Cloth Diapering Mailbox Mondays Washing

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 1/30/12 – Hard to Soft Water

washing #clothdiapers going from hard to soft water via @chgdiapers

Need cloth diaper advice? Each Monday, I’ll answer a user submitted question.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Carrie says:

Here’s question for you:

I’ll be moving in a few short weeks to a house that has a water softener, which we will use. I have a front load washer and very hard water in my current house, and settled on a routine with Rockin’ Green Hard Rock and a couple of rinses, which generally works most of the time.

Any suggestions for switching to softened water? Any guesses as to whether my older diapers that have been in rotation for 2+ years will improve (less smell, softer, more absorbent that currently).

I’ve only cloth diapered in this house, with well water, water softener and top load HE, but I did go through the shock of soft water after having had city water! I had an awful time getting used to only needing a tiny bit of shampoo, soap etc. Our water seems to vary a little bit in acidity/hardness depending on the time of year (or something) and of course how much salt is left in the softener. So I do have to switch things up a little bit here and there.

Softer water comes with it’s own challenges. You are more likely to deal with issues of detergent residue, and I had a heck of a time finding a detergent that worked for me. I’d probably start by reducing the amount of detergent you’re using a little bit, and see what happens. Rockin’ Green seems to work better in hard water than in normal/soft water, so you may need to try something new if it doesn’t work as well in the new water.

Overall, yes I think you will find that your diapers are cleaner, softer and better smelling without all the extra minerals in your water! Your detergent will be able to work on getting your diapers clean, instead of tussling with the hard water!

Has anyone else gone from hard to softened water? How did you do with the transition?

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • Holly
    January 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Softeners can be tricky. My best suggestion is to go get the test strips at the hardware store and find out what you’re dealing with. Especially since you aren’t the original user of the softener. Once you know how soft the water really is, you can adjust your wash routine and/or the settings on the softener.

  • Elissa
    January 31, 2012 at 10:18 am

    We installed a water softener as a Christmas gift to us. We have super hard water here in Phoenix. I use Tide Ultra HE for my HE FL washer and have no issues whatsoever. My routine is a cold rinse with a scoop of Oxyclean, a hot/cold wash with: heavy soil, presoak, stain cycle, extra rinse and max extract selected on my washer. I use a scoop of Tide to the 1.5 or 2 line on the scoop. Diapers are nice and clean!

  • January 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I used tide free (even the new hard rock remix didn’t work for us in our xxxxxxx hard water)…and it works in both kinds of water, super hard and super soft.

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