Laundry: Friend or Foe It's Got to be Done ~ For Cloth Diapers and the Rest of Your Loads

Laundry: Friend or Foe It's Got to be Done

Raise your hand if you love laundry…anyone, anyone? I know there are some awesome diehards who do love laundry, but I my friends do not. Now, this is referring to laundry in general. I really don't mind starting it, but remembering to change it over and then folding…and forget about putting it away most of the time. Its my item that I let slide to fit in everything else and now that we don't have kids in diapers…well no reason to rush.

When you think about it, laundry isn't something we really put a focus on. Its a mechanism to clean our clothing and in awesome cases, to clean diapers! Did you realize there is a whole science behind laundry? Now the geek part of me is getting excited because this is the part about laundry that I love.  I encourage everyone to read a post by written by Shirley at Bummis, on the topic of laundry science. It is excellent for cloth diaper users and non-users alike. There are four main factors when washing laundry; water temperature, mechanical action, chemical action and time. If any factor(s) decreases, it must be made up with one of the other factors in order to maintain clean laundry. Those of us with hard water automatically lose some of the chemical action as the hard water ions use up a portion of the detergent before it is ever used for cleaning. If you have either too large or too small of a load, you lose mechanical action (the physical rubbing together of the clothing/diapers). She explains it very well, so please read.

Bummis Laundry Science Pie Chart

Figure: Laundry Science Pie Chart: Needs to be Balanced (Bummis)

Most cloth diaper manufacturers recommend a brand or two of detergents to use for their diapers and they are not always the same. They do, however, have several similar requirements: clean rinsing (zero residue), no enzymes and no chlorine bleach. Did you know that the majority of diaper detergents are way more gentle on the environment?

These detergents are highly concentrated (you're not paying for water), requiring less packaging and last a very long time with the smaller amounts required. AND IT'S CHEAPER or around the same price in most cases!! Does your laundry detergent list all its ingredients? Is it free of phosphates, enzymes, dyes, bleach, sodium chloride, sodium sulphate or optical brighteners? If its fragranced, is it phthalate free?

Please think twice before adding laundry softener to your load. The purpose of laundry softener is to coat your clothing with a residue that feels "soft" and a scent that is "fresh". Residues damage clothes and lead to issues with your cloth diapers. The chemicals that are left behind may trigger skin sensitivities. And clean doesn't smell like softener…clean doesn't have a smell. Its the lack of the smell.


Here are the four brands of detergent that I carry and recommend, depending on the diaper manufacturer, with their total cost per package and the per load coast. I also use these same detergents for our everyday laundry. You can find more information about the brand name detergents and how they were rated by the Environmental Working Group here.




Number of Loads HE

Number of Loads Top Loader

Per Load Cost HE

Cost per Load Top Loader

Known Ingredients, Free of Fillers, No Residue, Limited Packaging, *Canadian Made, Cloth Diaper Safe

Allen’s Naturally Liquid






Allen/s Naturally Powder






Claudia’s Choices*






Rockin’ Green Hard Rock






The Laundry Tarts*












Hard to Find Ingredients, Some Not Listed Ingredients, More Packaging

Purex (on sale)






Sunlight (on sale)













Let's finish up with the dryer. Line drying is best, but not really always possible in our climate.The high temperatures also lend themselves to sanitizing your laundry at high temperatures for a brief period. I know static can be an issue, but what doesn't help any of your laundry is laundry sheets. Same as laundry softener, they coat the clothes and dryer with residue. So even if you only use dyer sheets with your clothes, your diapers will still be prone to the residue buildup from the leftovers. Dryer sheets are thought by some to be a fire hazard, but dyers in general need to proper attention (CBC News: Dryer Safety).

There are two other options to reduce static. One, don't dry your clothes all the way dry. Many dryers offer automatic settings based on dryness. Choose normal or the one below and remove from the dryer as soon as done. Another way is to use dryer balls. I have a personal preference to use wool although plastic ones are available. Wool, as I have been known to repeat often, is Mother's Nature's most awesome fiber. It absorbs 4 times its weight in moisture and has anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Felted wool balls won't change over time other than the fuzz that forms on the outside. This fuzz is a good thing! It increase the surface area making he ball even better at its job. In general, people find that with the addition of four balls to the dryer they notice a small decrease in drying time. The more balls, the more of a decrease. This makes laundry shorter but also saves energy!!


Laundry Love and The Bump, baby and Kids Show Contest 

I want to share the laundry love! Leave a comment with your favourite laundry tip and be entered into a draw to win 2 tickets to The Bump, Baby and Kids Show in Calgary April 6 and 7th, 2013! The winner will also receive 1 Claudia's Choices Laundry Powder (770 g) that will be waiting for them at the show! If you are unable to attend the show or are outside of the Calgary area, you are free to comment, but please mention that you're not able to attend as we want the prize to go to someone really wanting to go to the show. Comments must be left by Sunday March 31st at 8 PM MST. 

March 27, 2013 by Laurie McGowan
previous / next

Leave a comment