Best Laundry Detergent for Cloth Diapers (2019 Reviews)

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If you're in a hurry and just want to find out what the best laundry detergent for cloth diapers is, I'd recommend the Rockin' Green Platinum Series Dirty Diaper Detergent.

Cloth diapering has surged in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. There are a lot of benefits to cloth diapering, both environmentally and financially. If you decide to go down this path, and you plan to clean them yourself, then you will want to get the right detergent.

In this article, I am breaking down the best laundry detergents for cloth diapers, and in the end, I'll choose the winner.

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Things To Consider When Looking For A Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Cloth diapering comes with a lot of benefits, but using them does take a bit more effort than using disposables. In particular, you need to clean them after each use rather than simply tossing them away.

One thing that you will learn quickly after you start using cloth diapers is that your regular detergent doesn't necessarily work well. Here are a few things to look for in a laundry detergent for cloth diapers.

Natural ingredients

One of the big advantages that cloth diapers have over most disposables is that they are good for sensitive skin. While there are some eco-friendly disposable diapers made with all natural materials, a lot of them contain harsh chemicals.

Since cloth diapers generally don't have the harsh chemicals that disposables do, they are usually better for your little one's skin. However, if you use a chemical filled detergent to clean your cloth diapers, you pretty much eliminate that advantage. Indeed, using the wrong detergent can often irritate babies' skin and even lead to rashes.

No residue left behind

Most detergents leave some residue behind in clothes or diapers every time you do a load of laundry. For clothing, this isn't necessarily a big deal, though it will mean that your clothes start to smell like the detergent over time.

With cloth diapers though this can be a real problem. When a cloth diaper retains detergent residue, it becomes less absorbent. So, after a few washes with a regular detergent your cloth diapers won't work as well.

Detergents that are made for cloth diapers don't leave any detergent behind. Better yet, they can actually remove the residue that other detergents leave behind.

Stain fighting ability

While you will want to use a natural detergent to protect your baby's skin, a lot of them fall short when it comes to stain fighting ability. So, be sure to take a look at this when making your selection.

It should be noted that different detergents work better or worse depending on water hardness, washing machine type, diaper brand and many other factors. So, you might have to try a couple before you find the one that works best for you.

My Top Laundry Detergent Picks For Cloth Diapers

I have reviewed my top 5 laundry detergents for cloth diapers below. While all of these are good options, each one has its benefits and drawbacks. At the end, I've also picked my favorite.

Charlie's Soap is a really popular cloth diaper detergent.

It doesn't contain any chlorine, fillers or perfumes. In fact, it's made entirely from biodegradable ingredients. So, it's environmentally friendly. But, it's also great for babies with sensitives skin.

Unlike a lot of other detergents, this one doesn't leave any residue behind. On the contrary, it will actually help to remove the residues, odors, and stains that other detergents leave behind.

One thing that's worth noting, if you have hard water, you will need to add a water softener to allow this one to work well.

While this detergent cleans well most of the time, tough stains will require some pre-cleaning.

PROS
  • Removes entrapped odors, stains, and residues left behind from other detergents
  • No chlorine, fillers, or perfumes
  • Hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin
  • Biodegradable
CONS
  • Doesn't work well if you have hard water, unless you add a softener
  • Tough stains require pre-cleaning

A lot of the top cloth diaper manufacturers recommend Allen's.

It's not uncommon for people start using this one for cloth diapers. But, before long they like it so much that they begin using it for all of their laundry.

At first glance, it appears to be rather expensive. However, the container is massive, and you only need to use an ounce or so per load. So, a single container often ends up lasting years.

This one leaves no residue or perfume behind. So, diapers won't irritate your little one's skin.

On the downside, it's not as good at handling tough stains as some other detergents.

PROS
  • Leaves no residue or perfume
  • Recommended by a lot of top cloth diaper makers
  • Only need to use one ounce so the container lasts a long time
CONS
  • Doesn't do as well with tough stains as some others

Rockin' Green has developed a reputation for all kinds of eco-friendly cleaning products. This one is designed specifically for diapers. It's actually formulated to target biological residue such as feces and urine.

It's free from harsh chemicals, optical brighteners, fragrances, and parabens. So, it's great for babies with sensitive skin.

However, unlike a lot of other green detergents, this one doesn't compromise when it comes to cleaning. It's actually quite good at removing stubborn stains.

It does have a fairly distinct scent that some parents don't like. But, beyond that, there really aren't a lot of drawbacks.

PROS
  • Designed to target biological residues
  • Good at removing stubborn stains
  • No harsh chemicals, optical brighteners, fragrances or parabens
  • Great for babies with sensitive skin
CONS
  • Has a distinct scent that some parents don't like

Seventh Generation has garnered a stellar reputation for making eco-friendly products.

This detergent is made without any synthetic fragrances, dyes or artificial brighteners. No surprise here given Seventh Generation's ethos.

It leaves clothes smelling great thanks to a fragrance developed from 100% essential oils and botanical extracts. Since it's made from all natural ingredients, it's great for sensitive skin.

This one does fall a bit short in terms of removing stains. It does an ok job with most stains, but struggles with tough ones.

The container is also a little small. So, if you end up liking this one, you might want to pick up several at a time.

PROS
  • Fresh scented fragrance derived from 100% essential oils and botanical extracts
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • No synthetic fragrances, dyes or artificial brighteners
CONS
  • Does an ok job at removing stains, but could be better
  • Container is quite small

Babyganics 3X Baby Laundry Detergent is triple concentrated. So, you only need to use a small amount to do a full load of laundry.

It's formulated with plant derived ingredients, and doesn't contain any optical brighteners, fragrances, or dyes.

It's non-allergenic and won't irritate your baby's skin. So, if your little one has experienced rashes with other detergents in the past, this could be a good one to try.

Some parents note that this one's stain fighting power is not as strong as some others. The container is also prone to leaking at times. So, you'll want to handle it carefully.

PROS
  • Formulated with plant derived ingredients
  • No optical brighteners, fragrances, or dyes
  • Non-allergenic
  • Triple concentrated so you only need to use a small amount
CONS
  • Not as good at stain fighting as some detergents
  • Container is prone to leaking

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, Rockin' Green Platinum Series Dirty Diaper Detergent is the best laundry detergent for cloth diapers. The reason I say this is that it does a great job of cleaning and removing stains, which is kind of the main point. It's also all natural, and good for sensitive skin. While all of the laundry detergents in this post are solid options, the others did not fight stains quite as well.

That said, there are a lot of variables that come into play. A different detergent might work well for your particular washing machine, diaper brand, water hardness, etc. So, if you try one of the others, you might like the results.

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