Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cloth Diapering Question

Okay... I have a question for all you cloth diapering experts out there.

I used cloth diapers on Maggie up until we moved at the beginning of this month and everything was fine. I used disposables sometimes too, and we never had a problem with either one.

When we moved I used disposables for about a week (1 package) while we were getting everything set up, so I didn't have to deal with laundry every night. Shortly before we moved I had tried a new detergent (a coupon disaster... it was Gain) and found out that Maggie was allergic to it. I washed all the diapers several times that has been washed in it, although the rash actually broke out on her chest.

Fast forward to now: every time I put Maggie in a cloth diaper she breaks out in welts all along the edge of the diaper line where it touches her legs. I've tried lotion and diaper ointment and powder. We're back to the scentless, hypoallergenic detergent. And I'm changing her more than ever and I just can't figure out what it is that's causing it.

Any ideas for causes or solutions for this type of problem?

I'm at wits end. I've been using disposables this week and all but 1 welt is gone. I just can't figure out anything else that's changed. We're still on city water. And that's pretty much all I can think of at the moment.

Any ideas are appreciated. I've just completely run out of cloth related solutions...


  1. Cammie,
    Simon has very sensitive skin, too.
    First question: are you using fabric softener? If you are, stop right away, and wash all of Maggie's clothes a couple of times to get rid of the fabric softener stuff.
    Second: wash all of Maggie's diapers and whatever clothes you washed in the new detergent with scent-free detergent. Add a cup of white vinegar in the wash cycle. Give them an extra rinse cycle.

    If her diapers are still giving her rashes, I suggest buying soap nuts. Have you heard of these? They are really awesome! You can buy them from Lehmans, and Amish goods supply shop, under the laundry section. (
    They are 100% natural, and are actually nuts that you can use dozens of times for laundering. They have no smell, but your clothes come out miraculously clean and fresh-smelling, even dirty diapers! Another one of God's amazing gifts to us!

    love, cate

  2. I second the soap nuts... We all have sensitive skin here and the others have varying degrees of eczema. It is the least offensive method we've found. And easy. I get mine from Econuts though :-) They have a laundry club that cuts out the shipping expense.

    As for her diapers...

    Have you tried stripping them? (note unless you're using liners or special diaper creams you may need to anyway, regular rash cream is awful on diapers) Boiling them? Vinegar is another good one.

    The new water... the only thing I can think of there is if its different, like harder or softer. May be affecting buildup or something like that. Not sure what to do if its too soft, but adding washing soda or using a detergent like Hard Rock can soften it. Thankfully a non issue here, but we had it at the apt.

    Oh and seriously agree w/ the above comment about softeners. I didn't realize how bad they were until I found out we can't use them with diapers. Looked into the why's and stopped them altogether.

    ... Is she getting more mobile? Could it be from her movements. Just thinking about the area. Z gets more rashes there too. He reacts worse to disposables so they're a non option here.

  3. My twins have had the same thing- a rash along the edges of their diapers that's been coming and going for a couple of weeks now. We haven't started them in cloth yet (my flats arrived just the other day! yay!), and I was thinking it was a yeast rash.

  4. I used cloth diapers with two children and ended up just using them as spit up cloths because of the rashes. I have terrible allergies so I don't use anything in the wash or dryer that irritates. The problem was simply that cloth doesn't keep baby bums dry. The urine next to the skin all day is a major irritant. Wet cloth chafes. Not all kids have a problem with it but some do. Once a little behind is rashy or burned, it is very hard to heal since that wetness is constantly next to the skin. That may be why you saw an improvement with the disposables. The best thing for it might be a high zinc ointment that acts as a heavy barrier...the white creamy stuff.

    I know that cloth is all the rage for being "natural" and I'm all for it when it works, but unless a parent can change the diaper as soon as possible after it's wet every single time, it's hard to keep some sensitive kids rash free. Maybe let her heal 100% and then begin again?

  5. For whatever reason, diapers can hold onto detergent. I'd suggest washing them without any detergent using white vinegar on hot. Basically that will "strip" out the detergent. Then I'd throw them again through the rinse cycle without anything.

    Tea tree oil is also good for the skin issue. If you want you can add a few drops to the rinse cycle to help with the rash. Some people add it to the water they use for the wipes to help clean up the skin.

    Hope that helps. Rashes are no fun. We had problems for a little while, but I think it was his age and the intro of food.

  6. You need to strip your diapers. Do a load with some Blue Dawn and it will remove all of the oils, bacteria and detergent residue from them.

    I have to do this once every other month or so because my diapers get pretty gunky and start giving my boys reashes.

  7. My daughter found that a paste made of breastmilk and acidophilus powder helped clear up the rash. Check with her over at Writing Living Epistles. She can give you more details about their diaper saga (they went with disposables for months because of rash problems, but they've now been rash free and using cloth for over 6 months now (I honestly forget how far back they ditched regular disposable use - other than nighttime).

  8. Thank you guys for all the suggestions. I'm going to try a bunch of them and I do think it will help. Now that I think about it I think a big part of it is soap still on (the covers i think) because it only happens where the diaper cover touches her skin. So lots more loads of laundry (and cleaning out the washer too!). I'm cautiously optimistic!

  9. I use this detergent -

    My diapers had build-up and repelling problems, and one use of their sample made them like brand new! I'm a huge fan and use only it for diapers now. It's kind of spendy, but you only need to use a tiny bit per load, and it lasts a long time. Facebook has a great page with lots of tips and info.

    I've found that cloth diapering is a lot of trial and error, but I enjoy the adventure!

  10. I had the same problem with Kirklands detergent! After I stripped my diapers, Elena's rash was still terrible.

    I bought a couple packs of Rockin' Green detergent at the suggestion of a friend and haven't looked back since! Her super-sensitive bum has been perfect since we started using it. They will send you a few samples if you ask and you can host a giveaway for a couple packs too if you want!

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