I first became interested in cloth diapering when my older son was around 4 months old. I did a cloth diaper trial and picked out diapers that I liked (mostly pockets, but I also ordered prefolds since they are a great, cheap alternative!) along with ordering cloth diaper safe diaper cream and wet bags. Everything was going great for about a month or two, until diapers started repelling and smelling. I tried a hot wash strip, but it didn't work. Sadly, I decided to take a break from cloth diapering and switched back to disposables for a while.
I went back to cloth diapering about 2 months later. I was still having repelling issues with the pocket diapers that I was using, but not the prefolds. I decided to switch exclusively to prefolds and flats, along with natural fiber fitteds overnight. However, when I started this, my son started breaking out in HORRIBLE red, irritated and bloody rashes and no matter what I did the rashes continued to stay angry looking. I couldn't figure out why as the diapers were absorbing just fine and not repelling. I again, decided to take a break from cloth diapering for a while as I was starting to get frustrated.
I was almost ready to quit cloth diapering forever at this point, however after only 2 months of having to buy disposables, I realized that I just didn't want to do that. Disposable diapers are just too expensive and I was determined to figure out why I was having such a problem with cloth diapers. Was my water too hard? Was I not washing enough? Was it something else that I was doing? I started talking to friends of mine that cloth diaper as well as talk to the wonderful ladies at Kelly's Closet and telling them about the problems that I was having here are a few things that I learned after talking with everyone.
1) The "cloth diaper safe" rash cream that I was using, was Grandma El's. A friend pointed out that there has been research that shows that Grandma El's actually will cause repelling with pockets as it is a petrolatum base and that can tend to build up on the synthetic fibers as it doesn't always wash off well. After learning this, I looked on Kelly's Closet and lo and behold even they say on their Grandma El's page that using a liner is recommended... d'oh! This explains the repelling that I was having with the diapers and why they had such a strange feeling to them even after being washed. A good, thorough stripping with Dawn fixed this problem right away. I have since switched to coconut oil as my diaper rash treatment of choice and it has been working great! The best thing about it is that it has such a low melting point that it melts completely off of the diapers on a hot wash, so repelling is no longer an issue!
2) My son has VERY sensitive skin and needs stay dry diapers. Apparently since natural fiber diapers like cotton and bamboo are not stay dry, the moisture from my son's urine (which I also learned happens to be very acidic) was causing his skin to burn and cause a nasty rash. I have since switched back to pocket diapers with a stay dry layer (either microfleece, microsuede, or microchamois) and this nasty looking rash has since been eradicated completely!
3) Dawn is a LIFESAVER when it comes to repelling diapers due to build up! I used a couple of squirts of Dawn per diaper and then scrubbed them vigorously with a toothbrush. I then rinsed, rinsed, rinsed until all the bubbles were gone and all of my repelling pockets were like new! Dawn even got rid of the stains! That blue liquid simply is amazing!
4) Even with a water softener my water is still pretty hard, so I started adding Calgon Water Softener to my wash routine and the diapers are getting much cleaner!
My son has now been exclusively cloth diapered for over a month now with absolutely no problems. He even had a rash from teething (he's getting all 4 molars in at once!) and the coconut oil took care of that and the diapers are having no repelling issues what so ever. I now have a nice healthy stash of Happy Heinys and they have been working wonderfully. We are expecting our second baby, another little boy, on March 20th and plan on cloth diapering him from the start!
So, if you are having problems with repelling diapers, or rashes. Don't give up! There is almost always an answer for everything! I also highly recommend that you contact Kelly's Closet with any questions that you may have. The ladies that work there are VERY knowledgeable and also respond promptly to any questions you have.
Christina D is a 26 year old stay at home mom to a wonderful little boy named Alexander and is due with their second son on March 20, 2012.