When your wash routine breaks!

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! Well… yes I can. In the whirlwind that has been the past 5 months, my husband totaled his car the weekend before we brought our fifth baby into the world. Baby #5 wound up back at the hospital 2 more times only to be exposed to the measles the second time and placed under quarantine by the state for 21 days! Then we bought a car, gutted our bathroom, and then BOOM, holidays and store repping for Pannolino Bambino! That was an amazing experience! I feel like I’m only just taking a breather now, which is difficult since we’ve all been plagued with a horrendous cold/cough that’s doing laps. Hard to believe this dude is 4 months old already! Time is relentless. Time doesn’t wait for you to make free time. I’m sad just thinking that I will look back at this post at what will seem like tomorrow and wonder how the child scurrying around my house was ever this small. But I digress…

With the introduction of baby Holtwood, we were also introduced to an unfamiliar  problem to me personally: detergent sensitivities.

My wash routine was the same for 3 years using Tide original. It worked with almost any diapering situation with the exception of one time when diarrhea plagued the sir for a couple weeks. During that time, I had to temporarily adjust my routine to adapt to the far more heavily soiled diapers that rinsing didn’t always correct on it’s own (I mean, it was LIQUID, but enough of that).

I had prepped all of Holt’s newborn diapers in Tide free and gentle just to use it up since I didn’t have much left and didn’t really need it (or so I thought). I cloth diapered in the hospital from the start and had no problems using his diapers, it was great! But once I got home and laundered what he had in between return trips to the hospital, I began to notice a red rash on his tush. This rash had no bumps or blotchiness, just a consistent bright redness covering his diaper region. A quick switch to All’s dye/fragrance free detergent fixed that. Boom, problem solved.

Or… not. While the redness went away pretty instantaneously, I was now having problems with the Sir’s diapers coming fully clean, so much so that now HE was rashing up. I hesitated to add borax because of the hard wear they put on diaper elastics over time. My water was hard, but not THAT hard. And even with borax, All just wasn’t cutting it. I was referred to a facebook group for troubleshooting my problems. Y’all, don’t hesitate to use your resources! Moms who have lived and breathed your problems are out there willing to help you any way they can! You just have to ask around!

It was in that group that I gathered a couple recommendations on detergents to try that may get the diapers properly cleaned. But then a friend made a small recommendation that I thought was certainly worth trying and I hadn’t thought to do: “boost your detergent with baking soda”.

I got a 150oz bottle of Purex Free & Clear to try. It was on sale and I figured if it was a flop, it’ll still get the rest of the laundry clean. I put line 1 into my machine with a generous sprinkle of baking soda, loaded up the diapers, and ran a normal cycle on warm as usual. I followed that with a hot wash on Heavy Duty and did the smell check. They smelled significantly cleaner! But then they still seemed… I don’t know, not quite as “fresh” as I was looking for. They didn’t smell dirty, but I can’t put my finger on what it was. Either way, I felt obligated to tinker a little more. I wanted to be 100% sure these diapers were coming 100% clean. I didn’t want to have an okay routine, I wanted a GOOD routine. I tried running hot water both cycles, I tried two heavy duty cycles instead of just one, I tried increasing the detergent amount in the prewash, and then I tried variations of those. After nearly two months, I finally found a routine that made the diapers smell so fresh from the wash that you’d feel confident throwing it in someone’s face and telling them to take a deep whiff of that there freshness!

This goes back into what I was saying before about adjusting your routine until you find that sweet spot that works for you! My idea wash routine went from:

Prewash: Warm Normal Cycle with Line 1 of Tide original liquid

Main Wash: Hot Heavy Duty Cycle with Line 4-5 Tide original liquid


Prewash: Warm Heavy Duty Cycle with Line 2 Purex F&C and a generous sprinkling of baking soda

Main Wash: Hot Heavy Duty Cycle with Line 4 Purex F&C 

Don’t ask me why, there is only so much I can explain… but this just really works for us!

I was reminded of the same frustrations I felt when I switched from hand-washing to machine-washing, and how frustrating it can be, especially when you’re trying to end a wash routine problem that is creating chronic skin irritation!

The take away: sometimes life makes you change things up, don’t be afraid to ask for help! And apparently baking soda is a magical way to boost detergent when you just need a little extra oompf.

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