Posted on November 18, 2016
Tide’s Gone Plant Based, But Does It Work (On Cloth Diapers)?
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I kid you not. Tide has come out with a plant based detergent. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I like using good old Tide. I’ve been using Tide Original Powder (the one in the orange box) on my cloth diapers and all my other laundry for YEARS (if you’re surprised you might want to read this article). A few months back, Tide released it’s “Free & Gentle” powder in a formula that’s safe for HE machines, and the cloth diapering community was overjoyed. More recently, Tide launched a plant based liquid detergent for the very first time. It’s called Tide Purclean, and it’s available scented (honey lavender) and unscented. When I found Tide Purclean at Costco in Canada I was thrilled! It’s been available in the USA for a little while, but it’s pretty new to Canada. I bought more bottles than I really needed, and vowed to test it out on my cloth diapers so I could tell you whether or not it actually works effectively on diapers. That was back in September, and I’ve been using Tide Purclean on my diapers ever since. Here’s my verdict.
I will say that the very first time I used Tide Purclean to wash my diapers, I was nervous. The last thing I wanted was to wind up with stinky diapers or rashes on Petit Prince. But, being the cloth diaper laundry guru that I am, I forged ahead for the sake of cloth diapering families everywhere. The Tide Purclean I purchased from Costco was the honey lavender scent. I actually
like LOVE the way it smells. I find that it lingers on my diapers, but after about six weeks of use, I’m not noticing the smell as much as I once was. That’s likely only because I’m so used to it now. Tide Purclean is also available unscented, but not at Costco. I have seen the unscented version at Superstore/Loblaws in Canada, and it is available to purchase online as well. Pricing for Tide Purclean at Costco is the cheapest you’ll find it anywhere. It’s $15.99 for a 64 load bottle at regular price, and it goes on sale for $12.99. Elsewhere, you’ll find 48 load bottles are the largest size and they cost $20.98 regular price at Superstore/Loblaws, and $14.99 online.
What do you need to know about using Tide Purclean? Let’s start with how much you need to use for washing your diapers. As it is a plant based detergent, you want to use 1.5 to 2 times the amount recommended for a heavily soiled load. At first, I was using line 4 in the first cycle, and just a bit less than a full cap (not quite to the brim) in the second cycle. I did find I was getting some leftover suds and my diapers felt a bit slimy sometimes (though not after every wash). I dropped down to line 3 in the first cycle, and line 5 in the second cycle. This amount has worked out really well. The diapers never come out slimy at all, and they smell fantastic out of the wash and never stink after they are peed in. As with any plant based detergent, the second wash cycle must be done on hot (it cannot be cold or warm), and you’ll need to use a water softener if your water tests above 60ppm. My water tests at 100ppm, so I’ve been using half a cup of Borax in the second cycle only.
One thing I noticed about Tide Purclean is that it is sudsy. Don’t be alarmed. I have an HE top load washing machine, and I observed a layer of suds on top of the diapers mid-cycle, but it was completely gone by the end of the routine. Just be aware that it is on the sudsy side. It should not result in SUDS errors on your HE machine, and it is marked at HE safe. It’s a good idea to make sure you’re keeping up with the monthly machine clean cycles (with an Affresh tablet or similar), and that you’re checking the drain trap regularly if you have an HE front loader.
Now for the good stuff. How does it clean and does it actually work on diapers? It cleans phenomenally well. The bottle claims that it has the “cleaning power of Tide”, and, dare I say it, I don’t disagree with that. Is it as good as Tide Original Powder? Almost. It is as good in the ways that really count: the diapers smell fresh out of the wash, the diapers don’t have even the faintest whiff of ammonia (not even overnight diapers which I never bother to rinse), and it hasn’t irritated Petit Prince’s skin. So yeah, it cleans really well. Where it doesn’t perform quite as well as Tide Original Powder is with stains. Yes, I’ve noticed more staining on my diapers with Tide Purclean. Stains can easily be resolved with a little time in the sun, so this isn’t a deal breaker for me by any means. In case you’re curious, I’ve also been using Tide Purclean on our clothing and am loving it!
Let’s talk about the cost of Tide Purclean for a cloth diaper wash routine. I did a little math, and it works out to $0.90/routine when bought on sale at Costco in Canada (at $12.99 for a 64 load bottle). That’s using line 3 in the first cycle and line 5 in the second cycle. This does not include Borax if you need it for your water hardness. Compare that to Tide Original Powder that works out to $0.38/routine when bought on sale at Costco in Canada (at $21.59 for a 150 load box) and doesn’t require a water softener until water tests over 180ppm. Tide Purclean is definitely more expensive than Tide Original Powder. However, it is a very effective option for families that really want a more natural detergent. Do I think the cost is worth it for the clean it provides? Yes, I do.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you here. If I hadn’t bought enough Tide Original Powder to survive the next apocalypse (it was on a super sale), I would probably continue using Tide Purclean on my diapers. I think it’s an excellent plant based option for those who are looking for a reliable clean from a more natural detergent. For now, I’m going to switch back to my trusty old Tide Original Powder for my cloth diapers, but I will continue to use Tide Purclean on my family’s clothing. If I happen to run out of Tide Original Powder before Petit Prince potty trains, I will absolutely be purchasing Tide Purclean for my diapers again!