Dealing with Yeast in Cloth Diapers

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by Jennifer Brock

Dealing with a yeast rash can be extremely frustrating. It’s a pestering rash that usually just won’t go away with normal creams.  If you come across any rash that doesn’t seem to get better within 24-48 hours of constant creams and frequent changes, you should call your pediatrician or make an appointment to go in and get it cultured.

A few different things cause yeast rashes: Prolonged rashes which leave yeast places to hide, antibiotics and anything that weakens the immune system, or you could just have a child who is prone to yeast imbalance.

After a culture is done and it’s confirmed to be a yeast rash you have two choices: To stay in cloth, or not to stay in cloth. That is the question.

Both are 100% okay.

Either way you choose you need to at least do one good bleach soak first and foremost. Bleach will kill off all of the yeast microorganisms hiding in their diapers. You do NOT need to use anything else to disinfect your diapers. While bleach may not completely kill yeast spores,THAT’S OKAY. It kills off the yeast that needs to be gone. Yeast is naturally occurring in everyone’s body, it doesn’t need to be completely gone, it just needs to be controlled.

Adding GSE/TTO is completely pointless, as it would take several bottles of them to have any effect in laundering purposes, and will cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per yeast treatment period. Bleach will take care of everything, effectively, safely, and cheaply.

Why We Do Not Recommend GSE, TTO, Or Alternative Methods for Sanitizing

For bleaching, please see our bleach document for correct dilution and water temperatures:  

How to Bleach Your Cloth Diapers

If you decide to stay in cloth:

1.    Make sure you use liners for any prescription creams you may use.

2.    You will need to ADD bleach to every wash while the rash is present and 14 days AFTER symptoms have gone, to prevent any further overgrowth.

If you are doing a bleach *WASH* you use the same amounts given in the bleach doc for the corresponding load size and wash in HOT water so that the bleach is broken down by the end of the wash cycle.  If you’d like to do a bleach wash in an hE Front-loader, do so in a dispenser you have tested and trust and use the amounts given for an hE TL.

Bleach Wash Amounts:

HE (TL and FL): 1/2 cup (this is for a drum 2/3-3/4 full, which provides the best agitation)

Non-HE: Small load – 1/4 cup, Medium load – 1/2 cup, Large load – 3/4 cup

***If you can’t use bleach because of iron hard water, you CAN use peroxide and borax (4 cups of peroxide and 1 cup of borax) or brown bottle Lysol (the whole bottle) to sanitize in the wash. However, both alternate methods are SO expensive that it is probably more cost effective to use disposables in this case.

If you decided to use disposables you either need to keep them in disposables for the length of the symptoms being present AND for the 14 day period after the rash clears to avoid having to add bleach in your wash. This reduces the risk of reinfection.

Here are some additional links to read about yeast and bleach: