Cloth Diaper Detergent

After about the first month of using cloth diapers some serious rashes/burns started to pop up on my sweet baby’s bottom (one of the reasons we chose cloth diapers was because your baby doesn’t get diaper rash). I’m talking about raised, warm, circles that would end up peeling – sad! I was so confused and was sure I was doing something wrong. Am I not changing her often enough? Am I using the diaper wrong? We use baby washcloths with water for wipes, so I knew it couldn’t be the wipes.

I racked my brain for solutions to my problem – and my poor baby’s bum. I could not figure out for the life of me what we were doing wrong and almost threw in the towel all together…. until I read this cloth diaper detergent chart that rates (almost) all detergents and how well they work with cloth diapering and how much it costs per load.

Our detergent was almost out and we needed to order more. We had been using the powdered version of Charlie’s Soap, but I was curious about what was on the the detergent chart. The section for Charlie’s Soap warns that some parents have reported burns on their babies – ahhhhhhhhh!!! AL has shown no other signs of having sensitive skin so I had never thought about the detergent being a problem. I felt so terrible – why hadn’t I thought about the detergent before?

I stripped the diapers (a deep clean with a cup of non-chlorine bleach and tablespoon of dawn dish soap) – no burns – then I made sure I was using the correct measurements explained on the Charlie’s Soap website for sensitive skin – but the burns eventually came back. I threw all the diapers back in the wash for another deep clean and then used our new detergent from Happybottomus: Rockin’ Green Bare Naked Babies (unscented) Classic Rock. (TIP: If your little one is really sensitive, try their Bare Naked Babies Soft Rock) We have had a smooth baby bottom ever since!

I contacted Charlie’s Soap to inform them about our problem – they were so kind talking me through some other ideas I could try to make sure that I was using their soap correctly. Because Charlie’s Soap will eventually pull out residue left behind from previous detergents on towels and clothing (if you use a different detergent outside of your cloth diapers) the other detergents could be leaving residue behind getting on the cloth diapers and causing a rash/burn. They also said that it could be hard water in our home.

The person I talked to was so nice, but since we found a detergent that was working for us we went ahead and made the switch to Rockin’ Green.

Charlie’s Soap is a VERY popular soap used by tons of cloth diapering families. I know many people that have had absolutely no problems and love it. Please know that I am not “product bashing” – Charlie Soap is a great product; it just didn’t work for us.

Am I the only one that has had detergent issues when it comes to cleaning cloth diapers? What is your favorite detergent?

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10 Responses to Cloth Diaper Detergent

  1. Kjirsten Steeno says:

    Charlie’s Soap didn’t work for us either! Grandview, MO has hard water and so we switched to Rockin Green and after trying a couple different kinds and its worked for us too. The one thing I have to be careful with is using bac-out on my poopy diapers- if i dont do two extra rinses my daughter will get a burn looking rash from the Bac-Out.

    • withLOVE says:

      So glad you found something that worked for you!! Finding a good detergent really made cloth diapering so much easier. I will try and see what tips I can find out about Bac-Out

  2. Brookie-Lee says:

    We use Charlie’s soap at our house with ALL our laundry. We absolutely love it. If you have hard water the calcium in the water will react with the detergent and can cause rashing. Here is a PDF that Charlie’s Soap wrote about washing cloth diapers.

    Charlie’s Soap now offers Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster & Hard Water Treatment
    Fight stains, Soften clothes, Brighten whites. Half Tablespoon per large load when you need it. 100% biodegradable and HE compatible.

    Hard water? (that means your water has a lot of minerals in it – if you get soap scum easily in your bathtub then your water is hard), try adding some Calgon Water Softener, RLR, or TSP(tri-sodium-phosphate).

    From the Fuzzi Bunz FAQ page:
    “What detergents do you recommend?
    For more specific “diaper recommended” detergents that can be bought through diaper retailers, we recommend FuzziBunz® Cloth Diaper Detergent, Rockin Green Soap, Allen’s Naturally and Charlie’s Soap—all work very well at preventing build up and keeping your diapers smelling clean.”

    • withLOVE says:

      Thank you for posting your successes with Charlie’s Soap!! I know her burns were probably due to user error after talking with costumer service. Rockin’ Green just worked better with our water and for our family :)

  3. Christina says:

    We use Charlie’s soap and have not had any problems, but recently added Bac-Out when little A started solids and she develops a red, bumpy rash every time we use it. I have tried multiple rinse cycles but it continues to happen! I am not quite sure what to use on the diapers instead…

    • withLOVE says:

      AL has been on solids for about 4 months now. For dirty diapers, we can plop it in the toilet and there really isn’t much left in the diaper. We don’t use Bac-Out… instead we just set the washer to “rinse and drain” without adding anything to the machine. After the plain rinse we wash the diapers on Hot with Rockin’ Green and make sure that the washer has the “extra rinse” option set.

      We strip the diapers once a month using a cup of non-chlorine bleach and 1 tablespoon blue dawn dish soap. I haven’t had any issues with smell or diapers not getting clean.

      I will try and do some more research about Bac-Out

  4. Wanda O. says:

    We also have had some really terrible burn-like rash issues with the Charlie’s Soap and Bac-Out. So bad, actually, that my kiddos cry when they need a change! I called Taylor Sutherland at Charlie’s Soap, and he sent me lots of info and a tub of the hard water treatment, but it was still happening regularly enough for us to change detergents. Now we are using Eco Sprout from Happybottomus, following the directions, with nothing else added, and now, no rashes!!!! Oh so happy! And my other laundry has been coming out quite clean, even my husband has commented on it! So glad to not have to use bleach or vinegar or do 3 wash cycles (!! that’s what Mr. Sutherland recommends). All I use is the Eco Sprout in the first rinse cycle and in the regular wash! So glad not to have to do so many steps for a rash-free bottom!

  5. melissa says:

    Brookie, where would I pick up a TSP?
    I remember you suggesting that before! I really think we have hard water, though your Kevin thinks I’m nuts. :) we get bad soap scum on everything here in s. kcmo. I picked up rockin green but am afraid to try it.

    we are having rash issues with biokleen. i decreased the amount and then got stinkies… on our less than 6 week old diapers. :( had been using maggies soapnuts.

    • Brookie-Lee says:

      We got TSP at Lowes in the plumbing or paint solvents aisle a few years ago. Calgon should work too. Did the soapnuts not work either? I’m in Kansas City with really hard water and I’m using Charlie’s Soap with no problems on Vaylee’s(3 weeks old) diapers. A little Bac-out if there are any diapers from my two year old, which are few and far between at this point. Why are you afraid to try the Rockin Green? Lots of mamas rave about it.

  6. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I feel like you just wrote our story except we are in the rash/burn stage. We use FuzziBunz and have been using them for the past 4 years once with my son and now with my daughter who is almost 2. We never had any problems with my son, but I guess my daughter is more sensitive. She recently has been breaking out in welts that look like burns?? We have always used Charlies Soap, never had a problem until now. I think I will try the Rockin Green and see if it helps. Any changes in directions of the Rockin Green with HE washers? Thanks again for your post!
    :) Carrie