We’ve scoured the globe and have put together a comprehensive list of Laundry Detergents we do / don’t recommend using on Real Nappies products.

We’ve kept the list as global, so next time you go overseas you can still find a detergent that will work for you.

Ingredients to avoid:

As a general rule of thumb, we suggest you avoid the following ingredients.

The good news is that cheaper detergents are less likely to contain additives that are best avoided, meaning cheaper detergents can be better for your cloth nappies than expensive ones!  Yippee!  You can save even more money!)

  • Whitening enzymes (help dissolve stains but can cause skin reactions on sensitive babies)
  • Whiteners and Brightners (tiny particles that remain on your clothese making them seem brighter after washing.  These are not necessary and may cause skin irritation)
  • Fragrances and Dyes (Unnecessary chemicals for babies’ laundry)
  • Bleach (harsh chemical against babies’ delicate skin)
  • Fabric softener (leaves a residue on your nappies and will cause them to be less absorbent)
  • Soap Flakes (leaves residue on your nappies)
  • Borax (this will break down the PUL covers eventually)

We prefer powders as then you avoid the additives that they have to add to keep it in a liquid form.

DO NOT use too much detergent, we recommend about ¼ of the recommended amount.

HE or High-Efficiency Washing Machines

HE Washing Machines use 1/3 – 2/3 times less water than Top-Loader machines, meaning you save on water and energy.  The problem is using less water means laundry detergents do not always dissolve as quickly and can leave a soap residue on your diapers.

Solution: Use a low-suds laundry detergent with a front-loader


Turn your washing machine to high-water level

Table of Detergents for Cloth Nappies

Product Recommend Notes/Comments Product Recommend Notes/Comments
Ace Powder No Maleleuca No
AJAX All-Purpose No Method No
All No Mountain Green Baby free & clear Yes Great detergent
All Baby No Mountain Green Free & Clear Yes Great detergent
All Free and Clear No Can cause diapers to smell and leak Mrs Meyer’s No
Allen’s Naturally Yes Natural Detergent, Biodegradable Nature Clean Laundry Liquid Yes All natural
Amolin Yes Nellie’s Laundry Soda Yes Contains coconut oil
Arm and Hammer Fabricare No Can cause diapers to smell and leak Next Generation Yes
Arm and Hammer Free No Can cause diapers to smell and leak Omo No
Bio-O-Kleen Liquid Laundry Maybe No fragrances,enzymes, brighteners Oxi-clean No
Bio-Zet No Oxy-Clean Baby Maybe
Biovert No Oxy-Prime Powder Yes
Charlie’s Soap Yes Biodegradable.  Note: test as some burns have been reported from this detergent Oxyboost Yes
Cheer No Penguin Sport-Wash Yes Restores waterproofing for any diaper covers that have lost their protection
Claudia’s Choices Yes Persil Low Suds No Contains oil to keep bubbles down, this can affect absorbency
Cold Power No Persil Sensitive Yes
Country Save (Liquid or Detergent) Yes Cost effective, additive free Planet Ark Yes
Down to Earth No Planet Ultra Powder Yes
Dr Bronner’s Soap No President’s Choice No
Dreft No Purex No
Drive No Purity Sensitive Yes
Dropps Baby Yes Radiant No
Duo No Reflect Sensitive Yes
Dynamo No Rockin Green Yes
Earth Friendly Products Baby No SA8 Sensitive No
Earth’s Choice Yes Sam’s Choice (Walmart’s own brand) Yes
Earthwise Yes Sears No
Ecos Free and Clear Liquid Maybe Sensi-Clean / Sports-Wash Yes We recommend this product as a great way of stripping totton diapers every month.  Note: Some babies may develop a rash if very sensitive
Ecostore Powder Yes Sensiclean Yes Note: may cause rashes on very sensitive skin
Ecover No Seventh Generation No Can cause diapers to smell and leak. Biodegradable.
EnviroRite No Shaklee Liquid No
Era No Soap Nuts Yes
Fab No Sport wash Yes Note: may cause rashes on very sensitive skin
Fresh Strart No Sun and Earth Deep Cleaning Yes
GAIN No Sun Oxygen Cleaner Yes
Gain with bleach No Sun, Sun Free No
Green Care Yes Sunlight Sensitive No
Hurricane Yes Surf No
Hydrox Yes Use sparingly Target Baby No
Ivory Snow No The laundress No
Ivory Snow No Tide No
Jewel Ultra No Trader Joe’s No
Kirklands Signature no Tri Nature Yes
La Parisienne, delicate Yes Watkin’s (Liquid) No
Lemieux No Watkin’s (Powder) Yes
Lifekind Yes Contains seed and pulp extracts Wisk No
Lux Flakes No Wonder Wash Yes
Maggies Soap Nuts yes All natural XTRA No