Like most moms, I bought my fluff and wanted to do everything right. That included the religious washing routine that required a special detergent.
My first choice was All Free and Clear. Later on I saw that the cloth diapering community had mixed results on it. Some approved it but not as the best, some completely trashed it. It was a pain trying to keep the build up down, but the reason I gave up on it was that it wasn't getting the job done. Great for poop stains, but not so fantastic for urine removal.
I switched to ECOS, since it was relatively cheap and "all natural". Remember what I said about All and the stains? well, that's why I missed it. Not only did it not remove stains, it was so gentle on the diapers that it left the ammonia there, just in case the diaper would be too stressed out with the chemical reaction.
In the meantime, I spent some 10 weeks of the hot season out of here. Near Lake Erie, I asked before hand what detergent worked nice in the area, the answer was Tiny Bubbles, so I rushed to buy it so that it would be waiting for me when we arrived. It was my first time with a cd specific detergent!
Too bad it doesn't clean. I couldn't stand the smell, even when it was supposed to be perfume free, having to dilute it in hot water was a pain and Little Guy started having rashes within a week.
Fortunately, the Flats and Handwashing challenge came, and for washing my t-shirts I used a bar soap. It didn't work great either, but survived the 7 days. Came back home one week later.
After that, I went to see my folks in Mexico and walked throuhg all Walmart trying to find a perfume free detergent - not such luck. So, when asking my mom what she used to wash baby clothes, she said Zote
Of course, Zote has been around since way before I can remember. It is a bar soap, and every house in Mexico, regardless of having a washer or not, has a bar at hand. I did not want to spend time grinding it though, but happened to find a washer friendly version in flakes. OK, I guessed I would strip my diapers when I came back.
2 weeks later, I couldn't believe it. Certaintly it wasn't great for the stains (sun helped with those), but all the ammonia smell had completely dissapeared. I was slightly bothered by the perfume, but no rashes and no stinkies at all!
I came back and started using ECOS again. The amount of boosters was unbelievable. I was adding baking soda, Dawn, Castile soap and Hidrogen peroxide to the mix and still no results. Stink had come back in a week.
Back in the lake, I found Eco Nuts in the coop and decided to give them a try. Stinkies decreased, much better than Tiny Bubbles, but terrible with stains. I'll keep them there for sure, but I'm not convinced that they work for everything as they claim.
Back here, I remembered I had a small piece of Zote that my uncle gave to me in our Christmas trip to Texas. Couldn't hurt to try.
So, since my washer is so primitive and I fill the tub with my hand held shower hose, I just put the Zote piece below it and allowed whatever it released into the mix. The results were immediate.
I had finally found a way to wash my diapers without spending tons of money ($2 a bar) without buildup and without theneed of boosters. I've been using it for 2 months without a problem. In fact, I'm using it for all my laundry, leaving ECOS only for backup.
This was the epiphany: "Detergent buildup is easy to remove, ammonia is not". Truth is, most of us are so scared about our investment being ruined and warranties being voided, that we forget the most important function o fa detergent: to clean.
Later in the Cloth Diaper Support Group I'm enrolled, a lot of requests for help have appeared. Ammonia is a big monster, one you need your best arsenal to fight. Sometimes, that arsenal implies breaking the sacred rules. A lot of moms just plain and simple go with Tide. Others use tons of hot water and some more use more detergent than the mandated, bleach or even boil them. Remember, the most important thing is to keep the baby safe and rash free, not to keep your diapers with a valid warranty.
Sometimes we need to look back and see what our moms did, and this is what they did in Mexico to wash flats. This soap is so good that Mexicans are not wondering around the grocery store trying to figure out the best detergent for their babies. Sometimes, what has always been done is what works best.
I don't know if I'll keep using it, but so far, it has the least amount of buildup and usage with the highest efficiency. Suds are mostly gone after the first rinse, by the second, the smell (that is strong, have to admit) is gone.
I put the soap inside a baby sock and just toss it with the wash in hot water. couldn't be happier with the results.