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I love using natural products for all of my personal care, cleaning and household needs, but if you’re not ready to jump on the DIY deodorant and toothpaste bandwagon just yet, at least consider using all natural products on your kids!
Most kids are exposed to a scary number of chemicals on a daily basis, and even babies are born with chemicals in their umbilical blood. Most baby products and shampoos contain chemicals and many are not actually safe for baby. For example, many baby shampoos (including J&J) have some of the worst chemical ratings and baby oil is just liquid petroleum oil with some added (artificial) fragrances.
A baby or child’s perfectly soft skin absorbs almost anything put on it, so natural options are really important! There are a few companies who make natural baby care options, but the cheapest, easiest and most natural way is just to make your own. Actually, you can just use pure coconut oil for everything from cleaning to moisturizing to treating diaper rash, but if you’d prefer a little variation, check out these recipes!
These are the recipes I use on my own kids and give to friends when they have babies.
Natural Diaper Cream-Cloth Diaper Safe!
UPDATE: I’ve created an updated version of this diaper cream that is even more effective and you can find the recipe here.
We started cloth diapering with our third child and I will never go back! Not only is it much cheaper, but it is more natural and much easier than I expected after hearing horror stories from my mother-in-law about the old-school cloth diapers. Thanks to cloth diapers and better nutrition my babies very rarely get diaper rash, but for the occasional time when a baby poops during the night and doesn’t wake up until morning or gets a rash while in the car seat on a trip, it can be a little tougher with cloth diapers.
Commercial diaper cream should never be used with cloth diapers since the fish oil in it will leave a fishy smell no matter how much you wash the diapers. It will also void any warranty on the cloth diapers. After much research and some trial and error, I finally created a diaper cream that is cloth diaper safe and that works as well as the medicated versions.
It can be used directly with cloth diapers if you don’t mind stripping the diapers after using them, but I prefer just to line the diaper with a piece of an old t-shirt when I’m using diaper cream to avoid the extra laundry hassle.
Diaper Cream Ingredients
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon calendula flowers
- 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- Optional: 1 tsp arrowroot or zinc oxide powder or more to thicken if needed- these will add additional drying power for really bad rashes
How to Make Natural Diaper Cream
Heat a couple inches of water over medium high heat in a double boiler or small sauce pan. Melt the coconut oil in a glass bowl or double boiler top above the boiling water. Add the calendula and chamomile flowers and keep the heat going on low/medium for at least an hour or until coconut oil has started to turn yellow and smells of chamomile and calendula. Make sure to check the water level often and make sure it hasn’t gotten too hot or evaporated off.
Carefully strain the flowers out, reserving as much of the coconut oil as possible. A fine mesh metal strainer is best for this, or a cheesecloth will work, though you’ll lose more of the coconut oil. Make sure all visible pieces of the flower have been removed.
Using a small immersion blender or even a fork to mash, mix the infused coconut oil with the shea butter and arrowroot or zinc oxide if using until it forms a thick paste. I actually have a small food processor I use for this mixture (and not for food) and when mixed in a food processor it makes an airy, velvety cream.
Store in a small glass jar and apply as needed. Use a liner with cloth diapers. This is much more concentrated and effective than store-bought versions and a little goes a really long way! It can also be used for adult yeast infections or for healing of the perineum postpartum.
Why These Ingredients?
I chose each of these ingredients for a specific purpose. Coconut oil is very effective on its own for treating rash, as it is anti-fungal and very soothing to skin.
Calendula has antibacterial properties and speeds skin healing while Chamomile has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties and is especially helpful for diaper rashes.
Shea Butter, besides making the skin incredibly soft, has anti-fungal and yeast-killing properties when raw. It is high in Vitamins A and E and helps promote collagen production in the skin. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and has an SPF of 6. It also helps prevent and get rid of stretch marks.
Vitamin Rich Baby Oil
Regular baby oil is petroleum based and packed with artificial fragrances! You can always use plain coconut oil, but making an infused oil adds some vitamins and speeds skin healing. This is my favorite:
Baby Oil Ingredients
- 1 cup of organic olive or apricot kernel oil (softer scent and great for sensitive skin)
- 2 tablespoons calendula flowers
- 2 tablespoons chamomile flowers
Baby Oil Instructions
There are two ways to make this recipe.
Fast way: You can infuse over heat like in the recipe above: “Heat a couple inches of water over medium high heat in a double boiler or small sauce pan. Melt the oil in a glass bowl or double boiler top above the boiling water. Add the calendula and chamomile flowers and keep the heat going on low/medium for at least an hour or until oil has started to turn yellow and smells of chamomile and calendula. Make sure to check the water level often and make sure it hasn’t gotten too hot or evaporated off.” and then just strain the flowers out and use as regular baby oil.
Slower but more concentrated way: Put the calendula and chamomile in a glass jar and pour the oil over it. Put a tight-fitting lid on. Keep in a cool, dark place and shake daily for 6-8 weeks to make a gorgeous light-orange oil that is great for baby or adult skin. It is soothing on eczema or skin irritation and calming to baby.
Soothing Baby Powder
Some regular baby powder contain talc, which is closely related to asbestos and has been linked to various cancers. Please don’t put it on your baby’s tender tushie! There are natural alternatives that are incredibly easy to make and work better without the side of cancer.
Homemade Baby Wipes
We make our own baby wipes and I use the same natural formula for cloth wipes or to make disposable wipes. They are not only more natural and environmentally friendly… they are cheaper too! 🙂
Super Smooth Baby Lotion and Lotion Bars
I’ve used my basic homemade lotion recipe on all of our kids and it is gentle enough for baby skin. Here’s the basic recipe.
I also recently discovered that homemade lotion bars are an even better option and are very protective on baby’s skin but still allow it to breathe. You can add chamomile or calendula to the oils if you want, but the basic lotion bars work excellent, especially on babies with sensitive skin or eczema. They are even easier to make, last longer and are fun for kids to use too. They have a natural SPF of about 7.
You can also just use plain coconut oil… tired of me saying that yet?
Baby Shampoo or Wash
Babies don’t actually need soaps or shampoos for the most part. They have naturally protective oils in their skin that are better not washed off.
If you do need a lathery soap to feel like baby is clean, I’d suggest Dr. Bronner’s sensitive skin liquid castile soap for both soap and shampoo. On my daughter (11 months) I just use natural microfiber cloths to clean off the food, dirt, etc. without stripping all of her natural oils. I also use them to wash her hair. Then, I just use coconut oil or baby oil (above) when needed, which isn’t often.
Natural Teething/Pain Relief
I don’t use children’s Tylenol, children’s Motrin or any other children’s version of a pharmaceutical on my kids. The poor things must navigate the waters of teething without the help of medicine, but I do use natural means to help ease the pain when I can.
Chamomile tincture is by far my most used tincture with babies and kids. I use it mostly externally on babies to sooth colic or teething and internally for older kids who have trouble sleeping or who have a head or stomach ache. Here’s the tincture recipe. I dilute or let the alcohol evaporate when using on babies or children.
Note: if you’re looking for more natural solutions for surviving teething, check out this post!
Do you make your own baby products? Use natural ones? What is your best advice for keeping toxins away from baby? Share the wisdom below!
Discussion (313 Comments)
Hi there! I have a question about Dr. bronner’s. When yu use this, do you dilute it? If so, how? Do giu use it for gour entire family or just baby? I have a huge bottle, but havent used it yet as everyone says to dilute it, and i can find no instructions ANYWHERE on how or how much to dilute! Lol! Ok, so that was more than “A” question…but can yu help? 🙂 thanks!
You could actually use it straight on skin, but for kids, I use about a tablespoon in a baby bath tub full of water or about a teaspoon on a washcloth to clean their whole bodies…
Does dr bronners hurt eyes if it gets in there accidentally?
Dr. Bronners will not harm their eyes if it gets briefly splashed in, but might sting a little bit. Just make sure to wash their eyes out immediately so there won’t be any harm done.
You could also use Dr. Bronner’s in a ratio with 1 part Bronners, 3 parts water in a foaming soap dispenser. I made this the other day and it seems to work really well. 🙂
for diaper rash for both my girls..I used a few teaspoons of cornstarch, a few teaspoons of baking soda and a few teaspoons of powdered milk, in the bath water..sometimes twice a day..soothing for the little booties and it clears it up fast
So this diaper rash recipe is safe for cloth diapers but requires a liner?
If your diapers are out of warranty, you wouldn’t need a liner, but just to protect the warranty, it is easier to use one. I just cut up old shirts or use half of a napkin…
I’m buying my cloth diapers used. They’ve only been used a few months, but I assume they are out of warranty. However, if I don’t use a liner, will it compromise the diaper material? Is it the zinc that does that? I just want to make sure I don’t do anything to ruin these. They are not cheap!
With the coconut oil base, they should wash out without a problem. If you’re worried, just stick a piece of old material or part of a napkin or paper towel in there, which also makes it easier to dump the poop out without swishing it. The main concern with regular diaper cream is not just that it will clog the fiber, but that most contain fish oil, which leaves a fishy scent in the diapers that will almost never go away. If you ever experience any absorption problems, you can strip with dawn dish soap and then re-wash to get them absorbing again. So, long answer… this won’t clog diapers, but still better to use a liner if you can…
Debbi Scott Edmonds
Why had I never thought of using a paper towel to dump out the poop? I’m a grandma now, I have 5 children from 25 years old, down to my “baby” who is 13…but in all those years I never thought of doing that. I must be dumb or something. lol I remember my mom scrubbing that stuff out of the cloth diapers with her hands. YUCK!
This was my question as well. When I’m looking for a ‘cloth diaper safe’ diaper rash cream I’m looking for a diaper cream that won’t need a liner and/or won’t cause me to need to strip my diapers. If I wanted to mess with liners (before my LO is on solid foods) and/or stripping then I’d just use some natural premade diaper rash cream. I’m concerned that you suggest both of those as no-big-deal options when using this recipe…
Has anyone actually successfully used this for prolonged use without a liner (i.e., not had to strip diapers any more than typical diaper use would require)? Or does anyone have a recipe that is truly cloth diaper safe (i.e., won’t need a liner and doesn’t requier stripping) if this one can’t be used without these added precautions/measures?
I understand the warranty part, and I understand that it doesn’t ‘ruin’ diapers (it can be stripped out) but I’d like to avoid the extra work of liners and stripping. Maybe you’re just being cautious in recommending this so as not to have people complain? I’d just love to have a more definite answer or some words of experience! Thanks!
We’ve been using it for 6 months in my 6 mo. old’s cloth diapers with no liners and no problems. We use a whole variety of inserts, prefolds, and AIOs and I’ve never had to strip any of my diapers. We wash the diapers and all of our other laundry with Charlie’s Soap, and I add hydrogen peroxide to the fabric softener dispenser with the diapers. Hope this helps!
For those of you looking for a cloth diaper safe diaper cream, here it is:
1/4 c pure, unrefined coconut oil
1/2 c ivory (not gold) raw shea butter
1 tbsp beeswax shavings or pellets
2 tbsp vegetable glycerin
I got this recipe from Little House Living website and have been using it successfully for 11 months. We use prefold cloth diapers with Thirsties covers and Grovia diapers (I can’t remember which insert we have but it is not disposable). We wash with Country Save laundry detergent, one hot cycle with just the prefoldsm Grovia inserts and wipes and one warm cycle with the prefolds, wipes, diaper covers, and wet bag. We use this cream every night after bath and as needed if redness appears. I have never used any type of “insert” like a paper towel or old tshirt because this seemed to add one more step to the cloth diaper process and I didn’t like the idea of throwing something away each time I changed my child. With this recipe, I have never had to strip my diapers, never had a problem with stinky diapers, and never had problems with repelling. If you use something that causes your baby’s skin to repel liquid, it will likely have the same effect on your diapers so use those types of products, like zinc oxide, with care. Also, this cream will work wonders on any redness that appears in deep neck, leg, or any other creases a chubby baby might have!
My 2 year old is potty trained but he still wears a diaper at night. To save money we just started using the bum genius cloth diapers, but when he wakes up in the morning he says that his penis is hurting and the ammonia smell coming from the cloth diaper is extremely strong. I’m talking burn my eyes when I got close to check out what the smell was. Is that normal? What/How do you wash cloth diapers?
We have cloth diapered from day one and I work at a baby store so I’ve seen just about everything with cloth.
When using a diaper like BumGenius with a microfiber insert it can be really easy to get detergent build up in the diaper. Depending on what you use for detergent (make sure it does not have any added fabric softeners or optical brighteners which make them less absorbent) you will probably want to use less than the recommended amount. Also make sure you are doing an extra rinse after your wash cycle to get all the residue out. These diapers can take a beating so you can wash them on hot. I would also recommend using your longest cycle in the wash. When they come out of the washer they should smell either clean like your soap or have no smell.
For the complaints of discomfort you might want to add a fleece liner to help wick the moisture from the skin. Or we’ve had success with putting on diaper cream even when there was no rash. The oils help keep the skin from getting too wet.
Best of luck!
I have used Bum Genius on my baby since he was 7 weeks old and LOVE this brand they have never let a poo escape and are so easy to wash as you can remove the absorber pad.
I would highly recommend it to all my friends!!
If you dry them in the sun it will help bleach any extra stains and you can also put a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the wash and that will help sterilise them as well…
it sounds like detergent build up…I don’t like microfiber because the build up so easily. One of the few main stream detergents you can use is powdered tide original, use only a TBLS of it per wash with a second rinse. You may have to wash it a few times to get them clean.
…… If he’s potty trained the easiest and best (in my opinion) thing to do is take away diapers at bed times. This means limit water right before bed, potty break right before bed, potty break upon waking which might mean you have to wake him up, and possibly waking in the middle of the night to sit him on the toilet in the very beginning, and of course the possibility of washing his sheets a little more often. There are excellent mattress covers (I bought mine from a company that makes them specifically for the elderly they are not just crinkly plastic one side is kind of like rubber and the top side is like soft fabric and it does not sleep hot!) My oldest could sleep with out a diaper before she was potty trained and I was worried with my younger two but just like how they stop pooping during sleep they will stop peeing while sleeping it’s natural and a lot easier than the daytime potty training! Good luck!
Good Stuff, thanks for sharing.
how do you use the chamomile tincture externally for teething babies? also, at what age can you use it internally to help kids sleep? thanks!
Speaking of all natural teething remedies – my local cloth diaper store has started carrying the Amber teething necklaces. What are your thoughts on those? I’m a little iffy – #1 because of choking hazards (I wouldn’t put any other necklace on my baby – why this one?) and #2 because I guess I would be concerned that I’m being sold a hoax with faux-amber or something and not realize it. Am I being overcautionary? Could they actually be beneficial or is it just a fad?
A properly sized amber necklace is not a choking hazard. Get one where each bead is tied off individually. It’s not a magic cure, but it definitely helps with teething pain and oddly enough with the constant drooling! Avoid amazon and ebay sellers because they are often not genuine.
My daughter wears her amber teething necklace all the time, since about 6 months and she is now 1. I think it has really been helpful. If it was a hoax most people prob wouldn’t be buying them as much as they are. I believe in the power of stones, etc… esp a resin that will release into the skin when warmed. Frankincense is a resin that has amazing healing properties that has been used for thousands of years. My daughter had very little drooling and only one day so far that you could tell she was in pain from her teeth, and no fevers… she still have a number of teeth to get, so I will have to see how the rest go (will try to keep you posted). I also of course limit toxins in our home and our bodies, as much as I can and eat really well, so who knows what all effects teething…. but I am most grateful for a natural alternative to Tylenol. (Lavender Essential Oil is also great for pain and reducing fevers).
Oh and I would guess that your local store wouldn’t want to sell you anything that they didn’t trust was the best source that they could fine. If you trust your store and the people that are just offering great options. Plus, you can put the necklace on your little ones ankle with a sock over it if you are worried about choking.
I made your original natural diaper cream recipe and at first the mixture stayed together, but over time it separated. This seemed to be temperature related. I fixed the issue by stirring to combine and keeping the jar in the fridge, but ideally I’d keep it on my changing station.
I was hoping you would have some suggestions on how to prevent this separation. The coconut oil and Shea butter I used do not turn liquid in my house, so I’m not sure why the combination of ingredients would. Maybe I prepared the mixture in correctly? Perhaps I added the coconut oil to the Shea when it was too hot???
Any help would be very appreciated!
Because shea and coconut oil have different melting temps when the mixture gets warm they could start to separate. That’s my best guess. You could try adding some beeswax so it’s a little firmer and doesn’t melt as easily. The updated version also has beeswax in it.
I have used amber teething bracelets (almost 6 years ago) that a friend made and they seemed to provide some relief but I bought one for my youngest daughter (now 18 months) and it didn’t work at all I think it was fake though I bought it on ebay, so be careful where you buy them make sure you trust the person or store you are buying from.
I used an amber necklace for both my babies….took it off for naps and bed time, but they wore them all while they were awake…drooling was significantly less, and they rarely fussed over teething in general…maybe I just got lucky, I don’t know, but I will be using it again for our (hopefully) next, too!
Thank you for posting this! I have kind of a silly question.
My 18 month old goes to daycare 5 days per week. I am a complete germaphobe and bath her and wash her hair all five days she goes. I hate bathing her so much, but I can’t let her go to sleep in all those daycare germs. Do your methods, e.g. the coconut oil ( I really like that one!), work for disinfecting all of those germs? I feel really conflicted with all of these anti-bacterial hand soaps and “kid safe” hand sanitizers, etc. on the market. I am trying to figure out if I am really helping her out by cleaning her body with store bought soap or if she’d be just as susceptible to picking up all of these germs without them. It’s really hard to make these decisions while she is in daycare, but I know it’s because I am just not well educated on the topic.
Lavender has natural antiseptic properties; I think some lavender EO added to the baby oil recipe above would give you that extra protective boost. Also, you can usually send your own handsoap with your child to daycare, since they’d be using the least expensive (e.g., most commercialized and processed) product available. With the amount of handwashing they do during the day, she’d be well protected.
Antibacterial soaps do more harm than good because they kill the good bacteria along with the bad bacteria. Babies can be too clean and this is contributing to a rise in allergies. Also some store bought soaps have sodium laureth sulfate which is a skin irritant and some have tallowate which is animal fat.
Hi! I use Young Livings hand sanitizer. It is very nice and gentle. I do not like regular hand sanitizers, and don’t like to wash our hands with anything but homemade soaps.
Great list! I massage mine with a calendula infused oil before a bath then use a bamboo fibre cloth to wash with. If I’ve put on too much oil I’ll use a couple of drops of weleda calendula baby body wash and shampoo in the bath.
Would the diaper rash cream work on athletes foot? I’ve been using apple cider vinegar though it works it smells horrible and Burns for some time after application.
It probably would since there are several antifungal ingredients. Please let us know if you try it!
I am looking into making my own diaper cream above but I am not sure about coconut oil as I read in some places that it actually might causes a rash on baby’s skin. What is your experience with this?
I use it in my own recipe: https://wellnessmama.com/17140/diaper-rash-cream/
what is the shelf life of diaper cream?
I used ur diaper cream recipe but couldn’t get it to harden. Did I u do something wrong? Can I still fix it by adding something ?
Soak them in pure hydrogen peroxide one or twice a day…but beware that it has a detox effect
You want to dilude ACV as straight ACV will cause what you’re describing. Mix with 3 parts water and you should be fine.
My 6 month old baby girl had a head to toe allergic reaction to Dr. Bronner’s, but coconut oil is good for her. What is a short 2-3 ingredient I can make her homemade soap????
You can use 80% avocado oil and 20% coconut oil with a superfat of 7-8%. It smells a little strange, but if you add lavender essential oil the smell goes away. It’s what I use for my 3 year old, 1 year old, and newborn. Takes about 6 weeks to harden. Although we started using it after four.
What do you mean when you say a super fat? Thanks
Oh! And the smell doesn’t linger after you wash with it. Only if you put the bar to your nose and smell it. Lol.
Aloe Vera + any sort of oil (coconut, almond, olive) just shake to mix before use. Any essential oils you like to add would be great to.
My brother who is over 40 has had Athlete’s foot pretty much his whole life and has tried everything to control it and nothing works. I finally convinced him to wear wool socks (yes, all year around) and poof it was gone. It might work for you.