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5 Ways to Cure Diaper Rash Naturally

Daniella Lopez is a full-time freelance writer, professional herbalist, and doula.

All-Natural Methods to Treat a Diaper Rash

All-Natural Methods to Treat a Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is very unpleasant and uncomfortable for little ones to endure. Sadly, almost all babies experience a diaper rash at one point or another, so avoiding it is almost out of the question.

What Causes Diaper Rashes?

Diaper rash is usually caused by bacteria or fungus, which thrive in the wetness which is held in place by the diaper, allowing the bacteria or yeast to grow and irritate the skin.

Rashes appear when diapers are too wet, too tight, or when cloth diapers have not been thoroughly washed. Sometimes there are dietary triggers.

If you catch and treat the rash very early, you may not have to do much to resolve the issue.

How to Treat a Rash

  1. First, wash your baby's bum really well, without irritating the skin too much. Use a gentle, unscented soap and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Next, dry the bottom really well with a towel. You could use a hairdryer set on the lowest setting. If you opt for a hairdryer, make sure to not hurt your baby with the heat of it. Keep it fairly far away from the skin and on the lowest setting.
  3. Once you have the bum dry, allow your baby to go without a diaper for some time. The rash needs to "air out" or breathe a little, which a diaper prevents.
  4. If this doesn't work, or if the rash has already progressed too far, then you need to look for other solutions. If you don't want to use store-bought creams with chemicals in them or simply don't want to introduce your baby to a product their skin isn't used to, try using some time-tested methods first (see suggestions below).
  5. Do remember that if none of this helps, you will want to consult with your pediatrician about what options you have.

6 Natural Ways to Ease a Baby's Diaper Rash

1. Use Breast Milk Topically to Help Ease a Rash

Breast milk can be a cure-all for everyone. Not only does milk help babies grow and thrive, but it can also soothe common skin ailments for both baby and mom.

Mothers can use their own breast milk to help with cracked nipples, something most mothers face when breastfeeding. But did you know that breastmilk can also be used to treat diaper rash?

How to use breast milk to treat your baby's diaper rash:

The way to treat diaper rash with breast milk is by simply expressing a little of your milk onto the rash, then allowing the milk to dry on the infected area.

Many mothers say that this has worked much better than any cream or other product.

2. Let Your Baby Air Dry

One of the best ways to treat a diaper rash is to let your baby go naked, without a diaper, for periods of time. Try to keep the diaper off for 30 minutes after each diaper change. This will help the rash air out and allow for a speedier healing process.

Most bacteria thrive in wet environments. No matter how many times you change a baby's diaper, there will be moisture. This is why it's a good idea to let a baby's skin breathe for a little bit without being constantly touched by a wet diaper.

For more persistent rashes, leave the baby naked overnight. Simply spread an absorbent pad beneath them while they sleep.

3. Apply Coconut Oil

Like breast milk, coconut oil is a cure-all for nature-lovers and crunchy moms. It can be used for a variety of things, one of which is to treat diaper rash.

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Coconut oil works especially well against diaper rashes that are fungal infections.

Coconut oil is naturally anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. It is safe and gentle for your baby and is also safe to use with cloth diapers. Coconut oil doesn't contain any sugars for yeast infections to thrive on. The best kind of coconut oil to use is organic and virgin, as this doesn't require any heating processing that would typically kill off all of the medicinal and nutritive benefits.

4. Use Arrowroot Powder

An old-time rash remedy was to use Crisco and cornstarch on a baby's bum. We have since learned that cornstarch can actually worsen a yeast-related rash since it contains sugars that the yeast thrives on.

Much better to use coconut oil mixed with arrowroot powder. Simply rub coconut oil on the baby's bottom, then sprinkle a fine layer of arrowroot powder. The arrowroot will stick to the coconut oil. With each diaper change, continue applying the combination until the rash is cleared up. Discontinue if the rash appears to become worse.

Arrowroot and coconut oil are safe alternatives for those who use cloth diapers, as these ingredients will not stain the cloth. Simply wash the diaper as you would normally.

Arrowroot powder is the starch that has been extracted from the arrowroot plant. It is all-natural and safe to use on children.

5. Eliminate any Dietary Causes of the Rash

If you're a breastfeeding mother, something you eat regularly may be the culprit behind the rash. Look through the foods you have been eating since the rash first occurred and see if there is anything new in your diet that might be affecting your baby. Consult with your pediatrician about possibly following an elimination diet to see if that helps improve your baby's symptoms.

If your child is not breastfed, consider the formula that they are using or the solid foods they are consuming. Are they on a new formula? If so, they may be having a reaction to it. If they're eating solid foods, then do as you would if you were breastfeeding: look at the child's recent diet and see if there are any new foods that might be causing the rash.

6. Try Switching Detergents, Diapers, and Wipes

The cause of your baby's rash may be an allergy. Many babies are allergic to certain brands of diapers as well as various chemicals found in detergents and baby wipes. If you suspect this might be the case, try changing brands on the products you use.

The best option would be to go with all-natural products. Seventh Generation has detergents, baby wipes, and diapers that are all safe and devoid of many harsh toxins. Seventh Generation products can be found at Target, Amazon, and Walmart. Pampers also now has a line of diapers, Pampers Pure, that doesn't contain many of the allergens found in disposable diapers.

If you are concerned about the diapers you are using, you might consider switching to cloth. Cloth diapers, especially unbleached ones, are devoid of nearly all the synthetic materials you find in disposable diapers.

If you are using cloth diapers and your baby is having a rash, it may possibly be due to build-up in the diaper. Try stripping the diaper (check the instructions of the brand of cloth you use) and changing up your washing routine. Sometimes, it's as simple as using too much (or not enough) laundry detergent.

Special Note for Cloth Diaper Users

If you use cloth diapers, especially the pre-folded kind, make sure the creams and oils you are using are safe to use with the cloth diaper. Many creams and oils break down the fibers of the cloth diaper, lessening their life expectancy. Also, some of these oils and creams can cause staining that will not come out.

To avoid this, switch to disposable diapers until the rash is cleared up, or simply use liners within your cloth diapers if you don't already do so. Breast milk, coconut oil, and arrowroot are all cloth-diaper-safe methods and will not stain or degrade the diaper.

Natural Ways to Sooth a Diaper Rash

There are more alternatives to conventional diaper rash creams than just the six listed in this article. However, these are easy to do, easy to purchase, and very effective.

Do your own research and decide which method is right for you. If the rash continues to get worse, seek out professional help.

Your baby may be a little fussy and in need of extra attention while suffering a diaper rash. Do as much as you can to comfort and bond with your little one to help them feel as comfortable as possible. They are not simply being clingy during a time like this. They are uncomfortable and in a little bit of pain, so they need all the love, hugs, and kisses that they can get.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream (Safe for Cloth Diapers)

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.

© 2012 Daniella Lopez


Michelle Lee on May 11, 2018:

Thank you we just found out about a week ago got our little one was allergic to Luv diapers and it's slowly getting better but going to try using the breast milk and seeing if that helps. Thanks so much

Mariam Shams from Sheffield on February 20, 2016:

I used to always clean my baby on the bathroom sink with running water from the tap when he was newly born then since he grows up I take him to clean him in the bath tube and again I have to be very careful as he might slip from my hands. al hamd lellah he never got any nappy rashes so far

Allie D from Canada on January 24, 2015:

Great ideas! Another suggestion I've heard is natural Aloe Vera gel. I bought some at the health food store, and it has definitely helped when my son has had diaper rash.

Baby Diapers Online on February 07, 2014:

I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 

and I am completely satisfied with your website. 

All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

turn you are sharing with each one!….

baby diapers on December 21, 2012:

"I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me,

and I am completely satisfied with your website.

All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

turn you are sharing with each one!….

Daniella Lopez (author) on November 01, 2012:

Thanks for the lovely comment! :)

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on November 01, 2012:

thank you for this great hub! it has been a long time since my kids were babies, but i don't remember them getting to many rashes. i always used an diaper rash ointment at the first sign of a rash, but i would have tried one of these home remedies in a pinch...thanks again! blessings

Daniella Lopez (author) on July 21, 2012:

Air drying and breastmilk have worked the best for me. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Aloe Kim on July 21, 2012:

Air drying usually works for me! I've never heard of olive oil being used, it sounds great. I'll have to try it. I bet olive oil would be good for baby eczema.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 27, 2012:

I used the naked baby technique also. You offered many more useful tips and pointers. Useful hub!:)

Daniella Lopez (author) on February 04, 2012:

Most mothers I have spoken with have suggested that to be the best method as well, Kitty. Thanks for the vote and tip!

Kitty Fields from Summerland on February 04, 2012:

The best way I found was to let my daughter go without a diaper for awhile or what you call the "naked baby" technique. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful!

Daniella Lopez (author) on January 14, 2012:

@thumbi: The oatmeal bathes are just water with oats soaking in the water. The oats can be the kind you cook with, those work just as well. And no, you don't have to bath the baby once again directly after the oatmeal bath. Hope that answers your question. :)

@Susan: Sorry this info is late for you, but I hope it'll be useful with your grandbabies. :) Thanks for reading!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 14, 2012:

Wish I had of read this hub about 23 years ago. My twins had diaper rashes and I would have much more preferred to use a natural product rather than buying zinc ointment. But the zinc did work and do the trick. I will remember reading your hub though when I become a grandmother.

Great article.

JR Krishna from India on January 14, 2012:

Nice little suggestions. What are Oatmeal bathes exactly? Do we have to wash with clean water again after oatmeal bath?

Daniella Lopez (author) on January 13, 2012:

Thanks for reading! I hope the mommies that you sent it to find it handy. :)

Lissette from Central Florida on January 13, 2012:

I don't have any more babies to try this on, but I did find it interesting enough to send it to 4 babies in my life and a grandma.

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