Will Cloth Diapers Help With Diaper Rash? 11 Tips How To Treat Diaper Rash When Using Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers have been making a comeback in recent years as more parents become conscious of the environmental impact of disposable diapers.

Aside from their eco-friendly benefits, many parents also claim that fabric diapers can help prevent and alleviate diaper rash in babies. With their breathable fabric and lack of harsh chemicals, reusable diapers are said to reduce the occurrence of diaper rash compared to their disposable counterparts.

However, the question remains: Will cloth diapers help with diaper rash?

In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of reusable diapers in preventing and managing diaper rash, as well as other factors to consider when choosing between cloth and disposable diapers for your baby.

What Factors Cause Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash can be caused by a variety of factors, including prolonged exposure to wetness or feces, friction from the diaper rubbing against the skin, sensitive skin, or a bacterial or yeast infection.

Other factors, such as using certain soaps or wipes, starting solid foods, or antibiotics, can also contribute to developing diaper rash.

A lot of parents ask if there’s a connection between diaper rash and teething, and I’ve already written an article on this topic. Spoiler: Teething does not directly cause diaper rash, but it can exacerbate existing skin irritation.

💦 Wetness in the diaper area

When a baby’s skin is constantly in contact with urine and feces, it can become irritated and inflamed, and cause diaper rash.

🧴 Exposure to irritants

Certain ingredients in baby wipes, diapers, or detergents can irritate the skin and contribute to diaper rash.

🩹 Chafing

Friction from the diaper itself can also cause chafing and irritation, particularly in areas where the diaper rubs against the skin.

🩲 Improper diaper fit

Another factor to consider is the fit of the diaper – if it is too tight, it can exacerbate the problem by trapping moisture and preventing airflow.

🦠 Yeast or bacterial infections

Yeast or bacterial infections can also play a role in the development of diaper rash, mainly if the baby has been on antibiotics or has a weakened immune system.

🍅 New Solid Foods

The introduction of new solid foods can contribute to diaper rash in babies due to changes in stool consistency or potential allergies.

😔 Skin Sensitivities

Babies who are already predisposed to sensitive skin or eczema may be more prone to developing diaper rash.

🍟 Sensitivity to mom’s food

A baby’s sensitivity to certain foods that a breastfeeding mother consumes can lead to diaper rash.

Are Cloth Diapers Better For Diaper Rash?

Many parents wonder if using fabric diapers can help to prevent or reduce diaper rash in their babies.

The answer is not always straightforward, as every baby’s skin reacts differently to different materials and chemicals. However, many parents find that cloth diapers can be gentler on their baby’s skin, as they do not contain the chemicals and fragrances often found in disposable diapers.

Additionally, reusable diapers allow for more breathability, which can help to reduce the risk of diaper rash.

However, it is important to note that proper diapering techniques and frequent diaper changes are crucial for preventing diaper rash, regardless of the type of diaper being used.

Ultimately, the decision of whether cloth diapers are better for preventing diaper rash will depend on the individual baby and their unique skin sensitivities.

Why Cloth Diapers

Reusable diapers are a more eco-friendly and cost-effective option compared to disposable diapers. They reduce the amount of waste going into landfills and are reusable, making them a sustainable choice for parents.

Cloth diapers are also gentler on a baby’s skin and come in a variety of cute patterns and colors.

With the proper care, fabric diapers can last through multiple children, making them a smart investment for families. 

Pros #1: Cloth diapers are a more cost-effective option

Cloth diapers are a more cost-effective option for parents looking to save money in the long run.

While the initial investment may be higher than disposable diapers, the reusable nature of fabric diapers means that they can be used for multiple children and over an extended period of time. This can result in significant savings for families, especially when considering the amount of money spent on disposable diapers over the course of a child’s early years.

Additionally, cloth diapers can also be resold or passed down to other parents, further increasing their value and reducing their overall cost. With the added benefit of being better for the environment, washable diapers are a practical and eco-friendly choice for many parents.

Pros #2: You can easily find and buy cloth diapers

Gone are the days of struggling to find reusable diapers. In today’s age of online shopping, you can easily find and buy cloth diapers with just a few clicks.

There are numerous online retailers that specialize in eco-friendly baby products, including a wide variety of fabric diapers in different styles, colors, and sizes.

In addition, many traditional baby stores also carry cloth diapers, making it even more convenient to find what you need.

With the growing popularity of eco-friendly diapers, it’s never been easier to make the switch from disposable to reusable and environmentally friendly options for your baby.

I have a comprehensive list of places where to buy high-quality cloth diapers. Feel free to check it out.

Pros #3: Cloth diapers are simple and easy-to-use

Cloth diapers are simple and easy-to-use, making them a great choice for eco-conscious parents.

With the convenience of modern designs and easy-to-fasten snaps or Velcro closures, such diapers simplify the diapering process.

There’s no need to worry about running out of disposable diapers or dealing with the extra expense of purchasing them regularly.

Simply wash and reuse diapers, saving both money and reducing environmental waste.

Plus, many modern washable diaper options come in adorable, stylish designs, making them a fun and fashionable choice for parents who want to make sustainable and eco-friendly choices for their babies.

Pros #4: Cloth diapers contribute to an eco-friendly living style

Cloth diapers are a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional disposable diapers.

Unlike their disposable counterparts, fabric diapers are reusable and can be washed and used again multiple times, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This makes them a more sustainable option for parents looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Additionally, washable diapers are typically made from natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or hemp, which are biodegradable and free from the chemicals often found in disposable diapers. By choosing cloth diapers, parents can make a positive impact on the environment while also saving money in the long run.

Pros #5: Using cloth diapers keeps your baby comfy

Cloth diapering offers great comfort for babies compared to disposable diapers.

The soft and gentle fabric of cloth diapers is less likely to cause irritation or rashes on the baby’s delicate skin.

In addition, fabric diapers are breathable, allowing for better air circulation and reducing the risk of diaper rash.

Furthermore, using cloth diapering system can contribute to a baby’s overall health, as they are free from harmful chemicals found in many disposable diapers.

By choosing cloth diapering, parents can provide their babies with a comfortable and healthy alternative that reduces the risk of skin irritations and health issues associated with disposable diapers.

Downsides of Cloth Diapers

While cloth diapers have many benefits, there are also some downsides to consider.

Cons #1: Not as absorbent as disposable diapers

Cloth diapers are not as absorbent as disposable diapers. While they can still hold a significant amount of liquids, they may require more frequent changes compared to disposable diapers.

Cons #2: Come in less sizing options

Cloth diapers might offer fewer size variations compared to disposable ones, making it a bit trickier to find the perfect fit as your baby grows. This limited range in sizing could potentially require more frequent replacements as your baby gets bigger.

Cons #3: Needs thorough cleaning and extensive washing

Maintaining cloth diapers involves thorough cleaning and frequent washing to ensure they stay hygienic for your baby’s use. This extra care and washing routine can demand more time and effort compared to disposable diaper options.

Moreover, it’s important to note that using sustainable diapers may not be suitable for all families, particularly those who lack access to reliable laundry facilities or who have other specific needs or limitations.

Cons #4: Higher costs at the beginning

Another drawback is the initial investment required to purchase cloth diapers. While they can be cost-effective in the long run, the upfront expense of several eco-friendly diapers and accessories can be a barrier for some families.

Cons #5: Demands a significant amount of time and water

One of the main disadvantages is the increased amount of laundry that comes with using cloth diapers. Because they are reusable, they need to be washed after each use, which can add to a family’s overall laundry workload. This also means additional time and money spent on detergent and water usage.

Cons #6: Not a travel-friendly option, less outing flexibility

Fabric diapers can also be bulky and less convenient to use when on-the-go. Unlike disposable diapers, fabric diapers require more frequent changes and may not hold as much liquid, making them less practical for long outings or travel.

Cons #7: Lower convenience, an extra effort in motivation

In addition, some parents find the process of cleaning soiled cloth diapers to be unpleasant and time-consuming. Storing and handling dirty diapers can be unappealing for some caregivers.

Cons #8: Not widely acceptable

Finally, some daycare centers or childcare providers may not accept cloth diapers, which can also be a barrier for parents who wish to use them.

There’s an option to check with your daycare to see if your baby has a medical need for cloth diapers. I know cases when the daycare wasn’t thrilled about cloth diapers, but when a baby gets a rash from disposable diapers, with a doctor’s note, they agree to use them.

Wrapping up, while reusable diapers have their benefits, it’s important for families to consider these potential drawbacks and determine if they are the right choice for their individual circumstances.

5 Tips to Prevent Diaper Rash When Using Cloth Diapers

Using cloth diapers is a great eco-friendly and cost-effective choice for many parents, but it’s important to take steps to prevent diaper rash when using them.

Here are 5 tips to help keep your baby’s skin healthy and rash-free when using washable diapers.

1. Pay attention to cloth diaper insert fabric

Choose the right fabric for your cloth diapers. Natural fibers like cotton or bamboo are more breathable and can help reduce the risk of diaper rash compared to synthetic materials.

2. Proper fit is key: secure diapers not too tight

When placing a diaper on a baby, it’s important to ensure that it’s secure but not too tight.

Start by placing the diaper under the baby’s bottom and bringing the front part up between the legs.

Fasten the tabs snugly, but not too tight. You should be able to slide a finger between the diaper and the baby’s skin without any difficulty.

Make sure that the diaper is fitted properly to prevent any leaks or discomfort for the baby.

Proper fit is crucial for your cloth diapers to prevent chafing and irritation. Adjust the diaper to fit snugly, but not too tight, to allow for airflow.

3. Don’t overheat it

Overheating cloth diapers during washing or drying can potentially damage their fibers or waterproof layers.

To prevent this, avoid using excessively hot water or high heat settings when laundering your eco-friendly diapers. 

Opt for a gentle wash cycle with mild detergent and air dry or use a low-heat setting in the dryer to maintain the diaper’s integrity and functionality for your baby’s use.

4. Check for ammonia build-up

Checking for ammonia build-up in cotton diapers is crucial to maintain their effectiveness and ensure your baby’s comfort. Ammonia build-up occurs when urine residue remains in the fabric after washing, causing a strong smell when the diaper becomes wet.

To check for ammonia, give the diapers a sniff after being washed and dried. If a strong smell is present, it indicates ammonia build-up.

Regular stripping or deep cleaning of cloth diapers helps prevent this issue, ensuring they remain clean, fresh, and suitable for your baby’s use.

5. Monitor diet and hydration

Finally, paying attention to the baby’s diet can also make a difference in preventing diaper rash, as certain foods or drinks can lead to more acidic or irritating stool.

By following these tips, you can help prevent diaper rash and maintain healthy, happy skin for your baby while using reusable diapers.

What if My Baby Developed a Cloth Diaper Rash?

If your baby developed a cloth diaper rash, it could be due to a few different factors. The rash may be caused by a reaction to the detergent or fabric softener you are using, or it could be a sign that the diapers need to be stripped of buildup.

To treat the rash, you should start by changing your diapering routine. Switch to a different detergent (try Dreft) or skip the fabric softener altogether and see if that helps.

You may also need to strip the diapers by soaking them in hot water with a little bleach or oxygen-based cleaner OxiClean. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly afterward.

In addition to changing your diapering routine, you can also apply a diaper rash cream or ointment to soothe your baby’s skin.

Consider using cloth diaper-friendly creams that won’t create a barrier between the diaper and your baby’s skin.

Esembly Rash Relief Cream

Cloth Diaper Safe Rash Relief Cream. Made with uncomplicated, organic, all-natural ingredients.

An effective diaper rash remedy specially formulated to wash easily and effectively out of your reusable cloth diapers.

Fragrance-free product. Less is more for delicate baby skin.

Motherlove Diaper Balm

This natural diaper rash cream helps to alleviate diaper irritation and restore yeast balance with antifungal and antibacterial herbs.

Diaper Balm is zinc oxide- and petroleum-free and is compatible with all diapers.

Clean ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, Oregon grape root, myrrh gum, yarrow herb, calendula flower. All natural and organic.

Keep the affected area as clean and dry as possible, and if the rash persists or gets worse, consult with your pediatrician for further advice.

11 Tips How To Treat Diaper Rash When Using Cloth Diapers

One of the challenges that parents face when using washable diapers for their babies is managing diaper rash. Fabric diapers can be gentler on a baby’s skin, but they also require a different approach to prevent and treat diaper rash. To manage and prevent diaper rash when using cloth diapers, it’s important to follow some key steps.

1. Change diapers frequently

First, ensure that the diapers are changed frequently, as leaving a wet or soiled diaper on for too long can contribute to diaper rash.

2. Keep the skin clean and dry, and increase diaper-free time

It’s also important to allow the baby’s skin to air out as much as possible, so providing diaper-free time during the day can help prevent and heal diaper rash.

Letting your baby go without a diaper for short periods during the day can help a lot when struggling with diaper rash.

3. Use cotton wash cloths vs. disposable wipes 

Cotton wash cloths are softer on the skin and are less likely to contain harsh chemicals or irritants, making them a better choice for those with sensitive skin.

HIPHOP PANDA Baby Washcloths

Moms love this washcloth! They say it’s super soft, gentle on the skin, and soaks up messes like a champ. Even after loads of washes, it stays as soft as ever. It’s just the right size to handle baby cleanup without being too big or small.

Patting the baby’s skin dry rather than rubbing it and using a washcloth during diaper changes can also help prevent irritation.

4. Use a natural barrier cream

A natural barrier cream for diaper rash typically contains ingredients like zinc oxide, shea butter, coconut oil, or calendula. These creams help soothe and protect the skin, forming a protective barrier against moisture and irritants, aiding in the healing process of diaper rash.

Be sure to use a cloth diaper-friendly cream (I’ve mentioned two nice options above – Esembly and Motherlove) that won’t cause buildup or repel moisture.

5. Use a diaper liner

When dealing with diaper rash, it’s important to use diaper-safe creams and ointments, as some ingredients in traditional diaper creams can leave a residue that affects the absorbency of fabric diapers.

Thin fabric-like mesh disposable liners for cloth diapers are designed to be placed between the diaper and your baby to capture solid waste. They are extremely thin and serve as a barrier to protect your diapers from diaper creams that are not cloth safe. One of the main benefits of using a liner is being able to use a non-cloth diaper safe cream with your sustainable diapers.

Wegreeco Diaper Liners

That viscose made from bamboo unscented liners product is biodegradable.

Moms appreciate how easy it is to clean and the effective performance of Wegreeco liners. They note that it aids in minimizing messes and helps prevent stains on cloth diapers.

Disposable diaper liners can also be replaced with machine-washable reusable alternatives.

Esembly Cloth Diaper Fleece Liner

Reusable, washable Stay-Dry Liners. Made of 100% Recycled Fleece.

These super-soft fleece liners pair with your cloth diapers to create a moisture-wicking barrier to keep your baby’s skin feeling extra dry. An added benefit is that Stay-Dry Liners protect your diapers from staining.

6. Wash diapers often to keep bacteria at bay

Washing diapers regularly is essential to keep bacteria at bay and ensure that they remain clean and safe for your baby.

It is recommended to wash diapers every two to three days, or more frequently if needed. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and caring for your diapers to ensure they remain effective and free from bacteria.

Additionally, using a hot water wash cycle and a good detergent can help kill bacteria and keep your diapers clean and safe for your baby.

7. Use sunlight to naturally disinfect your diapers

Wash the diapers as usual with detergent and water. Hang the clean and wet diapers out in direct sunlight to dry. Leave the diapers out in the sunlight for as long as possible, ideally for a few hours. The UV rays in the sunlight will help to naturally disinfect and sanitize the diapers, killing off any remaining bacteria or germs.

8. Use fragrance-free detergents

Wash your cloth diapers with a gentle, fragrance-free detergent like Babyganics or Molly’s Suds to avoid irritating your baby’s sensitive skin.

9. Air dry your cloth diapers

Air drying fabric diapers after washing helps to effectively remove any remaining moisture and detergent residue. It also helps to maintain the absorbency of the fabric and prevents potential bacterial growth. Additionally, air drying can prolong the lifespan of eco-friendly diapers by reducing wear and tear caused by heat from the dryer.

10. Use a feel-dry diaper at night

This type of diaper often contains materials that quickly absorb and lock away moisture, allowing your baby to sleep longer without feeling dampness, promoting a more restful night for both the baby and the parents.

Check out these cozy overnight diapers from the LittleBoppers Etsy shop.

You may also like these overnight hemp diaper inserts or the hemp-fitted cloth diaper.

11. Use a Lil Helper diaper

These diapers are known for their quality, ease of use, and versatility, providing adjustable sizing and reliable absorption for your baby’s comfort.

The best thing about Lil Helpers is that it’s perfect for anxious beginners or anyone a little nervous about cloth.

Additionally, Lil Helper diapers often come with convenient features like snap-in inserts and soft, breathable materials, making them a popular choice among parents aiming for sustainability and convenience in diapering.

Wrapping Up: will cloth diapers help with diaper rash?

Reusable diapers are believed to lower the chances of diaper rash because they have airy fabric and no harsh chemicals, unlike disposable ones.

Managing diaper rash when using washable diapers requires a proactive approach and attention to detail, but by following the simple steps described above, parents can help keep their baby’s skin healthy and comfortable while using cloth diapers.

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