How We Cured a Yeast Diaper Rash

June 11, 2008

Cloth Diaper Extras

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I have dealt with rashes on Paisley for pretty much her whole life (18 months). I’ve gone from thinking it was an allergy to serged diapers, then to a wool allergy, then eczema, and even food allergies.

During this process I sold all the serged diapers and switched to turned and topstiched. When it persisted I sold all our gorgeous wool and switched to Pockets and AIOs. When that didn’t fix it I accepted that my poor baby most likely had eczema.

After taking her to a friend of ours (a fellow chiropractor) for allergy testing, I discovered Paisley had multiple food and chemical allergies. Once these items were cleared the “eczema like” rash began to clear up.

That allowed, in my opinion, the real problem to surface. What emerged on my baby’s thighs was gross. A yeast rash in the diaper area looks like open chicken pox. Multiple vesicles covering the region alarmed even this unreactive mom.

I did some internet research (there should be a warning before viewing dermatology pictures) and found an exact picture of what Paisley’s rash looked like. Yeast. Yuck.

I knew about Gentian Violet but didn’t have any. So my husband suggested Apple Cider Vinegar. Our chiropractic friend has told us it was good for skin issues.

I started applying it with a cotton ball on Saturday and today it is almost gone.

I’m a big fan of home remedies and I am super relieved that this one worked so well! Paisley still has a few “eczema-like” patches but the polka-dot pattern is gone.

You can buy Apple Cider Vinegar at any grocery store.


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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

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51 Responses to “How We Cured a Yeast Diaper Rash”

  1. Heather Anne Says:

    Ok. I’m at my wits end right now. C’s diaper rash was never really BAD, per se. There were bumps and it was typical of yeast according to our pediatrician, but there were never any blisters or open sores, nor was his bum completely red (just the crease for a bit). We caught it early, she said, and it should go away soon with proper treatment. Well, we didn’t want to use the typical creams because they contain corn starch, which is an allergy for him (Monistat, etc). Instead, we are using Earth Mama Angel Baby Baby Bottom Balm mixed with a capsule-full of probiotic powder (difficult to find free of sugar and corn) at each diaper change. I spray him with an ACV rinse and pat/fan dry before applying the ointment. He also gets bathed in a tub of water with added ACV and baking soda (we were using TTO, but were told not to on a boy). I’ve also treated the yeast in the diapers (twice, just to be safe) and he is wearing those diapers with a bamboo viscose disposable liner (we double them up, triple at night) from EcoSprout.
    The bumps are still there. Just a few now, very small (you really have to look to see them). But I want them gone!!! Should I redo the diapers? Would the liners not keep the yeast from his bum? I’m really going crazy here. I don’t know what else to do! We do let him have “free time” in the morning when we aren’t running errands! We can’t put him in disposables and I don’t really have the money to buy new cloth! Please help!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      What did you use to treat the yeast in the diapers? Are you able to buy a good quality coconut oil? I would start using coconut oil on him regularly.

      Reply

      • Heather Anne Says:

        Unfortunately, he can’t use coconut oil. He breaks out. We had Tropical Traditions. :-( I used the yeast protocol on this site.

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          Poor guy! Grapefruit Seed Extract is the only thing that will kill yeast SPORES which will remain in the diapers. You can make a skin wash with it to apply to him as well. I buy Nutribiotic brand off of Amazon. A bottle goes a long way.

          Reply

  2. Andrea Says:

    Yeast- I read your treatment for getting the yeast out of diapers, but I wondered, will just plain stripping the diapers with rlr work?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      If there aren’t any yeast spores in the diapers then yes. But, to kill yeast spores you need to use Grapefruit Seed Extract. You will see recurring infections if the spores remain.

      Reply

  3. Natalie Says:

    I have found your blog very helpful with troubleshooting my diaper situation! I am at my wit’s end with what I believe is a yeast infection on my poor 3 month old’s bottom. She has had it almost her entire CD’d life, beginning at about 3 weeks old. At first, I thought it was an ammonia rash. We put her in disposables and it cleared up. I washed my diapers in what I thought was hot water until I realized our “ecosmart” F&P washer doesn’t really wash on full hot water. So, they were never getting properly cleaned. I tried vinegar during the cold prewash and washing them on a cycle that uses full warm water and a warm water rinse. Still doesn’t help. :( I thought her rash might be clearing up, but after 6 days in CD again it was back in full force.

    We have a full stash of prefolds and covers, plus some HHs. The HHs are repelling. The prefolds must be full of yeast. My 2 options (in my mind) are: 1. buy a new washer that has a hot cycle or 2. use disposables. I just want to cry.

    Reply

  4. Janel Says:

    Great tips!
    I am currently battling yeast with my son who is only 2.5 weeks old. We’ve temporarily switched to disposables while we kill the yeast in his prefolds and diapers.
    I can tell you what I’ve learned about yeast. First of all, I’ve heard that regular vinegar is made from grains which can feed the yeast. Potatoes and bread and anything with yeast or starch should be left out of the diet while battling yeast. Also, if breastfeeding, it definitely helps to cut out sugar and starch from your diet for a while and start taking acidophilus or some form of probiotic which will in turn, help your baby. Also, taking ACV yourself daily can help keep the yeast at bay. Crushed garlic also helps a lot! You can make a herbal bath with crushed garlic and tea tree oil for baby.
    Oh, and any mamas with yeast issues…a great natural method is putting a few drops of tea tree oil on the end of a tampon and inserting at night over the course of 3 nights and it should clear up. Another method that I haven’t tried, but my midwives say it works…is to insert a clove of garlic :0
    Thanks for all the great info on this site!

    Reply

  5. Cassie Asla Says:

    I have been using the 7TH generation diapers, and am about to give up on cloth…my heart keeps telling me to stay with it but lily has battled yeast rash for the entire 4 months shes been here, and im so tired of it. I tried ACV and it worked so well, she is allergic to dairy and nuts, but still breaks out every once in a while. I carry a squirt bottle and use it with ACV and water instead of wipes but soon enough its back if i even miss one diaper without it, she gets em then they go away for a long time then come back even worse HELP!

    Reply

  6. Amber Says:

    I’m getting really worried my husband and I may have ruined our cloth diapers with diaper cream. They are all dingy looking and not absorbing well. My daughter has had a rash for a month or so that we just figured out was yeast. Do you have any recommendations for saving the diapers, getting rid of the yeast, AND treating her poor little bum??

    Reply

  7. babyletsshop Says:

    How do I know if it’s a yeast rash for sure? I am new to cloth diapering and my son has a bad rash on his thighs but not in the crease and not wear the elastic is but near the elastic on the top of his thighs (red, puffy). It sometimes affects his scrotum too. We have used fuzzi bunz since one month, he is 5 months now and has had the rash for a few weeks now). I do not know if it is diaper chaffing (the microfiber insert), yeast, ammonia or just bad fit (we are using small fb and he is on the first snap for waist and last snap for thighs). Please help!!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      If the diaper is too small it can cause problems. Although I like a tight fit, it can cause the moisture to wick or irritate the skin. You might buy one diaper a size up and see if that helps. You’d know if it was ammonia from the smell. Yeast could be a culprit. I believe (and could be wrong) that FB recommends occasional bleach use. You might try that and see if it clears up.

      Reply

  8. Becky Says:

    Thank you so much for the cream recommendations! I am really trying to avoid the bleach (again) since it majorly faded my diaps the 1st time I did it and it seemed to wear them down. Will GFSE/sun not be enough? I’m willing to bleach if it will cure the problem but just trying to find a more natural solution…thanks!

    Reply

  9. Becky Says:

    Hi, I am so relieved to have found this blog. My daughter has had what I think is a yeast rash for 2 months. I am at my wits end and just about to give up CD’ing altogether. We finally got HER cleared up by putting her in sposies for 3 weeks. I vinegar’d all my diaps but the day she was back in them, the rash came back. Should I bleach? Should I use GFSE? Is that going to be strong enough to kill it? Do I need to treat her again and if so, what do I do this time? Before, we used a strong probiotic does for 10 days to knock it out…I am still giving her probiotics but not as much. Thank you for your help!

    Reply

  10. Holly Nelson Says:

    Thank you ladies for all the great advice. I’ve been battling the dreaded yeast for about 2 weeks now, didn’t know what it was until we went to the doctor. Antibiotics caused his rash, yuck! I’ve been using the RX cream, with no results, let him air it out some during the day and it will start to improve, but then just goes back to red after a day or so. I have some Gentian Violet I might try that. I have to go back and remember all the things I did when I had a yeast infection when I breastfeed. I know I had to wash everything and not use the same anything over again. It’s all coming back to me now. I’m ready for this yuck to be gone. My DS has to have surgery in 3 weeks and I have to have this cleared up before he can have his hernia operated on. Wish me luck!

    Reply

  11. Sarah Koenig Says:

    when using bleach on diapers, how much do you use to avoid ruining colors on diaper covers? I use pocket diapers, so I have to kill yeast in my diaper covers as well as the inserts.

    Reply

  12. Melissa Says:

    When we started CDing my daughter got a yeast rash, I think it flared up because I used too much detergent and it wasn’t thoroughly washed out since we use pay per cycle machines without an extra rinse. Here’s what I did to solve it:
    -Washed my prefolds two times without detergent until there were no bubbles visible in the wash/rinse cycle, letting me know all the detergent residue was out (I use Allen’s)
    -After every diaper change, sprayed my babies bottom with a solution of 10-15 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract and 2 oz. distilled water and fanned it dry before putting a new diaper on.
    -I also started making recycled wool longies and use those at least at night and often during the day as well for more air circulation than the PUL covers I was using exclusively. I think this really helped too. See Autumn’s post on recycled wool or google “recycled wool longies”

    These three things in combination solved the problem and we’ve had no recurrence. Thanks for all the tips everybody! One thing that I like about prefolds is that they leave no red marks or irritation since there is no elastic, etc. I often use a fleece liner (just a cut rectangle of fleece) to wick wetness away from the bum.

    Reply

  13. Heather Says:

    Autumn,
    Thanks for a great website. I am also currently battling an antibiotic-associated yeast rash on my 5 1/2 mo old twins. We started out by treating with Nystatin (and using liners on CDs) but have switched to clotrimazole in the hopes of seeing better results (rash has cleared on DD but not on DS). My question: do we need to use a diaper liner when applying clotrimazole? I will have to try the ACV – use full strength I assume? We’ve also started probiotics…wish I’d known about doing that sooner!

    For cleaning diapers during a yeast rash episode, I wondered if GSE is safe for daily use on diaper covers and other waterproof items (diaper bags, etc.)? I read somewhere that using vinegar would remove their “waterproofing” and thought it might be caused by the acidity?? (Since it is much cheaper than GSE, I use white vinegar in my diaper stripping method – in my front loader and starting with “clean” diapers (washed in Allen’s Naturally), I use 2-3 oz Oxyclean and at least 1 cup white vinegar in a hot wash, sun dry, and re-wash in hot water and white vinegar only to remove detergent/Oxyclean residue. I hope this works…guess I will find out if the rash comes back on DD.)

    As a side note, I’ve read that TTO should be avoided in diaper wipe solutions/creams, etc. for little boys (mimics estrogen).

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      You’re right about the TTO and lavender as well. In moderation, in the washer for example, the issue doesn’t arise.

      Once you tackle the yeast I would definitely bleach the diapers. I would not want to take any chances of the yeast returning. I’ve never heard anything about GFSE causing issues due to consistent use…but that doesn’t mean that it won’t ;) Vinegar I’d only use every week or so to prevent elastic from degrading.

      I would use a liner anytime I used prescription creams.

      Reply

  14. Autumn Beck Says:

    Apple Cider Vinegar may burn. If it is horribly painful for your child, immediately rinse with water.

    Other tips I have come across:
    * Make a mixture of 10 drops of Citricidal Grapefruit Seed Extract to one ounce of water. The use of distilled water to make your solution is very important. The chemicals placed in your local tap water to kill bacteria can reduce the effectiveness of the active ingredients in GSE. Put the solution into a spray bottle or swab with a clean absorbent pad at every diaper change.
    * Slather the rash with plain yogurt containing live cultures.
    * Clotrimazole anti-fungal cream (available over-the-counter with the creams for vaginal yeast infections) can be added to a diaper rash cream or you can mix your own cream using zinc oxide and lansinoh.
    * A cup full of white vinegar can be added to baby’s warm bath to help soothe his sore bum.
    * Add a cup full of white vinegar to your rinse cycle when washing diapers.
    * Add 4-5 drops of Tea Tree oil to your wipe solution.
    * Wash diapers in hot water.
    * Dry diapers in the sun.
    * Add Grapefruit Seed Extract to your wipe solution or to baby’s bath.
    * Add 4-5 drops of Tea Tree oil to the initial rinse or wash cycle – many mothers find TTO has a strong smell and suggest adding it before the final rinse cycle so that most of the smell is washed away.
    * Do NOT use cornstarch powders on a yeast rash. The yeast “feeds” on the powder and will make it worse. This includes plain cornstarch and any baby powder brands that include cornstarch.
    * Hydrocortisone cream can help reduce the swelling and inflammation and can be applied under the other diaper creams.
    * Remember: Keep treating for 3-4 days after the rash is gone.

    Reply

  15. Sarah Flukinger Says:

    Yeast is the worst!! I didn’t know, but last year, my son was battling these horrible rashes. They were yeast!! First of all, you have to treat it for a week after the rash is all gone because yeast tends to live in the body and skin, so you have to really make sure you’ve killed it. I also added a 1/4 cup of bleach to my wash when I disinfected. I also disinfected EVERYTHING that could’ve had yeast contact – wipes, diapers, inserts, pail liners, wetbags, etc. I went a bit overboard. TEEHEE!! But once it was gone, it was GONE. Also, I started my son on Probiotics. I use the Kiefer from Lifeway (I buy it at our local Kroger.) They have one specifically for little kiddos and I mix it with his milk like a smoothie. He loves it and it really has helped keep him yeast free. I really up the probiotics if he’s had to take antibiotics. Works like a charm!!

    Reply

  16. Dr. Heather Prenger Says:

    Great blog and tips. I found your site when searching for diaper rash and grapefruit extrac – a remide a friend told me of. I look forward to trying that and the apple cider vinager in effort to eliminate Jack’s yeast diaper rash!

    Reply

  17. Elizabeth Says:

    Oh, I am so happy my sister told me about this site. My almost 5 month old son has had a yeast rash three times, now!! While using th Rx cream we switched to sposies. I have stripped my diapers and boiled them several times. But, shortly after returning to the cloth diapers, the rash would begin to reappear. This last time, I actually began to cry, and vowed to give up. I haven’t yet, but feel close to giving up. I cannot wait to get my hands on some GFSE. Thanks so much for the restored hope!

    Reply

  18. beachmama Says:

    My 5 month old got a yeast rash about a month ago…wish I knew about the ACV then! I went through 2 different rx creams with the disposable diapers b/c when I put the cloth (FuzziBunz) back on he got it back again. I never thought they would still be in the cloth diaper!
    I just bought some GFSE and am going to give it a try tonight in some boiling water.
    Thanks! I just stumbled upon your blog and it’s been a help.
    I also have eliminated dairy from my diet, but that was b/c of what I thought was colic. The screaming and the rash both started around the same time at 4 months old. Luckily he is doing fine now, I will still lay off the dairy for a while until I know that the cloth is clear of yeast.

    Best of luck with your new baby!! :)

    Reply

  19. Bayla Says:

    How much GFSE do you use? I’ve been battling rashes for months. I tried Biokleen’s Citrus Laundry detergent with GFSE but I guess it doesn’t have enough. How much do you use? At what point in the wash routine? Any other suggestions?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      We use Nutri-biotic brand GFSE and it has suggested uses with amounts to add in. It doesn’t give an amount for the washing machine but based on the other values I’d say atleast 75 drops. That would take a while to drop in but it may be too dilute if you use less.

      I add it to the beginning of the wash cycle.

      Other suggestions: remove sugars from diet, remove dairy, use a bit of bleach. Dietary changes are hard but if it’s a yeast rash that’s the culprit.

      Reply

  20. Katie Says:

    We’re battling a small yeast infection. Realized that even though I wash cloth diapers in super hot water the yeast just seems to come back and is worse each time.

    Am using disposables around the clock now until I find a way to sanitize diapers.

    Did find that clotrimazole (found in OTC feminine hygiene products) works wonders. My pediatrician recommended it, and it is also recommended by Dr.Sears.

    Heard that boiling diapers in vinegar helps to get rid of the yeast in diapers — hope it works!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      It may be easier to buy some Grapefruit Seed extract than to boil the diapers. I don’t how big a pot you have and how many diapers but that could take a while. The best way to clear up yeast infections is to cut out sugars :)

      Reply

  21. Laura S Says:

    Tonight I broke down and bought disposable diapers for night diapers and am letting my daughter run around naked most of the day because she (19 months) has been battling a yeast rash for over a month now and we have bought and tried almost everything (even tried breast milk tonight). I am so happy to have found this site, it never occured to me that the yeast was alive in her diapers, I will kill them tomorrow! I can’t tell you all how relieved I am that I haven’t run out of options yet. I wish you all luck!!!

    Reply

  22. Nancy P Says:

    Do you know how much grapefruit seed extract is needed for washing diapers with yeast? I’ve been battling this rash for months (baby is 18 months) and have just come to the realization that it is yeast. Also, what kind of detergent/soap do you use? I’m using Charlies and wonder if I should switch that too. Thanks!

    Reply

  23. Jackie Lee Says:

    Thanks Autumn – I enjoy your blog a lot!

    Reply

  24. Autumn Beck Says:

    Jackie, I would stick to diaper rash ointments that I know to be cloth diaper safe: Burt’s Bees, California Baby and many WAHMs that sell their items on Etsy and Hyena Cart. Many regular creams leave permanent stains on the diapers as well.

    Reply

  25. Jackie Lee Says:

    Autumn, will petroleum-based ointments (i.e. A&D) used as a barrier method of preventing diaper rash affect my cloth diapers? I seem to remember reading somewhere online that certain or all diaper rash creams will ruin cloth diapers. My MIL said she used Vaseline for her kids when she did CD and it didn’t seem to affect anything. Your thoughts?

    I use Indian and Chinese prefolds and an assortment of diaper covers.

    Reply

  26. Kait Says:

    Thanks Autumn! I’ll have a look for it.

    Reply

  27. Autumn Beck Says:

    Kait, adding GrapeFRUIT seed oil to your wash will kill the yeast in your diapers and clothes. I have heard some say they found it at Walmart.

    Reply

  28. Kait Says:

    I have a yeast question: We’re presently in disposables because I’m afraid the cream will ruin our diaper stash. However, she had the yeast infection before we switched over. Do I have to do anything to our diapers to make sure that they’re sanitized? Is it even necessary? I ended up stripping them the other day because they went from just being unpleasant smelling to stinking like ammonia. I used Dawn (because we use a little bit of lotion on her bum, and TTO in the wash), Calgon (because we have suuuuper hard water), and chlorine free Oxyclean (because I was worried that the stink was bacteria related). Then I washed them again on hot with nothing, and then washed them twice on cold to make sure that I got EVERYTHING out. I hung them outside for an hour, but the sun was starting to set, so they didn’t really get any sun. They weren’t really dry so I pretty much toasted them in the dryer. Now, do you think I killed the yeast? I did add 1 pan of almost boiling water (I put two in the machine, but it drained before it started, and I could have killed it! I wasn’t able to get a whole pot to a boil before I had to put it in, so the water temperature was a bit higher than normal), but I’m not sure if I need to do anything more. (sorry this is so long and that I have so many questions. I did post on DS, but no one responded)

    Reply

  29. Autumn Beck Says:

    AJ, the first time I applied it I was freaking out at the thought of Paisley in pain. Thankfully, it didn’t even phase her. But the next time I applied it she did cry. I think after that first time I “made the yeasties mad” and it woke them up. But that discomfort was worth it to me to have it gone.

    Reply

  30. AJ Says:

    did it sting? can you use it on other eczema patches? I will try it.

    Reply

  31. Diane Says:

    Autumn, your milk isn’t the only that’s sure to be high in sugar! I’ll have to try the ACV next time…sounds great! I’ve also done the gentian violet and it does totally work…as long as you don’t mine purple stains. It is; however, a really beautiful shade of purple!!

    Reply

  32. Autumn Beck Says:

    Did not try breastmilk because of the sugar content. Didn’t want to feed the yeasties ;) And I know for sure my breastmilk has tons of sugar *blush*

    Reply

  33. Mese Says:

    Glad you finally found it! ACV is also great to drink dilluted for all sorts of things – heart burn, sore throat, headache… Just curious… Did you try breast milk?

    Reply

  34. Alysha Says:

    I can relate! My son 18 months also has battled horrible yeast rash. It was literally eating the skin off of his bottom and genitals. I tried just about everything availible over the counter with no effect. I finally did my own research on specific organic ingredients and after a couple of months of educating myself I came up with something that works very well. I did not think about the apple cider vineagar, I did know you could use it for mama yeast. Didnt make the connection, good to know! I read something in one of your other blogs about Tide cauing irritation. I can attest to that also. Switched from Tide to organic, store ran out so I bought Tide one month, will never do that again! I battled eczema on both of my boys for 3 months. Almost gone now though. also has to make my own remedy as there was nothing out there that would work. SOOO frustrating!!

    Reply

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