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Using natural products as laundry soaps.

TOPIC: Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #1

  • Amy
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Any one have natural laundry tips for cloth diapers?

I have hard water and an HE front-loading machine, which seems to be two strikes against them already. Most manufacturers say not to use pure soap, washing soda or vinegar if your diapers have any synthetic fabrics or elastic. That means the homemade detergent shouldn't be used.

Also does anyone know what is in RLR Laundry Treatment or Calgon Hard Water Treatment?
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Re: Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #2

From what I can see sodium citrate and sodium sulfate, along with carbonic acid are in the calgon water treatment. It looks like washing soda is the primary ingredient of RLR.

A mineral such as baking soda or washing soda help soften water.


I use my homemade laundry powder in my HE machine. It's low suds and seems to do great.

Can you let the diapers soak in a washing soda solution before washing?
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Re: Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #3

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I was using the powdered homemade detergent, which seemed to be okay for a while with tmy cotton flats. However, they developed ammonia buildup. It seems that the soap can build up on the cloth. Also, I have noticed that my laundry, all of it, including kitchen towels REPEL water. So they are not really clean.

I have read of CD detergent that removes the soap: washing soda, baking soda & oxygen cleaner. Apparently Sun brand is just washing soda and powdered peroxide, but does it have dyes? Can one buy just sodium percarbonate?

And how can I get soap residue off my laundry? I was using vinegar, but then read that it can react to minerals in hard water & CREATE smells in cloth diapers.
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Re: Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #4

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By Sun brand, I was referring to Sun brand oxygen cleaner.

Also, from what I understand RLR is a more concentrated washing soda, found in pet supply stores for fish tanks. Perhaps I could use just washing soda and add more, but are there other active ingredients? It seems that just washing soda doesn't work as well, from reviews.
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Re: Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #5

with as much research as you're doing and the trial and error I have no doubt you'll figure this out. I really like using hydrogen peroxide - especially the more concentrated 12%. It is a bleaching agent and might do the trick for getting out those remnants. Keep us posted. i'd love hear when you find the answer.
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Re: Cloth Diapers 1 year 11 months ago #6

Amy wrote:
I was using the powdered homemade detergent, which seemed to be okay for a while with tmy cotton flats. However, they developed ammonia buildup. It seems that the soap can build up on the cloth. Also, I have noticed that my laundry, all of it, including kitchen towels REPEL water. So they are not really clean.

I have read of CD detergent that removes the soap: washing soda, baking soda & oxygen cleaner. Apparently Sun brand is just washing soda and powdered peroxide, but does it have dyes? Can one buy just sodium percarbonate?

And how can I get soap residue off my laundry? I was using vinegar, but then read that it can react to minerals in hard water & CREATE smells in cloth diapers.

I feel for you, I am a mom of 3, soon 4, all Cloth diapered at one stage or another. you are right in saying that your cloths are not getting clean with the amount of powder homemade detergent. For what I have read the suggestions would be add more detergent. Since homemade detergent does not sud so much, you can get away with putting some more in.

About the smell of the flats (by the way, my favorite type of diapers) Talking with a toxicology/microbiologyst professor, I found out that in order to get rid of the bacteria that are causing the smell, is to boil them. So you put your biggest pot on a rolling boil. If you have a thermometer wait till the water gets to 100C or 200F, use mittens. that will take a while. then you put your flats in and move them around with a wooden spoon (long) with mittens as the vapor is very hot too. for about 20 or so minutes. That process will take away most of the oils of the fabric that have gotten together with the build up of the dirt, and will kill the bacteria that has produced the foul smell.

What I have done often, is to use a 5ga bucket or so, and put vinegar on the diapers till they are covered, then add (don't kill me) oxyclean, which is a powder version of hydrogen peroxyde. So if you use 12% or so straight hydrogen peroxyde that would be better. DOn't close the bucket. Important, the order needs to be 1. diapers , 2. vinegar, 3. a little bit of hydrogen peroxyde ( I use a cup or more for that size bucket). you will notice that it bubles and gets hot. so do this in the garage, or somewhere where you don't mind a spill if you put too much. It will stay hot till the next day, and basically that is what you want... the heat to kill the bacteria. Then you wash your diapers normally and the odor should be gone! however, this method does not get as hot as regular boiling water. Just like my chemistry teacher said, there is nothing like water!

I am known to do this in the Top Loader Washing machine, instead of the bucket.

About the Front loader. I have many a friend that use front loader HE machines and do use the liquid version of the homemade detergent and have no issues with it.

When laundering diapers, first do a cold rinse, that gets most the urine out, then do your hot wash, then hot rinse and then cold rinse. To restore the neutral pH of the fibers, do use a little of vinegar in the rinse.


If you buy detergents, I found at my Meijer, a Mexican brand which has just the basic ingredietns of soap/detergent. it is called Roma. the more comon brand "Ariel" has enzymes and brighteners. any storebought detergents have in some way or another water softener ingredients. washing soda of the homemade detergent is a water softener. If you want to concentrate it, just put it in the oven in a baking sheet, on 200F or so and let it bake for 30 min or so. before you make your soap. let it cool.


Hope that helps.

ps. I use from Mother-ease, bumgenius, organics and non, most covers with elastics, etc, all have gone through this process and don't show any extra distress for it.
Last Edit: 1 year 11 months ago by karen.
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