Early last week, I received two orders of prefold cloth diapers, one from AdultClothDiaper.com, another from ChangingTimesDiaperCo.com. My expectations for the softness of both diapers was perhaps a bit unrealistic, as I was comparing them to my old toddler diapers that had been washed literally hundreds to times. Still, it was hard not to be a little disappointed when, after almost a dozen washes, both the ADC and CTDC diapers still felt a little... tough. Not bad, just not quite soft. I added white vinegar to a couple of the rinse cycles, but this didn't seem to do much (apparently it's mostly about static cling).
One of the articles I'd read on cloth diaper care had suggested that some organic "green" fabric softners were diaper-safe. In particular, Ecover was recommended. I plugged in "Ecover" and "cloth diapers" into Google, and voila! A ton of hits discussing how great the stuff is for cloth diapers. I figured, what the heck!
After one wash cycle with the Ecover, ... WOW. Just thinking about how those diapers feel now brings an almost uncontrollable urge to go and pin one on. Ecover is AMAZING. The diapers were literally transformed, and are now closer to the soft, squishiness of my old toddler diapers than I ever imagined they would be. The diaper pins just glide through, even when pinning through the center soaker panel (required when I use the large-sized diapers instead of the mediums). And, as promised by the positive reviews, there was no sign of repelling; all fluid coming in contact with the diapers was immediately absorbed, just as before.
In short: These diapers, plus the occasional application of Ecover, are looking like a dream come true. If you've been wearing cloth a while and have never done anything to soften your diapers, I strongly recommend giving this stuff a try. I suspect you'll be hooked immediately!