Friday, June 17, 2011

A laundry miracle

Sometimes, miracles happen.

I've been struggling rather badly with our cloth diapers for a while now. I've tried everything recommended to me by friends and "pros" - soap nuts, stripping with Dawn, Rockin' Green, Purex Free & Clear, powdered Tide, this, that, and the other. I've done hot washes and cold washes and added in bleach-free OxyClean and taken it out again and rinsed and stripped again and again. I did everything everybody suggested, but nothing stopped that horrific ammonia smell, nothing fixed the absorbency problems. When I found something that temporarily fixed the absorbency, it left my diapers stiff and uncomfortable, and when I found something that helped the stink a little, it turned out to give A a horrible chemical burn because his skin is so sensitive. The worst part is that Purex Free & Clear is our regular washing detergent, but since it didn't work on the diapers as well as I would have hoped, and since my diapering routine had become so extensive, I had probably two detergents, one soap bottle, and two separate containers of cleaning agents specifically for diapers alone! My laundry room is enough of a disaster without all the extra stuff, let me tell you - and there were days when I sincerely wondered if all the hassle was worth it.

It was purely by chance that I was at Wal-Mart one day when I decided to look online one last time for a potential new detergent. I was tired of the switching and the disappointments, of my poor kiddo being in pain and acting as my sort of lab rat because I could never be sure what he would react to. I poked around and finally ended up at the site I use as my Detergent Bible: the detergent chart at Diaper Jungle. I've tried several of their recommendations, and agree that a good portion of them are spot on, so I gave it one last go and scrolled through the list on my phone to see if any of the bottles looked familiar.

The funny thing is that one did - and I was positive it was familiar because I had just walked past it, not because I had used it before. I walked back and sort of stared at it for a while. I won't lie: the container was a little intimidating. I looked at it and wasn't entirely sure if I was buying detergent or shares of Greenpeace, but there it was, the container of Ecos detergent. It was the same size as the large bottles of Purex Free & Clear, and at a dollar more with the same yield but a severe lack of basically anything potentially allergenic - no dyes, no perfumes, no essential oils, no fabric softeners, no brighteners, no formaldehyde, no.. Nothing, basically. It's purified water and a 100% natural coconut kernel oil-based surfactant. That's it. Cleaner, and water. The concept almost baffled me, as I was used to using things that had so many ingredients that only the active ones were listed. It even has a neutral pH!

I thought about all the money I had spent on every single product I had purchased so far just to try to wash diapers. I thought about how stupid it was that I had so many detergents sitting around. And I wondered, oh so casually, what if? What if this detergent worked for everything? What if it was my miracle? At only a dollar more per 5 gallon container, if you factor in everything else I've bought, just a few uses pays for the whole thing. If it worked, that was.

So I got it, and came home and crossed my fingers. I had two days worth of diapers to wash and I knew if I was going to challenge that detergent, this would be the way to go. So I started my routine with a cold rinse, then a hot wash on full load with about a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent and a cold rinse in that cycle. Then another cold rinse. I figured this was its chance to prove itself.

I was in shock.

My diapers didn't stink, even after being put in the dryer. They weren't stiff or rough. Inserts were soft and just smelled CLEAN. And during usage, I had no problems with a lack of absorbency or rashes. The best part is that this stuff works just as well on our regular clothes - so we're down to exactly one detergent for everything, and one SUPER EASY wash routine for diapers. I didn't even have to strip them first!

I don't know what I would've done without finding Ecos. If you've tried everything and you're thinking about giving up cloth because of all the same problems I had, give it a try. Seriously, the difference was absolutely amazing, and I will NEVER go back!

Note: Ecos did not in any way reimburse me for this glowing review. I tried it, and I LOVED IT, and this story is true! It was the best fluke ever!

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