Mailbox Mondays Washing

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 5/28/12 – Red Marks from Elastic

Red marks from #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

Have a cloth diaper question? Each week, I answer a question and ask others moms to help.

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.

Sarah says::

Hi Maria,

First off, LOVE your blog! Devoted reader right here.

Ok, so I was hoping you could help me with an issue. After 7.5 months I finally stripped my diapers. It was pretty easy and the buildup/irritation issue was 99percent resolved. Well now, a short week after stripp-a-thon 2012, my LO is getting irritated where the elastic bunches. So on her lower back where the top of the diaper hits/ where it’s all scrunchy, she’s got a red area. She also has it to a lesser degree on her thighs. I really don’t want to hand scrub all those seams/elastic areas. Any thoughts on what to do? Ive used the occasional bit of bleach, tea tree oil and vinegar in my wash to great success, and I’m stumped at this point.

Thanks for your help!


Hi Sarah! Thanks for reading! 🙂 I wish I had a really easy answer/quick fix for you, but it could be any number of things.

If this is a new development, it’s probably not harmless red marks from elastic. Sometimes if diapers are a little loose, they can rub and cause a bit of irritation as baby moves too. On many/most diapers, the area at the waist and legs has PUL touching baby’s skin, and some children are sensitive to PUL. Again, if this is a recent issue, that’s probably not it either.

I think what you’re suspecting is that there is some build up in those bunched areas of fabric. If build up issues are fixed after stripping but come back fairly quickly, I always suggest taking a look at your wash routine and detergent. Rather than scrubbing each diaper by hand or adding anything else to the diapers, I suggest washing them in hot water on a heavy duty cycle several times until the water is completely clean with no residue.

To troubleshoot your wash routine I’d need a little more info about what you’re using and how you wash. You might need to use less detergent, different detergent, or just add an extra rinse or two.

Any thoughts for Sarah?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • May 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Has there been a weather change? If she has been cloth diapering 7.5 months, then I guess she has not used pocket diapers in summer yet. I know I have to either loosen the elastics when it is hot out or switch to flats and covers for more breathability.

  • May 29, 2012 at 2:35 am

    It could also be that it’s pulled too tight now. If you’re using hook and loop style diapers, it may be that they are being pulled too tight now or they’re over stuffed and pulled tight. My oldest developed red marks because I was trying to stuff him into several flat during the flats challenge. I ended up loosening the hook and loops and also using less stuffing during the day for better “breathing”. Overnight diapers tend to cause more irritation in more than one way.

  • May 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Are you SURE it’s not from the elastic? Perhaps she had a sneaky growth spurt lately and you’re still using the same snap settings as before? 🙂 I’m having that issue with my guy right now (he looks SKINNIER to me, but he must be carrying some extra weight on his thighs these days, because all his diapers are now too tight around the legs!)

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