I received my latest gallon of Allens Naturally laundry detergent in the mail yesterday, and it totally made my day. I know, I’m easy to please. I’m ready for Isabelle to dirty up all of her cloth diapers so I can wash them in Allens. Diapers are my favorite laundry to do, because I love folding them and having a drawer full of diapers, ready to go. I know–I’m a dork, nerd, hippie, or whatever term you’re thinking of right now. It’s OK, I’m used to it by now.
This is my go-to cloth diapering detergent. I’ve been without it for a couple of months, and believe me, I can tell a difference.
If you haven’t heard me tell you all about my lovely laundry detergent, then let me fill you in.
First of all, if you cloth diaper, it is best to use a detergent without fabric softeners, fragrances, dyes, brighteners, or enzymes. These will build up in your diapers, which could result in either a reduction in the diaper’s absorbency or a rash on your baby. Neither of these scenarios are fun.
The best way to know if you have a build up issue is to watch the end of your wash cycle. If you notice bubbles and suds towards the end of the load, then the soap residue will remain in your diapers. I have a front load washer with a glass door on the front, so it’s easy for me to notice suds if I take the time to look for them. I noticed suds last September, about a month into cloth diapering, and immediately switched detergents. Another way to tell if you’re having a build up problem is if the inserts or diapers don’t smell very clean as you’re putting them in the drier.
There are a few cloth diapering sites that have charts rating various detergents for their efficacy in washing cloth diapers. Diaper Jungle is one of my favorites. When I was on my quest for a good detergent, not only was I looking for a 4 star detergent, but I also wanted one that would work well with my High Efficiency washing machine (front loader). I love my HE washer, but since it uses less water, detergent build up is more likely, since there is less water to flush the soap out of the diapers. I also wanted a detergent that was reasonably priced. I decided on Allens and ordered it through the Snap-EZ website, where I’d also purchased several diapers.
The cost of one gallon of Allens, with a dispensing pump, is $50, with shipping included. No joke. $50!!! My husband nearly flipped when I told him what I paid for it, but he was happy once I explained the cost per load.
Here’s the cost breakdown:
Regular washing machines:
1 oz. (or less) per load: 128 loads per gal. = 39 cents/load
High Efficiency machines:
1/4 oz. (or less) per load: 512 loads per gal. = 9.8 cents/load
Now that I have more cloth diapers, I only wash diapers every other day. If I only wash cloth diapers with this detergent, it should last me well over two years–more like 2 1/2 years, in fact. My last gallon only lasted 10 months, washing diapers every day, and using it to wash clothes as well. That’s still pretty impressive. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’ve run the numbers before, and my Purex free and clear just can’t compete.
I’m thinking about saving money by making my own laundry detergent, once I run out of the detergent I have at home, but I would still use Allens for washing diapers, and possibly baby clothes as well.
So, cloth diapering mamas, what detergent do you use? Have you had an issue with build up when using a normal detergent, or do you find no difference?