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Disposable diapers clear up diaper rash - why?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

We're pretty committed to cloth diapers but when we were away over Christmas we used disposables on my 15-month-old. She often had a very mild diaper rash, but this cleared up completely over the holidays. Now that we're home she's back in cloth, and the diaper rash is back. I was told cloth was better than disposable for diaper rash, so I'm wondering what's going on.


We use AMP with hemp prefolds, often with a flushable liner. We wash with Allen's natural detergent and sometimes vinegar. We often use a butt cream or zinc cream, with the flushable liner so it doesn't get on the diaper.


Any help or advice? We'd really rather not switch to disposables because of the cost and the environment, but I'm not sure I want to be weighing my daughter's health against the environment.



post #2 of 32

Have you tried maybe using a fleece liner? Or using a pocket dipe that has fleece or suedecloth? This would wick moisture away from the skin and might help with a rash.


The other thing that springs to mind (mostly because we have been dealing with the dreaded yeasties for soooooooome time now rolleyes.gif) is a possible yeast rash that could be hanging out in your dipes. You can throw vinegar or GSE in the rinse cycle to kill yeast that's hanging out on a diaper. Might be worth a shot . . . .


Good luck!

post #3 of 32

We just went through this too. I think that it helps clear up rash because the disposables wick the moisture away very quickly, and the baby stays drier. My daughter's rash was completely cleared up within 2 days of using disposables. My plan is to leave her in disposables for now and strip her diapers, in hopes that even cleaner diapers than usual will help prevent her from getting further rashes. For the record, my general method of washing included vinegar every time.


One thing you could try is fleece liners, as fleece is supposed to wick away moisture.

post #4 of 32

We did the exact same thing over the holidays (disposables are easier when travelling let's face it) and we had the same outcome, diaper rash cleared up. I have no idea why. My DS can only use 1 brand of disposables though (Seventh Generation) as all others give him MAJOR rash within minutes. I too am curious as to what others have to say.  We use plain old DSQ prefolds and covers and although his diaper rash is not what I would consider 'bad' it's still there. Every single time we use the SG sposies it clears up. :sigh

post #5 of 32


Same thing happened to us! However I already use fleece liners and vinegar in every rinse cycle and my DD still had a hint of diaper rash that never ever went away.

She was in sposies for 1 week, no rash and didn't need any diaper cream. FWIW we are using 'green' diapers. I haven't put her back in cloth yet because I was going to strip my dipes.
post #6 of 32

Sposies are drier, and contrary to what people are always saying, they are more breathable than most cloth diaper covers, which aren't breathable at all. Fleece and wool covers are an exception to that rule, of course, but PUL covers are not breathable. Have you tried not using the vinegar? Also, have you tried not using the disposable liner? Did you keep diaper cream on her when she was in sposies? If not, maybe she's sensitive to the cream itself, although I think that would be relatively uncommon.


Honestly, I think it could be simply that you need to change her more often when she's in cloth, and perhaps try either a wool or fleece cover or some diapers you can use without a cover. Those PUL covers get everything hot and sweaty. Please don't take that to mean I think you're not conscientious about changing your baby. I'm not saying that at all. Some little ones just have SUPER sensitive skin and need to be changed a lot, lot, lot more often than your average baby. So if it were me, I'd get a couple fleece or wool covers and change every time she peed, as soon as she peed. I'd check ALL the time. My guess is that's probably the problem - her skin's just irritated from being hot and sweaty and wet. Obviously, that's just a guess. Whatever it is, good luck getting it worked out. :)

post #7 of 32

Consider flushable's fault. When I tried them for my son overnight, he had penis inflamation and we had to take him to a doctor. He was 3 m.o. then

post #8 of 32

I posted something similar on Diaperswappers a week or so ago - we have the same problem. DD has been wearing 'sposies at night because she is a super heavy wetter and was peeing right through her nighttime dipes, and every morning she wakes up dry and rash free. She's in GMD prefolds and Thirsties covers throughout the day and as the day goes on she gets redder and more irritated, but it always clears up magically overnight when she's in the 'sposie irked.gif


I'm going to Joann fabric on Friday and am picking up some microfleece to make my own liners. I'm also considering ditching the PUL covers in favor of wool or fleece as a PP mentioned - I just ordered a couple from here to try, they are having an awesome sale so you mamas may want to check it out...




We're not giving up CDing without a fight! Although I'm sure DH wouldn't mind lol.gif

post #9 of 32

Same issue here. Rash (really bad--red spots, like yeast but I don't think it was yeast because I did multiple yeast strips and bleach runs, that eventually became bleeding sores) in cloth, no rash in disposables (like, the rash would be gone within a few hours of putting her in sposies).   I almost gave up on cloth because of it.  I tried so many things--tons of different wash routines and detergents, multiple strips--I even switched from prefolds and Mother-Ease Airflow covers to fleece pockets (Kawaii) in the hopes that the fleece would keep her dry and get rid of the rash.  Nothing helped except disposables and Desitin. 


After a few weeks, though, a fairly mild rash started coming back when she was in disposables.  That made me go back to cloth since if she had a rash in either, I figured she might as well be in cloth (the environment is my main reason for wanting her in cloth). What we do now is put her in Kawaiis (or sometimes cotton fitteds without covers) during the day and a disposable diaper at night.


I'm still not totally sure what the issue is, though.  When I put her back in cloth I cut out a lot of things I'd been doing, sort of a cloth elimination diet, to see if I could pinpoint the issue.  The things I stopped using were:

- flushable liners

- coconut oil on her bottom

- any other creams or lotions on her bottom

- cloth wipes (we use disposable Kirkland brand wipes from Costco now)

- laundry additives (I'd tried vinegar, Grapeseed extract, and a few other things at various times)
- an older type of Kawaii diapers that had a funny feeling fleece (maybe it was microsuede or something?) in them

- cloth diapers at night


I've since sloooowly added things back into our routine, one at a time, checking for reactions.  So far the flushable liners are back in use without a problem, as are the older Kawaiis.  Next up I'll try adding the cloth wipes back in. 


I did change our wash routine, too. Previously I'd tried Country Save, Tide, and a homemade detergent made from Borax and washing soda.  Now all I use is a big squirt of blue Dawn, and a scoop of Oxyclean.  That's it.  It seems to work very well.  I have a portable apartment top loading washing machine and it has no trouble with the Dawn.  I do a full wash cycle on cold with nothing in it but the diapers, and the a heavy duty hot cycle (two wash cycles, one rinse) with the Dawn and Oxyclean.  She stays pretty much rash-free now.  Once in a while she gets an immediate bad reaction to a poop; if that happens, we put her in a disposable with Desitin and it's gone by the next diaper change.


The frustrating thing (for a perfectionist like me) is that I still don't know what the source of our issues were.  Was it the detergents?  Was it the cloth wipes, for some reason (the disposable ones seem much softer and gentler to me)?  Was it the cloth-friendly diaper creams I used (Baby Bottom Better, coconut oil)?  I do think she might be allergic to coconut oil, since it seems like she gets red when I put it on her face.  Was it being in cloth all night for 13+ hours at a go, and being in a disposable at night is the golden ticket?  Is it that she was teething and so her poop was really acidic for a long time, and she needed the Desitin barrier that we could use when she was in disposables?  I'm still not sure. 


All that to say that if you really want to stick with cloth, you could try doing what I did:

1) Put her in disposables and slather on the Desitin.

2) Wash all your cloth diapers with a splash of bleach, in hot water.  Then wash them a couple of times with a squirt of blue Dawn and a scoop of Oxyclean to remove any possible detergent residue.  Rinse several times.  Machine dry.
3) Leave her in disposables until her rash completely clears up, plus another week or two after that.

4) Put her back in disposables.  Don't use any liners or creams.  Use very simple fragrance-free disposable wipes (the Costco ones are great).  Put her in a disposable at night (we actually do two disposables, one on top of the other, for nighttime!)  See if she stays rash-free (or mostly rash-free) for a few weeks.  If so, add back other things you might want (like liners or cloth wipes), one at a time, very slowly.  If she gets a rash, cut out the thing you just added back and see if she stays rash-free.


No guarantees, because she might have totally different issues than my DD, but that's what we've been doing!  Keep us posted--believe me, I KNOW how frustrating this can be and I don't even want to think of the hundreds of hours I've spent thinking and working on and researching this issue!  My DH wanted me to give up just so I'd quit angsting about it.

post #10 of 32

Yes this happens to us too. I alternate between cloth and seveth generation diapers all day. It's the only way she stays rash free.

No matter what type- I find that the cloth has to be changed pretty fast. Not even 2 hours and there will be red skin.

post #11 of 32

We had the same problem recently. So DD has been in sposies since. But I spoke with the lady from where I had bought my diapers and she says it might be a soap residue causing the rash...so I am now stripping my diapers with the oxyclean...we'll see if it works.

post #12 of 32

Astrea, those are some great tips, thank you. We cut out the cloth wipes as well, but I've been using Oxyclean since the beginning with every wash. I like your method of using dish soap + Oxyclean in the hot cycle instead of the cold, I will try that today when I strip our dipes and see how we do.


Also, for anyone in No. Cal who's having this problem whose LO is in 'sposies temporarily, I've found the Full Circle brand diapers from Raley's/Nob Hill to be the BEST 'sposies we've ever used! They're cheap and made with corn too! We've tried every "green" 'sposie, from Seventh Generation to Nature Baby Care to Earth's Best. These are the only ones that not only keep her rash-free, but don't smell weird and give her skin that grayish-brown tint that freaks me out. If I wasn't so committed to CD I'd switch to these permanently winky.gif

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, especially Astrea. I like your method of eliminating everything and then adding back gradually. The diapers are in the wash right now with Oxyclean - I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

post #14 of 32

make sure the dipes rinse totally clean. S got a horrid rash the first time we used oxi - but not the subsequent times where I double rinsed everything (which I probably should have thought to do the first time 'round duh.gif). Could have been a fluke, but who knows?

post #15 of 32

I had the exact same experience.


I think disposables are the most absorbent so least rash.  


I initially used cotton/hemp prefolds and I think they were not that absorbent plus they created friction on my baby's leg.  I switched to the poly fleece stuff and the rash got better.


So now I use disposables at night when the kids are in dipes the longest.  I use poly fleece cloth the rest of the time.  


I do think the disposables are best for diaper rash so I try to balance this against my environmental concerns.  This is the balance I have come up with for us.  

post #16 of 32

 I've had both experiences. With my first sehs was very sensitive to wetness but at the same time seemed to get these weird kinda friction rashes from sposies if used all the time.. she also reacted to poly fabics so I needed both all cotton and stay dry which of course doesn't exist.. The best combo turned out to be good assorbant cotton diaper sby day where I could change ASAP and sposies at night.. Our local Kroger diapers turned out to be the best even over all the expensive "green" choices...


 My current gets rashy from sposies fast Huggies Supreme (re pack) seem to so far work the best but I have to use then carefully... She however does great in cloth. and handles both all cotton and stay dry well.

post #17 of 32

I would run the diapers through the wash a couple of times with no detergent. I've read a bunch of articles lately about how people tend to use WAY too much detergent, and that it sticks in the clothes and the washer, which damages the washer and makes the clothes get dirtier faster as stuff sticks to the detergent. If you are using a front load washer you barely need any detergent at all.

It may be worth a shot!


Also, my older daughter had bacterial diaper rashes that also would get a lot better in disposables (though didn't go away entirely). If your washer has a sanitize cycle that would be something to try. We didn't have that when she was in diapers, and the only thing I found that helped (besides changing her like ALL the time) was Calendula ointment, the type in petroleum base. I don't usually like petroleum bases, but it really did seem to help more than the Calendula creams and gels.


post #18 of 32

Yep, here too. DS has always had very sensitive skin, and I'm CONSTANTLY trying to find a diapering system that works for us that doesn't include disposables. So far, I'm no further ahead than when he was a newborn. I've tried only using stay-dry inners, only using suedecloth inners, only cotton, only breathable covers, etc. So many permutations and combinations! Each type of diaper seems to clear up one problem and start another.

Currently our problem is a rash just below his abdomen. It typically clears up at night in the sposie, but by evening the next day is back. Sometimes it's quite red and angry and other times it's just red spots.


For the past couple of days, I've tried putting zinc cream (Aveeno) on the rashy area and then using a disposable liner inside his diaper. So far it seems to be working. I hate having to toss the liner (don't want to wash b/c of the cream, and have a septic system I don't want to overload so I only flush the poopy ones) but much better than tossing a whole sposie. I'm hoping if I can get the rash completely cleared up, I won't have to be so vigilant with the liners and cream - I feel like I'm playing with fire with my diapers at this point.


I would really like him to be exclusively in cloth, but at this point the night-time diaper needs to be a sposie to break the rash cycle. I buy "greener" sposies at least, but don't fool myself that they make much difference.


I have to also agree - PUL diapers are not my son's friend. I use them when we're out and about, but at home, I try to avoid them and use fleece or wool. It makes his skin look SO much better.


(Also, EC helps... quite a bit when I'm on the ball)


post #19 of 32

Sorry - what's PUL? 


We were using Gdiapers (had tons of them given to us before DS was born so figured why not, the cloth version, not disposable) but had similar rash problems.  Tried many disposables but have only been able to use 7th Gen as he gets immediate rashes from any others...kind of scary ones with one particular "green" brand - Natural Care I believe...white packaging.  Was looking at trying cloth again so I'm interested in what you all have found.

post #20 of 32

PUL is polyurethane laminated fabric. It's the material that makes most commercial all-in-one diapers and diaper covers waterproof. It's not breathable, though, so babies who are prone to rash get issues because it traps the moisture inside. Fleece and wool are more breathable but less waterproof.

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