Buying the Right Detergents
Choosing the right detergent for your diapers is important. The right detergent will keep your diapers smelling fresh and retain absorbency. Below are the five things you should watch out for when selecting a detergent.
Pure Soap: Pure soaps are the more natural choice in the world of cleaners, but soaps will leave a residue on your diapers and covers – similar to the soap scum you find in your tub. Soap scum on diapers makes them repel moisture rather than absorb it and it is also harsh on the laminates used in your diaper covers, making them absorb rather than repel water. The best choice for washing your diapers is to use detergent on them.
Enzymes: Enzymes attack organic matter and help dissolve stains when activated with water or moisture. Sweat, urine, and feces are all organic matter so there is a risk that these substances that are lingering on baby's skin will be a target for these enzymes. In particularly sensitive children, these enzymes can cause blistering, bleeding, sores and rashes.
Fragrances and Dyes: These are harsh and unnecessary chemicals for a baby's laundry. It is best to avoid them. Artificial fragrances are often made from petroleum. Many do not degrade in the environment, and may have toxic effects on both fish and mammals. Additionally, they often can cause allergies and skin or eye irritation.
Optical Brighteners: These are actually tiny particles that stick to the surface of your clothes after washing. These particles make colors appear to be brighter by absorbing invisible ultraviolet light and re-emitting it as blue light. If you want to see if your detergent has these brighteners, simply look at the detergent under a black light. Although these optical brighteners may make your clothes appear brighter, they are chemical residues that are intentionally left behind on your clothes and may cause skin irritation or other allergic reactions.
Fabric Softeners: Fabric softener, either in liquid or sheet form – leaves a water-repelling residue on your laundry. When left on your cloth diapers (and towels), this residue makes them less absorbent and useful in the very purpose that they serve. It also coats your diaper covers and can deteriorate their waterproof laminate. Instead add a ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften your diapers.