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40+ Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Choices!

Picking The Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

 
If cloth diapering is a new thing for you, I can not emphasize strongly enough how much easier your life will become by choosing a really good detergent. Make your routine as simple as possible.

If you want to experiment with your favorite detergent down the road, do so, but only after you are successfully cloth diapering so you know what normal is.

In a hurry?
 
It’s ok! I’m a mom too! I understand your time is valuable.
 
I switched to Country Save Powder due to sensitive skin issues. This detergent has been awesome. It’s cost-effective, additive-free, and great results with no optical brighteners, no enzymes, no dyes, no softeners, and no fragrance!
 
We have an HE wahing machine. We do a cold quick cycle with 3/4 measure of the Country Save, then a hot/cold cotton towels setting cycle and that’s it. If I get even a tiny bit too much detergent I have to rinse again, so I check the last rinse cycle.

 

Do You Have To Use Special Detergent For Cloth Diapers?

 
No, you do not need to purchase a detergent specially labled “cloth diaper detergent” as long as you pick one that has enough cleaning power to get the job done, safe on your babies skin, safe for the materials in your cloth diaper stash and has as few chemicals as possible.
 

Which Detergent Works Best For Washing Cloth Diapers?

 
Thats a difficult question to answer since different detergents will work or not work to your satisfaction depending on many different factors. What works for one person’s diaper laundry will not necessarily work for you and yours.
 

Things To Consider When Choosing A Detergent

 
 

Your Washing Machine

 
Is your washing machine an energy-efficient or non-energy efficient machine? If your washing machine is an HE machine then you will need to pick a detergent that is HE safe. We’ve made a column just for the HE consideration so you can easily find HE detergents from the list below. These detergents are formulated to clean your laundry in very little water.
 

Your Water Supply

 
Do you have hard water or soft water? Testing your water for hardness will allow you to pick a detergent that best suits your water conditions. We’ve written a complete hard-water how-to post that will guide you step by step including video tutorials!
 

Does Your Baby Have Sensitive Skin?

 
If your baby has sensitive skin or if sensitive skin is a possible concern then you’ll want to stay away from harsh chemicals and heavy fragrances. These things are known to cause skin irritations.
 

Is Being Green Important To You?

 
If yes, then you’ll want to stick with a plant-based detergent, which is environmentally-friendly. If being green is not an issue for you and your family then synthetic-based detergents would be an option.
 

What Should I Avoid?

 

Optical Brighteners

  • Laundry detergent manufacturers add this chemical for the sole purpose of making clothing appear whiter and brighter, and thereby looking cleaner, without actually being cleaner! This chemical also fades your dark-colored clothes.
  • The British Journal Of Dermatology. says that when you perspire, the moisture in the fabric releases optical brighteners and deposits them onto the skin. Ewwww!
  • We have a rather extensive Detergents Without Optical Brighteners post with one of the largest detailed list of Optical Brightener Free Detergents on the web!

Enzymes

  • Enzymes are used to break down the dirt in your laundry. Proteolytic enzymes also cause irritation to skin, eyes and the respiratory tract.
  • Inclusion of enzymes in products leads to adverse skin reactions, including erythema, pruritus and exacerbation of eczema according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Artificial Dyes

  • Alkylphenol Ethoxylates are used in detergents and as scouring, coating or waterproofing agents in the final stages of the dyeing process.
  • It has been linked to reproductive health issues, reduced sperm count in men, and can result in early termination of pregnancy or fetal growth defects.

Softeners

  • Fabric Softener is a big no no, as it is actually just a product that builds up on fabric over time.
  • It will cause diapers to repel wetness and leak everywhere.
  • Fabric softeners can also leave harsh chemicals on your cloth diapers which will irritate your childs tiny tush!

Fragrance

  • To minimize irritation, look for a fragrance free detergent.

Soap-Based Detergents

  • You’ll want to make sure you use a detergent, not a soap. Soap will build up and cause them to repel.

Bleach

  • Bleach will slowly wear down the fibers and cause irritation and rashes.
  • Be careful when using a bleach alternative such as OxiClean, it will break down any waterproof layer and make covers and AIOs leak! It can be useful for soakers and prefolds, though. The main ingredient in OxiClean is very similar to a powdered form of hydrogen peroxide, so don’t use Clorox 2 on anything waterproof also.

 

The Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Includes Surfactants

 

Surfactants

  • Surfactants are crucial to getting your clothes clean.
  • The main benefit of surfactants is their ability to draw grime out of clothing while making sure it doesn’t redeposit back onto the fabrics.
  • There were some controversial discussions among scientist that surfactants in high concentrations harm aquatic life. Don’t let this keep you awake at night because according to the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University , the most common soaps, shampoos and detergents actually pose a minimal risk to the environment. This is the conclusion of a comprehensive survey that covers more than 250 scientific studies over several decades.

 

HE Machines

 
After using my HE machine for over 6 months, I realized these machines are much different when washing diapers. Some of these machines wash better than others. (see Consumer Reports for this.. mine was rated “good” the middle rating).

I found my previous routine was not getting the diapers as clean as I liked; they smelled funky after the wash and started to get buildup quickly.

I switched to Country Save Powdered. This detergent has been awesome. Finally an economical choice for washing cloth diapers! It’s cost-effective, additive-free, and great results with no optical brighteners, no enzymes, no dyes, no softeners, and no fragrance!

 

How Much Detergent Should I Use?

 

To cover my behind here, I need to tell you to follow the instructions on your laundry detergents label. With that said, I do a cold quick cycle with 3/4 measure of the Country Save, then a hot/cold cotton towels setting cycle and that’s it. If I get even a tiny bit too much detergent I have to rinse again, so I check the last rinse cycle.

HE detergents are made to have less suds because of a very low water level in the machine. Too many suds can damage your HE machine!
 

What About Using Homemade Laundry Detergent?

 
Making your own homemade laundry detergent may sound like a fantastic idea. I mean afterall making it yourself is usually cheaper right?

I wouldn’t use homemade laundry soap on my cloth diapers, so I can’t recommend it for my readers. Why? First of all, you need to know the differences between soap and detergents. Soaps are made with fats or oils. They’re great for cleaning hard surfaces, but not clothes. Detergents are better at cleaning laundry in a machine because they’re more soluble. They also rinse away quickly, leaving no residue behind on your laundry.

Homemade detergents are not detergents at all, but rather soaps! They are usually made with soap products. Soap will build up and cause your cloth diapers to repel.

 

The Best Cloth Diaper Detergents of 2019

 

ImageProductDetailsHe

Safe?

Link
Allens Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 150x150

Allens Naturally Powder

Best for babies with sensitive skin, however, doesn’t clean very well!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
  • Rinses well in cold water
Yes

 

Allens Powder Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 150x150

Allens Naturally Ultra Powder

Although there are no brighteners, the label reads “Not recommended for military uniforms”.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Allens Liquid Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 150x150

Allens Naturally Liquid

Allen’s Naturally liquid laundry detergent requires only 1/4 oz for HE Machines.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance

Yes

Attitude Ylang Ylang And Tangerine Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Liquid 1800ml 4

Attitude Baby Fragrance-Free

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Awesome for sensitive skin and eczema!
Yes

 

Attitude Ylang Ylang And Tangerine Laundry Liquid 1800ml Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Attitude
Ylang-Ylang & Tangerine

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Good Value For Money
Yes

 

Lavendar Grapefruit Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Attitude
Lavender & Grapefruit

Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.

  • No Optical Brighteners

Yes

Baby Ganics Laundry Detergent Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

BabyGanics Loads of Love 3X, Fragrance-Free

Loads of Love is an unscented detergent that has none of all the “bad stuff” in regular laundry detergent. This means that it is free from petrolatum, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrance, and parabens.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

Babyganics Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

BabyGanics 3X Lavender liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Synthetic Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

Closeup Detergents Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Bio-O-Kleen Liquid Laundry Detergent

The liquid brand is a good choice

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Perfumes
Yes

 

Biokleen Laundry Powder Free And Clear 10 Lb Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Bio-O-Kleen Powder Free & Clear

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Contains Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Bumgenius Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

BumGenius Powder

Moms report cloth diapers are clean, and no funky smell. Commonly used on both pocket diapers and prefolds.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Laundry Detergent Caldrea Sweet Pea Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Caldrea
Sweet Pea Laundry Detergent

Contains plant-derived surfactants, Borax and essential oils of Geranium, Orange, Jasmine, Coriander, Rose and Bergamot.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
No

 

Charlie Banana Detergent Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Charlie Banana Powder Fragrance-Free

No lingering chemical-based fragrance. It’s completely free from perfume or parabens. It dissolves quickly in cold water, and you won’t have to worry about residues on your clothes after rinsing the soap off. This works great for babies and individuals who suffer from allergic reactions to certain components in regular laundry soaps. Safe and effective for all fabrics including silk, wool, linen, cotton and high-tech microfiber athletic and waterproof gear.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Charliessoap Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Charlie’s Soap Powder

Similar to Allen’s Naturally, however ingredients are proprietary. Extensive studies by Clemson University have shown it leaves no residue. Biodegradable. Technically a “detergent” (not soap, despite its name). Complaints of chemical burns and rash have been reported!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

Cheer Powder He Detergent Box Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Cheer Stay colorful Powdered Detergent Fresh Clean Scent

There are several other military enthusiast and cloth diaper websites that are listing multiple forms of Cheer (as well as other detergents) as “Optical Brightener Free”, however, these statements are FALSE! I have done extensive research and this variety of Cheer is the ONLY one that is optical-brightener free!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
N/A

 

Countrysave Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Country Save Liquid

Cost effective, additive free, and great results.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Country Save Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Country Save Powdered

Cost effective, additive free, and great results.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Dropps Liquid Laundry Pacs – Fresh Scent

Plant-based and rather weak. It would take a lot of product to accomplish a good clean.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • NPE Free
  • No Phosphate
  • No Chlorine
Yes

 

Ecosfree Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Earth Friendly Products Baby Ecos Disney Laundry Detergent, Lavender and Chamomile

Phosphate-free, chlorine-free, enzyme-free, borine-free, cocamide DEA-free, dye-free, and free of petroleum ingredients.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
Yes

 

Earthview Laundry Detergent Fragrance Free Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Earthview Laundry Detergent

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Healthy Child Compliant
  • No Animal Testing
  • HE Safe
  • Methylisothiazolinone-free
  • Fragrance-Free
Yes

 

Envirorite Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

EnviroRite Clearly Clean

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
N/A

 

Hex Performance Advance Laundry Detergent Free And Clear 1 350x200

H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Free + Clear Liquid

Eliminates tough odors – including smell caused by sweat, bacteria, mold, and mildew!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Hex Anti Stink No Optical Brighteners

H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Fresh Clean Scent Liquid

A light, fresh scent that doesn’t linger.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes

 

Honest Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 529x1024

Honest Company liquid

Plant-based. Contains sodium cocoate, which can build up in diapers, trapping bacteria and causing repellency issues. This baby laundry soap has a neutral pH level, which means it does not irritate the skin.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent

Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent

Contains vegetable-based surfactants including those derived from coconuts

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for Septic Systems
  • Not tested on Animals
  • No Phosphates
Yes

 

Lifekind Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 1024x1023

Lifekind Naturally Safer Triple Concentrated

Contains Seed & Pulp Extracts, Orange Peel Extracts, Surfactants from Coconuts.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Laundrydeterfc.1 1 476x1024

Mountain Green 3X Free and Clear

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Fragrance-Free
  • PETA acceptable product
Yes

 

Mollys Suds All Sport Wash

Molly’s Suds All Sport Wash Liquid

NOTES: Ingredients
Purified water, decyl glucoside, vegetable glycerin, plant based minerals and enzymes, sodium bicarbonate, cocomide MEA, vanilla extract, organic sweet orange oil, plant based alcohol* *Alcohol is used in processing, however, it is not in the finished product. Note: Seasonal variations in raw materials may affect product color but does not affect efficacy

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes

 

Mollys Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 2 813x1024

Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener Powder

Does not contain surfactants.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

Mollys Suds Sensitive Skin No Optical Brighteners

Molly’s Suds Sensitive Skin Powder

Does not contain surfactants.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Natureclean 2 1 498x1024

Nature Clean liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Nature Clean 3l Laundry Liquid

Nature Clean Refill liquid

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Nature Clean Powder Detergent

Nature Clean Powder

Although this is an excellent product, it ships from Canada so if you are in the USA shipping is outrageous!

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Nellies

Nellie’s Laundry Soda

Contains coconut oil based ingredients. Not considered strong enough to properly clean a dirty diaper. Too expensive to be able to use enough to get a proper clean.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Oxy Prime Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 1 1 639x1024

OXY-PRIME Powder

Rinses completely and decomposes almost immediately in the environment leaving no toxic by-products or phosphates to the water table.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Planet Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Planet Ultra Powder

Not an effective detergent.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent

From Austin, Texas; No phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, dyes, allergens.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Rockin Green Watermelon Classic Rock

Rockin Green Classic Rock Formula, Smashing Watermelons

Fantastic for hard water

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes

 

Natural He Powder Laundry Detergent By Rockin Green Perfect For Cloth Diapers Classic Rock Formula For Normal Water Up To 90 Loads Per Bag 45 Oz Unscented 0

Rockin Green Unscented

Fantastic for hard water

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrances
Yes

 

Seventh Generation Natural 4X Concentrated Free and Clear Unscented

Use 1/2 cap in your cloth diaper prewash and 1 1/2 caps in the main wash. Wash on hot; add a water softener, such as Calgon if your water is at all hard. Does contain essential oils.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Seventh Genration Detergent Baby No Optical Brighteners

Seventh Generation Baby

Plant-derived enzyme stain removers. Certified Cruelty Free. From Vermont; 0% fragrances, dyes, or artificial brighteners.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Perfumes
Yes

 

Vaska 150x150

Vaska Baby

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

Vaska 150x150

Vaska Perfect

 

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes

 

 

 

Sources:
The British Journal Of Dermatology – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.1969.tb15947.x
National Center for Biotechnology Information – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18422788
Dyes and their effects on your health – Trusted Clothes. https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/06/21/dyes-and-their-effects-on-your-health/
The Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University – http://envs.au.dk/en/current/news/artikel/saebestoffer-er-ikke-skadelige-for-miljoeet/

40 Plus Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Choices