Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.
As a Mother and Grandmother, you can imagine that, over the years, I have collected my personal selection of the best home remedies for diaper rash! So, if your baby is suffering from this problem and you have tried other remedies without success, I hope that you will find a solution that works on this page.
Home remedies are very popular, not just because of cost but also because parents want to use gentle, effective solutions on their child's skin.
The Causes of Diaper Rash
Babies can get nappy rash (as it is referred to, here in the UK) or Diaper rash for many reasons. It is a form of dermatitis (a medical term meaning skin ('derma') inflammation ('itis')).
The picture above shows a sore, inflamed rash on the diaper area. The warm damp conditions and many bacteria, yeasts and fungal spores make the inside of a diaper an almost inevitable place for skin irritation to occur. The severity of the rash can range from a mild, general reddening of the skin, through a more pronounced, irritated rash, to skin blistering with bleeding sore places.
Babies living it hot and humid climates might be more prone to this irritating condition but there are many other factors, teething babies suffer more, I think. New foods introduced to the diet such as fruits or juices that are more acidic, a new brand of disposable diaper causing an allergic reaction, a skin irritation caused by the laundry soap used on cloth diapers - the list can go on and on!
Frequent nappy changes, avoiding using commercially available disposable wipes containing alcohol or other irritants and allowing your baby to spend time without a nappy allowing light and air to get to the skin can all help. However, if he or she already has a rash, here is my pick of the very best home remedy treatments for diaper rash.
First, Clean and Dry Your Baby's Bottom
The first step in treating diaper rash is the same as the most important step in preventing it! Cleaning and drying your baby's bottom.
The best way to clean it is not to use any of the commercial baby wipes that might irritate your baby's delicate skin and this is especially the case with any wipes that contain alcohol.
Use a soft washcloth if you are at home with just plain water and a couple of spots of very gentle baby soap but be sure to rinse well. If there is already a rash, you could omit the soap as this can sting!
Urine on the skin is very alkaline and can burn baby's delicate skin. You can neutralize this acid by diluting one part white vinegar with about ten parts cool water and dabbing this on the skin.
Dry baby's bottom by patting with a soft towel or blowing dry with a hair dryer, being sure that the heat setting is just warm and not too hot. Ideally leave putting on a clean nappy for a short while so that air can circulate freely and complete the drying process.
My Top Tip!
Top Tip for when you are away from home, is to take a supply of wash cloths already prepared for washing baby's diaper area and individually sealed in zip-lock bags; these can be resealed in the bag after use and washed ready for next time once you return home.
This is more environmentally-friendly than using disposable baby wipes and you know there are no chemicals or fragrances added that could irritate a baby's skin.
Is Breast Milk The Best Home Remedy For Diaper Rash?
If you are breast feeding your baby, you may not realize that you have the perfect solution (quite literally) to treating diaper rash. Breast milk can be used fresh, or frozen and thawed again - it really does not matter for this purpose.
- Apply the milk after thoroughly cleansing and drying your baby's bottom at diaper change time or after a bath.
- Because breast milk is packed with antibodies, it will heal skin and soothe irritation and without any risk of an allergic reaction. Just apply it on a cotton ball and dab it onto baby's clean skin.
- Allow to air dry before putting on a clean diaper.
- If you prefer, you can apply a barrier cream such as lanolin once the breast milk has dried onto the skin.
Other First Aid Uses For Breast Milk You May Not Know
Did you know that if your baby has a sticky eye, you can safely cleanse and soothe this with a cotton bud dipped in breast milk?
For other skin problems such as eczema and baby acne, applying breast milk and allowing it to air dry will soothe and heal the skin and the natural moisturizers it contains will prevent skin from drying out and cracking.
Home Remedy Baths To Cure Diaper Rash
- Baking soda is a safe natural ingredient to add to bathwater to soothe and heal diaper rash.
- Oatmeal added to bathwater is wonderfully soothing and healing. To avoid bits of oatmeal sticking to baby's skin (and your bathtub), tie a good cup of oatmeal in a muslin or cheesecloth bag and place this in the water.
- You can use just oatmeal on its own or in combination with the Baking Soda remedy above.
- Make two pints of very strong chamomile or ordinary tea made with up to twelve teabags and allow this to cool. Once it gets to the right temperature, add to baby's bath water and allow your baby to enjoy the soothing relief by sitting in this for about twenty minutes. This works well on its own or in combination with the oatmeal remedy above.
Make a Soothing Mask for Your Baby's Sore Bottom
- Make a strong cup of tea using either normal teabags or chamomile.
- Use the tea to mix a good handful of fine oatmeal into a paste that you can apply gently to the area of the rash.
- Pop a clean diaper on over the top so that the mask can stay on baby's skin for around half an hour.
- Rinse this off with tepid water and dry carefully.
This can be repeated as necessary until the rash is gone.
Home Remedy Barrier Treatments
- To prevent or heal diaper rash, an effective and really cheap method is to use shortening or lard as an ointment. Allow it to come to room temperature before use and even soften in the microwave for just a couple of seconds to make it easy to apply in cold weather (no longer or you will have a liquid mess!).
- I have also heard of using raw egg white applied to the area of the rash. Whilst anecdotal evidence I have found seems to bear out the effectiveness of this method, I would advise caution and would definitely not use it if the skin is broken at all. If you want to try it, brush on raw egg white to clean skin and leave to air dry before putting on a fresh diaper.
- Use coconut oil instead of diaper cream. Apply this to baby's bottom and it soothes, heals and prevents further irritation.
Preventing Diaper Rash With Natural Remedies
Corn starch applied to baby's bottom is recommended as being a safe and effective treatment by many Moms and Grandmoms. However, there could be a problem if the diaper rash is caused by a yeast infection as the starch could make things worse. Regardless, many people swear by it or even ordinary flour, warmed until it starts to brown in a pan and then allowed to cool and kept in a container from which it can be sprinkled onto the skin.
Many Pediatricians advise applying an ointment or cream that will provide a barrier that prevents the urine or stools from touching the skin and causing the irritation. This should always be applied to clean dry skin and it can be used with the breast milk remedy mentioned above (just apply it once the milk has dried on the skin). Any cream containing zinc oxide will be effective. If a rash is already present, Neosporin antibiotic ointment will also be effective in healing the skin.
What If None Of These Diaper Rash Remedies Work?
If none of the remedies I have outlined has worked and nothing else you have tried has helped either, it is time to seek medical help.
If your baby is taking prescription medications, these could be causing the problem.
He or she may have a urinary tract infection, an allergy to something you have not yet discovered or even a yeast infection.
Either way, it is worth getting all this checked out for your own peace of mind and your baby's comfort.
In my opinion and from personal experience, using breast milk on diaper rash is the favorite treatment but if you do not have this option, the methods using oatmeal are extremely effective as home remedies for diaper rash.
If you have a favorite treatment method that I have not mentioned, please do leave me a comment below.
Disclaimer: all of the above remedies have been provided in good faith as tried and tested home remedies but should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Alison Graham
Alison Graham (author) from UK on January 15, 2014:
Thank you Mz Quene Bee, congratulations on becoming a new Mommy and pleased to hear you found my hub useful.
Thank you cjarosz, please do share your recipe by leaving another comment if you would like to, I will be glad to publish it here.
cjarosz on January 14, 2014:
I have a different diaper rash recipe that I use. However, I know that many of these do work well.
Aquene from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 13, 2014:
Thanks for this hub! I am a new mommy and haven't yet had to contend with diaper rash but I am certainly a fan of holistic remedies so I will keep these in mind should I ever have to relieve my little one's bum bum.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on October 07, 2013:
Hi Jenny-Elizabeth, it is good that you have commented and given a personal experience of using breast milk for diaper rash - I had the feeling that some of my readers didn't really believe it! But, it really does work, doesn't it - and as you say, it is good for goopy eyes, snuffly nose, baby eczema and probably lots of other things too!
Elizabeth Reeve from Cornfields of Indiana on October 07, 2013:
I love that you included Breast Milk because that is exactly what I used with my little ones. There are so many things it helps with, including the goopy eyes.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on October 02, 2013:
Thank you for your comment AUPADHYAY and for the vote up. I hope this hub on natural remedies for diaper rash will become popular as the remedies are effective and could help many moms and their babies.
ANIL KUMAR UPADHYAY from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY on September 28, 2013:
A very informative and useful hub you have shared alisongraham, thanks for sharing it. Voted it up
Alison Graham (author) from UK on September 28, 2013:
Hi peachpurple, yes I agree, that was a public domain image from Wikimedia but it can be even worse than that with blistering and bleeding. No wonder babies are miserable when they have it. But luckily, it is normally simple to treat and the oatmeal baths bring instant relief to babies suffering from diaper rash.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 28, 2013:
that picture of the baby buttocks was so bad. Must b vy painful.