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What Diaper Products Can You Use With Cloth Diapers?

If you’re a parent to a diaper-aged child, you always want to make sure that your little tyke feels as comfortable and fresh as possible – and that means no diaper rash, irritation, or product build-up.

And what that looks like can be a little different if you use cloth diapers. Here’s what you need to know.

The Skinny on Cloth Diapers

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New parents have two options when it comes to diapers: disposable diapers and reusable diapers. And in the reusable category, the main contender is cloth diapers. There are many types of cloth diapers on the market and many material options. When it comes to types, there are:

  • Prefolds or flats and their covers: These diapers generally consist of an absorbent inner layer (that can be removed) and a waterproof cover.
  • Fitteds, which are absorbent material shaped into a diaper, complete with closures.
  • Pockets, which consist of a diaper – with a moisture-wicking layer and a waterproof outer layers – and an absorbent insert
  • All-in-ones, which include the waterproof layer, the absorbent layer, and the wicking layer in a single piece.

There are also many materials that you can choose for the inner layers and the outer layers. For the inner layer, you can choose moisture-wicking materials like microfleece or absorbent materials like cotton bamboo. For the outer layer, your main options include polyurethane laminate (PUL), a cotton and plastic material, fleece, and wool.

Overall, cloth diapers can be a great option for parents looking to save money and reduce their environmental impact.

That said, they also require specific baby products and care.

What Products You Can’t Use With Cloth Diapers

Not all baby products and diaper creams/sprays are great to use on cloth diapers. Specifically, the common recommendations have been that you steer clear of petroleum or products with zinc oxide. Now, there has been some controversy about this topic – particularly surrounding zinc – with many claiming that the concerns are unfounded.

But, here’s the general concern (and the reality behind it). The old wive’s tale was that zinc builds up on cloth nappies and ruins them. But it’s not the zinc itself that seems to be the problem. Instead, it’s the oil in these formulas that becomes trapped in the fabric and negatively impacts absorbency. Over time, then, your diapers will actually start repelling moisture, and you’ll deal with leaking or stains.

The same goes for petroleum jelly or Vaseline. While Vaseline can be a great barrier against diaper rash, it can also be incredibly difficult to wash out of cloth diapers, and it can lead to the same absorbency concerns.

TL;DR: Oil in many barrier creams or jellies can build up on fabric diapers and ruin them over time. So a high-quality diaper balm might not be the best option for every day if you’re a cloth diaper mama.

What Products You Can Use

Instead, you should stick to a light Bum Soothing Spray that treats:

  • Dryness
  • Chapping
  • Redness
  • Irritation

Without any product build-up or damage to your cloth diapers.