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7 Best Cloth Diaper Detergents

If you’re using cloth diapers for your little one, finding the right detergent is important for keeping them clean and fresh. With so many options available, choosing the best one for your family’s needs can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best cloth diaper detergents to make decision-making easier. Whether you’re looking for an all-natural option or a heavy-duty cleaner, we’ve got you covered.

washing detergents

Our Top Picks

Tide Powder Detergent

For cloth diapering parents, finding the right detergent is key to keeping those diapers clean and fresh. Many experienced cloth diaper users recommend Tide Original Powder as a reliable option that effectively cleans cloth diapers.

Tide Powder boasts powerful cleaning abilities that leave your cloth diapers spotless with a pleasant scent. It dissolves quickly in hot or cold water, leaving no residue behind and preventing leaks.

Not only is Tide Powder effective, but it is also affordable for most families. Since it includes a water softener, you don’t have to add one to your routine unless your water hardness exceeds 180 ppm, making the washing process simpler and more economical.

If you’ve been struggling to find the perfect cloth diaper detergent, try Tide Original Powder. Its classic formula has been trusted by parents for decades and may be just what you need to keep your cloth diapers looking and smelling their best.


  • A great option for hard water.
  • HE safe.
  • Great for hard water.


  • Large, heavy box
  • Potential to create suds in soft water.

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean

Arm & Hammer is a household name for cleaning and odor control, and their laundry detergent lives up to its reputation.

Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean is a powerful detergent containing enzymes specifically formulated to break down over 100 types of stains, including tough poop stains. It even works wonders as a spot treatment on stains.

This detergent leaves cloth diapers smelling fresh and clean. It brightens colors and keeps whites pristine without fading darker shades. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly option found at most major retailers and can be used on both cloth diapers and regular clothes, saving you money and hassle.

Trust Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean to get your cloth diapers looking and smelling their best without breaking the bank.


  • Good for hard water.
  • HE safe.

Removes stains


  • Some parents find the scent too strong
  • Plastic bottle not eco-friendly

Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus

Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus offers a plant-based alternative that is gentle on the environment and tough on dirt, making it an excellent option for cleaning your baby’s cloth diapers. This detergent contains triple enzymes to remove the most stubborn poop stains.

Unlike traditional detergents, Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus is free of synthetic fragrances, optical brighteners, and dyes, making it safe and non-irritating for your baby’s sensitive skin.

To get the best results, you will need to wash your cloth diapers in hot water for the main wash and use about 1.5 to 2 times the recommended amount of detergent.

Our experience has shown that this detergent keeps our cloth diapers clean and smelling great without stripping. We appreciate that it’s eco-friendly and contains no harmful chemicals that could affect our baby or the environment.

Choose Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus for a reliable, effective, and environmentally conscious solution to cleaning your baby’s cloth diapers.


  • HE safe.
  • Fresh scent


  • Not the cheapest option

Rockin’ Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder

Keeping up with cloth diaper laundry can be daunting, so the last thing you want is to run out of laundry soap. That’s where this bulky detergent comes in handy, saving you time and money.

This highly concentrated formula is free of fillers, dyes, fragrances, and other harmful chemicals, delivering a powerful clean with every use. Each bag contains 45 ounces of powdered detergent, enough for approximately 90 loads. Thanks to its concentrated formula, you only need a few tablespoons per load, making it a long-lasting option.

The gentle yet deep clean is ideal for babies with sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities, or fragrance allergies.

This natural detergent is best suited for soft to moderate water and can be used with any washing machine. Plus, it leaves no residue or nasty build-ups, ensuring your cloth diapers are always clean and fresh.


  • Fragrance-free formula.
  • Natural formula provides a gentle but deep clean.


  • No scoop included

Tide Free & Gentle Detergent

Tide’s Free & Gentle detergent is ideal for washing cloth diapers. The detergent is designed to be gentle on your baby’s skin while still powerful enough to clean the messiest diapers.

Tide Free & Gentle is perfect for parents looking for a detergent free of perfumes and dyes. This is especially important for those with babies who have sensitive skin or skin allergies. Dermatologists highly recommend this detergent, so you can rest easy knowing your baby’s clothes and diapers are safe.

However, like other free and clear detergents, it may be less potent than scented varieties, so you may need to use 1.5 times the recommended amount for the main wash.


  • Gentle on skin
  • HE safe.


  • Higher cost

Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent

Tide Free & Gentle is an excellent detergent option that is safe for cloth diapers. This is essential because you need to make sure your detergent is strong enough to clean your soiled diapers but gentle enough that it won’t cause any irritation to your baby’s delicate skin.

The amount of surfactants in Tide Free & Gentle contributes to its amazing ability to clean and fight stains, while its lack of dyes and perfumes makes it an excellent choice for even the most sensitive skin. Dermatologists even recommend it, so you can feel comfortable using it on all your baby’s clothes.

As with any free and clear detergent, though, it is somewhat weaker than its fragrant counterpart, so you must use 1.5 times the recommended detergent in your main wash.


  • Won’t leave residue in your washer.
  • Non-toxic formula


  • may leave white residue on black fabrics.

Foca Powder Biodegradable Laundry Detergent

Make laundry day simpler with Foca Powder. You only need to add a water softener if your water hardness is over 150 ppm, and that’s only half a cup of Borax or one capful of Calgon for your main wash.

The Foca Powder formula includes a built-in water softener, ensuring that your detergent effectively cleans your soiled diapers. Additionally, the powder rinses cleaner than other detergents, minimizing the chance of residue build-up and absorbency issues.

Foca Powder’s light scent is gentle on your baby’s skin and doesn’t leave any chemical smell on your cloth diapers. With a low volume requirement per load, this budget-friendly detergent helps maximize your savings.

But be aware that Foca Powder isn’t suitable for high-efficiency machines. If you have hard water and an HE machine, Tide Ultra Powder HE or Gain Powder HE are safer alternatives.


  • Phosphate free.
  • Cost-effective.


  • Not HE safe

Is a Special Cloth Diaper Detergent Necessary?

Choosing a safe detergent for your cloth diapers is important, but that doesn’t mean you must go for cloth-diaper-specific detergents.

Some detergents marketed specifically for use with cloth diapers can be ineffective and may not clean them properly. In fact, some may even cause skin irritation if not rinsed thoroughly.

Instead of these specialized detergents, it’s better to go for a conventional baby laundry detergent easily available on store shelves.

Before Choosing a Detergent for Your Cloth Diapers

Before selecting a detergent for your cloth diapers, you should consider a few factors specific to your washing conditions and personal preferences.

Sensitive Skin

If your baby or family has sensitive skin, you must opt for a fragrance-free detergent that won’t cause any irritation.

Type of Washing Machine

If you own a high-energy (HE) washing machine, you must look for a genuine HE-safe detergent to maintain cleaning power while keeping the suds at bay.

Water Hardness

Testing your water hardness is crucial before selecting a suitable detergent. You can purchase test strips at some stores or get your water tested for free at a local aquarium store. If your water has 0-60 parts per million (ppm), it’s soft water; if it’s above 120 ppm, it’s hard water. You must add a water softener to your wash routine for hard water.

Plant-Based or Synthetic

You may opt for a plant-based detergent if your family prefers environmentally-friendly products. Otherwise, you can choose any detergent that is convenient and works well.

What To Avoid When Choosing Detergent For Cloth Diapers

Pods: It’s best to avoid laundry pods if you have small children due to the risk of accidental ingestion.

Bleach: Try to avoid using bleach on cloth diapers. Only use it to disinfect previously-owned diapers or if your baby has had a yeast or bacterial infection. If you have well water or hard water with high iron content, avoid bleach as it can lead to rust stains on fabrics.

Fabric softener: Avoid using any detergent that contains a fabric softener, as it can reduce the absorbency of your diapers, causing leaks and wicking.

Soap-based detergent: Soaps can leave residues on your diapers, leading to repelling issues.

Coconut-oil-based surfactants: If the label mentions sodium cocoate or saponified coconut oil, steer clear, as these can build up on fibers, trap soils, and cause repelling issues.

Cloth Diaper Detergent FAQ

How do I test my water hardness?

You can purchase test strips in some stores’ fish or pool section or take a water sample into your local aquarium store for testing.

Do I need to add a water softener to my wash routine?

If your water is above 120 ppm, you have hard water and will need to add a water softener to your wash routine.

For more information, here is everything you need to know about how to wash cloth diapers.

Choosing the best detergent for your cloth diapers is important, consider your specific needs, such as water hardness and your baby’s skin sensitivity, when selecting a detergent. You can also experiment with different detergents and washing routines until you find what works best for you and your family.