Here’s a little known fact about cloth diapering: Cloth diapered babies rarely get rashes.
In over 10 years of cloth diapering four boys, I can count their combined rashes on two hands. Usually rashes are a result of using improper detergents or fabric softener, detergent build-up, or leaving baby in a soiled diaper too long. Luckily, all of these things can be prevented and sometimes even fixed if the issue is already there. If your diapers have been washed in a non-cloth diaper friendly detergent or are showing signs of build-up, try using RLR or Funk Rock to freshen them up. Try changing baby more frequently if they are experiencing rashes or use a stay-dry liner or silk liner to wick the moisture away from them. Occasionally babies also get rashes when they are teething, when they have a reaction to a food they tried, or when food softens their stools.
I don’t recommend using diaper creams preventatively, as baby’s skin should be left to do its own balancing act whenever possible. It is a good idea to have a cloth diaper safe cream on hand for those just-in-case moments though. The best idea is to get a cloth diaper safe cream from your favorite cloth diaper store. There are others on the market, but you have to read the ingredients carefully. Sometimes even creams that are “natural” have a combination of ingredients that wreak havoc on cloth diapers. I have seen diapers beyond repair after meeting with Desitin or similar creams.
Avoid any cream with any of the following possibly unsafe ingredients:
I follow the rule “if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t put it on my baby.”
Here is a list of ingredients general considered safe for use with cloth diapers:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cocoa Butter (deodorized, not raw)
Calendula Oil (infused in Sunflower Oil)
Apricot Kernel Oil
Oregon Grape Root
Derivatives of the plant Balsam of Peru
Salicylic Acid (derived from Willow Bark and Wintergreen)
These lists are not exhaustive. Please check with your local cloth diaper retailer if you have questions about a diaper cream