Hard water. Really, really hard water.
My kitchen faucet has little white balls of mineral deposits all over it from water droplets flying when we wash dishes. I scrape them off and they are back the next day. Our water is so hard that if I drop a single bead of water into a glass and let it dry, it actually forms a little ball instead of a white stain. My hair is actually course and crunchy from washing in this water, when it has never had that texture in other apartments. This has made diaper washing interesting to say the least. Some detergents simply do not work at all and some have been pleasantly surprising. Our latest detergent adventure has been with Eco Sprout.
Eco Sprout is a dad created and family owned brand of cloth diaper detergent formulated specifically for cloth diapers. You can use your Eco Sprout detergent on all laundry, but it was designed to be just the right combo of natural ingredients to be diaper safe and kick ammonia to the curb.
Eco Sprout Ingredients: Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, natural water softeners, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, natural & biodegradable surfactants. Natural fragrance in scented versions. This detergent is free from dyes, brighteners, enzymes, phosphates and is 100% biodegradable.
Eco Sprout comes in four sizes including bags of 96/192 loads, 48/96 loads, 24/48 loads, and 4/8 loads. The largest bag of 96/192 loads is only $24.95, so Eco Sprout is actually a little cheaper than a lot of other boutique brands.
Since I have such hard water, Eco Sprout recommends four full tablespoons of their detergent in my top loader and sometimes even a cap of water softener. I appreciate them addressing this issue when plenty of other detergents claim to work fine in all water types with no adjustments. This means that the 24/48 load bag I used will last about 16 washes with very hard water. Most of you can get the full 24 or 48 loads depending on your machine and water.
I used my normal wash routine of a warm pre-rinse, hot wash (stop machine and allow a 30 minutes soak in hot water), warm rinse, extra warm rinse. I do the soak during the wash since my machine only offers a short wash that doesn’t work very well. I did need to use the full four tablespoons of detergent, which does make the bag not last very long. However, I do like how Eco Sprout worked. It doesn’t really suds up, but I could see it pull out some old detergent that wasn’t rinsing properly before.
Admittedly, I added a 1/4 cup of oxygen bleach powder about every third wash or so to soften my water and help with mineral buildup. That is not any fault of Eco Sprout though. Eco Sprout detergent has gotten my diapers clean every time minus one particularly gross load that I ran twice. I had the limited edition holiday scent which was like a mug of spiced cider. I would love to try the lavender scent! You can currently get Eco Sprout on Lavender Chamomile, Green Tea, Sandalwood Vanilla, In the Buff (unscented), Fresh linen, and the occasional seasonal scent. Most of the time, the scent rinses out completely, and what little left was gone out of the dryer.
I love that Eco Sprout is a little lower in price than its contemporaries since I need to use so much. Overall, I would actually recommend this detergent over most of the other boutique detergents based on performance, price point, company mission, and availability. Eco Sprout is gaining in popularity and is available at several small online stores, but you can also order it straight from their website.
Update: Once we moved to an area with softer water, this detergent worked much better for us!
*Winner: #217 Mary D.*
*Detergent c/o Eco Sprout. This review was my honest opinion and was not otherwise compensated.