When laundering cloth diapers, there is a list of detergent additives that are cautioned. This is due to the effects they have on your cloth diapers or baby’s skin. Some may be fine for your regular laundry, but not for cloth diapers. The additives to look out for are:

Chlorine Bleach

How are you supposed to remember all of that? You don’t have to. Simply follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Our Customer Center and FAQs should have all the information you will need.

For those of you who like to know the Whys, I would like to explain the reasons why these additives are not recommended. This is my second post on the issue, with this one addressing Bleach.

Now, there is an ongoing discussion in the cloth diapering world as to use bleach or not use bleach. I think this depends on what type of bleach we are talking about. Bleach in general is usually thought of as Chlorine Bleach, but there are other types. Here are two of the most common used in laundry detergents:

Hydrogen Peroxide:
Other names: Peroxide, Hydrogen Dioxide, Hydroperoxide
Classification: Bleach
Toxicity: Low

Sodium Percarbonate:
Other names: Oxygen Bleach, Perhydrate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate, PC, and Sodium Carbonate Peroxide
Classification: Bleach
Toxicity: Low

Any bleach additive can be harsh on fabrics and components, but the safer ingredients include Hydrogen Peroxide and Sodium Percarbonate. Sodium Percarbonate is an oxidizing agent – a mixture of Sodium Carbonate (washing soda) and Hydrogen Peroxide. Dissolved in water, it yields a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (which eventually decomposes to water and oxygen) and Sodium Carbonate. Sodium Percarbonate looks to be the one most used in laundry detergents.

A Chlorine Bleach is not typically added to laundry detergents. Chlorine bleach is also known as Sodium Hypochlorite, and is available in pure form as an additive (liquid bleach). It is highly toxic, and will disintegrate the fibers on your diapering products.

Sodium Hypochlorite:
Other names: Chlorine bleach, Chlorine, Clorox, Sodium Chlorate(I)
Classification: Bleach
Toxicity: High

*Please note: The use of  Chlorine Bleach will void the warranty on Thirsties products, unless otherwise recommended by Thirsties Inc.

Thirsties recommends: If you have stubborn stains that you just can’t live with, you may use an oxygen bleach according to package directions. Use only as needed, but no more than once a month. No soaking for more than 10 minutes on items with components or lamination. If your baby has an illness, and the diapers need to be disinfected for medical reasons, please contact us.

You can find detergent rating charts at the following sites, which are a great help in choosing a detergent:

If you have any questions, please send to support@thirstiesbaby.com. I will get them there!

Written by Sonya Choron 2/13/12