Oh the horrors... You've just gotten your new cloth diapers, and it's time to do the dreaded "hard cloth diapers" washing!!! So what do you use?
With regular laundry, whatever you pick up at the grocery store is probably going to work. With cloth diapers, it's a bit more difficult than that! If you use the wrong thing on your diapers, you can cause them to repel (make pee run off of them) or to wick (leak out the legs) or to stink!
Okay, so there has to be a hard-set rule of what's safe and not safe to use, right? Well, not really, unfortunately. The hard-set rules are like this: don't use perfumed detergents, detergents with additives, optical brighteners, or enzymes. And NEVER use fabric softeners. Bleach is controversial... some people use it without problems, but most say it's a diaper no-no.
Some companies and brands recommend using Free & Clear detergents, while others say definitely NOT to use them. Some say use the popular brand Charlie's Soap, while others have reported that Charlie's can cause severe rashes in babies- OUCH.
I've tried lots of detergents: Mountain Green, Planet Ultra, All Free & Clear... I wasn't happy with any of the results of those. I ended up with stains and stinkies- two things you don't want with diapers! The diapers just didn't seem CLEAN. So what did I do? I started using Tide HE in my front-loading washer. It contains lots of no-nos... enzymes, brighteners, and scents. But my diapers have never looked cleaner, and smelled so good! Lots of people use Tide for years without problems. Until I see a problem, I plan to keep using it. I can't officially recommend it... but I can say: It works for us! :)