How to choose the right detergent for you.
There is a lot of conflicting and confusing advice out there regarding what detergent you should or should not use. This blog is all about helping you find a detergent that works for you.
First of all there are very few ways you can go wrong as long as you bare in mind cloth nappies are for many, the dirtiest things you could wash and therefore need to be treated as such. See this link for my nappy wash guide and clean cloth nappies guide on detergent and how to use it.
Firstly just start with whatever detergent you currently use and go from there.
If you want to look further into choosing a detergent choice then read on :) have a read and decide for yourself what is important to you and go for that!
I have put a 🧡 by some of my favorites that have tested well on nappies.
WarrantyIf you have brand new nappies under 6 months old then chances are they are under warranty. This means that if there are any manufacturing faults within this time frame then you can claim for a replacement nappy. However there are often a LOT of ways to void warranties, including detergent choice. So if this is important to you then it is worth having a read and seeing if you can find a detergent that works for you within these parameters. If you have multiple brands that contradict themselves then choose the brand that means the most to you, or ignore them all and use whatever you want!
Bio or Non Bio?
Bio tends to work better at breaking down stains and heavy soiling and means you are more likely able to wash from 40 degrees.
Non bio generally needs a 60 degree wash to make up for its lack of enzymes and is less forgiving of a less than optimal wash routine.
🧡Asda Tropical bio and Fairy Non Bio.
Liquid or Powder?
Powder detergent contain more water softeners and are therefore well suited for very hard water. If you want to use powder in soft water you'll need to experiment with finding a detergent that doesn't cause excess suds. Avoid any high in zeolites.
Liquid detergent are better for soft water areas because of the lack of water softeners. If you want to use liquid in hard water then adding a water softener or some oxy stain remover will help.
🧡Ariel and Daz liquid and powder.
Fragranced or fragrance free
Most detergents contain fragrance, not just to make your laundry smell nice but also to cover the unpleasant smell of surfactants. However fragrance is the most common cause of irritation and therefore problematic for those with sensitive skin.
If you have very sensitive skin then your safest bet would be to use a fragrance free detergent.
🧡Neutral and Waitrose own sensitive.
Eco/plant based or conventional
Eco or plant based detergents may be lower in or use weaker surfactants compared to conventional detergents and can therefore struggle to keep cloth nappies clean, smell and stain free.
To help them work you may need to increase the dose and add a laundry booster such as vanish or a water softener. You may also find you need to wash at 60 degrees for both prewash and mainwash.
🧡Splosh and Rockin Green Platinum.
Pods or tablets
Unfortunately neither work brilliantly for cloth nappies, they are difficult to measure accurately as you cant add part of a pod and they work out expensive. Generally you need 1 pod in prewash and 2 pods in mainwash.
Alternative detergents such as eco egg, soap nuts and home made detergents are either low in or have no surfactants and in the long run do not tend to clean cloth nappies well. They are generally best avoided, if you want to use these products then keep them for your lightly soiled general laundry.
Animal testing and animal cruelty is a complicated subject, a particular detergent may not be tested on animals but some of its component parts may have been. An eco brand may have been bought out by an organisation that has a history of testing products on animals however that specific product may never go near an animal.
Additionally some detergergents may not be tested on animals but contain animal derived components, making knowing what to avoid more complicated.
The best way to navigate this is to use products with the leaping bunny accreditation or those that state they are cruelty free and/or Vegan. If in doubt contact the manufacturer to find out if their products are tested on animals.
🧡Astonish 2in1 and Asda tropical liquid
These are some of my favourite detergents but the list is certainly not exhaustive and each one may well fit in multiple categories. As with anything, which detergent works best for you will depend on many factors including cost, personal preference, what you're washing, washing machine, water hardness etc.