I’ve been cloth diapering for 2 and a 1/2 years now, and you know what? I STILL struggle with my wash routine. Ugh…..I know! The problem is that I have hard water. Not slightly hard or moderately hard, but EXTREMELY HARD. Figuring out how to wash cloth diapers in hard water is well……hard. The minerals in hard water keep the detergent from getting soapy and doing it’s job. I’ve experimented with a ton of natural, cloth diaper safe detergents and ones specifically made for hard water and it’s always resulted in stinky diapers regardless of how much I use. So what did I do? I resorted to using Tide. Works great in hard water. Too bad it’s not great for the environment. I had clean smelling diapers, but I felt GUILTY. I’m supposed to be this crunchy mama who uses cloth diapers and I felt like I was living with a deep dark secret. There had to be another way!
Well there is! And I FINALLY think I’ve solved my detergent woes. Eco Sprout was one of the detergents that I hadn’t tried. By the time it had come out on the market, I had already switched to Tide and had decided to stop messing with detergents. BUT, I was hearing all these great things about it – it worked great for stinky diapers, hard water AND the Owner/WAHD (Work at Home Dad) loved to trouble shoot. I figured one more shot was worth it, and if it failed, I’d just got back to Tide. No big deal.
I emailed Eco Sprout. Explained my situation. We went step by step through my wash routine, talked in detail about my washer – how long were the cycles, how hot was the water, how much water, how much detergent, etc., etc. And we figured it out. HURRAY!
Along with having hard water and tweaking the amount of detergent I’m using, and adding an additive (does that sound redundant or what?), we figured out that my washer’s cycles are too short for natural detergents to work well. Natural detergents need TIME to work because they lack the enzymes that will break down all the “nasties” in the dirty diapers and my cycle was only 15 minutes. Not long enough.
So here’s step by step what I’m doing now – how to wash cloth diapers in hard water and tips for working with a short wash cycle. And it’s WORKING. My diapers are coming out clean and stink free and I haven’t touched my box of Tide! Woohoo!
STEP ONE: NEW USERS
If you’re new to using Eco Sprout, they recommend that you soak your diapers to remove remnants of your previous detergent so you can start fresh. This was the hardest step for me. Over the time I’ve been cloth diapering, I’ve accumulated a nice size stash. It took me 4 loads to get everything done. My regular laundry was quite backed up!
- Fill a tub, washing machine, sink or bucket with enough HOT water to fully submerge your diapers in. If you have an HE machine, the tub method usually works the best in order to get enough water.
- Use 3-4 tablespoons of Eco Sprout detergent mixed in with the hot water, less detergent for fewer diapers.
- Add all your diapers and inserts and let them soak for 3-5 hours. Overnight if your diapers need a really good soak.
- Drain all the water from the tub or washing machine.
- Wash all the diapers and inserts again with 1-2 HOT water washes/cold rinses with NO DETERGENT at all.
- This will completely rinse out your diapers and they will be nice and clean!
- Warm pre-wash cycle with 1 TBSP of detergent. Body soils are released at 98 degrees, so they are more soluble at the same temperature they were released in.
- Hot wash/rinse (on your longest setting) with 2 TBSP of detergent and a cap of Calgon.
- One additional rinse
- Pre-rinse on warm if possible, otherwise cold. No detergent.
- Hot wash/rinse with 2 TBSP of detergent and a cap of Calgon. But, after the machine agitates for a minute, pull out the knob and let the diapers soak for 1/2 hour or so.
- Push knob back in and continue the wash cycle. Rinse.
- Extra Rinse cycle.
So that’s how to wash cloth diapers in hard water! I’m crossing my fingers it continues to work for me. And I’ll of course let you know if it changes!
BUY IT: You can purchase Eco Sprout Cloth Diaper Detergent on the Eco Sprout Website and at selected retailers like Kelly’s Closet for $7.95 for the 24/48 load bag. Lots of yummy scents to choose from as well.
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Although I was sent complimentary items for review purposes, I was not paid or enticed to write an awesome review for this product! All opinions expressed are 100% mine! Logo and product photos are curtesy of Eco Sprout. Links are affiliate links. Thanks for shopping! This post is also part of the weekly Cloth Diaper 101 Blog Hop hosted by My Cloth Diaper Stash. Hop on over to all the other blogs listed below for their take on the topic – Wash routines!