Detergents

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The tables below are based on over 1,500 survey responses to the Washing Diaper SurveyYou can consider the numbers here like a grade (on a 0-100) scale.

You can use the interactive table below to (a) search for a detergent by using the search engine in the top right of the table, (b) use the small triangle arrows in each column to sort statistics (e.g., if you want to see which detergents performed best, you click on the black triangle in the overall score column). Numbers over 80 are generally good, under 40 are generally bad.

Asterisks (**) indicate that a detergent was rated very well in that category.

Detergent (# responses)
Overall Score (%)
% Damage (low is good)
Soft Water (%)
Hard Water (%)
Front Loader (%)
Top Loader (%)
Top Loader HE (%)
Allen's (73)
80
16
78
84
All Free and Clear (201)
60
12
74
72
81
77
Arm and Hammer Free and Clear (27)
84
6**
Biokleen (36)
83
15
88
Bumgenius (70)
83
13
79
81
83
Charlie's Soap (powder) (167)
82
11
77
80
84
Country Save (201)
81
10
81
73
80
83
76
Crunchy Clean (45)
80
15
85
Dropps (20)
86**
5**
EcoNuts (Liquid) (22)

83
6**
Eco Nuts (soap nuts) (55)
85**
11
86**
Ecos (30)
75
11
Ecos Free and Clear (36)
84
8**
EcoSprout (117)
81
9**
80
81
80
Homemade (142)
(See this article for top performing "recipes")
86**
Photobucket
11
88
88
88
88
Laundry Tarts (36)
81
7**
78
Lulu's in the Fluff (46)
87**
8**
87
Nellie's (70)
81
7**
81
82
Purex Free and Clear (84)
85**

10
83
Rockin' Green Classic (450)
79
11
80
67
78
80
79
Rockin' Green Hard (276)
78
13
79
79
79
78
Rockin' Green Soft (46)
80
9**
78
80
Ruby Moon (74)
81
8**
87
80
Tide (liquid) (106)
85
10
83
80
89**
Tide Free (74)
83
9**
85
82
88**
Tide Ultra (Without Acti-Lift) (91)
90**
Photobucket
11
92**
83
93**
Tiny Bubbles (75)
79
13
74
82
75

 

Articles Based on The Survey Responses

Do laundry boosters really work? (looking at stats on boosters such as OxiClean, Bac-Out, Vinegar, etc)

 

This information was collected in collaboration with Green Diaper Demos. Please express your gratitude for Michelle’s hard work for her by going toher Facebook Page.

 

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  • Heather Craft

    Very informative!!! I’m new to cloth and this was good to know!

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  • Christina

    I’m very surprised to see Tide have such high marks on the frontloader. Did anyone have problems with buildup, or needing to strip? I used to have a NON-HE toploader and loved it. Then we moved and are now using a Kenmore Elite HE3 that drives me crazy! Nothing I used to do gets them clean enough. They’re always smelly unless I boil them with baking soda, which I’m about to do right now.

    • Tara

      I will be answering the buildup question on Friday of this week. I know for me personally, I use the Tide powder and it is the ONLY detergent that I have never had to strip my diapers for

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  • Beth Masters

    I thought I read somewhere that Country Save, Tiny Bubbles, and Bumgenius were all the same thing in different packages. I’m curious why they all were scored so differently,

    • Tara

      I thought the same thing as you. I am assuming that as more responses go in, the numbers will eventually draw closer together.

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  • Stephanie S

    Love this! I’d also like to know what kinds of diapers people are primarily washing, whether they are natural fibers or microfibers.

  • Kim

    Christina, I have the same washer sice we moved in July and I’m hating it! I recently bought Tide Free HE liquid and they are still so stinky when peed in even with the recommend amount (line 2), a pre-rinse, wash on hot (Whitest Whites) and extra rinses! I’ve tried soaking overnight during the hot wash, extra hot cycles without derergent…they smell fine out of the wasger. So frustrated and I hate wasting so much time/electricity/water! We have cotton prefolds, Motherease one sze and about 8 Fuzzibunz and inserts.

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  • DCRunner

    what about Seventh Generation detergents? Would love to know how they rank.

    • Tara

      They are on the survey, but we don’t quite have enough responses yet. We hope to soon!

  • Stephanie

    I have tried a lot of detergents thus far and haven’t used one type that doesn’t require stripping related to barn yard smells or ammonia smells, or other smells…. I have used rockin’ green, liquid tide, charlies soap, eco sprout, scarlets naturals, DeeTergent, Ecos Liquid Free and Clear, Lulu’s in the Fluff, and Country Save. I have used varying amounts of detergent of each brand and different water temperatures as well as different wash cycles and haven’t really been lucky yet!!! Some worked for a while than stopped…. Eco’s is okay right now… but, i’d love to find a routine where i never had to strip diapers! I’ve used Bac Out, Oxy Clean, and a couple of time’s I’ve used bleach, even on Ragababe’s once!!! I didn’t find any harm with a small amount of bleach, it took away the stink the best… I’ve added different things like vinegar… I almost feel I’ve tried it all!

    • Tara

      Stephanie, try Tide Powder, it works MUCH better than the liquid. I too had issues with the liquid. But I VERY rarely come across people who have issues with Tide. I never strip diapers when I am using Tide. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

    • Sara J

      Stephanie, we’ve been using the Ecos free and clear since the beginning. I haven’t had to strip yet (munchkin is 7 months now), but do find my diapers sometimes have that “dirty” smell coming out of the dryer. I think we’re rinsing all detergent away thoroughly, since I have a top loader and run an extra rinse. Maybe there is no perfect detergent? After all, we are talking about fabric that is being continually soaked with bodily functions. Maybe a good strip every now and then is the only thing that really keeps them going. And having never stripped before, that statement terrifies me!

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  • Guest

    Please do not use Tide; for you or you babies. tide contains 1,4 dioxane, a known cancer causing chemical. I personally know 3 people with either recurring ovarian cysts and/or recurring cancerous lumps in their breasts who use TIDE. Our holistic health practitioner called “tide user” on the gal with ovarian cysts before even talking to her and she was shocked. She quit using it and her cysts stopped. Thats not something I want to expose my babies to. Note that Tide free and clear has more 1,4 dioxane then regular tide: horrifying, as free and cear is marketed to mom’s with babies!! http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/mothers-challenge-trace-ingredient-in-detergent/

  • Lindsay

    So I have ammonia buildup (I think?) in my toddler’s diapers & I’m using RLR to strip his whole stash. We have moderately hard water, so we’ve been using Rockin’ Green Hard Rock (3 Tbsp/load). I do a warm, light wash/rinse cycle with Funk Rock (1 Tbsp.), and then a Hot wash on the heavy cycle with the RNG detergent, followed by 2 warm rinses. The build-up has occurred over time & now he’s getting bright red, bumpy, blistering & bleeding rashes on his diaper area after being in the diaper overnight (12 hours). What do I do? More rinses? More detergent? Less detergent? Add Calgon water softening powder to the wash cycle? Add bleach? Change to Tide Ultra powder? I am at a loss. Help my little guy’s bum, please! Thanks!

    • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

      RLR might help if your problem is detergent buildup, but if it’s from not getting the diaper clean enough, what you need is more detergent or a stronger detergent. Would you be amenable to trying Tide? :)

      • Lindsay

        I am open to trying Tide. Just the regular powdered Tide or the ultra unscented?

        • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

          Regular Tide Ultra powder (so not the Free and Clear, but not the specialty scented ones or the ones with any additives. Just plain Tide Ultra powder). If you have hard water you might want to also try adding a scoop of washing soda, to help soften the water just a bit more! (Or you could try Calgon, I’ve just never used it so don’t know what to recommend with that!) :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristen.ellison.9 Kristen Ellison

    I am at a total loss… my son has been having rash issues, I have rinsing like crazy and have been using nellies. I dont think its build up as the number of rinses ive been doing and the water running clear. I believe my water is normal (not hard or soft) previously my son had a yeast infection and so I put him in disposables and stripped with bleach, dawn, tto, and grapefruit seed extract on hot and did a gazillion rinses till I couldnt smell anything. Now he is healed the diapers smell clean (no ammonia smells or otherwise) and with 30 mins his bum is red again. I thought he might be having reactions to the stay dry fabric so I made some fleece liners just using regular fleece and washed them in Nellies. and again within 30 mins he’s red and raw but not bumpy like yeast. My next logical thought since there was no stay dry fabric touching him only the fleece is its a reaction to Nellies, but I don’t know what to try next…. i’m in Canada if that matters HELP!!!

    • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

      How long have you been using Nellie’s and what kind of fabrics and types of diapers is he having problems with? And have you tried using MORE detergent? Also, is it an actual RASH, or is it just red? (We had a similar post in the forum recently, you might want to check out people’s responses there: http://paddedtushstats.vanillaforums.com/discussion/73/rash#latest)

      • Kristen Ellison

        I have a mix of diapers (kawaii fleece and velour, fuzzibunz, osocozy prefolds, a few wahm with minky dot inners – there seems to be no discriminstion) I’ve used nellies for several months I haven’t tried more than the reccomended amount 1 scoop for 8-12 diapers. His bum is very red and blotchy (not bumpy like yeast) and frequent changes didn’t help nor did grandma Els or coconut oil so we end up in disposables with a high zinc content cream or prescription. I also tried switching to laundry tarts and that seemed worse…

        • Kristen Ellison

          Should I try more detergent then? There is no smell when the diapers are clean and no strong odours when he pees. He is a pretty heavy wetter I’d say. I feel like all I do is strip them… The only thing I haven’tstripped with is RLR

          • Kristen Ellison

            Well and I haven’ttried bac-out

        • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

          Oh gosh, I’m so sorry that I didn’t see your reply! I would try a different detergent entirely. Would you be willing to try Tide?

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  • Maddy

    Alright. I need some serious help. Facts about me: softened water that tests about as soft as possible on water testing strips (and all signs of soft water – soap takes forever to rinse, everything lathers exceptionally well, etc.). Rockin Green Soft Rock. 2 tbsp is our standard amount, HOWEVER, we still have extreme pee smell and ammonia issues (like, some diapers smell like pee FRESH out of the washer, and they ALL stink when they’re wet again), and need about 2-3 rinses to get rid of suds. Diapers, even bamboo diapers, are crunchy-feeling (minor, but bugs the HECK out of me).

    Should I reduce by half a tablespoon and see how they are after a few washes? Should I strip with something? I am at an absolute LOSS here. I’m just tired of my kid’s diapers stinking so badly and burning their bums. Please help!

    • Maddy

      Just thinking, we’ve had success with RLR before. Should I strip all our (clean) diapers with that one day and then try the reduced amount? Or will reducing the RnG amount on its own do the job?

      • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

        Well first of all, I have NO experience with soft water, so I can’t give you any advice from experience. BUT, if your diapers smell like pee coming out of the washer, then they need more detergent (or heat, or agitation, or all three. The point is that they’re not clean – there’s still pee residue in them). If it were me, I’d up the detergent (or switch detergents entirely, perhaps. I don’t know which works best in soft water, though!) until you get to a point where they smell clean coming out of the washing machine. I’d worry less about the suds and more about getting the pee and poop out of them entirely (if the diapers are clean and you end up with ammonia issues down the road, THEN I’d be concerned about detergent buildup. But to me that’s less icky than diapers that have no detergent on them, but that’s because the diapers are just being rinsed and reworn, essentially!) But since I don’t have soft water, I’m maybe not the best person to ask for advice. I’m actually going to close comments on this page (because it’s supposed to be more about presenting statistics and less about detergent discussions) but I encourage you to ask your question on our FB Discussion Board (https://www.facebook.com/groups/PTSDiscussionBoard/) and maybe other people will join in and offer advice! (If you don’t use FB, feel free to email me and we can continue the conversation!) :)

  • http://www.makingitworkblog.com/ Carolyn Russell

    Hi everyone! I’m going to close comments on this page in order to keep it about statistics and less about laundry problems, but please feel free to post any questions on our Facebook Discussion Board (https://www.facebook.com/groups/PTSDiscussionBoard/) or else email me directly for help! :)

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