Natural Remedies for a Diaper Rash |

Natural Remedies for a Diaper Rash

admin October 22, 2012

Written By Kate 

Updated by Rustina 

Diaper rash is a subject I get asked about a lot. Why does it happen?  How do you clear it up?  What methods are safe for little skin…and with cloth diapers? 

Diaper Rash: Why Does It Happen? 

My oldest experienced nearly constant diaper rashes from 2 months old until she potty trained.  They were awful and nothing cleared them up.  In contrast, my third baby has had only a couple of minor diaper rashes that went away in a matter of hours. 

There are a number of reasons why babies may experience diaper rash: 

  • Too long between changings Babies, especially smaller ones or those with sensitive skin, should be changed every 1 – 2 hours while they are awake.  Some may cry to be changed as soon as they are wet or soiled.  Sitting in it can eventually lead to redness and irritation. 
  • Dehydration  Mom or baby drinking too little water can cause urine to be more acidic, leading to redness, even if it doesn’t sit on the skin long. 
  • Diarrhea  Acidic diarrhea can cause rashes quickly as well.  Diarrhea may be caused by illness or teething. 
  • Allergies 
    • To diapers Some babies do not handle the chemicals used to make disposable diapers and will get a rash.  Others are sensitive to synthetic fabrics in some cloth diapers. 
    • To detergent Some cloth-diapered babies get a rash if their diapers are not thoroughly rinsed and there is detergent build-up, or if they are sensitive to that particular type of detergent.  Some types seem more likely to cause a rash than others. 
    • To foods This was my daughter’s issue.  Food allergies cause both the urine and stool to be more acidic, and this causes a rash very easily.  The offending food being in the system tends to keep it there and make it more difficult to heal, especially if parents have not yet discovered what the problem is. 
  • Yeast  Some babies contract yeast infections that show up in the diaper area.  These can be difficult to combat, especially with cloth diapers, because they can get into the fibers and keep re-infecting the baby.  Probiotics orally and topically, plus stripping cloth diapers are usually necessary.  Breastfeeding moms need probiotics too. There are herbs that help combat yeast that breastfeeding moms can use: 5 Herbs to Fight Candida Overgrowth. Also, try Earthley’s No More Yeast Salve to help with this type! It is made with natural and organic ingredients to fight back against yeast while supporting the body. Ingredients: cloves, cinnamon, calendula, neem oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of candelilla wax. It is safe for 6 months and up due to neem oil. For those younger, we recommend Baby Balm.  

Point #1 The occasional diaper rash from the top few reasons is normal.   

It should be no more than a slight redness and should be easily cleared up within a few diaper changes. 

Point #2 Chronic, frequent diaper rashes are not normal.   

They are a sign that there is a problem, likely due to one of the bottom few reasons.  Investigating the issue and trying out different diapers, detergents, or removing foods from the diet (of mom and kiddo) can help solve the problem.  With chronic diaper rashes, the most important thing to do is to find the underlying cause.  No topical treatments will keep this type of rash at bay for long. 

Natural Remedies for Diaper Rash 

If your baby’s diaper rash is chronic/frequent, see above.  You must address the underlying cause in order to solve the diaper rash issue.  Try different types of diapers, detergents, or look for food allergies.  Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding, baby could be reacting to something through your milk.  I cannot stress enough how much it is not normal for babies to have chronic diaper rash! 

For the occasional, minor rash that crops up, though, there are several ways to handle it. 

Traditional Diaper Rash Cream 

I can’t recommend any mainstream brand out there.  However, you can get or make a cream containing zinc oxide.  The zinc oxide forms a barrier between the skin and the diaper to keep it clear of the urine and stool so it can start to heal.  This is the most common method, but not my favorite — in fact, I haven’t used it with my last 5 kids! 

Natural Diaper Rash Cream 

There are several diaper rash creams now that are intended for actually protecting and letting the skin do what it needs to do, instead of just providing a barrier.  Here’s my recipe for a DIY: Diaper Rash Salve.  If DIY doesn’t fit in your schedule right now, you can get Baby Balm Salve from my store, Earthley.  Hint: it is the same as our favorite All-Purpose Salve but available as Baby Balm if you want to keep easily identified separate containers for “tushie troubles”! 

Many moms simply use coconut oil.  This type of oil is great because it soothes the skin and helps it break the inflammation. Plus, coconut oil can combat yeast naturally. Coconut oil alone can be drying on the skin when used often or in large amounts though so watch for reactions.   

Cloth diaper users should put a fleece liner in the diaper, although these creams should be safe with cloth anyway.  It’s just easier to clean with a liner and reduces any staining. 

Naked Time 

A lot of times, rashes benefit from having air circulating around them.  The best way to do this is to simply keep the baby’s diaper off as much as possible.  Keep prefolds around just in case – some babies really like to “go” while naked! 


Some rashes simply need to be kept dry.  When naked time isn’t an option, powder may be.  I like using simply clay or arrowroot powder.  It is perfectly safe for skin or even to ingest so there are no worries with babies.  I would skip cornstarch, which can cause allergies in some babies, and talc, which most parents know is not good for babies. Herbs are also a perfect remedy for this! We have an Herbal Baby Powder made with lavender, rosemary, and calendula powders. 

I have not yet met a rash that couldn’t be helped by using one or more of the above solutions.  Many other solutions exist but are not especially safe or natural. 

Avoiding Diaper Rash 

Naked time – that is, for the baby! 🙂 

In conclusion… 

So, when possible, keep baby out of a diaper.  For babies with sensitive skin, a prefold with a fleece liner and a wool cover can be the most breathable, natural solution.  Changing baby frequently helps, and offering water once baby is old enough to eat food.  Offering drinks to older babies (not exclusively breastfed ones) is especially important during hot weather or illnesses. 

In general, diaper rashes happen, but shouldn’t happen too often.  At least until potty training, which is another subject entirely!  (Anyone want to hear how I trained my older two?  It was very different between kids.) 

How do you clear diaper rashes naturally? 

This is the writings of:

  1. I luv to make the lotion from and add zinc oxide (can also be used as a sunscreen). Good for both sets of cheeks!!


  2. I’ve read you can treat a rash with apple cider vinegar. I’ve never used this method, but will try it next time it’s needed.


  3. i have never purchased a diaper cream before but i swear by coconut oil. my older child only got a mild rash if she was sensitive to a food. my youngest has been a nightmare despite the GAPS protocol. I swear she is a yeast baby. I dont know what i did wrong since i was and had been on a healthful diet and probiotics before and after her birth which was at home like the first one… anyways. i like to mix probiotics and coconut oil and rub that on the diaper area and that clears it up within a day or so.


  4. Yes, I’d really like to hear how you potty trained your littles!


  5. I’m curious about how the ACV would work if the extra acidity of the urine or stool was the cause of the rash?


  6. This is going to sound like a dumb question…but for a fleece liner, do you mean just like the polar fleece you use to make little tie-blankets or whatever, or is there some other kind of fleece you would use? And do you just lay it on the diaper between the diaper and the baby’s skin?

    Our first is due soon and I was wondering how to combat diaper rash while cloth diapering, since I know you can’t use zinc oxide pastes with the cloth diapers. Yay for coconut oil, that stuff is good for EVERYTHING! ^_^


  7. We used to use expressed breast milk. Just rub it on the bum at each diaper change. Coconut oil is also rather soothing. I’m leery of ACV. Wouldn’t it burn/sting some of the more tender skin?


  8. We exclusively use cotton prefolds and best bottom covers. I have found that I need to strip all of our diaper paraphernalia (covers, diapers and wipes) once a month. This his greatly reduced my son’s rashes. I simply soak all the diaper stuff overnight in the washer in hot water with 1/8 c. of Calgon water softener, then do my usual wash routine in the morning.


  9. I was very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed it!


  10. What seems to help my current baby the most, especially when he has a bad rash, is naked time followed by an oatmeal & baking soda soaking bath, then cream in diaper (whichever you use). Gone by morning every time!


  11. In response to all the comments about ACV: apple cider vinegar actually balances the ph of the skin so if acidity is the problem, I would think it’d help (I use it as a facial toner) but it will burn if not diluted. I would suggest a 1:5 ratio of ACV to water and maybe add a few drops of lavender essential oil to soothe irate skin. You could also steep the ACV in calendula overnight before diluting to promote healing and reduce itchyness.

    Disclaimer: I have no children and have never used ACV to treat diaper rash, these are just things that I know based off of making my own beauty products and doing tons of research.


  12. Ok i tried to make the homemade cream and its separating just want to know is this right or did i make it wrong what should i do. Do i just drain the water?


  13. We are going through this now! Just found out our fourth has a sensitivity to tomatoes and has given him acidic poop. I’ve been putting coconut oil on it but I have found that if you put too much in the diaper (we use disposables) it will make the inside of the diaper desentigrate after awhile.


  14. I make an 8 herb all natural salve with beeswax in it. Works great on all who have used it.


  15. Diaper rash problem is normal in children. we are in Ecological Diapers business. We provide potential solution for rashes problem in children. use our product and make children free from rashes. you can visit us online


  16. that is common phenomenon everbody do but it is not enough to protect child from Diaper rash. We need to use Ecological diapers for children to protect them from rash
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  17. We used cloth nappies and that seemed to result in less rash. On the occasion that it did flare up we used coconut oil. It would clear right up. One hot summer day, after being in a regular disposable nappy, my 2nd child had a nasty rash. We had no coconut oil so I broke off a thick stem of aloe Vera and rubbed the gel on. It worked like a charm. I re-potted a load of my aloe Vera and gifted it to all my mum friends! It seemed to calm the rash down almost instantly.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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