Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 9/27/10


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Every Monday I will answer user submitted questions. They don’t have to be about cloth diapering! I’ll always answer questions via email, but if you would like your question to be answered in a Mailbox Mondays post, send an email with the subject “Mailbox Mondays” to Maria at change-diapers dot com.

Please note: My intent is to get a queue of questions for the next several months, so it may be some time before your submission is posted. If you would like me to email my response so you don’t have to wait until your question is posted, let me know!

Carrie Says:


What are your thoughts on the detergent debate? I’ve been reading some manufacturers (like rumparooz) saying use detergents like tide, because they have enzymes, and what seems like most everyone else saying no to tide and other conventional detergents.


This is a bit of a hot button issue for me; as I’ve mentioned before, detergent was the sole reason I waited so long to start cloth diapering my son.  There were no “5 star” detergents available to me locally, and it would have been far to expensive to have one shipped. 

The different “cloth diaper detergent charts” had seemingly conflicting information, and every diaper company had their own ideas.  If your stash consisted of all one brand, it would be simpler, but I don’t recommend putting all your “eggs” in one “basket” when it comes to cloth diapers.

So, here’s my take:  What good is a “safe” detergent if your diapers stink and/or aren’t getting clean?  Use trial and error to find a detergent that works for you, and stick with it.  Obviously stay away from detergents with fabric softeners and optical brighteners, which can build up on your diapers.  If a detergent isn’t working for you, if you have buildup or stink, strip and try again.

But what about warranties?  I don’t really know, that’s a personal decision.  For me, I will use the detergent that gets my diapers clean without damaging them or irritating my son’s skin.  If a company decides not to honor their warranty because I used Tide or didn’t use Tide, shame on them.  Stink isn’t covered under diaper warranties, so what good are warranted diapers washed in “safe” detergent that you can’t use?

Ashley says:

What are the most useful type of training pant? The ones on most cloth diaper sites are so expensive, I’m not sure if they’re worth the buy.

Thanks, I never see much input on blogs about training, just diapers.

I am still several months away from potty training/learning, but rest assured I’ll be reviewing trainers soon enough!
From what I remember from potty training my daughter (she is 5 1/2 now!) we initially just needed a diaper that we could pull up and down to try to go potty, but she was basically still in diapers.  My plan with my son for that stage is to use any side snapping diapers I have (which isn’t too many!) as pull up type diapers.
Next was that in-between stage where she wasn’t really ready for undies yet, but she didn’t always need a diaper either.  That’s where the trainers come in.  The Little Beetle Learner is definitely on my “to-try” list.  They are absorbent, but are made from organic cotton, so baby will feel wetness.  They snap off to make accident clean up easy.  I love the idea of a pocket trainer (like the Happy Heinys pocket trainer), where you can use them with as much or as little stuffing as you need based on “where they are” in the learning process. 
Encouraging my daughter to use the potty full time wasn’t too bad, but I’m hearing that boys take longer and are more stubborn, so we shall see!

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • September 28, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    >Vinegar can sometimes cause more problems with stink, though some swear by it. What works for me is a dab of bleach in a load of isnerts only, followed by several extra rinses!

  • September 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    >Maria – Glad to know it's not just me! Might need to consider stuffing the FB with prefolds instead. Would a vinegar soak help the microfiber stink issue?

  • September 27, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    >Microfiber is wonderfully absorbent but pee-yew does it get stinky!

  • September 27, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    >I've found that different insert material also responds differently to wash routines. I use Charlie's Soap, and have never had a problem with my Grobaby organic cotton inserts getting any kind of stink. However, my FuzziBunz microfiber insert, that I've only used a handful of times, came out of the wash with a funk smell the other night.

  • September 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    >My package of Rockin' Green is running out and it costs so much to ship if I'm not ordering other things too. I might just go out and gets some Tide. Just moved into a new house, so different water anyway. We'll see if it works.

  • September 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    >Thanks for the recommendations Maria and I totally understand WAHM detergents not being included in the "safe" list! In fact, I was going to mention (and forgot) that if you are concerned about warranty of your diapers, be sure to use the detergent they recommend. Lost of diaper manufacturers will not stand by their warranty if you use a WAHM made (or other not approved) detergent. Their concern with WAHM made is that they can not be sure that all the ingredients are cloth diaper safe. I personally only buy new diapers from WAHMs, so this is not a concern for me. Any commercial diapers I have, I purchased used and warranty doesn't apply then anyway!

  • September 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    >Mandy, I don't include WAHM detergents in the (sarcastic air quotes) "safe" list since you & other WAHMs aren't on "the list" kwim? I do highly recommend trying Kickin' Creations if you are looking for a detergent that works!

  • September 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    >I can not help you with the trainer issue since my 2 1/2 year old is not even considering potty training yet! I have heard great things about Bunny Feet Boutique trainers. I believe they are pocket trainers with a PUL outer so you can customize the absorbency and not have so many leaks!As you know Maria, I make and sell Kickin Creations detergent. I also think I have a bit of a different view than other detergent makers. Different detergents work for different types of water and laundry situations. Finding a routine that works for you, really is trial and error. Once you find something that works, stick to it! I started off using homemade detergent but when the new baby came, I didn't feel like making it. We then used several different free & clear detergents and had stink. Switched to Arm & Hammer and it was better but still not gone. That is when I went to developing a new formula for my detergent.You may be surprised at the shipping of WAHM made detergents. For example, right now I am offering free shipping on my detergent. One package will wash up to 70 loads (depending on your situation of course) and is priced at $15. I suggest finding a few that you would like to try and start trying and see how they work. I also always recommend stripping or soaking your diapers prior to switching to a new detergent. Otherwise it is hard to tell if the new detergent is causing stink or if it is just working on getting all the build up out of the diapers!If you would like to read a review of my detergent, Mariah did one last wee on this blog!

  • September 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    >Carrie, I totally agree with her. What the heck good are diapers that smell awful and/or give your kid a rash washed in 'safe' detergent? I switched to Tide in our HARD –make that super hard water. None of the 'eco' friendly stuff would wash well in our water.

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