other moms using a mainstream detergent with their cloth diapers? Do share!


  1. So interesting! I was told about a Fluff University a few months ago by another cloth diapering mama. I had been using the BumGenius soap but was feeling like our diapers were stinky. I scoured this same table and have been using Seventh Generation Free and Clear detergent ever since. Plus I add a splash of bleach to the wash cycle once a month. We have also used disposables as a nighttime option from the beginning. I never wanted to risk a single night of sleep due to leaking in order to find a cloth combination that worked. We keep Honest Company diapers on hand (I use basically all HC products!) and haven't had any leaking issues overnight. I put an empty pocket cover over her disposable overnight to help keep the diaper in place (Eloise moves all over when she sleeps!) and also to contain any possible leaks (though that has been rare). It is good to know about the Costco diapers though. We don't have a Costco membership but are thinking about it!

    1. I remember talking with you about the problem of overnight leaking a while back...I wonder if our experience with certain diapers leaking has anything to do with Drew being a boy? I'll just say that the leaking was always out the top of the diaper...and leave it at that :-) We've been doing the empty pocket cover over the disposable as well and I love that extra layer of protection as Drew *always* poops in his diaper in the early hours of the morning. Thanks, Drew!

      If Tide starts giving us trouble we'll try Seventh Gen next - I like knowing that you're using it and having a good experience with it!

  2. That's good to know about the ks diapers. I have done cloth on and off. I still haven't found the love of it but I try. My boys had leak problems. Tight pjs and an extra insert (cloth or disposable) helped a lot, but not totally. I do tide here. Other stuff just hasn't cut it for me so I've gone back to using it. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets confused about what is best to do with cloth diapers--there are so many opinions and options out there!

    1. Agreed! And I noticed that my needs changed as my son grew, too. So what worked when he was 6 months old doesn't work when he's 2 years old. We're about to start cloth diapering our daughter in the next few weeks and I'm curious to see the difference in cloth diapering a boy vs. a girl!