I will test each detergent for 1 month, unless I start having build-up and/or any other issues before that time. In between testings, I will strip all of the diapers in RLR Laundry Treatment so there is no residue of the former detergent.
I have an older top loader, with normal water. I have a large range of types and brands of diapers, as well as a mixture of natural and synthetic materials. My normal wash routine is: Cold rinse. Long hot wash plus detergent, followed by one cold rinse. I typically wash every 3 days.
I first reviewed Tide Original Powder, since that is what I used for a year before testing different detergents. In that review is also a mini-review of Tide Free & Gentle.
Detergent #2 that I tested was EcoNuts soap nuts. From the EcoNuts website:
"Eco Nuts™ are an EXTREMELY effective natural wild-crafted detergent with absolutely NO manmade chemicals, toxins or artificial perfumes or fragrances. This natural detergent leaves your laundry marvelously clean and fresh. Eco Nuts™ are mild enough for delicate fabrics, wool and silks. Eco Nuts™ are gentle enough for baby clothes but strong enough for cloth diapers. The quick biodegradability of Eco Nuts also make it ideal to use if you are on a septic or gray water system. Eco Nuts™ are hypoallergenic and great for those with sensitive skin, eczema, and psoriasis....All Eco Nuts™ packaging is 100% compostable or 100% recyclable, and 100% plastic-free."
I used Eco Nuts for one month exactly. I followed my normal wash routine, but just threw in the bag of soap nuts instead of regular detergent. I will admit, I was skeptical at first. I even decided to do a couple of loads on my clothes before trying them on the diapers. With a positive wash experience on the clothes, I tried them on a small load of diapers. I was amazed at how clean they smelled!!
Eco Nuts provides 2 small bags to put 4-6 Eco Nuts in, just toss one of the bags in the machine, and wash. That's it. I did have to remember to find the bag before transferring the diapers to the dryer (or to be line dried, depending on the diapers), but that was not a big deal.
While the diapers were clean, Eco Nuts did not remove stains very well. Nearly all of the inserts are now stained. I know sunning would take care of this, but with the freezes we had in the month I tested the soap nuts, that is not practical this time of year. Sharni, owner of the Nappy Shoppe, told me she prefers Eco Nuts in the summer time when it's easy to sun the diapers. This week will actually be a perfect time to sun the diapers. Spring appears to be coming early!
Overall, I do like the Eco Nuts. I think they are a great idea for babies with sensitive skin! However, in the last 2 loads, I don't think the diapers came out as clean as they had been. I started noticing a very strong ammonia smell. I do not believe it is from detergent build-up, since these are not exactly a regular detergent. I think the diapers (especially the fitteds he wears at night, which are very thick) were just not getting very clean. It mostly effected the thicker diapers (fitteds and AIO's), and the synthetic materials. I did not notice ammonia stink in the natural fiber diapers and inserts. I am in the process of stripping the diapers to move on to my next detergent.
I would consider using Eco Nuts again on the diapers, knowing that I would most likely need to strip once a month, in addition to sunning more often than I normally do. I will definitely keep using it on my clothes, and the boys clothes.
The next detergent I am testing is Country Save.