“Does it matter what kind of detergent I use?” This is one of the most common questions asked at our Cloth Diaper 101 workshops by new and expectant parents. The answer is “yes,” but that doesn’t mean you’re specifically limited to a specific detergent. You just need to know what’s in the detergents you buy to determine their long-term effectiveness on your diapers. Since detergents that have fabric softeners, enzymes, or other additives can lead to residue build-up and leakage issues, it’s both helpful and necessary to know what ingredients make up your favorite laundry products. While we wholeheartedly vote for Rockin Green as THE detergent to use for cloth diapers, there are others that may work for you, too. Enter the Detergent Determinator. This is a handy little tool put out by the Real Diaper Industry Association and for the most part, it’s quite helpful. The strongest feature of this database is the customizable search function. You can search either by detergent name (e.g. Tide) or by detergent type. For example, you can search for a detergent that doesn’t have fragrance, is in liquid form, is suited for high efficiency washers, and is available in Canada. Once you receive your search functions, you can scroll through the list to compare and contrast the results according to their additives.

The only downside we’ve been able to find is that it’s not always easy to get search results by a name search. For example, we typed in “7th Generation” with no results, then “Seventh Generation” with no results, and finally just “Generation,” which finally populated a list and we realized that their exact spelling of the name is “Seventh (7th) Generation.” It also didn’t find every detergent we searched for, but overall we were very pleased with the thoroughness of the dozens upon dozens of detergents it does include in its database. If you’d like to know what’s in your detergent or if you’d like to figure out which detergents will work best for you, check out the Detergent Decision Tool! Previous: Eucalan No Rinse Wool Wash