Switched to Cloth Diapers and Now Has Diaper Rash.

Updated on March 11, 2009
C.L. asks from Madison, WI
18 answers

This past Sunday we switched my daughter to Bum Genius 3.0 cloth diapers. We are using Seventh Generation detergent. She has developed a red diaper rash on her lips and in between her butt cheeks. I am unsure if it is just the detergent because it is not red everywhere the diaper is touching - any ideas/suggestions? Thank you for your help.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the wonderful responses! A week later the rash has almost completely cleared up - we have done a few things (thanks to all of your suggestions!). We used triple paste ointment with a fleece liner, put the final rinse cycle on a little longer, and have realized that we think she is ready to cut a few new teeth any moment - so probably a combination of symptoms and solutions. Thanks again for the help - have a wonderful week!

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

It is not what you are using now, but the withdrawl symptoms form the chemicals in the disposable diapers that her skin was used to. I had this with my first child too. It will go away, but may take a few weeks. Just treat it like you would diaper rash.

More Answers



answers from St. Cloud on

There are so many possibilities. Teething tends to cause a rash just before teeth come in for us. Think about any new foods or drinks that she may have had last couple days.

She could be sensitive to the suedecloth liner (I've read a bit about that). Good news is BG just came out with a fleece lined 3.0 diaper. (treecitydiapers.com). I tried BG and had a bit of a rash the second time she wore it, but I think it was more the diaoper was on too tight. I have the one size BG and while it was trimmer in the medium setting, it rubbed at the tops of her thighs adn seemed to irritate her butt more. I have since adjusted to the next higher setting and seems to be okay.

Make sure diapers are rinsed really well and changed often enough to not be too wet (enough inserts topullmoisdture away from skin). Sometimes you have to try different styles/materials of diapers to find what fits and works best for your child.

Those are my only thoughts right now. Good luck. diaperswappers.com and babycenter.com have great cloth diapering forums.


answers from Omaha on

Hi C.!
Just on a side note, are you sure it's not a yeast infection? I thought my son just had diaper rash, but I took him to the dr. yesterday and it tured out to be a yeast infection. So now he has a special cream to put on. I also love Butt Paste for an ointment to put on, better than the desitins and balmex that are out there.
Hope it clears up for her!
Lindsa L.



answers from Minneapolis on

Yeah, cloth doesn't exactly wick moisture away from the skin like paper diapers, but they're so much better (in my opinion). I had the chance to touch a lot of the Bum Genius diapers last weekend and I noticed that they must have some sort of plastic type liner. Either it's nylon, polyester, neoprene....you get the idea. Point is, it doesn't breathe. I use wool covers. You may want to consider that. Imse Vimse makes a nice breathable wool cover. I get all my supplies at www.nickisdiapers.com. The covers are more expensive, but I think they're worth it.

P.S. I should mention that we use Maggie's Soap Nuts for washing diapers (and all our clothes). With the diapers, I throw the soap nut bag in with a little vinegar in the rinse cycle and a few dashes of baking soda.

Also, the best remedy for diaper rash that I've come across is to bathe your baby's bottom in water, pat dry, and then dry out in some sunlight. This time of year, all you have to do is lay out a towel on a bed or the floor near some south-facing window and play "This Little Piggy" for a few minutes while your little one's bum airs out. Sometimes the really red sore parts will even develop a dry layer of skin that eventually falls off. Sun, air and water: nature's best! :) Good luck!



answers from Rapid City on

Some kids are sensitive to the suedecloth in Bumgenius diapers, as someone has also mentioned. Another possibility could be detergent sensitivity (it can just show up on the skin that gets the wettest), but an extra rinse should fix that. Food sensitivity could also be the problem. I've been using cloth on my kids for over 3 years, the only time we have had rashes was when I weaned my oldest to milk, and when we started solids with the baby. Their poop actually burned their skin. Most readily available rash creams will stain your diapers, and can cause them to leak. I like the diaper rash salve and cream from Northern Essence (google them). They work quickly and wash cleanly from cloth diapers. This could become a yeast rash if not dealt with quickly, so I would also suggest getting some probiotics (acidophilus supplements) and giving them to her daily.



answers from Green Bay on

I don't know much about Seventh Generation detergent, but I would recommend using Charlie's Soap (they have a website and I think have free shipping right now) for your diapers. We use it and they come out soft every time, with no residue. It's the residue that's key. They rinse really cleanly with Charlie's Soap. We also use BG 3.0.

The only times our son has had rash is: 1) when teething, 2) after a sandy visit to the beach, and 3) after a particular food (corn). They never lasted more than a few days to a week. It's one thing I've loved about cloth diapering - no rash to speak of! Keep in mind that you don't want to get any rash cream on the microfiber. So if you are going to treat the rash with ointment or cream, either use a cotton/ bamboo/ natural fiber diaper or use a cotton or flushable liner in your Bumgenius.

Good luck! We love the BGs! I think you will too once you get the kinks worked out!



answers from Sioux Falls on

Has she recently eaten anything acidic, like oranges or juice. I have never had cloth cause a rash unless all the detergent didn't come out or there was a different reason for the rash, you do need to change more frequently as some of the cloth diapers unlike disposables don't pull the moisture away from the skin. I had to stop using cloth when my youngest turned 1 as she pees a lot regardless of liquid and she would get a rash if I didn't change her quick enough b/c she was just wet, but other than that we had no problems with the other 3 kids up to potty training.



answers from Madison on

I used Bum Genius 3.0 as well as regular prefold cloth with the wraps. I bought mine from a local store in Madison. I was told that when using these diapers you can't use regular detergents. Something about the enzymes...sorry can't remember the specifics but in a nut shell, if things like fabric softener or brightners or whatever other attitives are in the detergent you are using, this will CAUSE the diaper rash. Even when using the special detergents like Allens and others out there, if you think about it, you use your regular detergent for your clothes and the special detergent for your diapers. There is still going to be some soap residue in your washer that will get on your diapers when you go to wash them. There is a way to strip your diapers. Also, you can't use regular diaper rash ointment or paste in the diaper. This can cause a worse reaction. I would recommend calling Happy Bambinos. They will go through the steps with you on stripping the diapers and proper care. You can also get the diaper creams that are ok to use with these diapers as well as the detergent. The girls there are great! Otherwise, go to there website and print off the care instructions. Hope this helps!
By the way, I have lots of cloth diapers I was getting ready to sell on craigslist if you need any. I have about 8 Bum Genius 3.0 and the rest are prefolds and wraps. Hope this helps :)



answers from Madison on

I am the mother of five, soon to be six plus I work with a surgeon. Diaper rashes can be caused by numerous things, change in diet (even mom's if breastfeeding, although not quite as likely), sensitive skin, allergic reaction, and on. I am wondering, is this a bright red rash with definate edges as in the rash doesn't fade it just stops. Being a girl, it is more common that it may be a yeast infection. I only have boys and they can happen in boys but are more common in girls. My sister who has two girls also has told me that her girls can sometimes get yeast infections from the bath soap so also make sure you are rinsing your daughter well. So I hope this helps and good luck.



answers from Milwaukee on

It could be the detergent - you can at least try switching it. Here's a (long) list of recommended detergents for cloth diapers: http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
Also make sure you use less than the recommended amount (half or less than that) of detergent. An extra rinse cycle might be good too.

Does the diaper feel wet when you take it off? If things are working well, the surface of the diaper should still feel dry, even though the insert can be really wet. I do have to change the cloth diapers more frequently than disposable diapers (we haven't had a problem with diaper rash, but my son's diapers will leak if I wait too long).



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi, I only had a few ideas.

One double check to make sure there are no brighters or enzymes in the detergent, they can almost burn the skin. I use Sun or Purex Natruals. Also I found I couldn't use fabric softer of any kind on any of our clothing becasue, even if I didn't use it on the diapers it was still in the washer and dryer, so it transfered on to them, that to can bother the shin, as well as makeing cloth diapers not as absorbant. I now use dryer balls instead, found them at Walgreens for about $10 and they last for a year or 2, I think.
And last but not least make sure you are useing very little detergent and rinsing well. This is what I do: one cold rinse, then a full wash cycle on hot with borax and just a bit of detergent, then I run another wash cycle on hot, but add no detergent, I use it only to do another rinse. This has worked well for us, you will need to play with it and find what works best for you.
It's a bit of trail and error in the begining! :)
Good luck and happy cloth diapering!



answers from Minneapolis on

I haven't read through the responses, so I apologize if this has already been touched on. I used to own a cloth diapering store, and one of the main problems my customers had was when using a natural detergent. I also used a natural detergent and didn't have problems at first, but after a while I was stripping my dipes just like all my customers. The oils in natural detergents will cause your diapers to retain smells and may also cause repelling problems. Probably not the cause of the rash, but something to consider none-the-less. I used All Free and Clear on my dipes after that and never had a problem. It could be the fabric. Have you tried a diaper with a fleece lining like Happy Heiny's? You could try different variations of cloth and see if the fabric is the problem.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with many of the other moms and their suggestions. Did you switch to cloth wipes, too? If so, is there something in your solution that is causing the problem? If you haven't switched, you might want to. It is super cheap and easy.

I use a different cloth diaper and have to strip them occasionally by washing in super hot water. Check with BG before doing so, they may not respond well to this.

Good luck and stick with it! It is worth it!



answers from Madison on

There are a lot of things that could be causing it, as you can tell by all the responses! It seems like my son got a little bit of redness when we switched to cloth. I don't know why but it never bothered him so I didn't worry and it only lasted a couple days.

Yes, it could be an allergy to suedecloth but I suspect that would be a really obvious rash. Its possible though. I don't know what your daughter's rash looks like.

It could be the detergent but like you said, I don't know. I don't think 7th generation is one of the best detergents for cloth diapers but its also not the worst. I like the list at pinstripesandpolkadots.com Do you have a top loader or HE? For top loading I like using purex free and clear, regular tide, or Arm and hammer essentials. Now that i have an HE machine I use allens naturally and/or a homemade detergent (equal parts borax, washing soda, and oxy clean). The homemade one worked well for top loading too. I used 2 TBSP for top loading and one TBSP for HE. All free and clear is good for an HE machine too. I have heard a lot about Charlies. Some kids get a severe rash from it, others don't. That made me hesitant, though.

I'm trying to think of what else could cause the rash. It could be something in food but that seems too coincidental that it showed up when you switched to BG.



answers from Minneapolis on

It doesn't sound like an allergy. Sometimes when you make the switch either way, there can be a problem getting used to the material. BumGenius are great about dryness, but they are not as dry as disposables.
You can re-wash the diapers in very hot water and Dawn original dish soap (just a couple of squirts) and then rinse a few times to be sure the diaper is stripped of all detergent and see if that makes a difference.

To treat the rash, you can use Aquaphor, which is available at most grocery stores, and for sure at Walmart. That works fast and is safe for cloth dipes.



answers from Minneapolis on

I use BG 3.0 and I wash them with All free & Clear, i have never had a rash problem. I usually use butt cream prevenatively and change her diaper every 2-3 hours. Maybe its a yeast rash...



answers from Duluth on

You should generally use a Free and Clear type detergent with cloth diapers, which hasn't given us many problems. Here are a few things to think about...are you changing your diapers often enough? My 20 month old son can go longer without leaking in cloth, but it is still important to change him and get the wetness off of his skin. You can stick a piece of fleece in the diaper to line it also, because that will help wick water through and keep her a little drier. I haven't tried that with my BGs, but it wouldn't hurt anything. Also, if you are brand new, did you wash the diapers 3 or 4 times before using them? Many diapers come with some residues (that you can't see) from the crafting process, and it is a good idea to prewash them several times before you start using them--this gets them ready for use. I think they don't do it for you, because then your diapers don't look quite as nice and new that way-hee hee. :) Hopefully this is helpful!
Good luck! I really enjoy CD-ing! I have baby #2 coming any day now and we have been using disposables so that if we leave for the hospital we aren't leaving unwashed diapers for days, and it has been frustrating. My son has leaked out 4 times in the last 2 days! He nearly never does that with his cloth! <3



answers from Des Moines on

Lanoline, and bag balm both work great for diaper rash. I would see diaper rash start put one on it, and by the next changing it would be gone.

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