Looking for diaper creams that will treat your baby’s rash, but won’t harm your cloth diapers? Wondering if you even really need to use special ointment with your fluff? 

Diaper rashes are a pretty common occurrence, but they can be irritating and even painful for your baby. You’ll need to take preventative measures to help avoid rashes and invest in a quality diaper rash cream. But, how do you know what to look for when choosing a diaper cream that will work with your baby’s skin and won’t harm your precious fluff? 

In this post, we’ll discuss why you need specific creams for your cloth diapers, what to look for when purchasing diaper cream, and cover 5 of the best cloth-safe diaper creams for your baby’s bottom. We’ll also talk about how often you should apply diaper cream, help you identify the cause of your baby’s diaper rash, and give you some tips for preventing diaper rash in the first place. 

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Do I Really Have to Buy Special Diaper Cream for My Cloth Diapers?

Some ingredients in diaper creams have the potential to cause major issues with your cloth diapers. Petroleum products, like petroleum and white or amber petrolatum, and mineral oil can cause your diapers to repel instead of absorb, leaving you with obnoxious leaks.

That being said, this is only an issue if you’re using synthetic fibers, such as microfiber or any stay-dry insert or liner (like a pocket diaper). If your diapers  and inserts are made with natural fibers, like cotton, hemp, and bamboo, petroleum-based creams are fine as long as you’re using a recommended detergent and washing your diapers in HOT water with a good wash routine. 

If you need to use a diaper cream with petroleum, lanolin, or mineral oil, and your diapers have synthetic fibers, then you will need to use a disposable or reusable liner in order to protect your diapers. 

Zinc oxide and some clays and waxes don’t cause repelling issues, but they can leave you with white or gray stains on your diapers. These should wash out over time though. 

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Diaper Cream to Use With My Cloth Diapers?

If you don’t want to have to worry about liners or using up all your hot water, then you’ll need to be on the lookout for diaper creams that are free of petroleum products and mineral oil. You may also wan’t to consider a few other factors when choosing a diaper cream for your baby:

  • Effectiveness: Are you trying to treat an aggressive rash or are you just looking for something to use as a preventative? What type of rash are you dealing with?  Different diaper creams have varying strengths and effectiveness depending on their ingredients, so you’ll need to decide what kind of rash you’re dealing with in order to treat it properly.
  • Fragrances: If your baby has sensitive skin, then it’s probably best to avoid all fragrances, including essential oils. 
  • Sensitivities: If your baby or yourself has any kind of sensitivity, like to gluten or animal products, then you’ll want to be sure to avoid those in your diaper cream.
  • Parabens and preservatives: Parabéns and preservatives are often found in personal care products, but they’ve also been linked with many negative health concerns, including hormone disruption and even cancer. It’s best to avoid these if you can. 
  • Cost: How much are you willing to spend on diaper cream? Does the one you want fit into your family’s budget? Is there a suitable alternative that’s more cost effective? 

5 Best Diaper Creams that are Safe for Your Cloth Diapers

Choosing a diaper cream can be overwhelming since there are SO many options out there. And, then to make it even more difficult, you have to find one that fits your baby’s needs and is safe for your cloth diapers. 

We’ve done the hard work for you and have found some of the best diaper creams on the market that will work with your diapers. Listed below are 5 of the best cloth-safe diaper creams: 

1.) Most Convenient Diaper Cream

Kick your baby’s rash with this pediatrician recommended butt paste.

Bordeaux’s All Natural Butt Paste is free of petroleum, dyes, preservatives, parabens, and talc. It contains aloe to soothe the skin and beeswax to help keep moisture away from your baby’s bottom.

The only down side is that it does contain zinc, which could cause some staining. It is considered cloth diaper safe though and will not cause repelling issues.

You can find this diaper cream at most major retailers, like Target and Walgreens. Just be sure to grab the green box.


  • Convenient
  • Pediatrician recommended
  • Great for sensitive skin


  • Potential to cause staining
  • Not great at treating severe or stubborn rashes

2.) Best Barrier Diaper Cream

Okay, so Grandma El’s does contain Amber petrolatum, but I’m including this diaper cream, because it’s so effective at treating aggressive rashes.

This diaper cream is safe to use with natural fibers, like cotton, hemp, and bamboo, as long as you’re washing your diapers in hot water. However, if you’re using this  ointment with any micro-fiber or stay-dry diaper, then you’ll need to use a liner to protect your diapers against repelling issues. 

Because of the petrolatum and lanolin, Grandma El’s works wonders as barrier ointment and will wick moisture away from your baby’s bottom, promoting faster healing. It also contains vitamin E, so it’ll be soothing on your baby’s skin, and it doesn’t contain any zinc, so you won’t have to worry about staining. 


  • Good at treating severe and stubborn rashes
  • Free of Zinc
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Good barrier ointment 
  • Pediatrician recommended
  • Made in the USA


  • Petroleum-based
  • Not safe for synthetic fibers (requires a liner)
  • Not readily available at most local retailers

3.) Most Hydrating Diaper Cream

Maty’s All Natural is made with coconut oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E, so it’s super soothing and hydrating for your baby’s skin. And, because this ointment is only made with whole-food based ingredients, it can even be used to heal chapped lips, eczema, dry skin, cradle cap, and drool rash. 

Their formula is free of petroleum, fragrances, and hydrogenated oils, so it should work for babies with even the most sensitive of skin. It also doesn’t contain any zinc, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it staining your diapers. 

However, because of the oils this product contains (mainly the coconut oil), it’s consistency is going to be inconsistent. Some moms find it to be too runny, while other moms find it to be quite clumpy. 


  • Multiple uses 
  • Super soothing
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • No zinc, petroleum, or fragrances
  • Made in the USA


  • May not be available at your local store
  • Doesn’t provide a good moisture barrier
  • Not great for treating severe rashes

4.) Best Organic Diaper Cream

A little bit goes a long ways with this vegan and gluten-free diaper cream by Earth Mama. It’s no wonder why it’s recommended by many cloth diaper manufacturers.

This 100% organic diaper cream is made with calendula and beeswax, which makes it soothing and helps wick wetness off your baby’s skin. It’s also comprised of organic olive oil, healing herbs, and shea butter. And, even though this salve is labeled as a “diaper balm,” it can also be used on rashes, burns, cuts, scrapes and bug bites. 

The only thing I’m not a fan of is that this balm contains essential oils. I like to steer clear of topical use of essential oils until at least 2 years of age, but there are some child-safe oils that can be used in emergent situations if needed before then. Just do your own safety research and decide what is right for your family. 


  • Certified organic
  • Free of zinc
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Made in the USA


  • High price tag for the amount you get
  • Some moms aren’t comfortable with the essential oils
  • Not the best choice for some sensitive skin babies

5.) Best Preventative Diaper Cream

Good ole’ coconut oil also works great as diaper rash cream, and it’s cloth-safe. Bonus, you can use it for eczema, cradle cap, stretch marks, and even yeast.

I found this nature’s cream to work great for preventing diaper rashes, but sometimes need something just a little stronger for treating rashes. We’ll apply it to baby’s bum every night when he’s going to be in his diaper for a longer period of time. We keep 4oz. mason jars filled with coconut oil around the house, because we use it for just about anything. 

When purchasing your coconut oil, just make sure it’s organic, extra-virgin, unrefined, and cold-pressed. It does have a firm texture, but it softens right up when applying it. 


  • Can purchase at any food or drug store
  • Multiple uses
  • Cost effective
  • All-natural


  • Not strong enough for some rashes
  • Doesn’t come in an easy-squeeze tube

How Often Should I Apply Diaper Cream?

Apply your diaper cream as often as necessary. If you’re currently dealing with a rash, it’s not a bad idea to apply liberally with each diaper change. It’s also a good idea to apply a barrier ointment whenever your baby will be exposed to a wet diaper for a longer period of time, like bedtime. 

What If I've Been Using a Diaper Cream That Isn't Safe for My Cloth Diapers?

If you’ve been using a diaper cream that isn’t considered safe for your cloth diapers, then you may have started noticing more leaks, because your fabric will have started repelling your baby’s urine instead of absorbing it.But, don’t worry, your diapers aren’t ruined!

You will need to take action and remove the buildup of diaper cream from your cloth diapers, so they can start functioning again. 

Spot treat any left-behind ointment using a toothbrush and some dish soap (like Dawn) or a Bunch Farmers Stain Stick. After you’re done spot treating, rinse your diaper throughly and then run it through the wash with some hot water. This should remove any residual diaper cream. 

Causes of Diaper Rash

When dealing with diaper rash, it’s important to identify the underlying cause to help you treat and prevent the rash from re-occuring. Here are some common causes of diaper rash: 

  • Leaving your baby’s diaper on too long: Letting your baby sit in a soiled diaper for too long can cause irritation and redness. 
  • Ammonia build up: If your baby’s bottom looks like it has a sunburn and your diapers reak like urine, then chances are you’re dealing with ammonia build-up. This means your diapers are not getting clean, and you will need to adjust your wash routine ASAP. 
  • Food allergy or sensitivity: Food allergies or sensitivities often cause irritation to your baby’s buttocks. Even just the simple act of introducing solids, increases the likelihood for diaper rash, as the frequency and consistency of your baby’s stool often changes. 
  • Antibiotics: If your baby has recently been on antibiotics, chances are they’re the culprit for your baby’s rash. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including good bacteria in your body, which promotes the growth of yeast. A yeast rash typically looks like red bumps that spreads quickly. 
  • Irritation to a new product: Your baby could also be reacting poorly to a new product. Think back to see if you recently switched laundry detergents, lotions, soaps, or diaper creams. If you haven’t made any changes, it might not be a bad idea to check to see if any of those companies have changed their formulas.
  • Chaffing or rubbing: Tight fitting diapers and/or clothes can often cause rubbing, redness, and irritation to your baby’s skin.

What If My Baby Has a Yeast Rash?

If you’re baby is diagnosed with a yeast rash, then you’ll need to treat your cloth diapers and switch over to disposable until the rash is completely gone. In order to kill the yeast, you will need to do a bleach soak for your diapers. Fluff Love University has a great tutorial on how do this properly.

Tips for Preventing Diaper Rash

Avoiding diaper rash in the first place would be most ideal. Here are some tips to help you prevent diaper rash with your baby: 

  • Change your baby’s cloth diaper AT LEAST every 2 hours during the day.
  • Have some diaper-free time each day.
  • Avoid fragrances in your baby’s laundry detergent, lotions, and creams.
  • Limit sugar and  include probiotics in your baby’s diet to help avoid yeast. 
  • Avoid putting your baby’s diaper on too tight. Pink marks on your baby’s skin is normal with cloth, but red marks means the diaper is too tight.
  • Wipe your baby’s bottom with warm water and then pat or air dry before placing your baby’s diaper back on with each change. 

Healthy Baby, Happy Diapers

All the different brands and ingredients on the market can make choosing a diaper cream for your cloth diapers super confusing. 

But, if your diapers are made with with natural fibers, like cotton , hemp, or bamboo, then you really don’t even need to worry about buying a special kind of cream, as long as you have a good wash routine that uses hot water. However, if your using synthetic fibers, like microfiber or “stay-dry,” then you’ll need to steer clear of petroleum and mineral oils, or use a liner with each diaper. 

Bordeaux’s All Natural Butt Paste, Maty’s All Natural Baby Ointment, Earth Mama Diaper Balm, and even plain ole’ coconut oil all work with synthetic fibers and are great for treating mild to moderate rashes. If you’re needing something stronger, then grab some liners, and give Grandma El’s a shot. 

And, if your baby’s rash doesn’t clear up within a week, don’t be afraid to give your pediatrician a call. 

What About You?

Did this post help narrow your choices down? Share which cloth-safe diaper creams you’ve had luck with in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with all your cloth-loving friends. 

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  1. Kristal Molina on March 30, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    This is so important and so many don’t consider this while using cloth diapers. I wish I had known this when I used cloth. I had to learn from trial and error. Great info!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on March 30, 2019 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you Kristal! I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way. That was probably incredibly frustrating. Hopefully this info reaches more and more moms, so they won’t have to deal with repelling and stain issues and stick with cloth.

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