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Dear frugal readers or earth-conscious types,
And those who write to-do lists,
I'm getting to the tail-end of my "to-do before baby" list, which is good since I'm also getting to the tail-end of my "how long it usually takes to build a baby" calendar.
One of the things on my to-do list (and on my Twelve New Things list!) was to make some cloth diaper detergent.
Bona-fide bottled store-bought cloth diaper detergent - which can't contain certain fragrances, whiteners, and other ingredients that adhere to cloth and diminish the absorbency of the diaper - can be expensive, especially if you're trying to find something that's not too harsh on the body. I also feel bad going through lots of plastic bottles, since plastic doesn't really deteriorate once you throw it out. Homemade just seemed like a natural choice.
I started my recipe hunt, and stumbled across Elisa's beautiful blog. She shared several detergent recipes, including a cloth diaper recipe that was ultra-minimal to avoid causing any rash or problem with her child's sensitive skin.
This recipe became my choice for our diapers so far. I like leaving out as many chemicals as possible, but I also like clean diapers. I am grateful to Elisa for sharing this recipe!
Read the update here: We are still loving this, and it has become our household detergent for everything!
Here, she explains the ins and outs of the recipe - as well as another recipe for your everyday laundry, if you need one! (She also posted a recipe for dishwasher detergent!)
Elisa's Three-Ingredient Cloth Diaper Detergent
When you're looking for an oxygen cleaner, if you aren't sure exactly what it is just check the ingredients on the container - there should only be two. The oxygen cleaner and washing soda would be in the laundry aisle, and regular baking soda will be in the baking aisle. You can bring the cost of the detergent down even more if you can find these items in bulk at a big-box store or wholesale supplier!
Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Oxygen Cleaner (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate)
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
Mix equal parts of each ingredient. Use one tablespoon for a small load, two tablespoons for a medium load, and ... you can extrapolate for the large load!
I put the jars on the laundry-room shelf, and posted instructions for mixing more and how to use, in case family members ever volunteered to run a load of diapers. Why only two tablespoons for an average load, you may ask? Homemade detergents will always be more concentrated than store-bought detergents because we don't bother to add extra fillers and junk to make it look like we have more than we do. Using a one-cup scoop for laundry detergent feels pretty pointless now, doesn't it?
I didn't add any fragrances to this batch, but you could try adding essential oils if you wanted a little something more.
Update: July 23, 2012
Our little boy was born on June 21, and we've been using the cloth diaper every day since! It does not remove all stains; you can lay the fabric in the sun to bleach stains out in a skin-friendly way. The stains are, however, "clean." The diapers smell fresh and clean and we've had no skin problems!
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