Cloth Diapering Mailbox Mondays

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 11/21/11 – Cloth Diapers Causing Rashes?

#clothdiapers causing rashes via @chgdiapers

It’s Mailbox Monday, so it’s time to answer a cloth diaper question. Every week, I will answer a reader submitted question, and ask my readers to help too!

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Joanna says:

I need help with my daughter’s constant diaper rash! The only thing that ever gets rid of it is letting her wear disposables for a few days. We only use natural detergents on our cloth diapers (currently we’re using Eco Sprout) and no matter what detergent we use, the rash always seems to come back. We have tried all sorts or rash creams that are safe for cloth diapers. I even bought some CJ’s Butter because I heard such good reviews on it but I think that it actually made her rash worse. My younger daughter (who has eczema) has NEVER had a diaper rash and I wash their diapers all together.

I have stripped their diapers using RLR and also when we switched to Eco Sprout.
What can I do to help my daughter’s bum?

I asked Joanna a few questions to try to get a better idea of what’s going on. They use pocket diapers (Bumgenius & Blueberry mostly), and her daughter had the same problem with gDiapers’ cloth inserts. Her other child does not have this problem, and she washes their diapers together. The rash sometimes comes along with little open sores. The Eco Sprout detergent ids doing a good job of getting the diapers clean, they aren’t having any odor issues.

My first thought is that she may just have a little one with very sensitive skin! I’d first try changing more often (if you’re changing every 2 hours, try every hour.) I’d also suggest trying a very thin layer of “cloth safe” diaper rash cream at every change, as a preventative measure. Some that I’ve tried and liked are Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm and Motherlove Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve.

Some babies are sensitive to synthetic materials such as microfleece, microsuede & suedecloth used as diaper inners, and/or the PUL outers. I’d be very interested to see if the rash cleared up with natural fiber fitteds or prefolds either coverless, or perhaps with a wool cover.

Joanna did say they may just end up working on potty training a bit early if it is the diapers in her stash, and that she doesn’t think her childcare provider would do prefolds.

I would also maybe take a look at the wash routine. I know you stripped when you switched to Eco Sprout, but it wouldn’t hurt to do several hot washes (with nothing but water) to get all residue out and see if it helps. If you don’t already do an extra rinse when you wash, consider adding one.

Since the rash clears up in disposables, and your other child doesn’t have it, I doubt it would be yeast (and yes, Joanna has taken her to a doctor, don’t worry!) 🙂

Has anyone dealt with a rash in cloth that cleared up in disposables? Did you figure out what caused it?

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • Becky Marie
    March 20, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I’m dealing with this with my daughter right now. She gets the worst sores very frequently, while my son does not (and diapers get washed together). I know it is caused sometimes when she’s sat in a poopy diaper and I didn’t know (she’s a super sensitive butt to that!), but other times it just seems to happen randomly. One of our last stints lasted almost two weeks (in numerous stages of severity) a few weeks ago. That one was really hard. Sometimes disposables help, but sometimes they don’t. I’m going to try some different diaper creams to see if that helps (we currently use CJ’s every change, or one other small sample of a different brand -can’t remember the name offhand though!). I do like the sample though, she seems to respond better to that one!

    • March 20, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Do you have mostly similar diapers? Some babies are sensitive to wetness (natural fibers) and some can be sensitive to synthetics. If you’re concerned, OF COURSE take her to the doctor, but a thin layer of rash cream at every change and frequent changing can really help!

  • November 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    uh, not microfiber…I meant microfleece! 🙂

  • November 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    We deal with this with my 7 month old. My older two never had any issues using the same types of diapers. I have two in diapers at this point, and their diapers are washed together. Only the baby is having rash issues, and it sounds like a very similar rash. It takes two days in disposables with a good rash cream to clear it up.

    I don’t know if it’s the microfiber against her skin or something else, but the solution {for us} is a thin layer of coconut oil on her skin at every change. That was recommended to me about 2 months ago, and it WORKS! If I forget the coconut oil, the rash comes back.

  • Mary Michaud
    November 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I second the suggestion to try Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom balm – my baby seemed to react to the CJs stuff, particularly if he already had a rash – perhaps it was the scents? But I’ve never had a problem with the Earth Mama Angel Baby – it’s always helped.

    Also, perhaps having a fleece liner would help troubleshooting (like if it’s sensitivity to a fabric).

  • C Hulsey
    November 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I have 2 kids in cloth diapers and I have experienced this with both of them at different times. My daughter is sensitive to suedecloth so when I use suedecloth on her I always cover it with a microfleece liner – easy fix. My son is sensitive to detergent build-up, no matter which cloth diaper safe detergent I use. My water is naturally very soft and it is difficult to get the detergent rinsed out. Even if there are no bubbles in the water, residue can still be on your diapers. My solution is to rinse twice after each wash and occasionally strip with original Dawn (sometimes I have to strip weekly!).

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