Yeast and Cloth Diapers

When the sir was only a year old, I saw it… those trademark dots, the rash that usually indicates… *shivers*yeast.

Honestly, yeast rashes when I used disposables with my older two children was sadly more common than not… usually when they were breaking teeth through, they’d get some pretty gnarly yeast rashes. It was through that experience that I realized I could just go to the Dollar Tree and pick up both Foot Fungus Cream (clotrimazole) and Hydrocortisone cream, mix them, and have the perfect yeast-killing, tush-healing cream. Switching to cloth with my third baby, suddenly my “Magic Cream”, as I dubbed it, wasn’t really necessary. Chronic rashes that required a regular application of butt paste for my third baby disappeared overnight after switching to cloth diapers. Yeast rashes were no more. My container of anti-fungal acquired dust on the shelf as my fourth baby was passing his first birthday. I tossed it out, it was old by this point anyways.

Then my fourth, in his perfect timing, got that trademark rash. I took him to the pediatrician, mostly to convince myself that it was, in fact, yeast as my super-cloth-diapering-momness somehow wanted to deny it. Afterall, a rash from ammonia can be confused with a yeast rash. This was yeast.

But now I’m using cloth diapers. Was the Nystatin he was prescribed cloth safe? Would it stain? Did I have to buy disposables? Would the yeast thrive in his diapers and create an endless yeast problem that cloth diapering moms often fear happening? Would I have to say goodbye forever to cloth? HELP!

To the Google-mobile!

Thanks to the Real Diaper Association’s initial lab study they conducted, I had an idea of a gameplan.

First, I dug out my stash of cotton prefolds/flats. Bamboo is totally where it’s at in this house, but based on their lab test, only 100% cotton was capable of having all the yeast eradicated from the fabric with nothing more than a hot wash with detergent. They had a more detailed test showing how yeast was able to survive a hot wash with blended fabrics. Their study wasn’t designed to be absolutely conclusive, but helpful. So I took the help and switched to 100% cotton!

Onto his bum went a coverless 100% cotton prefold snappi’d on. I started slipping probiotics into his bottle (yes he still had a bottle, the stubborn boy).

I then took all my diapers in his regular rotation and washed them on hot with bleach in batches. I didn’t have a dryer or I would have totally dryer dried those poop catchers on high heat. But I made sure to hang them in the sun for good measure… and because I’m paranoid, I repeated the process. DIE, YEAST, DIE!!!!!!!!!

We used the prescribed Nystatin on the sir without a liner. Besides the fact that synthetic materials can continue to harbor yeast, which would have defeated the purpose of switching to 100% cotton, it was a Thirsties Facebook Live that shared with their customers that ANY cream, ointment, paste, salve, etc is cloth safe so long as you are using natural fiber diapers and a synthetic detergent to launder them. Well, good ol’ Tide original was sufficient for the job!

I followed the doctor’s orders for caring for the sir’s bum, then continued using the prefolds/flats for 3 weeks. I wanted to make good and sure the problem wouldn’t return. At the same time, I resisted the urge to bleach the cotton diapers with each wash. Hypothetically, I shouldn’t have to, right? They did get hung on the line in the sun when weather permitted.

Three weeks later, I gave those prefolds a good hot wash with detergent and bleach and packed them away. I was nervous about switching him back. The cotton was working really well. I was half convinced to say “screw it” and just stick to the 100% cotton. Afterall, if yeast cannot thrive on 100% cotton, I could theoretically avoid a future instance of yeast, right? Eh, I don’t know, but I loved my bamboo, especially since he’s a flooder.

Fortunately, the transition back showed no sign of lingering evil. The yeast was eradicated. Victory was mine! I cloth diapered my son through the blazes of yeast!

So what should you take away from this?

Well, 100% cotton against the skin laundered with a synthetic detergent in hot water seemed to be successful in my experience. The cotton was inhospitable for the yeast and, at the same time, allowed me to use the Nystatin without a liner. Likewise the synthetic detergent paired with hot water was not only enough to eliminate the yeast from the diapers but also wash out any lingering Nystatin.

Running all of his regular diaper stash through the machine with tide, bleach, and hot water, line drying in the sun, (and repeating the process because I’m a spaz) appeared to remove the yeast problem without having to leave the diapers soak in a tub of cold water and bleach, which I was hoping to avoid.

Adding probiotics to my son’s drink twice a day, morning and evening, may or may not have helped, but it was a precaution to make sure whatever caused the yeast didn’t come back. No, correlation does not mean causation, but for what it’s worth, it didn’t come back!

Finally, take all of this with a grain of salt. Check with your pediatrician if you aren’t sure if your child has a yeast rash. Follow their recommendations. If you think disposables will be the safer route, please use them! Ask manufacturers what they recommend for their brand if you aren’t sure the best way to properly sterilize and remove yeast from diapers. Some manufacturers have different recommendations because they know what’s best for their product! 

May your child never experience yeast and may you have a blessed day!




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