Updated on May 13, 2016
The Tide (Free) Has Turned!
There’s a new Tide detergent hitting the shelves and all I can say is that it’s about time! Rejoice cloth diapering parents! Tide Free & Gentle has a made a change for the better and I want to make sure you know all about it! Up until now, families with HE (that’s high efficiency) machines who wanted the cleaning power of Tide, but in a more gentle formula without any fragrance have been left with only liquid detergents to choose from. That’s the case in Canada, anyway. That’s not to say that liquid detergents aren’t effective on cloth diapers. They most certainly can be effective on cloth diapers, but when you’re also dealing with hard water, powder detergents have a tendency to work better. That’s in large part because powder detergents contain more water softening agents than their liquid counterparts. Now, everything has changed! It’s a new world out there for families looking for a gentle and unscented POWDER detergent for HE machines!
What am I talking about? Tide Free & Gentle POWDER for HE machines! That’s right, folks! At long last the wait is over, and you CAN use Tide Free & Gentle powder in your HE washing machine. What you want to look for is the new symbol on the front of the detergent box that shows two little washing machines with a tiny “HE Turbo” symbol, and the words “all washers”. Boxes without that symbol are the old non-HE safe formula. How much should you be using? I’d recommend line 2 on the Tide scoop in the first cold cycle, and line 5 to a full scoop of the Tide scoop in the second hot cycle. (For more information on the fundamentals of washing cloth diapers you can check out THIS POST).
Why is this riveting cloth diaper news? Allow me to explain. For as long as I’ve been helping parents set up functional wash routines for their cloth diapers (hint: it’s been a number of YEARS), my top recommendation for a “free” detergent has been Tide Free & Gentle. When a family had a non-HE “old school” top load washing machine, I jumped for joy just a little bit on the inside because they were lucky enough to be able to use Tide Free & Gentle POWDER. Those with HE machines were stuck with Tide Free & Gentle HE liquid. The trouble is that Tide Free & Gentle HE liquid isn’t effective in even moderately hard water without a water softener. What that means is that water that tests at over 60ppm for total hardness requires the addition of a water softener with Tide Free & Gentle HE liquid (same goes for the non HE safe liquid Tide Free & Gentle). But now! Now, Tide Free & Gentle HE POWDER is available for HE machines too! Best of all, you can skip the water softener unless your water is over 100ppm. It’s always a good idea to test your own water, but the water at my house in Calgary tests at 100ppm, so even I could use Tide Free & Gentle powder without a water softener!
In addition to the cost savings of not needing an additional water softener under 100ppm, I’ve also found that powder detergents rinse out more easily from cloth diapers than liquid detergents. Not everyone will agree with me on that, but that’s been my experience with liquid detergents in moderately hard water.
You should be able to find Tide Free & Gentle powder for all machines at your local grocery store, or wherever you buy detergent! Happy laundering!