DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent Recipe

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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 πŸ™‚

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
Nellie’s
Planet
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.

Amanda Hearn
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279 Comments

  • This will work for HE machines, you just want to start out using half of the recommended amount. You can adjust from there to see what works for you, your water and your machine πŸ™‚

    I would add it with the diapers.

  • I am very excited to try this recipe! I have two questions for you…What do you keep the entire batch of detergent in once you have made it? Do you use this detergent for all of your laundry, or just diapers? If you use if for all of your laundry, how much do you use for a normal load of laundry? Thanks.

  • I store it in a large 5 gallon bucket.

    I use 1 tbs per wash/rinse cycle. Use half of that for an HE machine.

    I only use this for my CD laundry. I would add soap to itto use it for clothes. (look on the blog for the recipe)

  • So you do 2 seperate washes BOTH with detergant?
    One cold
    One hot
    Both with regular rinse or an extra rinse???
    Do you have to do any extra rinses like with regular detergant?
    I am very excited to try this DD has very sensitive skin!

  • Yep, I do one cold (with detergent) and one hot (with detergent)

    They are typical wash/rinse cycles. I don't typically do an 'extra' rinse. Very rarely I'll stop the hot wash right before the rinse and restart so that it does another hot wash and then the rinse.

    I've only done this a handful of times when she's been more poopy than usual and I just want to make sure I can get them extra clean.

  • I wash 2 days worth of diapers for 2 girls right now. I have pretty hefty loads and sometimes toss in an extra rinse or wash because of it.

    When it was just one baby, it was about 3 days worth of diapers.

    Also, basically no matter the load size, I put it on the largest load setting to get plenty of water πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for these recipes! I can't wait to try them. For washing infant clothing, would you use the CD recipe or the regular detergent recipe? amts? I would love to be able to find a safe detergent to do all of my family's clothes in one single load.

  • I would use the regular recipe for any clothes. It has the soap in it and that's going to help get out dirt, oil, etc. I haven't tried the CD detergent on clothes though.

    I have found that the CD detergent really does a good job though. I don't have staining on my diapers and I haven't needed to sun them in quite some time.

    Thankfully, as it's winter here now πŸ˜€

  • I've read that the borax can be bad for baby's skin and also for the elastic/fabrics. Have you had any problems?

  • I haven't had any problems with it. I've been using this recipe for nearly a year and a half. Also, you use so little of this detergent per load, and borax only makes up a portion of even that.

    As for the elastic. I have yet to have any elastic go out on me. I think bleach is much harder on it. I don't use that at all on my diapers and very very rarely on clothes, never on the kids clothes.

  • I have looked and looked for a homemade laundry detergent specifically for CD's. I've been using Charlie's Soap with ok results…but would consider switching to something different.

    Do you use these on prefolds or fleece/suedecloth? Just curious if this rinses well from fabrics that tend to hold stink.

    Thanks so much for linking to the Laundry Recipe Round-Up! Great contribution!!

    -Lauren

  • I have been using this detergant but not with great success πŸ™ My diapers don't come out clean smelling. I have a front loader HE machine. Should I be adding more than a tbs if they still dont smell good, or try something else?

    • I have an HE as well and had the same problem when I first used this formula. There was still a faint smell of pee on the diapers with just 1 TBS. So I use 2TBS now. πŸ™‚
      In short? Use 2 and rinse, rinse, rinse. πŸ™‚
      The longer version:
      I have been using this recipe for about a month now, using 2TBS per load and rinsing VERY well. I had a detergent or oil build up on my diapers that was causing a stink issue and it took me FOREVER to strip them with my HE machine. I DO NOT want to do that again, haha. Soooo, I may overdo the rinsing, but here is my routine for the last month (it is working well for me):
      I do diapers every night (2 babies under 1.5 years :-P).
      1. I put them through a cold/cold permanent press cycle with NO detergent to rinse out the diapers and leave them a little wet and heavy for the next cycle.
      2. I run a heavy duty cycle on HOT/cold (looking into the temp of my sanitize cycle water to see if it is safe to use on our PUL, if it is I’ll use that) with 2TBS of this detergent.
      3. I run it through a HOT/cold Heavy duty cycle again, with NO detergent
      4. I run it through a quick wash on COLD with NO detergent.
      I have found I can reduce the number of rinse cycles if I stand at my machine for the length of the cycle and add water, one pitcher at a time to both the wash and rinse cycles. . .. I add the water through the detergent slot. (I used this technique to strip my diapers, which requires a LOT more water than my machine uses).
      I hope that helps! Feel free to ask any other questions, and I will keep you posted if I run into any problems. So far, so good though! πŸ™‚

  • I'd love to help you troubleshoot. If you could, send me an email. I use a top loader, but have seen a few variations of was routines for HE machines.

    myecoblog at gmail dot com

  • I've had great results with this mix! I've used it 3x so far and my diapers come out smelling like, well nothing! As they should. We were having some stink issues and I think it may have been caused by build up from our old detergent. I'm loving this mix! Thanks for the recipe!

  • This is probably a dumb question, but where would you buy washing soda? Would it be with laundry detergent at the store, or somewhere else?

  • I get it at my local grocery store (Kroger) in the laundry isle. It's near the bleach, oxi-clean and other laundry additives.

    If you have trouble finding it try an ACE hardware store. If they don't carry it in store, they can order it for you.

  • If the borax is of concern, it can simply be left out. The detergent should still work fine.

    After the reading I have done, I feel comfortable using borax in this application. It is washed & rinsed away from the fabric and is clearly not meant to be ingested. It is also such a small amount (I use 1 tbs per load and only about 1/3 of that is borax).

    As with any cleaner, it should be kept away from children and pets.

    • You can actually make washing soda from baking soda.

      Hint: you bake it. lol

      I don’t remember the temperature your oven needs to be or for how long it needs to bake though.

  • You can't. They are very different in use. If you are having trouble finding it, try local hardware stores (like Ace) or small, non chain, grocers.

    If can also be purchased online.

  • I have used this as well and have not had good success with it. I'm using BG 4.0's. The still come out not smelling clean at all, and I have even tried putting in 2 tbs. with still the same results.

    Any help?

    I can be emailed at jhartman508@gmail.com in case I don't see this..

    THank you!!

  • which oxiclean is used for this recipe? I looked today at Target and there is oxiclean baby, oxiclean free and the original oxiclean. Is one better for CD? Do you use the same one for regular laundry and CD? Thanks!

  • I have used both regular & free w/out issue. I have read that free & baby are the same formula. I mostly but original, but it's all up to your preference.

  • I justed started using this in my HE machine. I didn't read directions carefully and used two tablespoons the first time (one for wash, one for prewash). I was not happy with the result – things still smelled funky. The next time through, I used a half tablespoon for each wash cycle and they came out smelling like nothing – perfect! I'm not sure why this happened, but I hope it helps anyone with an HE washer.

  • i have a front loading HE machine. i started off using 1/2 tbsp for each cycle (1 cold, 1 hot)- i put the detergent in with the diapers… and my diapers came out with terrible EBF stains. i just upped this load to 1Tbsp and still having the same issue.
    any tips?
    they smell clean but look terribly stained

  • Some staining is par for the course. If you sun your diaper it should remove the stains mostly (if not completely). It really works wonders. Instead of using the dryer put your damp diapers in the sun. Cloudy days are fine too. If you don't have a clothes line you can lay them on a blanket, table, etc. If it's freezing outside you can also sun them through a window. It might take a little longer, but it still helps a lot.

  • I'm curious if this is septic safe? I've heard that liquid detergent is better for septics, but I think this powder stuff looks way easier than the liquid stuff I make. Any insight? Do you have a septic?

  • All of the ingredients in this are septic safe. I am not on septic, but most people in my area are and I know of many that do use this (my grandmother uses the clothing version).

  • a friend just shared this recipe with me. i have a cd detergent that i really love, but we are traveling and i forgot to bring it and it is super hard to find without having it shipped and we don't exactly have an address for shipping while we're on the road. anyway, i love the reviews and am excited to try it, but i am a little concerned about good cleaning without an actual soap. i'm assuming that the combination of additive agents provides sufficient cleaning without soap but rinses out easier? also, i've heard some people soak their diapers to remove set odors or stains. does this recipe work for that (or have you tried it)?

  • You won't want 'soap' to clean your diapers in any fashion. It will quickly cause a buildup – leading to repelling and/or stink. You're right on about how it cleans. It will still clean thoroughly (as any CD detergent) without actual soap – and rinsing away easier to leave your diapers free from residue. I'm not sure about soaking. I've never had a need to do that. If I have a stain, I prefer to line dry it, as the sun will quickly (and safely) remove the stain.

  • Hi EFFer,
    I got your CD recipe over a year ago on thebump and actually use it on all of our wash. Everything comes out clean and smelling like, well, nothing actually. My question is how do you keep the detergent from getting clumpy and forming 'rocks' before you use a whole container?
    ~mantle~

  • I keep the OxiClean tub full of it in the laundry area and it never gets hard before I use it up.

    The large bucket in my basement does get hard though. I can break it up easily with a scoop or screwdriver (since my husband's tools are easy at hand), so I don't mind too much.

  • When I put 2 Tbsp of the detergent in the wash it doesn't get very sudsy. I am worried that it is not cleaning the clothes well enough. DD dropped some pureed sweet potatoes on her pj's and the stain is still there. I am not sure if I should have pre-treated it before hand.

  • This recipe does not have soap in it, so it will not sud, which is why it's good for use on cloth diapers.

    It can be used on clothes as well with good results, but for tough stains like sweet potatoes, ring around the collar, ketchup, etc. It would probably be best to spot treat those items before washing. I use a bar of Fels Naptha and it works well. I wet it, rub and if it's a really tough stain I'll gently scrub it with a toothbrush in a circular motion.

    As a side note, because it is a natural stain, I would treat it, rewash and then set it in the sun to dry. You can even do this in a window that gets decent sun. It should help.

  • If you're using the recipe for clothes – with Fels Naptha in it, you might see some suds but not like a commerial detergent (the CD version does not have soap).

    Commercial soaps use a chemicals meant for sudzing, but sudz don't equal clean. It just gives that impression – if that makes sense.

    In chemistry, I recall my prof. talking about how the soap molecules attach to the dirt and are washed away with the water and it having nothing to do with the suds that we see.

  • Can you scent this? If you've tried and had success, how did you do it? I'm thinking fragrance oil, but haven't got any idea how much, and how you would mix a very small amount of liquid with that large amount of powder without getting little clumps of very scented stuff. You know what I mean?

  • You can scent it. I would recommend using essential oils, as fragrance oils can have a number of chemicals in them – some hormone disrupting.

    I know that it takes just a few drops of an EO to scent about a quart jar's worth. I would probably do it in smaller batches anyhow, that way you can switch it up.

    I did it once a long while ago and never had any moisture issues. Just be sure to mix it in well.

  • Can you tell me would your recipe need to be altered if you have water issues such as hard or soft water?

    I am not sure I have either but I have heard in our area, Florida that there is hard water and I'm just wondering if you would alter your recipe or perhaps the wash routine for something of that sort?

    Also, you put the detergent into the water before putting diapers in correct, just like with regular clothes?

    Thanks a million!

  • If you don't scent it, it doesn't make your clothes smell strange does it? I know some unscented detergents make the clothes smell strange.

    Also; lets say I was going to make the larger batch of detergent, what the heck would I put it all in? And HOW would I mix that? lol. Thank you.

  • I store my detergent in a 5 gallon bucket. We mixed it up by tossing it back and forth between two buckets, but some people have said that they pour the ingredients into a trash bag and then roll it around a bit to mix it up. I think we'll do it that way next time, as the mixture can cause dust when tossed back and forth to mix.

    This does not leave anything smelling strange. I have noticed that as well with some free & clear detergents.

  • Someone on the Bump recommended your recipe to me last week. We made our own detergent but quickly realized it wasn't good for cloth diapers. I am IN LOVE with this stuff!! I'm sitting here now stuffing diapers and had to jump over to tell you how sparkly white and fresh they are! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I'm wondering if you've had any issues with pocket diapers or diaper covers using this detergent, specifically affecting the color or the waterproof-ness. I wasn't able to tell from your original post our comments whether it's just compatible with prefolds, etc. Thanks so much. I'm hoping to try this out when I run out of commercial cloth diaper detergent.

  • You can m make your own washing soda from baking soda… on a baking sheet spreading baking soda in a thin layer. Bake on 400 degrees for an hour. Store in air tight container. Do NOT use for baking because baking causes the ph to rise….where baking soda has an almost neutral ph

  • I kind of had the same question as SarahJ… If you are doing two wash cycles, one right after the other, does that affect the waterproof-ness of the diaper? And also, how long does one big batch usually last you?

  • I haven't had any issues using this on my diapers. I have used it on covers, all-in-ones, prefolds, pockets and fitteds. I was actually putting a diaper on my daughter last night that required a cover and I was thinking how it was one of the first covers I bought three years ago. It still works great.

    I think the last batch I made has lasted me about two years, and I still have about an oxiclean container full. I have used it for regular laundry a bit too.

  • I have seen this recipe used without the oxiclean. I have never used gDiapers, so I can't speak to how their inner liner holds up to washing. It's made of a nylon material as opposed to the PUL used in other cloth diapers.

  • I actually decided not to go with gDiapers after hearing opinions and I'm using Thirsties and Kawaii and the Thirsties site says not to use washing soda, what is the difference in washing and baking soda? Thanks for your help:)

  • I'm not familiar with why this might be. I have been using this exact detergent for about 3 years now. I have never had any issues with my diapers breaking down as a result of the detergent.

  • Hi, a friend on my cloth diaper board suggested your recipe, she's a friend of yours. I CANNOT get the ammonia out of my diapers. I tried using white vinegar before, baking soda, Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer, and RLR. The latter two worked, but it still didn't solve it 100%, it comes back. I try sunning them, still doesn't take the stink away. I think I have hard water. I don't like using a lot f harsh chemicals either, I currently use Ecos Free and Clear and some ladies suggested that may be my problem. I am not sure what to do. My baby gets eczema so I'm afraid to use the borax but I see you say it's safe. How would I mix it up without causing harm?? I don't want to make a big thing like you have, how much would I use for just a smaller recipe?? Thanks.

  • I'm not sure how older your little one is, but I found that as my girls got older, I needed to use more detergent to get their diapers fully clean and keep ammonia at bay. Currently, with this recipe, I'm doing a cold rinse and two warm washes. The first warm wash has 2 tablespoons of detergent, the 2nd has just one.

    You might need to play around with wash routines just a little, but I find that not enough detergent can lead to issues like this.

    If you still continue to have troubles, please feel free to email me (info on my contact page).

    As for the borax. My girls have sensitive skin, my youngest especially, and this is not an issue for her. I would try the smaller batch and see how it goes. The biggest thing is that you are going to want to give them a really good wash the first time to try to clear out any crud left behind. You may even do 4-6 washes, depending on the condition. This is the small batch (also above)

    1 cup washing soda
    1 cup borax
    1/2 cup of oxiclean

  • Thank you, I found borax so I got a box of it. After reading the box I didn't feel it was unsafe, not when I saw you can wash baby clothes in it. The RLR did work as I noticed when I put her diapers away today, they didn't smell as horrible as they used to. But I know I need something permanent and you seem to have a lot of good reviews. I can use the oxiclean by itself with my husband's work clothes and detergent right?? Cuz I can't get the stink out of those either lol.

  • I actually use the cloth diaper detergent as a booster with my husband's laundry. He's a general contractor and can get pretty dirty. It works well. Each of the components (borax washing soda & oxi) are all meant to be laundry additives, so you can use any one of them as an addition to your regular laundry.

  • I hope this works and is okay, I used the small recipe, but did it 3 times so there's a total of 3 cups washing soda, 3 cups borax, and 1 1/2 cups Oxiclean. I'm going to try the warm wash cycles you suggested.

  • I hope it helps πŸ™‚ It should not sud much, if at all. It contains no soap or artificial foaming/sudsing agents.

    Most commercials shampoos and detergents contain artificial ingredients that cause it to sud more, but it really has no benefit.

  • Okay I did 3 washes, the first cold rinse then warm wash then two hot washes, each with he detergent except the cold rinse, 1 tbs each. I didn't seem to notice much difference when I pulled them out and hung them on the line πŸ™ Can I increase the amount of detergent? Did I not mix it up right? I used 3 cups borax, 3 cups washing soda, and 1 1/2 cups oxiclean free. I mixed it together in a large rubbermaid tub.

  • Because you were already having some issues with them, you might want to do a couple of additional warm washes to help get rid of anything left from the the detergents you have been using. Stripping when you do a detergent change is usually advised if there is an issue (ammonia, stink, etc.)

    I would try doing a warm wash with 2 tablespoons of detergent, and then one with just 1 tablespoon.

    If you are using microfiber, you could wash your inserts separately in hot water.

  • I wanted to let you know I stripped my diapers since the smell was still in them. I have Aurora in her first diaper that was stripped so waiting to see. So far so good but she may not have went potty yet ( I just changed her). I didn't have big buckets to mix the detergent in when I made it I have it in a big tupperware type tub and just shook it up and went back and forth with it, do you think that's okay??

  • Hi again. I stripped my diapers and it worked for about a week or so, but then still started stinking again. I use 2 tbs of detergent with two washes as per your directions. I just don't know what else to do. Last night's laundry some of them came out smelling really funky. I don't think it's your recipe, it's either my washing machine or my water, something is wrong. But I can't afford to keep trying a bunch of different things. What do you recommend I do? I really don't want to have to give up cloth. Thank you!

  • I would suggest trying one of two things.

    1)Tide original powder. As much as I hate to rec. it, I have been told by many people that it does work.

    2) Eco Sprout Detergent – I'm currently using this for a review and it is working amazingly well. I'm actually shocked, because I am super skeptical of detergents. I always seem to have issues when I try new ones.

    I have been doing a cold wash (no detergent) and then a hot wash with 2 tablespoons + rinse. If you'd like, I have enough that I could send you a sample to try. Just send me an email at myecoblog@gmail.com

  • Hi Amanda,

    I am a new follower, and I just wanted to say hi and thanks for all the wonderful green, money-saving tips! I am a stay-at-home mom to two little ones. I love it, but I especially enjoy finding ways to make us healthier, doing right by the environment, and finding ways to keep our hard-earned money in our pockets. Your blog is a great resource for all those things! Thanks again! You can find some of my musings at http://www.thekellynewlyweds.blogspot.com. I'll be “visiting” frequently!

    Hugs,
    Nancy

  • I just have a question about the ingredients. Isn't oxiclean a whitener/brightener? I read all over that we're not supposed to use “whiteners or brighteners” on cloth diapers? What's the deal?
    Also do any of the ingredients cause diaper rash on sensitive skin? Thanks.

  • I have the same question as Michelle G.
    I heard Oxiclean is not good for cloth diapers too.
    That it causes them to not be as absorbant.

    The recipe would be good for all other clothes though.

    Peace+
    G

  • You don't want to use optical brighteners on diapers. Optical brighteners are different than whiteners/brighteners like bleach or oxiclean (oxygen bleach).

    The oxiclean used in this recipe will not reduce absorbency.

  • thanks for the recipe, just made a large drum full :] i used “baby” oxiclean though, do you know if that will make a difference? i havent used it on dirty diapers yet since he is still to tiny to fit into most of them without leakage :[

  • I use a similar recipe for my everyday laundry. I was told that I shouldn't use Borax on my cloth diapers, so I haven't tried it. I've used Rockin' Green and Allen's soap with no change in smell.I have been using Thirsties Duo Diapers and they smell horrible. I tried the Funk Rock as well as Dawn dish soap to strip them, but still couldn't get the smell out. I actually have stopped using CD's because I couldn't stand putting my daughter is diapers that smell so bad. We were living in Colorado and recently moved to Texas. I haven't tried anything with them since we moved. Any suggestions to get the smell out?

  • It shouldn't being such a small amount (if you have an HE machine, use less) but that's not to say that it can't. If you have a top loader, I would add it to the machine and let the water fill before adding your diapers. Many CD brands recommend using bleach once a month. I do not, because I don't like bleach, but many do.

  • I have a HE frontloader too but don't know where to put the detergent. They say we really have to use HE detergent and it must be liquid. What can I do?

  • Cornelie, that can happen. I wonder if it's somehow moisture related as it does that in our storage room but not our laundry room. Regardless it breaks up easily with a scoop or other hard device. Once in chunks you'll find that a gentle squeeze will return it to dust.

  • I'm purchasing cd from a friend. Would you recommend washing them in this mix first or something else? I use this for my cloth wipes and LOVE IT!! Email me Snkfujihara at yahoo dot com

  • I have an he frontload washer AND soft water. How much detergent would you recommend? 1/2 Tbsp? Also would I still need to do 2 seperate wash/rinse cycles or can I just use the pre-wash and wash compartments? Thanks so much!

  • Thank you for posting this. I have been using it for about a month and have just started to have some stink issues. I will try 2T for the first wash and see what happens.

    My son just started eating more solids so that may be part of the problem.

  • This might be a stupid question… if you can clean cloth diapers without using soap – what is the importance of using the soap for regular clothing?

    • I’ve thought about this before too and I try to keep in mind that soap is just one method of attracting and pulling away dirt. The ingredients in this can do the same thing. Also, diapers are put through two cycles generally, so there is extra agitation and water to help clean the soiled diapers.

      I have actually seen news shows talk about skipping detergent (Money Matters maybe?) and that with the exception of heavily soiled clothing, most clothes will clean just fine with water and agitation alone.

  • I have to use liquid detergent in my HE washer. I’ve tried putting powder in the detergent reservoir but I end up with a detergent cake in the reservoir and I have also tried just tossing the detergent in with the clothes or diapers but my washer does a pre wash rinse that I cant program out, so it just rinses all of the detergent away. I have also tried dissolving the powder in warm water then pouring it into the reservoir, but I still end uup with a detergent cake. Do you have a way to make this detergent into a liquid or do you have a liquid recipe that you would recommend? Thanks!

    • I have seen some methods where people will add this to water and heat it on the stove top, let it cool and then put it into a bottle. I believe a shake is needed before pouring. You might give it a try. I would try a small batch, and try to keep it from being too watery.

  • Hi! Thanks for this recipe! I mixed up a small batch last night and am going to try it tonight. Has anyone ever compared this to Rockin Green? We use the Hard Rock formula and have to use 4 T (1/4 cup). Any less and we get barnyard smell. Only 1 T of this homemade detergent kind of scares me. Any former RnG users have a suggestion? Thanks!

    • You can certainly use more, if you find that’s what you need. I used 2 tbs when our daughter was breastfed and then more when she started solids.

      Unfortunately I don’t have much experience with RnG. I’m not sure if it was my machine or our water, but I tried it a few times and it just didn’t work for us. Perhaps someone else can weigh in.

    • I have always used RG (9months), but over the last couple of months I have noticed my diapers have gotten worse and worse with stink problems. Stripping doesn’t work anymore either. So I am ditching the RG. I never loved it, the smells are not as great as they advertise on the package, and they never seemed super clean. Barnyard smell…. I know exactly what you mean. I can use 1 TBSP or 4 and still get it. I use the Hard Rock too, although I have tried Classic as well. I am trying this recipe tonight with my diapers, I just made some and I am hoping for the best! I have tried everything for stripping, and finally decided I just need new detergent. I hope this works! I can let you know what I think!!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this! I searched high and low for a cloth diaper detergent that didn’t irritate my son, and this is perfect! And so affordable. I actually use it on all of our laundry, with amazing results (like ground in blueberry and pomegranate stains into a light yellow bedsheet- gone in one wash with no pre treating!). I also LOVE the way it smells- like nothing but pure clean. I’ve even convinced a few friends close to me to switch and start making their own with your recipe cause I talk about how much I love it! lol Thanks again for sharing!

  • Is this detergent okay to use with bummis super whisper wraps? I’ve always used a “free and clear” detergent as directed, but would like to try something homemade.

    • I have not used this with Bummis, but because I have not used their wraps. I have used it with many other brands similar without any issues.

  • I have a quick question. I know a lot of cloth diapers don’t want you to use oxy-clean because of the enzymes I think that are in them. You can get build up on the CDs from that. What have you found with that?

  • So i love the fact there is a powder detergent that is affordable and gets diapers and clothes clean (ive been having problems with soap stains on my everyday clothes no matter how i do a load.) but all of a sudden my son is getting a rash wareing his cloth diapers. i have read in different places that this is from the Borax. i havnt started cloth on my newborn yet and now im a little worried to. i love this recipe and would hat to try and find a new one. maybe there is something i can do to different. would using less borax help or would that make the detergent less effective. Or could it just be that i need to add another rinse cycle to get any residue out of the cloth? Im also wondering if its just my washer.. its kinda broke and we havnt been able to get a new one yet so im partialy hand washing. it only fills and spins.. doesnt accually wash.. so when its filling i sit there and agitate the water by hand. If you have any suggestions please let me know Thanks!!!

  • Where do you keep your pail that you can leave it open?? I have the pail liner, which I have been using with no pail… I have been just keeping it on the floor in the corner of my baby’s room by the changing table, but the smell got too bad in his room. I was going to go buy a garbage can with the step to open it so it would stay closed tight to keep the smell down.
    Then, also I was debating to keep it in his room or in the laundry room…but that’s downstairs so super inconvenient to go down there with a dirty diaper every time.
    I’m very interested in what other people do to store the dirties!!!
    Thanks!

  • I could not spend the time reading all the comments so I don’t know if you already answered this…but is this safe for septic tanks?

  • Hi,
    What kind of cloth diapers do you use? Do you use pocket or AIO? I read that oxiclean can be harmful to the PUL in those diapers…. thoughts? I’m new to CD.

  • Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve been using CD for about 5 months and this is the only detergent I’ve used. Works great!

  • Hi. I have been doing tons of research trying to find a good detergent to use for my CD. We have a top loader with hard water and my diapers have a faint smell when they come out of the wash. I have seen this recipe around, but with the grated soap. Why have you left the soap out here? Does castille soap tend to build up on the diapers? Thank you!

    • In my experience, it is gentle enough in this smaller quantity. I wouldn’t soak diapers in large quantities of oxiclean though.

      Soap can leave a residue on diapers, making them not absorb well, or even repel. That said, I haven’t tried Dr. Bs on cloth, but I haven’t heard of anyone using it either.

  • I’ve been using this on my pocket diapers for the last 4 weeks. I was looking for a cheaper detergent for baby #2, #1 could only have Tide Free used on her dipes. Even the cloth friendliest detergents left a rash. Anyway, I just noticed this last week that my pockets have MAJOR repelling issues. I’ve had a wet backed baby three times now. I grabbed the dipe, ran water on the inside and it just stayed there for as long as I left it….never soaking in. I have used 1-2 tablespoons max in an extra large load, done extra rinses, etc. Now I’m going to strip the diaper and look for a new detergent!

  • I hate to repeat someone’s question but I read through comments and can’t find an answer. I have an HE front loader and I was planning on doing cold rinse, then hot wash one tablespoon detergent with extra rinse. Is this correct? If so do I just put it directly in the machine with diapers and not in the pull out drawer? Thanks for your time!!!

  • Just wanted to add that I’ve been using this for 5 months with no build up, stains, smells, rashes, or leaks. I have an old top loader and use 2 tbsp with a super size water line. Thanks!

  • Has anyone tried this on regular laundry loads? I’m going to be CDing here in the not-too-distant future and the recipe looks great but I’m hoping there’s a recipe that will work for both cloth diapers AND the rest of my laundry. (let’s try to avoid confusing the husband if he has to throw a load in on occasion)

  • Hi Sara,
    We’ve used this detergent for ALL of our laundry for a couple years. It works just as well with regular laundry as it does for the CDs.

  • I’ve been using this for about a year and love it. I did make a change in the quantity of OxiClean when they changed the formula. I use 70 ounces now, instead of 96 and haven’t seen any problems with that.

  • Thanks, great info! The only thing I was curious about was the oxiclean and what’s in it. With a littel googling, I came up with a article that made me rethink that last ingredient. It is made up of three other ingredients, one of which is ethoxylated alcohol – which is toxic to aquatic life and should never be flushed into a sewer system. The article suggested substituting the oxiclean for the naturally occuring surfactant found in a few teaspoons of liquid soap nuts, a water softening ingredient, such as several teaspoons of baking soda, and a cup or more of hydrogen peroxide. With these you can create your own safer alternative of OxiClean for a fraction of the price. I thought it was good info so wanted to post!

    • Thanks for sharing, liquid soap nuts is certainly a great choice for cloth diapers. I have heard many people rave about using it alone.

  • Thanks for this recipe! I just started using cloth diapers (alvas) on my 10 month old a few weeks ago and have used this. I noticed that she is developing a rash over her entire diaper area (red, slightly raised bumps). Have you heard of any reactions like this from the detergent? Trying to find the cause of the rash so we can prevent it from coming back! She was in disposables over last weekend and the rash disappeared, and came back Monday when she had her cloth on again. Any tips would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • It is possible that she has a sensitivity to it. Is there any smell or odor to the diapers when you remove them (above and beyond typical diaper smells)? It could be a matter of wash routine, or she might have a sensitivity to the synthetic fiber lining of the diaper. It’s not as common, but it does happen. You might try using a thin fleece diaper liner to see if that helps.

  • I’m new to cloth diapering and have had trouble with stinky diapers. I’ve found a wash routine that works well. I soak overnight in the washer using cold water and baking soda then start a short wash (rinse cycle on my machine) with that water in the morning…next do a hot wash with Charlies soap and about 1/2 T oxiclean (planning to switch to this homemade recipe soon)…finally a double cold rinse.

  • Do you happen to know if Clorox “OxiMagic” would work instead of oxiclean? They seem to be basically the same thing just a different brand, but I could be wrong.

  • I’m really excited to begin making this and the regular laundry recipe. I am allergic to fragrance in laundry detergents and have purchased Oxi Clean Free to use on stained clothes. Do you know if using the Oxi Clean Free in this recipe or the regular laundry recipe makes a difference?

  • I’ve seen other recipes that call for Dr. Bronnors soap….would you advise against this for the same reason why you have omitted bar soap?

  • Using the borax and oxi clean can void the warranty on your diapers last I checked. Does that still hold true?

  • Hi! I’ve been using your recipe for a couple of months now and I love it! My only issue is that my prefolds are starting to get really rough! Is this because of the detergent? Is there anything I can add to counteract the roughness? We have very hard water if that makes a difference.

  • hi! i’m preparing to start cd and I am looking to use your recipe. i read through as many of the posts as i could trying to see if you already answered the question but i didnt see it. anyways, my question is can you use this detergent recipe if i am going to be hand washing?
    Thanks bre

  • This is my first visit to your blog and I am loving this post. Just whipped up a batch for $11, which will last about 200 loads. Not too shabby!

  • Where are you finding “Washing Soda”? I tried googling it a while ago & I can’t find evidence it’s even manufactured anymore… So many of the DIY recipes I want to tackle call for it…

    • You should be able to find washing soda at most grocery stores with the laundry additives or at big box stores like Target or Wal-Mart in the same section.

  • I thought that both oxyclean and borax were no-nos for several cloth diaper companies. I still haven’t figured out why though. This looks like it might work pretty well for me with the addition of some bac out.

  • I’m so bummed I have this exact recipe already made, except it’s my normal laundry detergent so it has Zote soap and Purex crystals in it. Lol.

  • Does this detergent work safely on Bumgenius diapers? I am just nervous to use it since I have spent so much on them. Sorry if this is a redundant question.

  • Where do you buy your ingredients that they only cost $30? All of this would cost $83 on Amazon (without shipping).

    • You should be able to find them for less at your local grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc. Prices online vary. I’ve seen them at comparable prices and other times not.

  • First off, thank you so much for continuing to answer questions on this! I was so excited to find it and am super eager to make it work for us. So thank you!

    My problem is ammonia! We switched to this about 2 weeks ago to save major $$, and at first it worked amazing, but now we are having ammonia issues. We have actually battled this with every detergent, (and there is always a different solution!) but I’m sure I can get it to work if I just nail down the right wash routine!

    Here’s what I have tried so far (I use natural fiber prefolds):

    Your suggested wash routine of a cold wash/rinse with 1 tbsp and a hot wash/rinse with 1 tbsp.
    (I thought this was working, but after the second diaper or so little one started getting a red irritation. I figured it was the borax maybe not completely rinsing out)

    Then washes 2, 3 and 4 I tried our old wash routine of a cold rinse, a hot wash/rinse with 2 tbsp. and an extra rinse.
    (this worked at first with no redness from any diapers! but after the 3rd and 4th washes slowly the ammonia has been building to now we are battling an even nastier rash/burns! Especially overnight)

    So today I have tried cutting the detergent. Thinking maybe its a buildup issue? So here’s what I just tried: cold rinse, hot wash/rinse with 1 tbsp, hot wash/rinse with nothing and they are currently out sunning! BUT when I peeked in on the wash, the rinse water looked a little dingy, like they weren’t quite sparkly clean. So I’m not too optimistic. πŸ™

    SO HELP! lol I am not losing hope, but starting to run out of ideas. Share your wisdom! Pretty please! πŸ˜‰

  • Ive been useing this detergent for about four months and have come to the conclution that ive been useing to much and hvent had a problem till abouthakf wau though my dipers have a weird smell to them and have tried rinseing with no detergent several times and they s ell a bit please help i habe the lointy tab fuzzie bunz and i love hem there old and i hope they are not ruined

  • I am going to try it and cannot wait! I’m very happy to know you are still answering people on here because i’m new to cloth diapering and may have questions!.:)

  • I just want to say thank you! I feel like this recipe saved my investment in our cloth diapers. We bought a full set of g diapers with our first son three years ago and loved them! Towards the end I was having issues with the ammonia smell and everything I tried wasn’t really working. I must have been looking for answers in the wrong places. I got them out and washed them for our newborn son and the first time we used them the odor was aweful! I was so upset because I thought our investment was wasted.

    I recently started making our laundry detergent and otger household cleaning solutions so I thought maybe there was a homemade remedy. This recipe along with suggestions from some of those who commented here did the trick! I have a front load he machine and I have not noticed any issues. πŸ™‚

  • Hi, I’m going to be CD in about 6-7 weeks and need to prep my new prefolds. How many washes and what temp should I do? We have slightly hard well water And a top load machine. I also have several other diapers of various brands that were used when I got them. Should I strip them to start and if so, again how many washes at what temp. Thanks.

  • Hello,

    It took me forever to read all the great comments, but was curious… Do you use this detergent on microfiber inserts??? Heard Oxyclean was bad for them because it tears them up bad.

    • I used this on all of my diapers. I never had any problems with deterioration. I wouldn’t soak the diapers overnight in anything with Oxyclean (at least not on any sort of regular basis) but for standard washing you should be good πŸ™‚

  • Hi! Can I use this recipe for my other family members clothes without problems, or its neces a soap?

    • You can definitely use this for clothes (I do!). The only thing is that, like most other detergents, you will want to pretreat any tough stains or spots.

  • I just buy dr bronners cstile soap liquid for add a little on ur cloth loads, but dont know how much … A tablespoon? Thank you in advance and sorry for my bad english! Lol

    • Oh please, you’re more than fine and I am happy to help. You could put a squirt in the washer (a tablespoon sounds good) or just put a few drops on tough stains and rub it in, then wash as usual.

  • I was thrilled to stumble upon your website and this post and curious to try out your recipe because I had always used grated castille soap in my laundry detergent with borax and washing soda and we did have some problems with build up. But since I had never heard of oxiclean, I had to look into it and I found this: http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/oxiclean.html . I wonder if you had any different thoughts about the Ethoxylated Alcohol ingredient. Maybe there is a way to get the same results and just add hydrogen peroxide? But then it wouldn’t be so easy to make a dry detergent… I’m honestly curious here and not trying to criticize. There is so much info out there! If you have thoughts, please do share!

  • This recipe looks great! We usea similar one for our clothes. I did want to know if you or anyone else has used this on Rumparooz, Fuzzibunz or any other brand that says not to use oxyclean or other similar things in the detergent? Also, Rumparooz say that you SHOULD use detergents with enzymes in them. Any help on this issue would be great. You can email me of need be πŸ™‚

  • I used this recipe to prep all of my diapers, even though our new arrival isn’t due until next month. I have tried a few prefolds on my 2 yr old with no issues, so a BIG thanks for the recipe. Hubby was almost going to say nay to cloth when he thought we’d have to start buying a whole separate type of detergent too.

  • Using the oxyclean regularly makes my a teensy bit scared. I feel that it wares fabrics so fast! Anyone noticed this happening? However, unless I can get the ammonia stink under control, I might have to give it a try.

  • Amanda-

    I want to use this as a laundry booster for some of the smelly man work clothes around the house, how much would you recommend I add to a load of laundry?

  • I love this recipe. I’m sharing it with all my CD friends. Plus my mom wants to use it as regular laundry detergent. Thanks for putting it out there! And if anyone makes the small batch, know that it fits into a quart jar with room to spare… Plus it looks cool on your laundry room shelf!

  • Quick question. Are you able to use purex crystals in your recipe for scent? I am assuming no since this is a fabic softener. I have a 2 year old and am wanting to make my own detergent and also when we decide to have baby number 2 we probably will use pocket diapers. I am hoping to make one big batch we can use on our clothes and the diapers. There is so much info out there it is very overwelming!!!!!

  • Hi I’m new to all this but can I use this on the Grovia hybrid covers? Will it wear down the outer cover or elastics? Also I read somewhere tht Oxy isn’t good for diapers, is the Oxy Free then better for that reason too? Thankyou!

  • Wow… This will save me a lot of money if I try it! I was planning on spending $17 dollars a month for the expensive brand name soaps on Amazon because of the reviews BUT this seems to work. I did some research on Youtube and looks like it works with cloth diapers!

  • In my experience, there is ANOTHER issue to consider if your laundry, especially synthetics or underarm area of clothes, still stinks after being washed. THE MACHINE MAY BE DIRTY, especially if you have hard water.

    Before you try anything, I would check your manual and call technical support. My parents open up their washing machine drum once a year and physically clean out the grime/limescale/scum. If you are not handy, get a technician. I had an apartment where synthetics and underarms weren’t coming out of the washer clean. I used a washing machine limescale remover (follow instructions) and then later washed the stinky clothes with a normal detergent or just washing soda in as high a temperature as the fabric allowed. A couple washes and rinses later, the clothes were better or fixed. If there is a lot of buildup, you will need to find the right treatment and repeat it many times. The underarm of my husband’s white undershirts still have buildup after many treatments and washes. It’s improving, but slowly. We decided that his antiperspirant was part of that problem.

    I agree with other people about the other issues to consider: Right amount and type of detergent, warm/hot water temperature, enough water during wash or rinse, enough agitation, maybe some Calgon. Washing soda worked for me with hardwater, but it can break down elastics. I’m still going to use it with my Bumgenius Freetime, though, b/c the Bumgenius detergent contains washing soda.

    Other info:
    -Bleach will not strip diapers. It will make things white and it will temporarily kill bacteria and virus, but if you have buildup, bleach will not help. Think about grime on shower walls. If you bleach them, the color may change and you may kill stuff, but the walls will still have that layer of grime/limescale/scum.
    -I think Charlie’s Soap (not really a soap) and RLR have washing soda in them.
    -Washing soda does remove oils and grease.

    Sorry for being wordy. I’ve thought a lot about laundry!
    Goodluck fellow cloth diaper-ers!

  • Hi Amanda,
    I’m wondering if you experienced any of your cloth breaking down from using this DIY detergent. I’ve been using your recipe for 3 years now. The prefolds that my son started using around the time he turned one he still uses as a naptime diaper (otherwise he’s potty trained). About a dozen of the 2 dozen prefolds now have big holes in them or fraying/tearing at the edges. I guess it could also be normal wear and tear after 2yrs of pretty continuous use but I just wonder since I have some of the cloth diapers my mom used on my brother and I which are still in good shape. I wonder if the oxiclean breaks down cotton over time? I’m considering switching to econuts now that baby #2 is here. It’s so annoying bc I thought I’d get through 2 kids without having to buy more cloth diapers. :-/

  • There are zero cleaning agents in this “detergent”. So… How does it clean poop and pee out of cloth diaper fibers and prevent it from redepositing in the wash? With 1 Tbs?

  • I’m making the cloth diaper version of this laundry detergent. I’m not cloth diapering currently, but intend to in the future. If I’m only using this for clothing, do I need the soap, or can I get by with out it and still have clean clothes?

    Why soap in the clothing version and no soap in the cloth diaper version?

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  • I found a homemade laundry detergent using the same ingredients just with Dawn dishwashing liquid instead of oxyclean. Would this be okay to use with my cloth diapers? I know some use dawn for stripping diapers, I was just wondering if it was okay for every wash.

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  • I’m so glad I came across this. I’ve been struggling with my GroVia diapers recently – they just don’t seem to smell or be “clean” post wash. I’m looking forward to trying this!

  • I use public washers so I can only do one washz i use to do cold/cold but I feel like the hot/cold is better. The night before i wash the diapers, I soak them in about 1/2 a scoop of homemade detergent (your recipe) but first i rinse them then I rinse them again. I have the most problems with my 2nd hand thirsties aio. My prefolds and pockets are all perfect after washing them like this. My question is, can I get away with just soaking them in baking soda and vinegar at night?

  • Thanks for the DIY detergent make-up! Just got all my supplies today and am due with our second babe next week. So, just in time.

    I do have a question for you. The OxiClean Free link in your post leads to a 3 lb (48 ounce) tub, but you have 96 ounces as your amount. I just wanted to double check that I’ll be using all 96 ounces of the large, 6lb tub I purchased before I mix everything together? Thanks!

  • This may be a silly question, but I can only find the oxiclean free (and oxiclean baby) in a 3 lb tub. (Which I guess would be 48 oz. – there are no ounces measurement on the tub) so did you use this size tub or two of these? Could you send me a link to the exact size you use? Because the one you link to in the directions is only 3 lb. Thanks!!

  • Do you know how many loads you can get out of this recipe? I know, you’ve probably never counted, but maybe estimate how many loads you do per week and how long it lasts? I was just looking up the prices for everything and it would cost about $67 to make, so maybe back when you posted this was when it all cost only $30? Right now I just use the Tide original powder, so I might just stick with that for the sake of saving $$. I’m just trying to figure out the biggest bang for my buck, so any help would be great, thanks!

    • Actually, I only calculated one 3 lb tub of the OxiClean…so it would be $85 total!

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  • I want to try this! I make a similar one for our clothing. I have been told that since these are made of only boosters that they will not clean poop out. Has this been your exp. My diaper stash is made up of pocket diapers and prefolds.

    Thanks,

    Maggie

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  • I have read the comments, but still am unsure about using additives on my diaper covers. They specifically say no additives and also cold wash only. How do you reconcile this with an additive only detergent and also many people recommending hot washes or rinses? I did see one person say that this detergent made her covers not work. But lots of other comments did not touch on the covers specifically and said they love the detergent. Do I have to wash the covers (and wet bags, too) separately? Or is it really okay?

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  • Hi! I have seen recipes with epsom salts in them for hard water. We have hard water where I live. What do you think about adding epsom salt or baking soda to soften the water? Also would it be okay to add essential oils?

  • THIS IS NOT DETERGENT! These are boosters! You cannot truly get diapers clean with just boosters!!!!! It’ll cause ammonia buildup and rashes!!!!

    • We have been using this for a year and have had no issues with ammonia buildup or rashes. When I was using normal detergent she had rashes all the time. It could depend on your child as well πŸ™‚

      • Do you use this mix and something else to wash cloth diapers? Do you wash in cold then hot? Meaning you wash each load twice?
        Tina

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  • This is awesome! One of the things that has stressed me out about cloth diapering is thinking I was going to have to go and seek out special detergents, or use just ‘so-so’ ones on my diapers which I don’t want to have to do! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • I shared the recipe and got this response.

    Borax and washing soda are both water softeners not cleaning agents. oxiclean im not to sure about i was always told that us just a whitener

    I’ve never had a problem but from what I am understanding here this doesn’t “clean” anything. It softens and whitens.

    • Hi Amanda, thanks for commenting on this. I am aware that a group or two is dead set against detergents of this type (and others). I personally feel that opinion is misguided. For me, the thing is that it worked for us, for several years, and that I know it works for others too. My diapers were never left dirty or smelly. Obviously one detergent, recipe, or even wash routine, won’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. I’ve always felt that this mix is very affordable and worth trying because if it works for you, it can also help save a lot of money. If it doesn’t, then the mix can easily be used for a variety of household chores.

  • I love Rockin’ Green Soap! Every time I look up recipes for homemade detergent, I think it’s a good idea, but then I realize it’s just easier for me and my family to buy ready made soap. I love Rockin’ Green because it’s the best green cleaning products I’ve used. It really works to get stains and smells out without having to do anything extra! It’s perfect for really sensitive skin, too. Love it!

  • Hi! Your recipe says 1 tub of OxiClean (96oz), but the large tubs I found and the one you linked to are 3lbs (48oz). Should I be using two tubs or one? Thank you!!!

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  • Love this recipe!! great share!! thanks for giving me such a great inexpensive way to wash diapers. Just starting oUT and looking to save money wherever I can for my family!!

  • I would recommend not using borax,too. Firstly it is safer for children. I don`t like how it smells,too. I love your recipe. I am going to use it next time. Thank you for sharing it! Greetings!

  • I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this specific recipe on my blog today. I’ve been using your recipe for a couple months and I *love* it and wanted to share the wealth!

    If you have any issue whatsoever, let me know!

  • How many loads do you get out of the 5gal bucket? I’m just curious because I’m thinking of using this instead of tide. Because it will be cheaper.

  • I have tried DYI detergent before but it turned out bizarre.. But this recipe looks promising and hoping it helps my cloth diaper washes..

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  • There are a lot of comments and question, so I apologise if this question has been answered before. Does this detergent work for sensitive skin? My baby breaks out easily so I usually stick with natural detergents.

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