Cloth Diapers & Diaper Rash

Meghan - posted on 10/22/2008 ( 43 moms have responded )

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I am currently cloth diapering my first child (Nolan, 4 mos old) and he recently started having a severe diaper rash on his stomach area just above his penis. I use prefolds with Thirsties covers and am not sure what could be causing this. I haven't changed detergent (Purex Free & Clear) or anything and have been doing double- & triple-rinses yet nothing seems to help. Any suggestions???

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Robin - posted on 01/19/2012

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Probably not an issue for anyone on here anymore, but just in case...using a few drops of Tea Tree Oil (TTO) in your wash/rinse cycles are a great way to naturally strip and disinfect your diapers. So if you're against using Dawn (although I use that also, different circumstances, different remedies for me) you can try that.

Rachel - posted on 11/02/2011

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Sometimes hanging them out to dry in the sun does wonders! The sunshine kills all the germs and makes them nice and fresh again! Also, lavender essential oil in some olive oil will help his skin heal.

Kimberly - posted on 10/27/2008

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glad everything worked! my two suggestions would have been vinegar in the rinse cycle which was suggested (I use a downy ball) and the other is for when the rash is there. If you take some water and make caledula tea (it's a marigold strain you should be able to find in a health food store) with it - caledula is great for soothing skin irritations. Add a couple of drops of lavendar and tea tree oils - these have antibaterial & antifungal properties. I've used this with reusable little clothes for changing diapers.



You might notice rash flare ups during teething - i've heard their urine gets more acidic.

Bethanie - posted on 10/25/2008

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Try using pockets. The inner has the layer of fleece that will wick away the yuck from baby's skin. I also use corn starch to help keep baby dry.

As far as diaper washing and what knot goes, I strip my dipes with Dawn once every 1-2 months, but I use Tea Tree Oil in the rinse with every single wash to help disinfect.

Hailey - posted on 10/25/2008

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Try baking soda in your soaking water, and a barrier cream where he gets rash (zinc, vasaline)

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Jovanna - posted on 03/15/2012

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I was so frustrated about the smell of my diapers and the way they were treating my two little ones skin. I was so about to give up on them....I spent so much time and energy on trying to strip and find new ways to get my diapers clean, then one day my mother in law sent me this stuff called Rock-in Green Funk Rock Ammonia Buster, and Rock-in Green Laundry Detergent and I will tell you the stuff is a MIRACLE. I just washed my diapers in the laundry detergent, and then soaked them overnight in the Funk Rock, and then washed them again with the Detergent, and my diapers were like brand new. It got rid of the smell, the stains and most importantly the rashes. Now all i have to do is wash them in the Funk Rock once a week in between washes. Happy Diapering.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/30/2011

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To help get rid of and prevent the rash, California Baby diaper rash cream works really well. It's all natural and you can find it at Target, or online. I also use essential oil like lavender or rose. When using oils on babies remember to always add a carrier oil like jojoba, or grapeseed. Do not put them on straight.

Sherri - posted on 10/27/2011

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You might want to use a good balm to add a layer of protection between baby and diaper. Also, adding a fleece liner will wick the moisture away from baby's bottom. If the dips smell of ammonia then you might need to change your detergent.

Andrea - posted on 09/03/2011

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Are you rinsing your diapers with cold water first than washing them in hot water with detergent? Also if you are not breast feeding, it more than likely is caused by formula.

[deleted account]

Thanks, everyone! I am currently using Nystatin yeast cream that I got from my sister, and it seems to be clearing up. The diapers are being stripped as I type this, and I'm also going to buy the California baby powder and cream as you recommended, Kate. If all of this doesn't work, I'll try the fungal cream. What will I do with all my spare time and mental capacity once I have finally, finally solved this problem?!?



What about you, Meghan - any luck with Nolan's rash?

Carol - posted on 11/06/2008

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It may be a yeast infection. Our daughter had this problem because the PUL covers didn't allow her skin to breathe. We switched to wool and fleece covers and haven't had a problem since.

Melissa - posted on 11/06/2008

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Erin-

I am currently using the over-the-counter Lotrimin AF twice a day per doc's advice over the phone. However it's not killing the fungus, so I am going to try to get a prescription from my pediatrician.

Kate - posted on 11/06/2008

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Erin, it sounds like we had the same problem. My daughter was just around 5 months old and she had this horrible red bumpy rash on the same places you guys did (although ours was all over her bum, too). I called the Dr. and explained what it looked like. They also recommended Lotrimin AF to be used twice a day. We did that and it started to clear up immediately. I also then stripped my diapers. I think her rash was caused by excessive moisture, even though I change her diapers every 1.5-2 hours (before and after every nap). Now I use California Baby Calming POWDER. It works wonders. I sprinkle lots on at every diaper changing and a little on her diaper, too. Even when her diaper is soaked when I go to change it her skin is pretty dry. Occasionaly (after a soiled diaper) she may get a little red and when that happens I use California Baby Calming CREAM. It is perfectly safe for cloth diapers.



So, in short: call your Dr to see if they recommend the Lotrimin AF, but I think it will help. And check out the California Baby products. I have also used the Earth Mama Angel Baby stuff and its good, but doesn't keep her from getting rashes like the powder does.



Good luck, hope this helps.

[deleted account]

Thanks, ladies!



Melissa - what anti-fungal cream do you use and is it over-the-counter? Your description sounded exactly like what she has. It is just not going away, no matter what I try (yes, we're trying LOTS of naked time). I'm hesitant to start slathering her with anti-yeast and anti-fungal creams without knowing exactly what it is, however. Has anyone ever tried doing this without getting a diagnosis from a doctor?



I'm going to buy the liners and cloth-friendly cream everyone recommended ASAP!

Sara - posted on 11/04/2008

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You CAN use certain diaper creams with cloth. Specifically, ones that will wash out completely in the hot wash, and that have no fish oil (cause that smell NEVER goes away). We have used the northern essence cream for about a year without trouble. You could still use a liner with it if you're nervous, I bought some--bio-soft i think--from nickisdiapers . com and I really like them.

Also, if you are suspecting a yeast rash, buy a tube of Lotrimin AF foot creme and slather it on (use a liner) at least 3 or 4 times a day. If the rash starts clearing up will know what you had! Then you should wash all diapers and wipes w/ a little bleach if you can, to kill the yeast.

Melissa - posted on 11/03/2008

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I am on my third in diapers. My first and third had bouts with fungal infections, always on the lower tummy area- red spotted rash that is itchy and comes and goes. The only thing that really works has been anti-fungal cream (make sure it's without steroids). And lots of non-diaper time. And, humm, both these babies of mine had this problem from about 5 months to 9 months... Those disposable liners are nice- just discovered them this year. Make clean-up for the more solid poos SO easy.

Emily - posted on 11/03/2008

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Hi;
We use these flushable liners (two brand names are Kushies and Bio-Soft) which are just a very thin (paper-like) layer and that allows us to use creams when needed. We don't use the liners or creams all of the time but it's great to have the option. It sounds like your rash is something more than just diaper rash, however - might be worth getting it checked!

Stephanie - posted on 11/03/2008

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Erin, I've heard the same...no ointments or creams of any kind with cloth diapers. which makes it kinda tricky if they get a diaper rash.

Carmen - posted on 11/03/2008

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erin, no. The literature I've received on cloth diapers is that no, you're not supposed to use creams or anything with cloth diapers.

[deleted account]

My babe is 5 mths and has explicably started rashing with her BumGenius diapers. I change them every 2 hrs (even when not wet), we have cut out using the Oxyclean, all to no avail. Her rash is mostly on her lower stomach and VJ, not on her bum. I try switching her to disposables and slathering her with creams, but the rash doesn't completely go away even then and I'm getting sick of going through so many disaposables!



My question is: you aren't "supposed" to use any creams or even Vaseline with cloth diapers, correct?

Sara - posted on 11/02/2008

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Wow! I can't count how often I see this same question about 4 month olds and rashes (I should know, I was one of them12 months ago). I am starting to think it's the age. It sounds crazy, but I see all of us struggling with same rash during the 4th month. Changing detergents, wash methods, diaper fabrics, etc. to no avail. And then one day it just goes away. (In our case though it returned w/ a vengence when he switched to cow milk, which it turns out he's allergic to, but that's a whole other story w/ lots of extra symptoms besides the rash)

In the meantime, I slathered him in NorthernEssence Better Butter Creme for most of his infancy and that really helped. (I sometimes used bagbalm too if he was in a disposable).

Stephanie - posted on 11/01/2008

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one of my friends also uses cloth diapers...for the longest time she thought her son was having a major diaper rash as well (about that same age as your son too)...she tried many diff. things to fix the prob, nothing worked..turned out he had a yeast infection...so you might want to check with your dr. if nothing else clears it up, in case thats what your son has as well. just a thought. :)

Jessica - posted on 10/31/2008

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We bought some great diapers from Kidalog online, they also sell Ozonated Olive Oil. It doesn't have any petrochemicals like some other creams, and it doesn't stick to the skin. Its really just olive oil in a solid state... it works great :) We also use cornstarch quite often.

Carmen - posted on 10/30/2008

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yeah, I was just going to suggest maybe it was yeast. One of the moms in my community ed baby class said that when her baby got a yeast infection she totally missed it for a long time- until it got pretty bad. She said that when her baby was treated for yeast with a pill a diaper rash went away. This mom said that now that she knows this she realized the baby has only ever had the diaper rash when having a yeast infection.

[deleted account]

rashes that don't go away can also be caused by allergy or yeast.
If he has started solid foods it could be somethign he is eating, and if you are breastfeeding, try doing some food elimination yourself (my little ones were sensitive to wheat, and would get terrible diaper rash if I ate too much of it while nursing. it took me multiple babies to figure that one out....). Best treatment for yeast is probiotics (lots of active culture yogurt, or you can get acidophilus powder at your local health food store and add it to juice or water.)

Many "diaper creams" are heavy enough that they won't wash out of your cloth diapers, and some contain fish oil as their vitamin e source, which will make your diapers stink. the best rash treatment is air (let him go commando for a while! he can lay on a towel and play...) and believe it or not, olive oil makes a great rash treatment. It doesn't protect as well for those long wet overnights, but if your little one is peeing in the middle of the night, it's best to change the diapers when he stirs. (three kids in, I think training them to sleep through peeing makes it harder when you want them to wake up and use the toilet... though maybe that's just my kids!)

Kari Lynn - posted on 10/29/2008

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I had horrible rashes with my little guy in cloth diapers as well. I changed diaper brands...as I was finding that I just couldn't get the diapers clean (I know that sounds funny)...I switched to a diaper called eco bumz...I noticed a huge difference...although it wasn't a cheap decision as cloth diapers are not inexpensive. These diapers have a fleece lining and I find it stays much dryer on his skin and the liner absorbs fabulously.



I have also not had any #2 leaks and very rarely have a #1 leak...except if he sleeps extra long...he is a very heavy wetter at night.



You can also strip your diapers with a thing called soap bugs...go on-line.



I also found that penaten is the only diaper cream that works as he got horrible rashes that were actually yeast rashes....since changing diapers, I have had no problem keeping them clean and smell free, as well as with the cream have had no more bad rashes.



Eco bumz has a web site. ecobumz.com

Hailey - posted on 10/29/2008

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wow after reading all the work you ladies put into your diapering i kind of feel lazy, My diapers were all second hand to start with i bleached them once 5 years ago when the twins were born before i used them the first time, I keep a 5 gallon pail by the washer with vinegar and baking soda or borax and water, when full i dump it in the washer run a rinse cycle, then fill the washer with 1/2 the amount of detergent i would normally use for clothes a cup of vinegar, and baking soda. clean and fresh every time. my diapers are all going strong and i have yet to have a diaper rash.During the day we just changed every two hours, at night i do use a zinc cream as a barrier for the extended wear i made pads out of old towels to insert for night time never have had a problem even the ones i made out of old linens have never posed a problem. One more kid coming in May and we will be using the same diapers again (some of them are over 12 years old and were given to us by family and friends they are old they are worn and they were free)

Emily - posted on 10/29/2008

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I find Bamboozle bamboo diapers work really well for overnight and preventing rashes. I'm using Ihle's paste as a diaper cream and using a viscose liner that I flush. Our pediatrician recommended putting a little hydro-cortisone cream on under the the Ihle's paste 3x per day if he has a rash (rare) and we've found that works well to clear it up quickly.

Katie - posted on 10/29/2008

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I was warned against using the usual diaper rash creams and lotions by almost every CD website I saw. I use Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom balm, which is all natural and created to be safe for cloth diapers. It clears up my son's rashes faster than any of the other products we used to use. However, it is a little pricey. I agree that stripping the diapers helps, but the most common cause for my son's diaper rash seems to be leaving the diaper on too long. It's a good idea to at least do the "sniff test" every hour. I find I can smell whether he's wet or dirty from up to a foot away.

Cyndie - posted on 10/27/2008

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Belive it or not, I bleached my diapers to strip them. I was amazing the difference. I was warned not to by so many people then I found a site that recommended doinging it once a month. Her dipes were 4 years old. They had been through 4 kids and were still going strong. So I tried it. Couldn't hurt if my child couldn't wear them anyway right. It works great. Also try Crunch Clean detergent. It is great too and biodegradible. It is made by a crunchy momma. keyword search it at diaperswappers.com

Good Luck!!!

Kristi - posted on 10/27/2008

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ITA with the dawn stripping method. That or boiling are our method of choice. We use Allens all natural detergent (Charlies is also a good one that I have heard folks recommend) for our diapers and that works fabulous for keeping the stinky build up at bay. Regular detergents will leave a residue on your diapers even anything labeled free and clear. Also, I would check your water quality. If you have hard water then the diapers will collect build up no matter what you do. We used to have hard water until we got a whole house water softner. Before that I used 1 c of baking soda in the hot wash to help with that. HTH

Kate - posted on 10/27/2008

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I always do a vinegar rinse when washing, and I usually have baking soda in my diaper pail to cut down on odors, and that soda gets in the machine when I do the wash. Funny, the powder and cream I like has calendula, lavendar AND tea tree oils in it! I do think she's teething. She got her 2 bottom teeth at 3 months old (!) and has been working on the top 2 ever since...lots and lots of drool...

Hailey - posted on 10/26/2008

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i have 3 kids all used cloth with all of them ( the youngest is 8 months still in diapers) i have never had a diaper rash. the soak bucket Has 1/2 c vinegar, 1/2 c. baking soda, they go through the rinse cycle before washing, add 1/2c borax or 1cup of baking soda to was water and of course vinegar. NO fabric softeners or anything like that. they come out super soft, super fresh and super clean NO rashes

Adrienne - posted on 10/26/2008

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Also... if any of you are looking for a great "potion" to help with the rashes, I use something called Diaper Lotion Potion. I buy it concentrated and then mix with Witch Hazel in a spray bottle. It really helps keep the rashes away... especially once my oldest started sleeping those stretches, I made a great difference. I also would suggest a really hot water cycle.

Kate - posted on 10/26/2008

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Okay, so I have stopped using the Triple Paste and Lotimin on my daughter's rash and instead went back to using the California Baby Calming Powder that I hadn't used in months...I also was changing her frequently, using my wool covers, and using some prefolds as doublers in my fitted diapers. And her rash is gone!!! I stripped her diapers and everything else (I use hemp doublers, and that's what was directly next to the old rash creams), and have just started using those again so I hope her rash doesn't come back!!! Love that Powder, though!!!

[deleted account]

Beware of Oxiclean! When I use it on my daughters diapers it would give her diaper rash so bad she would get blisters after one dipe.

Kate - posted on 10/24/2008

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Okay, so we have also been having rash issues. I thought it was "normal" but after researching some of the sites you all have posted I realize it's not. So I, too, am now in the process of "stripping". I've been warned against using Dawn, though. I think I'll just try lots of cycles with REALLY hot water?!?! Hope it helps...

Jenny - posted on 10/23/2008

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Hi, we went through that around the same age. It was happening while sleeping in prefolds, and he is probably sleeping for longer stretches right now. A simple fleece liner solved the problem, and boudreaux's butt paste cleared up the rash. Mine only sleeps in pocket diaper now to keep him dryer.

Vilate - posted on 10/23/2008

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Yeah, stripping is important to diapering, it helps with the smell too. :) I use a few drops of Tea Tree oil every time I wash my diapers, to kill any bacteria. I also use water softener when I strip.

Anne-Marie - posted on 10/23/2008

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There are several ways to do this. The basic idea is to remove any buildup or oils that might be on the fabric. You can add a couple of squirts of Dawn dish detergent liquid (the original blue bottle - don't use anything scented or with additives) and then rinse, rinse, rinse until there are no bubbles/suds left. I've always stripped my diapers by running a regular load but adding in boiling water to get it as hot as possible. I use my regular detergent and toss in half a scoop of oxyclean. Then I rinse 2-3 extra times and on the last rinse, toss in 1/4 cup white vinegar.



I try to strip my diapers once a month or so.

Meghan - posted on 10/23/2008

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Thanks so much for these suggestions - I'll give these a try ASAP & hope that the rash clears up. How do you "strip" the diapers....I haven't heard of this?

Anne-Marie - posted on 10/22/2008

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How often are you changing the diapers? Maybe try adding a fleece insert to layer between his skin and the diaper to help keep moisture off his skin. You can also try stripping your diapers or using vinegar in one of the rinses.

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