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 always for cloth diapers. The additives to look out for are:

Brighteners
Chlorine Bleach
Dyes
Enzymes
Fragrance
Softeners

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 fourth post on the issue, with this one addressing Enzymes.

Enzymes are proteins that are found in every living organism: man, animals, plants and microorganisms. There are four different types of enzymes added to laundry detergents. The two most common are; protease (breaks down protein soils) and amylase (breaks down carbohydrates/starches). Lipase enzymes are useful in breaking down fat based soils, and cellulases break down soils such as dirt and mud. Some detergents employ multiple enzymes. Some of the key benefits of enzymes in detergents besides stain-lifting are: low concentrations, biodegradable, ability to wash in lower temps, softens fabric, and brightening colors and whites. The downfall of some enzymes is that they can be harmful to skin if any residue is left on the diapering items. Protease enzymes seem to be the most “pointed at” culprit. Since these enzymes work on proteins, any residue left on the fabric can “attack” or break down any protein on the baby’s skin. The enzyme does not become inactive after working to break up the stain, so it is essentially looking for another protein to “attack”. Keep in mind, that many detergent ingredients if not rinsed out properly have the possibility to cause irritation.

 

•  If you choose to use a detergent with enzymes, please be very careful to rinse the diapering items thoroughly.

*Keep in mind, enzymes will become inactive with strong caustic solutions, chlorine or high water temperatures. Ideal wash temperatures are between 125 degrees and 145 degrees F. Our recommended wash temperature is 130 degrees F. So if you use the sanitize cycle (160 F) on an HE machine, the enzymes will become inactive.

You can find detergent rating charts at the following sites, which are a great help in choosing a detergent:
http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd.htm

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

Sources include:
http://www.scienceinthebox.com/en_UK/glossary/enzymes2_en.html
http://www.housekeepingchannel.com/a_220-Laundry_Detergent___How_Enzymes_are_Changing_Your_Wash
http://www.laundrytoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=477:enzymes-what-are-they-how-do-they-work-in-laundry-cleaning-why-do-they-work&catid=23:chemicals&Itemid=38

Written by Sonya Choron 3/28/12