more info: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentbasics.htm
great comparison of detergents: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm#pocket%20diapers
what does all this mean? I don't really know yet...I am still doing the research. My issue currently is that I am doing most of the internet research in english, which recommends US products, which is unhelpful to me. So, I am beginning to research in german and trying to find equivalent products. The nice thing is that there are wonderful physical stores (versus only internet products) close to where we live where I can buy eco-friendly (and therefore hopefully diaper friendly) products.
In an effort to keep my washer (and now dryer...a different post) free of detergent residue I have started washing our laundry with eco-friendly detergent. The first thing I tried was "soap nuts." Soap Nuts are actually berries from a tree in India which have soap-like qualities. They are very sticky and in combination with water become soap-like. They are obviously all natural and you need no additional softener. I put about 8 nuts in a cotton sack and put tea tree oil on the sack to add a nice scent. Then, I just pitch the sack into the washer and that's it! I really like the soap nuts so far for most things. They don't seem to be 100% effective on dirty jeans - although this could probably be fixed with some stain spotting or other tweaking to my regimen. I bought other liquid eco-detergent to wash dirty jeans and harder to clean things. The soap nuts have worked great on everything else though!
Here is an informative website from Australia about soap nuts: http://www.soapinanutshell.com.au/
Once you start reading about all the chemicals which can get stuck in your clothing and you wear against your skin everyday, other alternatives start looking very inviting. If you use, or decide to use eco-friendly detergent in the future, I would be very interested in knowing what it is and how you like it!
I'm becoming pretty crunchy, huh? I love it! :)