I have had quite a few readers lately ask me about what to do with crunchy cloth diapers. I feel your pain! My water is hard and so our cloth diapers tend to get pretty stiff. For example, the inside of a BabyKicks is relatively soft for many, but for me, it is stiffer than sandpaper. So one way I help to soften it up is by using ECOVER.
But many people are afraid to use ANY fabric softeners on their diapers. This is because the way it softens the diaper is by leaving a little residue on it– that’s a repelling mess waiting to happen. Those layers of residue prevent the diaper from absorbing all it needs to absorb. Because it is plant-based, you don’t have as many issues (but fair warning for some of you hard water users, you may experience some repelling issues. You can read stories of people with this issue here).
I wanted to take what we know about Ecover, and see what our 2,500+ survey responses to the Washing Diapers Survey had to say about it. Let me be REALLY clear about this: I know that there are MANY variables left out in this mini-study. I just wanted to get a general sense of how Ecover is working for people.
Does Ecover Cause Repelling?
I first looked at the stripping frequency of Ecover users vs. All Survey Respondents:
As you can see here, it made very little difference whether a person did or did not use Ecover in regards to stripping frequency.
Satisfaction With Washing Routine
I then wanted to look at how satisfied Ecover users were with their washing routine, compared with everyone else. I would assume that if a respondent used Ecover and had issues, then they would NOT be satisfied with their washing routine. But when see look at the data, we actually see that Ecover users were slightly MORE satisfied with their washing routine than all survey respondents.
Damage to Diapers
Survey respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 whether or not they experienced damage to their diapers with their washing routine. 1 indicated no damage, 5 was a lot of damage. NO respondents gave a 3,4, or 5 for this question, so we can conclude that this data does not suggest that Ecover causes damage to cloth diapers. It is not recommended for use on PUL diapers, but some people throw caution to the wind and do it anyway, without issue (such as Kim from Dirty Diaper Laundry). I did not distinguish PUL owners vs natural fabric owners, but some Ecover users from the survey did use PUL. However, tread with caution, some companies may void their warranty if you use Ecover fabric softener.
Comments From Ecover Users:
I also wanted to hear what people had to say about it. So I posted the question to my Facebook Wall (and they gave me permission to re-post) and I will also copy what some survey respondents had to say about it:
I’ve only stripped my diapers once in the last year (because of Ecover making some pockets repel) and I’m stripping them now with RLR because I bought some used prefolds and thought I may as well strip the whole load!
I use a wool ball in the dryer. I have used Ecover before and only use it maybe once every 10 loads just to soften up my diapers a little. The softness seems to last for a while. When I do use it I don’t see any change in the absorbency of my diapers.
[I do a] heavy duty hot wash, then a regular cold wash with ecover fabric softner in the final rinse.
I only use Ecover on fitteds / prefolds.
I put half a cap of Ecover in the rinse trough.
I use it, and love it! We use it probably twice a month. I’ve found that my girl gets rashes if I put it on her pockets or her covers, so I pull those out before I add it in the last rinse cycle. I think it just attaches more to the synthetic fibers and irritates her, but she’s fine with it on her fitteds and prefolds!
I used it for a while! Worked great for us on everything. Used on microfiber, bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, PUL, TPU, etc… Loved it.
I haven’t noticed a big difference when using it but I don’t have hard water. Mostly any stiff diapers are mostly used ones purchased from diaper swap sites so maybe they are beyond softening. I don’t like how it gets gloppy over time. But it sure smells nice.
Used it on sustainablebabyish|sloomb, inc.and goodmama (only use on natural fabrics), makes them a lot softer. Doesn’t take but a capful every couple washes in an additional rinse.
I have used it on all my diapers including PUL and I’ve had no problems. My diapers before Ecover (and Mrs. Myers) weren’t soft and not a texture I’d want on my bum, let alone my son’s. LOVE IT NOW!!
Based on the statistics and survey respondents, we can conclude that Ecover fabric softener may be a safe and effective choice for cloth diapers, although it may not work for many of you who have hard water (OR it might be the greatest thing since sliced bread). I personally have hard water and find that the softener doesn’t really make my kids’ cloth diapers much softer. So tread carefully. Start with 1/2 a cap and see what happens. If you get repelling, the Ecover may not be the option for you (but if you do not have Soft Water, try putting some vinegar in the wash, as recommended by All About Cloth Diapers). If you used 1/2 a cap and found that diapers still weren’t soft but also weren’t repelling, you may be able to use a whole capful. You can find Ecover in the laundry aisle of your local store. You can also buy it HERE for around $4.
Do you use Ecover? Fill us in on your take on the product. You can also fill out a survey HERE based on how it worked for you.