I have a lot of cleaning supplies in my laundry room!
I have Purex HE, which I was using on my clothing for the longest time because it was cheapest option per load at Costco. I have been going through less than 2 bottles a year and it is really nice to not need to buy it on a regular basis. I also have Clorox bleach HE which to be honest I don’t really use because I find OxiClean works much better. I use OxiClean on any load with a lot of stains or whenever I wash my white bedsheets. I love OxiClean!
Then, I have Tide Ultra HE powder and Nellies. These products came into my home for cloth diapering purposes. If you are just beginning to learn about cloth diapering, you will see countless recommendations for cloth safe detergent and cloth-specific detergents and it may be confusing to know where to start. Truth is, I cannot tell you! One detergent really does not work well for everyone but here is why I ended up with both Nellies and Tide in my laundry room.
I like to save money!
I had a hard time jumping on the Rockin’ Green bandwagon because of the price. 90 loads would cost me almost $23 (tax inc.) which would cost close to 25 cents a load. Most other detergents designed specifically for CD cost about the same. I am trying to ‘save’ money with cloth diapering, not spend it. Considering my Purex was costing me only 10 cents a load, I did not want to pay much more than that, even if one bag would last me 6-9 months if I used it solely on cloth diapers. I needed something cheaper by the load and kept hearing rave reviews on Nellies. Nellies is a more natural detergent than your average grocery store brand and it was cheaper than RNG. I found some at Winners for $6 a bag for 50 loads. With tax factored in, it was just over 13 cents a load. I picked it up and it worked fine on everything I tried it on but then, Winners sold out and I could not find anymore. The only place I can get it now is online and since I like to be cheap, I want to buy it based on whatever deal gets me the cheapest per load cost. That was Costco! For $95+tax you can get 1100 loads! That is less than 10 cents a load but leads to another problem… I may not want 1100 loads because I could possibly get tired of it after 100.
This is why I ended up with Tide Ultra HE. Yes…TIDE! I am sure some of you may already be grieving my diapers assuming that they will be ruined in no time as Tide has enzymes and fragrance in it, but many manufacturers and retailers are now recommending it (see links below). Enzymes and fragrance, after all, are not bad for your cloth diapers but they are discouraged because *some* babies will be sensitive to them (especially if not properly rinsed out). If my baby seems to be sensitive to Tide then I guess I will break down and buy a lifetime supply of Nellies but since neither my husband or I have ever been sensitive to any laundry detergent, I think I will take that gamble for now and go with a detergent that I can easily get for a reasonable price*.
You are probably still thinking: Tide will not work and I will get build-up. I believe that the main reason we get build up is because of fabric softeners, using the wrong detergent for your water type and using the wrong amount of detergent. You can get two types of build-up: from detergent (too much or insufficient rinsing) and from ammonia or left over soiled matter (too little/wrong type of detergent). It is not because of enzymes! In fact, enzymes help clean your diapers because they help break down soiled matter that causes diapers to stink (http://www.thechangingtimes.com/Rumparooz_Care.html).
Moving on from why Tide is safe, I also want to talk briefly on my opinion of cloth-specific detergents and why they are pushed so hard when one of the easiest to find detergents is much cheaper. It is is a simple reason in that cloth-specific detergents are sold by CD retailers! They want you to buy the detergent that they sell instead of going to Walmart or Costco and buying plain old Tide because they make money off of CD-specific detergents and no money off Tide. It is the same reason why when you buy from an electronics store they push so hard for you to buy the extended warranty – because they make more money this way.
Still not convinced? Here are the retailers and manufacturers that I know of that recommend Tide in some capacity:
AMP Diapers (manufacturer) – says that many people use Tide with no problems
FuzziBuns (manufacturer) – recommend Tide Free
Grovia (manufacturer) – lists it as recommended by their customers and has suggested it on their Facebook page
Happy Heinys (manufacturer) – used to recommend Tide but now features Country Save (it does not discourage Tide however)
Padded Tush Stats (CD statistics site) – One of the highest rated detergents
*Price of Tide: In my case, I can get a box of 120 loads for $20+tax. This works out to over 18 cents a load so it is not a huge savings compared to RNG unless you cut down the amount you use. I believe that when it comes to regular (ie. not ‘natural’ variety) detergents, many of us can get away with much less detergent. When I first bought Tide, I measured 4 TBSP to the first line and started out only using 2 TBSP per wash. The amount certainly gets my clothing clean no problem so in very least I can cut my cost per load down by half! In lightly-soiled loads (ie. clothing that is being washed just because it was worn), I only use 1 TBSP. My clothing never smells or looks dirty and in fact, it seems cleaner than the Purex I was using. If I find I need more than the 2 TBSP when washing CD then I have still saved a lot of money over all.