How to Get Diaper Cream Out of Cloth Diapers

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, meaning I may earn a sales commission at no extra cost to you. Please see my full affiliate disclosure here.

Have you or a well-meaning caregiver used a diaper cream on your cloth diapers and now you can’t get it out? First of all, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world and your cloth diapers aren’t ruined. I promise. I will tell you how to get diaper cream out of cloth diapers

Occasionally your baby will get a nasty rash and when this happens, you will need to use a powerful rash cream to get rid of the rash fast. My brand of choice is Maximum Strength Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, but it can leave both residue and stains on cloth diapers as it contains zinc oxide, which leaves stains, and petrolatum (AKA petroleum) which leaves a residue.

Despite our best efforts with using fleece liners, sometimes a little cream will still get on the diaper. This method will also remove diaper cream build-up from your reusable diaper liners. 

Related: How to Identify Different Types of Diaper Rash


Back in 2010-2013 when I was cloth diapering my son, there were a lot of things you weren’t supposed to do when it came to cloth diapering. The recommendations from manufacturers and stores were all pretty much the same: use special detergents, HE machines wouldn’t get your diapers clean, don’t use fabric softeners, and only use diaper creams safe for cloth diapers. 

Now we know better. We know that you can use commercial detergents and that creams once thought harmful to cloth diapers are fine as long as you use the right creams with the right diapers. The best diaper cream for cloth diapers depends on why you need to use diaper cream and which fabric your cloth diapers are made of. 

Petroleum-free cloth diaper creams

What is a “cloth diaper safe rash cream” and why should I use it with my cloth diapers? If your baby doesn’t have a bad rash and you want to avoid worrying whether diaper cream will wash out of your diapers or not, you can use what is often called cloth diaper safe rash cream. These creams are free of petroleum and wash out of diapers easily.

(Some) Petroleum-free diaper creams: 

Diaper creams with zinc oxide 

What is a zinc diaper cream and can I use it with my cloth diapers? Zinc oxide is an ingredient that soothes sore, painful diaper rash. When your baby is in pain, this is an ingredient you will want to look for. There was a time when we were told that zinc was bad for cloth diapers, but now we know that it’s not the case. If your baby has a sore, painful rash then you want to use a cream with zinc to clear it up and ease the pain as fast as possible. 

(Some) Non-petroleum diaper creams with zinc: 

Petroleum-based diaper creams and cloth diapers

What is a petroleum-based diaper cream and can I use it with my cloth diapers? You will know if your rash cream is petroleum-based if it says Petrolatum or White Petrolatum on the ingredient list. Petroleum isn’t an active ingredient for treating a rash; it helps the rash cream spread easily and aids in creating a barrier against wetness.

Diaper creams that are petroleum-based will wash out of natural fibers like bamboo and hemp, but do not use these creams on synthetic materials like suedecloth and fleece without a liner. If you have the option, use natural fibers and save yourself some extra steps with your cloth diaper laundry. If your entire cloth diaper stash is made up of synthetic diaper fabrics and you don’t have a choice, be sure to use a reusable or biodegradable liner as a barrier between the diaper cream and the diaper. Do not flush biodegradable liners down the toilet. 

(Some) Petroleum-based diaper creams:


…and reusable diaper liners. The first thing to try is to simply wash your diapers with your usual detergent. That alone will sometimes remove the diaper cream, depending on the amount left behind. If you still have some cream left on your cloth diapers and you have repelling issues from petroleum or yellowish-grey stains from zinc, follow the below instructions. 

  1. Squirt a small amount Original blue Dawn on the area and rub it in. 
  2. When you get it rubbed in you can also scrub it with a toothbrush or other soft brush to really get it into the fibers.
  3. Let it sit for at least a few hours.
  4. Wash as normal 
  5. Just a small amount of Dawn can create a lot of bubbles so make sure that the bubbles run clear on your final rinse cycle. You may need to rinse more than once. 

That’s it. Yellow staining from zinc isn’t a big deal, it just doesn’t look pretty and will eventually fade. If you have petroleum residue left on your cloth diaper then you may need to repeat these steps because this could cause moisture to repel, and you don’t want that. But no, your cloth diapers aren’t ruined if you get a little diaper cream on them. 

You may also like:

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Keep it Simple
How to Identify Different Types of Diaper Rash
Make Your Own DIY Fleece Liners
All You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers


Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.