yeast and cloth diapers

When looking at our customer emails, one topic we see come up often is Y-E-A-S-T. Unless it is being used to make cinnamon rolls in your house you don’t want to have the word come up, yeast is a fungal infestation in the skin of your baby, which is encouraged by dark and damp environments ( ie: diaper area), and should be diagnosed by your pediatrician.

When you have the yeast diagnosis, here is what we recommend (next week we will go over tricks and tips to prevent it from coming back)

1) your doctor will likely prescribe nyastatin cream or gentian violet orally
2) when using one of the above products, we advise moving into disposables until the skin is completely cleared for 48 hours.
3) during this time, you need to disinfect your diapers. This needs to include diapers, wipes, inserts and other accessories. To do so, wash and dry as usual, then wash with just hot water and 1/2 cup of clorox (we used to advise 1/3 cup, over the past year we see more success with the 1/2 cup mark). Chlorine bleach is what can and will disinfect the diapers, color safe bleach uses hydrogen peroxide, which has not shown to be as effective.
4) if you have PUL pockets, AIOs and covers, the bleach will not fade them, as PUL is dye fast. If you have cotton print products, and do not want them to fade, you can sort these out and disinfect with a color safe bleach. HOWEVER, if the yeast comes back I highly recommend using chlorine bleach to disinfect them, you don’t want to fungus to keep regrouping and coming back, for the health of your baby (it can be miserable when it is a strong strain).
5) once baby has been clear for at least 48 hours, they can go back into disinfected cloth, make sure over the next 1-2 weeks you change frequently to promote air flow to their little bottoms to keep yeast away.

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January 5, 2012. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Diaper Rash, Q & A.

10 Comments

  1. Emily Moore replied:

    I recently had a yeast problem (and have had once before too) after my little one was on antibiotics. I used white vinegar in my rise cycle to disinfect my wash cycle. I continued to use cloth the whole time since at each wash they were being disinfected. I continued the vinegar for about a week after it cleared up and it didn’t come back. I use about 10 tablespoons into the fabric softener dispenser. I had both PUL pockets + microfiber insert and cotton prefolds in the rotation.

    • abbydale replied:

      Hi Emily! There are many homeopathic remedies that may or may not work on yeast, vinegar (which will wear on PUL similarly to bleach), tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, sun exposure, all of these have been used by customers in the past. However, the rates of success are not nearly as high for getting rid of the yeast the first go around as chlorine bleach, which is a proven disinfectant for fungus. If you catch the yeast early and it is a mild fungus then you have a better chance at using these methods :) For our purposes on educating our customers, we have seen too many cases where these methods do not work, and when the fungus comes back again it is much more stubborn to get rid of~

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  3. dannyscotland replied:

    I was always under the impression that the problem with using bleach on PUL was not the fading but rather that it breaks down the fibers in the PUL and can cause the diapers to wear faster or even come apart. Is that not the case then?

    When my daughter had issues a long time ago, I boiled everything I could, super-mega-hot washed everything else, used bleach on what I felt was safe to use it on, and just washed the other stuff a lot and sun dried it. We eventually did get it all cleared up.

    • abbydale replied:

      Hi DannyScotland, similar to my reply above, there are other methods that can work, but with a much lower rate of success than chlorine bleach. Once in a blue moon bleach does not hurt your diapers, when used regularly (as with any fabric), it will cause wear and tear. Between dealing with a stubborn yeast strain and a random bleaching though, we have to say the bleach is the safer road to take when you have a fungal infection, unfortunately if yeast comes back with a very strong strain you can expose your baby to some serious skin issues~

  4. Piper's Run replied:

    My little one just had a yeast infection, so we use disposables with a yeast cream until it went away. I washed the diapers with little vinegar, a fair amount of baking soda, tea tree oil and hot water, did a second rinse and then in the dryer. There is no smell to them and we’re back in cloth diapers.
    I’ve also found another way online is to use Dawn soap – rinse the diapers, liners etc in Dawn soap to get everything out, lots of soaking, rinse but some with some washers you can loose the warrenty if you use Dawn soap.

    Also, I would be rather nervous to use Clorox/Bleach on cloth diapers – isn’t that one reason why people use cloth to get away from chemicals etc. ?

    Thanks for your post. It’s always helpful to get tips.

    • abbyslane replied:

      Hi Piper! LIke we said above homeopathic remedies can work, but they are also very hit/miss, and when a fungal infection isn’t completely wiped out, if it comes back it can be awful on the skin :(
      Dawn isn’t a disinfectant, so I would still advise using clorox bleach. It is a chemical, but for the health of your baby’s skin it is something that is necessary to ensure the yeast won’t come back (unfortunately we have seen babies with genital scars from untreated yeast or yeast that came back much stronger the second time around!)

  5. Tracy replied:

    Hello!
    Thank you for the helpful post, quick question for a HE newb & infrequent launderer – does the 1/2 cup bleach get put in the part that says bleach or the detergent part? Also apart from using the Sanitize cycle which to my understanding will give the hottest water possible, how do I adjust the settings to get “enough” water level? I have about 2 dozen PF and close to 2 dozen pockets to disinfect, can i do it all at once? Lastly, how many rinses would you recommend & on what settings (for each rinse do we dry as well?)

    I hope to hear from you soon! Babys been out of cloth for 3mths after a mild but persistent yeast rash & Im eager to get him back in cloth!

    Thanks!
    Tracy

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