Do my nappies need an anti-bacterial rinse (such as dettol or canesten)?

In the times we live in, where you can’t go an ad break during your favourite TV show without some multi-national company spruiking their supposedly-awesome solution for ridding your world of germs, you can be forgiven for spending some time in the laundry aisle of your supermarket gazing at laundry sanitisers. You know the ones, Canasten and Dettol are the most popular ones out there and I’m sure that even if you haven’t used them at some stage, there has been a time when you’ve come across something pretty rank in the wash basket and you’ve at least thought about using some!

These two brands are mentioned often in online forums. Someone will ask an innocent question about ensuring that their nappies are clean and there will often be several responses espousing the benefits of adding Canasten or Dettol to the rinse cycle (usually Canasten is the most recommended for its anti-fungal properties). It seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? Your child poos and wees in their nappies and so there must be bugs present and so you deal with that by adding an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal solution. After all, you don’t want to be putting an unsafe nappy on your babe’s delicate skin, do you?

But I have a very special mission today, one that I really hope you take note of, because it really does involve the safety of your bub’s skin. I want you to stop using Canasten and Dettol on your nappies.

No, really. There is no need and you are putting your bub’s skin and the integrity of your nappies at risk by using them.

How so? Let’s start with Canasten. The active ingredient in Canasten Laundry Rinse is benzalkonium chloride and this is used widely in antibacterial products. It’s also used for cleaning algae, moss and lichen from roof tiles and swimming pools, but that’s another story.

Studies have identified benzalkonium chloride as an irritant that can produce skin rashes. Does this sound like a familiar scenario to you: bub has a skin rash; you add some Canasten Laundry Rinse to your nappy wash to help clear up any “bugs” that might be causing this; bub’s nappy rash gets worse; you continue to add Canasten to your nappy wash to kill those bugs… and it goes on. Benzalkonium chloride will also degrade the bamboo fabric in your nappies over time, leaving you with nappies that can’t do their job properly anymore. And as a last hurrah, Canasten also contains alcohol, another known skin irritant and one that many of us try to avoid putting on our bub’s skin.

Now, shall we have a little look at Dettol Laundry Rinse? Let’s see, there’s butylphenyl methylpropional – that’s a synthetic fragrance that is a known skin irritant. There’s also this ingredient called alkyldimethyl chloride, which is also known as – guess what? Benzalkonium chloride. Funny that.

And as a side note, it is overuse of ingredients like benzalkonium chloride that is contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bugs. Now, they are scary.

I can sense there may be a few exasperated mothers reading this by now thinking, “So what do I do to make sure my baby’s cloth nappies are properly clean?”

Making sure that your baby’s nappies are clean and sanitised is exceptionally easy. Wash with Cushie Tushies Premium Laundry Detergent, which contains all natural, non-irritating ingredients and naturally sanitises your nappies and breaks down proteins to leave your nappies absolutely clean. Our detergent is not salt-based (unlike some other “cult” mcn detergents) so it will not degrade your nappies over time. Get your nappies out in sunlight as often as possible, as pure sunlight is the best sanitiser you can possibly ever come across. The sun also reacts with the ingredients in our detergent to effectively fade any stains – double awesome.

Looking back over this post, it seems like a lot of words for one simple message: there is no need to be regularly using laundry sanitisers on your nappies and it is likely you will cause problems for your baby and your nappies if you do. One simple detergent will keep your nappies clean and sanitised and will not put your bub’s skin at risk. Cushie Tushies all the way!

For more information about our fabulous Australian-made detergent, email us today to request a full Data Sheet.