I posted a few days ago about having used several detergents in my cloth diapering time. I thought I'd offer what I can to the collective of cloth diapering detergent knowledge.
A little background on me and detergents:
I have sensitive skin. I break out in random rashes. My mom once switched detergents while I was in high school, and washed all our clothes with it. I put on my clean clothes, and got a horrible, itchy all over rash. The only thing I could wear that hadn't been washed? Some holey purple sweat pants and a funky T-shirt. And that's it. Commando for the day while we re-washed all my clothes, sheets and towels. It was an unpleasant event for me. So I'm careful about my detergents. I don't like most detergent fragrances, as they are too strong.
Since I lived in an Old House for 6 years that had an archaic septic system, I have been especially sensitive to the household chemicals, detergents and personal care items that are washed down the drain. Let's just say that I know exactly where the water left the house, and exactly where it returned to the ground. No problems with the water being washed out to sea there. So, no phosphates is important, and biodegradable, since it was degrading (or not) pretty much on the front lawn.
Before I had kids, I had been using Seventh Generation detergent for household laundry. I was satisfied with the performance, but I had read that it wasn't considered a good option for cloth diapers. So, after I birthed my first baby, I started using Allen's Naturally liquid detergent for the diapers. I used it for more than a year (till the bottle ran out.) I was using a top loader, and I found that it was taking For.Ev.Er. for the bubbles to rinse out. I tried using less and less, but you know, microscopic amounts of detergent don't get the diapers clean. In general I thought this was okay on diapers. It just took a long time to rinse, and over the course of the first year, the diapers began to stink more.
I used those two detergents during the first year, until I read that using different detergents in the the same washer can still cause problems with the diapers, even if using the diaper detergent properly.
I eventually switched over to Planet Ultra liquid detergent, because I'd read that it was great for hard water, and diapers, both of which I had. It worked well for diapers and household laundry, so I didn't have to worry about cross contamination. I don't know that I had any particular issues with the Planet detergent, but I still wasn't satisfied with the amount of rinsing I had to do.
Once I got the Front Loader, I decided to switch to an HE certified brand, and I wanted to try out Country Save powder, the brand that so many cloth diapering families rave about (I think CottonBabies even uses this brand for their in house brand. So I thought I heard). I have also been generally pleased with this for family laundry, and for diapers. Since I'm using a different set up than I had with the previous detergents, I don't feel I have a good comparison. I do think it might rinse better, but it's a low sudsing kind of detergent to start with. I bought 4 boxes of this back in November, and I'm halfway through box #2. I have a way to go before I run out!
So, in summary, I don't have any strong complaints about the three brands of cloth diaper friendly detergents I have tried. I keep seeking something better, but I believe that for many people, any of these three detergents would be good choices for cloth diapering and household laundry.
I'm sure I'll try some other detergents in the future. I've got my eye on Rockin Green Detergent. Since they sell sample sizes, I'm inclined to give it a try on the cloth, and see what happens.