When stepping excitedly into the world of cloth there are a few bits of not-so-exciting questions we may have regarding cloth diapers. One that is bound to come up along your diapering journey at some point is diaper creams. Are they safe for cloth diapers? What can or can’t you use?
To answer this as simply as possible: You can use pretty much anything in your cloth diapers. You just have to take special precautions depending on your circumstances.
If you use natural fiber diapers, a non-plant based detergent, and wash on hot, feel free to use whatever you’d like. Keep in mind, zinc oxide will stain natural fiber diapers and that can be avoided by using a liner.
If you use microfiber diapers or wash with cooler temps, it’s probably best to implement a liner, but you can still use any of those creams, from coconut/natural oil based ointments to salves to barrier creams to petroleum-based products like vaseline or A&D.
If you use a plant-based detergent, consider looking for diaper ointments that specify that they are cloth-diaper safe, as they will wash out most readily. Coconut oil is perfectly suitable, if that works for your baby, and seems to be a modern pantry-staple anymore.
Its been my experience that vaseline, A&D, anti-fungal creams, and homemade salves with a coconut oil or beeswax base have NOT impacted the functionality of or caused any kind of repelling/buildup issues in any natural fiber diapers I’ve used, both with or without a liner. For any applications of creams involving zinc oxide, I’ve never had staining on my microfleece liners, nor have I had any issue with the liners not washing clean, probably thanks to washing on hot and using synthetic detergent (Tide or Gain original).
Just as I haven’t had issues getting the creams out of my homemade reusable microfleece liners, I never had issues getting any of these creams out of any microfleece/micro-suede lined pocket diapers, either. But if you’re really worried about stains or repelling and would feel safer doing so, just add a liner.
Cloth wipes or baby rags make excellent liners in a pinch!
I used to always use a liner until I watched a Thirsties Live where they discussed how synthetic detergents and washing on hot is perfectly capable of eliminating any deposited creams out of diapers, and how liners aren’t necessary with natural fibers because they release those absorbed creams far more readily than microfiber. The same thing that makes microfiber so advantageous is also it’s Achilles heel, so-to-speak. It’s so absorbent, if there isn’t a solid barrier between the cream and the diaper, one that can separate and allow proper washing, then the cream/ointment will readily absorb and stubbornly stay in those fibers. This is a huge part of why I usually recommend natural fibers anyhow.
If you have experience you’d like to share or questions you’d like to ask, feel free to comment below! Have a blessed day!