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Mysterious cloth-diaper-hating rash

My daughter has had a really aggressive nasty rash/yeast infection for MONTHS. We had seriously tried just about everything to make it go away--different ointments, creams, we took her to a dermatologist, and literally nothing was working. We thought maybe there was some lingering infection clinging to our cloth diapers, so we stripped them, but still no dice.

Two weeks ago, we went away for the weekend, and only took disposables with us, so we wouldn't have to travel with a bunch of diapers. After two days of disposables and Aquaphor (we had forgotten her dermatologist-prescribed rash cream at home) the rash was making drastic improvements. So when we got home, we kept her in disposables and Aquaphor. Two weeks later, it's almost entirely gone.

So, what gives? We love our cloth diapers, and we'll be going back to them as soon as this rash is gone for good, but I am just baffled as to why nothing we tried worked at all until we switched to disposables.

Any ideas?

Edit: I should have added, we use GroVia All-in-Twos, almost exclusively, and Charlie's soap.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
What are your diapers made out of? I've seen several people here talking about negative reactions to microfiber liners. Also, you mention stripping the diapers, but not whether you tried changing detergents, have you?
Feb. 8th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
They're cotton--we use GroVia soakers.

I don't think we switched detergents--my husband is the main laundry guy, so I'm not 100% sure. We use Charlie's soap. Do you think switching detergents would help? What would you recommend?
Feb. 8th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
I use Charlie's too, so I don't have a specific suggestion, but I would try changing your detergent if you haven't, there could be something in it that's causing a reaction.
Feb. 9th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
I've heard several people here talk about having terrible rashes with Charlie's, and we had the same problem when we used it (bought some samples of a variety to see what would work best). We use and really like Allen's Naturally, which is a very cheap detergent if you have an HE machine. You can get Allen's as a quart and you can buy a 'travel pack' of single-load size bottles to just try it out.

I've also heard good things about the Tiny Bubbles detergent, and a lot of people here use All Free & Clear, which you can get at Wal-Mart. Some people also swear by original Tide, but I think they just reformulated it to be extra strong and that it's not as good as it used to be.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I don't believe they are--we use GroVia soakers, which I'm pretty sure are cotton (we tried microfiber once, and we were not a fan!)

Feb. 8th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
I know that a lot of people have had chemical burns with Charlie's soap.
Feb. 8th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
My daughter gets some rash-ness from sitting in wet diapers for very short periods! Its like she has a five second rule on being changed and if we don't catch it right away an ugly hive looking rash pops up. My point isn't about how often you are changing diapers but that maybe its just a general sensitivity.

I use fleece liners almost all the time now and that helps a lot except when she over-saturates her dipes and the FOE becomes damp. Sensitive bums usually have a favourite fabric so maybe trying an assortment of liners? Trying a different detergent is a good idea too!

Also I've read about microwaving underwear for killing yeast. Maybe that would work with all cotton inserts...
Feb. 8th, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
If I recall correctly, a number of people have described reactions to Charlie's soap (although not all have them). I recommend changing soaps and completely stripping them and trying again.
Feb. 8th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
I've also heard of chemical burns w/Charlies. I would say try a different soap...

Did you rule out yeast?
Feb. 8th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
We had rash problems in cotton prefolds with and without fleece liners to keep him more dry. It would clear up after a few days in disposables which was really frustrating when we were first doing cloth. I eventually switched to bumgenius which I think has a suedecloth liner? No more rash. I'm not sure if its the dryness or the material that made the difference.
I've also heard of detergent rashes from Charlie's so it's probably easier to try a different detergent first. When we were having rash problems I also started adding a few drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract to the wash as a disinfectant and it seemed to help a little.
Feb. 8th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
Try a different detergent. I'd use Tide for awhile to get them clean. Natural soaps are great, I use country save, but they can have a hard time getting them super clean if the water is not super hot. I started alternating country save with Tide when my daughter was 8 months old. I haven't had a single rash since then and she was in diapers until 26 months and my son is now 24 months. If you do not want to try Tide, try adding boiling hot water for a few washes. We had the opposite occurred. We went on a trip and used disposables and that's when my son got his first rash.
Feb. 8th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
Stripping won't get rid of yeast - bleach the diapers, that finally got rid of our recurring yeast rash.
Feb. 9th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
How did you do it? I've tried some bleach, stripping, and vinegar. (Not all at once.) My daughters just have the most awful yeast and it does seem so much better in disposables. I got so tired of fighting it I trained by toddler at two and a bit just to be done with it. My infant's yeast is all over and so bad it got a secondary infection so I'm treating that with a dermatologist and using 'sposies for now but she doesn't really understand cloth diapers.

And to the OP I wish I had some advice, but after four years of cloth diapering I am at my wits end. We use Planet and occasionally Tide for what it's worth.
Feb. 9th, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Tea tree oil maybe?

I'd go NUTS if I couldn't use cloth but Roland's eczema is exacerbated by 'sposies :(
Feb. 9th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
Yeah I have been nuts. The truth is I'll never know if the girls had the same thing because it presented differently in both of them. Bayla tested positive for an infection, but I am still waiting on the other cultures so I don't even know for sure if it is yeast, but the doctor and I suspect so. The thing is I think it started on the back of her knee and not even in the diaper area.
Oct. 8th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
I was just taking a peek at this community (currently pregnant with baby number two and really wanting to try out cloth diapers -- wanted to see what this comm was all about), and I came across this comment and had to reply -- your child's name is Roland??? LOVE IT!! My grandfather's name was Roland, as was my uncle's, and we were seriously considering it for our little ones (though both happened to be girls, so that didn't work out, lol). So many people were opposed to the name, which I still just don't understand at all; did you meet any adversity about the name? Anyway, so amazing to see someone else use it! I have to ask, are you French-Canadian by any chance? It seems to be a slightly more popular name in Quebec (and I'm F-C, so that's also why I'm asking, lol)
Oct. 8th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
I wish I was Canadian. I'm an american living in the chicago area.

We got the name from (don't laugh) a Stephen King novel. :)

Feb. 9th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
I had a KILLER yeast problem. It was awful. Took me like 6-12 months to really get to the bottom of it and get it cleared up.

Our routine:
Strip w/Dawn & bleach monthly
Wash every other day with Tide & Grapefruitseed Extract (THIS has made a HUGE difference!)
Use OTC Lotrimin as diaper cream the instant a bump pops up

Sounds like your infant could use some oral antifungals - diflucan I think it's called - for systemic yeast. I would definitely treat that before tackling the diapers or she will just keep reinfecting (recolonizing?) herself.

ETA: I also use old school baby powder with every change to help keep his skin dry. The cornstarch based ones just feed yeast.

Edited at 2012-02-09 02:59 am (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2012 04:46 am (UTC)
Thanks. She is on antibiotics and some cream now. I'm still waiting on the yeast cultures the dermatologist took, but she did test positive for an infection. It did really get bad in her arm pit and back of the knee originally (she is healing quite well now), but I'll have to look into non corn based powders like you said.
Feb. 9th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Poor thing! :( Hope she heals up well.

We got some Nystatin powder prescribed which worked the BEST - but it's prescription only and a tiiiiiny bottle. There is an OTC product available called something like X-orb that is also a non-cornstarch antifungal powder. It's not cheap, but it did work very well. I just had to be super careful about not using too much or it would irritate my son's skin (and he is not a sensitive skinned kid).
Feb. 9th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
My friend who has chubby babies (mine are thin so I am so confused) raves about the powder. I actually prefer prescription, because I have full coverage so that might work much better for us :) And no worries, my baby is happy as a lark. She just looks awful. She was wiggling around all giggles on the exam table when it was so bad it looked like a chemical burn. I do need to do more research about preventative. This doctor made a face when I mentioned cloth diapers and said "well hopefully you won't have to do that." She isn't what I'd call a good listener either, but her Rx have been healing the babes so far so I figured I'd finish this round with her and look for someone better another time.
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
I have full coverage too, the Nystatin is only like $5 a pop, so not bad - it's just ANNOYINGLY small for how often I found myself using it. :) Something in a bigger container worked better for us!

That's too bad about your doc. My pediatrician just sort of blindly assumed that cloth diapers = problem free skin! which created it's own set of problems when we started with the yeast thing... it would have been helpful if she had known that it is a relatively common issue. =/ Instead I had to parse it out myself with months of trial and error and emailing various cloth diaper websites/detergent manufacturers.
Feb. 9th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Does the grapefruitseed extract clog up your machine? We have a very finicky HE washer and while I love it, it's a bit annoying that it becomes clogged easily.
Feb. 9th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
You can get it in liquid form, so that shouldn't clog your machine.
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
I've never had an issue... I dilute it though. I put 12 drops in a half cup of water (I use an old breast milk storage cup I just keep on my washer) and put it in the bleach dispenser for my actual wash load (after the 1st cycle of just a "normal" wash with no detergent). We have an older LG TROMM.
Feb. 11th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Whats the deal with grapefruit seed extract? I'm intrigued.
Feb. 12th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
It's a natural antimicrobial, like Tea Tree Oil... but TTO seems to lose effectiveness when diluted (like, a few drops in a huge load of laundry) whereas GFSE still works to keep things at bay. :) I bought a bottle of it on Amazon for about eight bucks and it's lasted for more than a year.
Feb. 9th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Vinegar (or bleach, but vinegar isn't as hard on your dipes) and really hot water is needed in every load if you have yeast. Dry them completely in the dryer (unless you live where it's hot & sunny now). If it's yeast, I'd try that for a bit.

We've had stubborn yeast a couple of times. In addition to vinegar and hot water in the laundry, vinegar rinses at diaper changes helped. One tablespoon vinegar in 8 oz of water. After I got him cleaned, I'd wet another (cloth) wipe and rub him with it and let it air dry, or sometimes I just used it as our wipe solution. I'd follow that with a cream three times a day. Lotrimin and it was pretty effective (it's OTC - for jock itch). I even painted him with gentian violet the first time and it did help. You can try grapefruit seed extract rinses. We've used that, too. Get some probiotics and mix in her food. Feed her yogurt. (That's if she's on solids, of course. ;))

The best thing we've used has been Clotrimazole and Betamethasone Diproprionate cream. It's a prescription cream.

Try to give her as much air time as possible. When we've dealt with yeast, we've used our fitteds coverless or with wool covers b/c they're breathable. I noticed that PUL made it worse.

It about eight weeks of continuous, vigilant treatment and washing each time, but we finally got it cleared both times (4 1/2 months and 2 1/2 years).
Feb. 9th, 2012 04:51 am (UTC)
Wow. I was nervous it would be so much work. I have a hard time with naked time right now and even washing wool covers. I mostly have pull on, not wraps so they can be more work for diapers changes right now. I have two older ones in nursery school and I just potty trained the middle one so I'm still spending extra time with her in the bathroom. My poor third baby with the yeasties kind of gets dragged around a bit. I'm hoping once this bought clears in sposies we can get back into cloth and I'll be more vigilant.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )