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DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent Recipe

DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent RecipeI used this detergent recipe on my diapers for about four years, until my youngest was out of diapers. I still use this detergent on my clothing as both a detergent and a booster!

If you’re looking for the clothing version of this recipe with soap added, look here.

In addition to this recipe, I also have two other recipes that are safe for diapers. Check out my Soap Nut Powdered Detergent Recipe & Soap Nut Liquid Detergent Recipe.

So this is the recipe that I use. It’s cheap and I love it 🙂

I don’t like having miscellaneous leftovers, so I make up a large batch… like this:

3 Boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz each)
2 Boxes 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz each)
1 Large Tub OxiClean Free or “Baby” (96 oz)

This should cost around $30 to make, and you will want a large bucket or pail to store it in (I use an old 5 gallon paint bucket).  It is a lot of detergent, but it is inexpensive to make and lasts forever – or you can share!  If you find that you don’t love it for diapers, your investment is not lost – use it for clothes, as a laundry booster and even for random household cleaning.

If you’re not into large batches, you can try this recipe out in a smaller portion with the recipe below.

This is not the exact proportions of the larger recipe, but should be comparable.

If you are having trouble locating the supplies to make this recipe (I’ve had great luck at our grocery store and others at hardware stores) you can purchase everything to make this on Amazon.

Wash Routine

This will all depend on your machine, your water and how many diapers you are washing.  Generally for me, the following method works well in non-HE top loader.

Cold Wash: 1-2 Tablespoons (depending on load size/soil level)
Hot Wash: 2-3 Tablespoons (depending on load size/soil level)

If you find that your diapers are not coming clean (smell dirty, strong ammonia, etc.)  Try using more detergent and or an extra wash cycle.

Want to buy a detergent, here are some brands that are cloth diaper safe.

Allens Naturally Laundry Detergent
BumGenius Diaper Detergent
Charlie’s Soap
Country Save
Crunchy Clean
Eco Nuts
Eco Sprout
Rockin’ Green


**I’d like to make a note about the borax used in this recipe.  An article by EWG cautions the use of borax for cleaning in the home noting that toddlers and young children face special risks from hand-to-mouth transfer of carpet or crack and crevice, dust or spray borax treatments. I would recommend not using borax as a general home cleaner – any cleaner (aside from pure water) used for these purposes will leave a residue.  I feel completely comfortable using the small amount in the detergent. It is not used on open surfaces and is washed out during the rinse cycle.

You can read a bit more on this debate here – there are some great points of view in the comments.

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