10 Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergents of 2022

Are you looking for a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers and your baby? Which one is best for you?

A good detergent can go a long way toward improving the success and enjoyment of your cloth diapering experience.

To find the best cloth diaper laundry detergents currently available, we surveyed dozens of cloth diaper users and tested many products. Not only are these products effective poop cleaners, but they are gentle on your baby’s skin and on your washing machine as well.

Our Top Picks

The Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergents of 2022

Our top picks for cloth diaper detergents are listed below.

1. Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus

This plant-based option includes triple enzymes to effectively remove even the toughest stains from your baby’s dirty diapers.

You can also wash your baby’s delicate skin with this eco-friendly detergent since it doesn’t contain dyes, optical brighteners, or synthetic fragrances.

The main wash of your diapers should be done in hot water, and you should use 1.5 to 2 times the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer.

This detergent leaves our cloth diapers clean and smelling nice, and we never have to strip them.

There is nothing we love more than not having to worry about harmful chemicals contaminating our environment or being applied to our babies’ skin.

Pros

  • HE safe.
  • Mild, fresh scent.
  • Fewer chemicals.
  • Environmentally responsible.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest option.
  • Not all major retailers carry it.

2. Tide Powder Detergent

In fact, many environmentally-conscious parents use Tide Original Powder to clean their cloth diapers because it is so effective at cleaning cloth diapers.

When you use Tide Powder, you will have a clean, fresh smelling diaper with minimal to no stains.

With this detergent, you won’t have to worry about any build up or leakage issues with your cloth diapers. It works well in both hot and cold water, and you’ll be leaving them virtually residue-free.

It’s great because Tide Powder comes with a built-in water softener, so unless your water hardness exceeds 180 ppm, you don’t have to add an additional water softener to your routine.

It might be worth a try to try this traditional detergent if you have trouble keeping your cloth diapers clean.

Pros

  • HE safe.
  • Exceptional cleaning power.
  • Great option for hard water.
  • Packaging is environmentally friendly.

Cons

  • Potential to create suds in soft water.
  • Large, heavy box can be difficult to haul and store.

3. Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder

This bulky detergent is perfect if you’re doing a lot of laundry with cloth diapers. It’s also very economical, as you won’t have to keep buying laundry soap.

It contains a highly concentrated formula, so you get a powerful clean without fillers, dyes, fragrances, or other harmful chemicals. This powdered detergent contains 45 ounces and can clean 90 loads of laundry. Due to the fact that you only need a few tablespoons per load, it lasts for a long time.

Suitable for babies with sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities, or fragrance allergies, this gentle yet deep clean is great for them.

You won’t have to worry about residue or nasty buildups with this natural detergent. It works best with soft to moderate water and can be used in any washing machine.

Pros

  • The natural formula provides a gentle but deep clean.
  • Bulk bag gets you through multiple washes.
  • Fragrance-free formula.

Cons

  • No laundry scoop or spoon is included.

4. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent

With just a tablespoon of detergent per large load, you get a deep clean for a great price. A single bag can last for 100 loads.

This powder detergent sinks deep into the fibers of cloth diapers while leaving no residue on your clothes or laundry machine. It also works on a wide variety of fabrics, so it’s not just for cloth diapers.

A big plus for us is the eco-friendliness of the formula. It is non-toxic and exceeds the minimum standards for biodegradability.

Additionally, there will be no heavy fragrances to deal with.

The lower environmental impact of our laundry detergent will give you peace of mind that you’re protecting your baby and the environment at the same time.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly, non-toxic formula is safe for your baby’s sensitive skin.
  • A little bit of powder goes a long way.
  • Won’t leave residue in your washer.

Cons

  • It may leave white residue on black fabrics.

5. Tide Free & Gentle Detergent

This detergent is an excellent choice for cloth diapers because it has the strength to clean your soiled diapers, but still has the gentleness to not irritate your baby’s delicate skin.

The amount of surfactants in Tide Free & Gentle contributes to its amazing ability to clean and fight stains, while its absence of dyes and perfumes makes it ideal for even the most sensitive skin types. You can use it on your baby’s clothes because it is even recommended by dermatologists.

Free and clear detergents, however, aren’t as strong as their fragrant counterparts, so you need 1.5 times as much for your main wash as recommended.

Pros

  • HE safe.
  • Convenient.
  • Gentle on the skin.

Cons

  • Some parents don’t like that it’s synthetic.
  • Out of the price range for some families.

6. Tide Liquid HE Turbo Clean

Several households already use Tide liquid to clean their laundry, so why not do the same for cloth diapers? Tide Original Liquid HE Turbo Clean has proven very effective for cloth diaper users, and they love not having to buy separate detergents for their cloth diapers and clothes.

The liquid scents in Tide are excellent at cleaning cloth diapers. Tide liquid has shown to be effective against stubborn stains, clean efficiently with a small amount of water, and minimize suds in front loaders and HE washers.

You can spend more time with your baby and less time washing dirty diapers thanks to HE Turbo Clean technology, which provides six times the cleaning power in half the time of leading bargain brands. In addition to being easy to clean in cold water, you can save even more energy and money by using cloth.

Pros

  • Extremely cost-effective.
  • Phosphate free.
  • Septic safe.

Cons

  • Not HE safe.
  • Often sudsy in soft water.

7. Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean

The baking soda in Arm & Hammer detergent is well known for its cleaning power and ability to eliminate odors.

OxiClean by Arm & Hammer contains enzymes that break down over 100 different stains, so there is no need to worry about those pesky poop stains.

If you choose this detergent, your diapers will come out smelling fresh, whiter, and brighter, without fading your dark colors.

There are several major retailers that sell this affordable detergent that can be used for both diapers and clothes, eliminating the need to purchase two detergents.

Pros

  • HE safe.
  • Good choice for hard water.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Removes stubborn stains.

Cons

  • Plastic bottle puts a strain on landfills.
  • Some parents find the scent too strong.

8. Gain Liquid Original Scent Detergent

With Gain Liquid, you will be able to clean your cloth diapers without leaving any residue. Even with soft water, your diapers will smell great and be clean. Also, it’s color-safe and can be used for all your laundry needs, so you won’t have to pay for two different detergents.

In terms of suds control, the gain liquid does a great job, even in super-soft water with suds-sensitive machines like HE front loaders. It also helps remove stubborn stains like poop.

This detergent may be the best choice for someone with soft water and wants a detergent that will get their diapers clean and smelling great.

Pros

  • Great scent.
  • HE safe.
  • Convenient.
  • Prevents suds.

Cons

  • Not great for sensitive skin.
  • Plastic bottles aren’t environmentally friendly.
  • More expensive than some other options.

9. Foca Powder Biodegradeable Laundry Detergent

The foaming action of Foca powder eliminates the need for additional water softeners, unless your water hardness is over 150ppm. If this is the case, you will need to add one capful of Calgon or half a cup of Borax.

The detergent will then have a better chance of getting your soiled diapers clean.

The built-in water softener of Foca Powder also makes it easier to rinse, so you won’t have to worry about detergent residue, which leads to poor absorbency. There’s also no need to worry about your cloth diapers smelling like chemicals with Foca powder, and it won’t irritate your baby’s skin.

You can maximize your savings by using this detergent, since it requires very little volume per load. Foca Powder is not recommended for use in HE machines, so if you have hard water and an HE machine, we recommend Tide Ultra Powder HE or Gain Powder HE instead.

Pros

  • Extremely cost-effective.
  • Phosphate free.
  • Septic safe.

Cons

  • Not HE safe.
  • Often sudsy in soft water.

10. Purex Mountain Breeze Detergent

When you are on a tight budget, Purex is an excellent option. This detergent can be used on both diapers and clothes, so you won’t have to buy two different detergents.

The cost-effective detergent can even be used with hard water if you add a water softener.

In addition, Purex lacks enzymes, so if you find you’re having difficulty removing stubborn stains, you may want to try Purex Plus Oxi or a rinse aid like Biz.

You can also choose Purex Free & Clear, Baby, or Natural Elements, so if you have a sensitive baby or want to be environmentally friendly, you have your options. All of these are highly recommended in the cloth diaper community.

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Phosphate free.
  • HE safe.
  • Variety of recommended options.

Cons

  • Lacks enzymes.
  • Some users find the scent overpowering.

Do I Need Special Cloth Diaper Detergent?

There’s no need to use cloth diaper-specific detergent if you’re using a detergent that’s safe for cloth diapers.

There are many detergents marketed specifically for cloth diapers that can irritate if not rinsed properly and aren’t very effective at getting them clean.

The best choice for your baby is probably a conventional laundry detergent.

What Do I Need to Know?

Before shopping for a detergent, there are a few things you should consider based on your particular needs and washing conditions.

Type of Washing Machine

With high-energy washing machines (HE), you’ll need to look for a detergent that will remain suds-free while still maintaining cleaning power.

Plant-Based or Synthetic

What’s more important to you: using environmentally friendly products or using a convenient and effective detergent?

If Your Baby Has Sensitive Skin

The best detergent for sensitive skin is one that doesn’t contain fragrance or will not irritate your child’s skin.

How Much You Want to Spend

As you’ll be washing diapers at least once or twice a week, you’ll have to add detergent costs to your budget.

Hard or Soft Water

You will need to test your water hardness before searching for a suitable detergent. Test strips can be purchased in fish and pool sections at some stores, or you can bring your water sample to your local aquarium store and they will typically test it for you for free. If your water is between 0-60 parts per million (ppm), you have soft water. If your water is above 120 ppm, you have hard water and will need to add a water softener to your wash routine.

How to Choose a Cloth Diaper Detergent

It is important to note that a detergent is great for a few key reasons

washing cloth diapers:

  • A lot of controversy surrounds enzymes and if they irritate sensitive skin and help break down stains.
  • Your baby’s skin should not be irritated by the scent of the detergent you choose.
  • You should look for detergents that contain a high concentration of surfactants, which soften fabrics and release soils from them. Surfactants are the part of the detergent that softens and releases soils from fabrics. For your diapers to be adequately cleaned, they need to contain a strong concentration of surfactants.

What Should I Avoid?

These are some things you should avoid when looking for the best cloth diaper detergent.

  • Fabric softener: Any detergent containing fabric softener will reduce the absorbency of your diapers and cause them to leak.
  • Soap-based detergent: Diapers can repel if soap residue or films are left on them.
  • Pods: Small children should avoid laundry pods due to the risk of accidental ingestion.
  • Coconut-oil-based surfactants: Avoid products with sodium cocoate or saponified coconut oil on the label as they tend to build up on fibers, trap soil, and cause repellency issues.
  • Bleach: Cloth diapers shouldn’t be disinfected with bleach whenever possible. You should only use bleach to disinfect previously-owned diapers or if your baby has been infected by yeast or bacteria. As bleach can lead to rust stains on fabrics, it should also be avoided if you have hard water or well water with a lot of iron.

Can I Use Homemade Laundry Detergent?

It’s cheap and made from natural ingredients, so many parents use homemade laundry detergent.

Homemade Isn’t Always The Best Option

A homemade detergent is not actually a detergent, but rather a soap, which is not recommended for cloth diapering.

You should never use homemade detergents that contain water softeners, boosters, or soap. The soap will build up and trap bacteria and other particles in the fabric’s fibers, which will result in your cloth diapers not getting properly cleaned.

Over time, soap residue could cause irreparable damage to your washing machine.

You don’t have to use a homemade detergent to wash cloth diapers if you’re interested in reducing chemicals.

Conclusion

Our favorite detergent for washing cloth diapers is Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus, because it is safe for our families and the environment.

The best detergent for cloth diapers is one that reduces your exposure to toxins even further. After you determine what type of water and conditions you have, finding a suitable detergent will be straightforward.

You’ll quickly become an expert at cloth diapering when you compare all your choices.

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