Is This Bum Cream Cloth Diaper Safe?

It’s one of the most common questions that retailers and manufacturers of cloth diapers and bum creams hear. “Is this bum cream cloth diaper safe?” 

An Applecheeks cloth diaper in action.

Cloth diapering parents know that they need to be careful about what comes into contact with their cloth diapers. It’s not difficult to keep cloth diapers in tip-top condition, but certain products are guaranteed to leave build-up or residue, while others simply pose a possible threat and in many cases, void the warranty on the diapers if used.

There are natural diaper cream companies out there that market their ointments based mainly on the claim that they are “cloth diaper safe.” The thing is, any ointment that is made up of natural vegetable oils and essential oils will technically be “safe” on your cloth diapers. This includes our Smooth as a Baby’s Bum Balm. You could likely use most of these balms fairly often, and if your washing routine is ideal, not see any issues with your diapers for a very long time. But how much is too much? How often is too often? Do you have hard water? Are you certain your washing routine is getting out all the residue? Have you read the fine print of the warranty on your cloth diapers? Even if you have a snap fail after nine months, many manufacturers won’t replace the product for that (non-related) issue if it’s been washed improperly or been used in conjunction with certain diapering ointment products. 

Smooth as a Baby's Bum Balm

Some guaranteed diaper-ruiners are zinc oxide creams (great barrier creams but better used in conjunction with disposables when called for!); petroleum jelly; and fabric softeners. All of these act as barriers or coatings on the fabric, just as they do on skin, or in the case of fabric softener (liquid or dryer sheets), on clothing. Diaper liners can give some peace of mind if using either of the former, but as for fabric softeners, it’s best to do away with them all together.

Other, more natural products though — those meant for preventing or treating irritation in the diaper area — can be safe in certain quantities, on certain diapers. And therein lies the rub — do you want to chance it? 

Flushable diaper liners are amazing!

Perhaps the most compelling of all is that it’s not a difficult issue to deal with. First, change your way of thinking about the term “cloth diaper safe.” This term doesn’t mean you can slather it all over your diapers indefinitely and they’ll absolutely keep working at peak performance. It means that if you use the product in conjunction with a diaper liner, and it gets on the diaper if the liner slips, or if your mother-in-law uses it when she’s baby-sitting and forgets the liner that one time, your diapers will be fine. Compare this to the scenario when your daycare accidentally covers your baby’s bum in zinc oxide ointment and then snaps their cloth diaper on top with no liner (or they use a liner but the ointment gets on the diaper around the edges): you’re left with a very noticeable white coating on the inside of your diaper, and it’s not coming off. If you’re willing to put a lot of elbow grease into it with a nail brush and some Dawn dish soap, you might manage to get it off, but there’s no guarantee. Smooth as a Baby’s Bum Balm get on your diaper? Wash as normal, and maybe add a hot soak beforehand.

If you have used disposable diapers up until now, you might be expecting to need a lot of diaper cream for prevention and treatment of irritation, but really, you’re going to find that you don’t need much at all, nor often. And when you do, simply use a diaper liner, like these ones from Applecheeks diapers — voila! Now that’s a cloth diaper-safe routine! 

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Posted by on 3/21/2015