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Monday, January 3, 2011

Cloth Diapers, Part 4

Part 4: Jillian's Drawers and detergent options

My favorite resource and place to buy cloth diapers is Jillian's Drawers in Ithaca, NY.  Not only are they a great information source, but they have great prices and GREAT customer service!  They even have great return policies and shipping rates (for online purchases).  Oh, and you can get some stuff used from them.  Basically, they're great! ;o) 

Here is their info on what detergents are best for cloth diapers.  I used Tide for awhile and liked it fine, but it seemed expensive so I looked up a recipe for homemade powdered detergent.

Homemade detergent:
1 Bar Fels Naptha laundry soap, grated
1 C. Washing Soda
1 C. Borax

Mix together and use two tablespoons per load.

I did the math (which is a big deal for me cause I hate math!) and discovered it would save us about $200 a year to switch from Tide to homemade.  (It's probably more savings now that we have Sam). 
I used to be able to get all the ingredients at Wegman's but now I'm finding it hard to locate Fels Naptha.  I'll have to place an online order soon, but it's still cheaper than Tide.  I also like the smell :o)  And I haven't had any problems with the diapers getting build up.  (Oh, and Fels Naptha is a GREAT pretreater for regular stains on clothes!) 

It's usually recommended that you "strip" your diapers every so often.  Jillian's Drawers explains it best, but basically if you start to notice smells or leaks it's likely a buildup problem from your detergent so you just strip the diapers.  I bought a bottle of Sensi-Clean from Jillian's Drawers and it works great.  I probably do it every other month or more often if I notice them smelling funny.  The smell is sort of a sour smell... not the normal pee/poop smell you'd expect.  That's when I know it's time to strip.


  1. Just a note about stripping and regular washing. Here in Addison we have hard water (as in...tons of sulfur and other minerals) that causes build-up on the diapers. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong that was resulting in rash on my girls' girly parts. Then I stripped my diapers. They were great until I washed them again. I tried changing around the wash cycles, experimenting with different detergents, and adding and subtracting elements like rinse cycles and vinegar additions. Turns out that hard water needs a detergent that washes away completely. The two that seemed to fit the bill were Charlie's and Sensi-Clean. I use the latter. It's something to consider if you have hard water and want a complete tally of the cost of cloth diapering. You use such a small amount with each tub that it's not a HUGE additional expense, but it is additional nonetheless. Generally homemade cleansers don't cut it as well as these two specifically, from what I'm told by the Jillian's Drawers crew. Just something else I found out.

  2. And another *potentially important* (cough cough) note about Fels-Naptha . . . don't try to take it through the security check in an airport! Actually, they had just "never seen it before" so they pulled it out of my carry-on to have a closer look. But I did find it funny and will plan to mail it to you if you can't order it somewhere or find it in Germany!

  3. LOL Mom I can't imagine that anyone else would be having that problem! ;o) If I can't find it in Germany, I might be able to find a different laundry soap... or I'll pay the extra to order it online.