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  • Writer's pictureValinda

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - Natural Diaper Lotion that is Cloth Diaper Safe

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

A diaper rash cream is great to treat a rash on your baby's bum but do you know all the ingredients present in store-bought creams and how they contribute to your baby's skin? Even I often don’t all (and by now I know a lot of these ingredients) therefore I want to make something that works, is gentle for my baby's skin and with ingredients, I know. So this diaper rash cream only has a few ingredients but they work well against a rash and are completely natural.

What causes a diapers rash?

Let’s start with what causes a rash because when we know what can cause a rash we know how to prevent it as prevention is better than treating it.

  • Irritation from urine and stool. Long exposure to urine or stool can irritate the skin. Not only your babies but everyone’s as it contains acids and other substances that can irritate.

  • Chafing or rubbing. A poorly fitting diaper may rub against the skin can lead to a rash.

  • New product irritation. Your baby's skin may react to a different brand of baby wipes or disposable diapers. Or maybe you switched the detergent that you use to wash your cloth diapers. They can be said for baby lotions, powders and oils.

  • New foods. When a baby switches to solid food, their stool changes and therefore the likelihood of a diaper rash. Changes in your baby's food intake can also increase the frequency of poopy diapers, which can lead to diaper rash. If your baby is still breastfed, it may develop a diaper rash in response to something the mom has eaten.

  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria — Any bacteria, both the good and the bad ones. When a baby takes antibiotics, their immune system may be affected which could result in a rash. Antibiotic use may also increase the risk of diarrhea which can cause a rash. Breastfed babies whose moms take antibiotics also have an increased risk of diaper rash.

How to avoid diaper rash?

Avoiding a diaper rash is better than treating one so here are also a few tips on how to avoid a diaper rash.

  • Change diapers often. Remove wet or dirty diapers as soon as possible to avoid your baby's skin to remain wet for too long.

  • Clean your baby's bum with water only. Reusable wipes or a washcloth are great for this purpose. Don’t use wipes with alcohol or fragrance. If you wish to use soap, select a mild, fragrance-free type.

  • After cleaning, make sure your baby's bum is dry. Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel or let it air dry.

  • No diaper time. Whenever possible, have your baby crawl/walk around without a diaper. Exposing skin to air is a natural and gentle way to let it dry.

  • After changing diapers, wash your hands. Hand-washing can prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to other parts of your baby's body, to you, or other children.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - Natural Diaper Lotion that is Cloth Diaper Safe

Ingredients not to use

Bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is often used in DIY diaper rash creams you can find on the web. However, it is not in this one because according to the FDA they have found elevated levels of lead in this type of clay. Lead is extremely toxic and exposure to lead can cause damage to the central nervous system, the kidneys, and even the immune system. In small children, chronic exposure to lead (like regularly applying a cream), even at low levels, is associated with impaired cognitive function, including reduced IQ, behavioral difficulties, and other problems.

All the more reason to not use bentonite clay near your baby.

Essential oils

I have not used essential oils in this recipe as I don’t like to use essential oils for 2 reasons.

The first one is that the production of essential oils is extremely wasteful. For example, 242,000 rose petals are needed to produce approximately 5 mL of rose essential oil.

While more sustainable alternatives have been discovered for the production of citrus essential oil where they use fruit waste for the essential oil production. Most essential oil production is extremely wasteful.

The second reason I am not a fan is the fact that the plant matter has different active compounds depending on the season, the climate and even farming practices. And there is also the degradation process depending on the age of the essential oil. This all could result in different properties of the essential oil with each new batch your purchase. Therefore it is even possible to have a skin reaction to one batch while the previous batch was fine. To avoid all these inconsistencies, I avoid using essential oils, especially on the delicate skin of my baby.

mother and baby


This recipe does not contain beeswax even though it is often found in other online recipes. There are several reasons why I don’t use beeswax in my homemade recipes.


I am allergic to beeswax. This is the most obvious reason for me to not use beeswax and I know there are lots of people out there who are allergic to beeswax. Each time I hear someone mention that the lip balm they purchased is giving them extremely cracked and dry (and painful) lips, I know they are also allergic to beeswax. As beeswax is not an official allergen, they might not even consider they are allergic so they continue their lives without knowing. My baby may or may not be allergic as well but I rather am safe than sorry.


Another reason for me to not use beeswax is that it is an animal-derived ingredient. This means that beeswax is not vegan.

Not an emulsifier

Beeswax is often used as a natural emulsifier. However, beeswax is not an emulsifier. When you use beeswax instead of a real emulsifier the oil and water will somewhat mix but the resulting emulsion is not stable. This means that after a certain time, this could be days to weeks, the lotion you have made will split. You will see this in your cream as it will start with small bubble-like droplets (these are either droplets of oil or water) that appear in your cream and after a while, the oil and water of your cream will completely split and you end up with a layer of oil ingredients and a layer of watery ingredients.

Cloth Diaper Safe

This DIY diaper rash cream uses a natural emulsifier that mixes oils and water. This makes it very easy to remove from skin and also clothing when washed. Creams that only contain oils often are much more difficult to remove especially from fabrics like cloth diapers. Oils are even known to build up in fabrics which could affect the absorbency of diapers. So when you have a cream with both water and oil (and an emulsifier to create a stable emulation) you are sure you have a cream that is safe for diapers.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - Natural Diaper Lotion that is Cloth Diaper Safe

Diaper Rash Cream Recipe

Ingredients used

Zinc oxide

Zinc oxide is often used to treat or prevent minor skin irritations such as burns, cuts, and diaper rashes.

Zinc oxide also has great antibacterial properties which help to protect the skin from bacteria and helps to keep the products stable which is why it can often be found in diaper rash creams.

As zinc oxide creates a protective barrier on the surface of your baby's skin it can also help to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized because it prevents transepidermal water loss from your baby's skin to the environment.

To avoid penetration of zinc oxide into the skin, non-nano zinc oxide is used in this recipe.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - zinc oxide

Emulsifying wax (Olivem 1000)

Oils and water don’t mix naturally, they need some encouragement to properly mix. This is an emulsifier. The molecules of an emulsifier contain both a hydrophilic (water-loving) side and a hydrophobic (oil-loving) side. Therefore, emulsifiers can bind to both oil and water compounds creating a uniform emulsion.

The emulsifier we are using today is Olivem 1000. This is an oil-in-water emulsifier derived from olives. It is both an emulsifier and thickener which is compatible with a wide pH range (3 to 12). It is shown to be safe and clinically tested to be hypoallergenic, it provides creams with excellent spreadability without soaping.

Olivem 1000 has a complex combination of fatty acids chemically similar to the lipid composition of the skin surface making it a great skin conditioning agent as well.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - olivem 1000

Argan oil

Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree that naturally occurs in Morocco. In Morocco, they use argan oil to dip bread in at breakfast or during dinner for over couscous or pasta. However, it is more commonly known for its uses in cosmetic products.

Argan oil has great benefits for our skin as it is naturally high in vitamin E. Vitamin E has great antioxidant properties which greatly benefit healthy skin and hair.

Research has shown that argan oil may help reduce inflammation and improve the elasticity of the skin.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - argan oil

Cetearyl Alcohol

Cetearyl Alcohol is used for thicking lotions and creams. As we would like to apply a decent layer of our cream to the baby's skin, we need a thick lotion. So we use a good amount of Cetearyl Alcohol. It not only feels great on our skin and it makes our final product more stable so we can use it longer.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - cetearyl alcohol

Distilled water

Water is the largest part of our cream. This is because our skin needs water as our skin contains a lot of water. But we can’t just use ordinary tap water when creating skincare products. Tap water undergoes several physical and microbiological filtrations before it reaches the faucets in your home. This way you can use it for normal household procedures as it is free of pathogenic microorganisms. But for some of us, the quality of our tap water differs and we need more steps of filtration to make our water drinkable. Household filtration systems reduce the hardness of our tap water and remove suspended particles to make the water drinkable.

This however still does not make the water suitable for creating cosmetic products as there could still be minute quantities of substances, such as chlorine, sulfates, and various metal ions that could interfere with the product’s stability and performance. Therefore we want water in its most pure form which is distilled water.

Is deionized water ok?

In deionized water, special ion-exchange resins remove anions and cations present in water using hydronium and hydroxide ions (H3O+, OH-). This results in deionized water. However, this method does not purify microorganisms, volatile material, organic impurities, or suspended material therefore, distilled water is used.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - distilled water


When using a lotion we apply lots of water to our skin and we want to water to remain on our skin. Therefore, we use a humectant. A humectant draws moisture from the outside towards your skin. There are many humectants available but glycerin is one of the easiest available and the cheapest. Making it a great beginner-friendly ingredient. But don’t think that just because it is cheap it is not an awesome humectant. It is a skin protectant and skin conditioning agent which is great to protect the skin against dehydration. Therefore, all most all of my DIY skincare products contain glycerin.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - glycerin

Vitamine E (Tocopherol)

Vitamine E is a natural ingredient that is often found in oils like argan oil. However, because it is such a strong antioxidant, it has great benefits for our skin. Therefore a refined version is added to this formulation to give our babies' skin these extra benefits.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - vitamin E oil

Calendula extract

Calendula is a flower in which the petals are used to make infusions or in this case an extraction. Calendula has been used for centuries to treat eczema, burns, and rashes. It is a great soothing intreating, it is full of antioxidants and it helps the healing process of the skin. Therefore I added it to this formulation.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - Calendula extract


A preservative is needed in every formulation that contains water. This is because bacteria and other microorganisms love water. They grow and thrive in an aqueous environment. To suppress this contamination, we need to use a preservative.

Any broadspectrum preservative will work fine in your formulation but I prefer to use one that is as natural as possible. I choose Biogard or Cosgard for the skincare projects I make.

DIY Diaper Rash Cream - cosgard



50 gram batch

Water Phase

Distilled Water


20 Gram



2,5 Gram

Oil Phase

Emulsifying Wax


5 Gram

Argan Oil


12 Gram

Cetearyl Alcohol


3 Gram

Zinc Oxide


6 Gram

Cool Down Phase

Vitamin E oil


0,5 Gram

Calendula Extract


0,5 Gram



0,5 Gram


  • Weight the water phase ingredients in a heat-resistant beaker.

  • Weigh the oil phase ingredients in a (different) heat-resistant beaker. Add the zinc oxide to this beaker as well. Even though zinc oxide doesn’t dissolve in both oil and water, we want it in here as we want to properly mix it in.

  • Create a hot water bath by putting an inch or 2,5cm of hot water in a pan and carefully placing both heat-resistant beakers in the water.

  • Let the water phase heat up and the oil phase melt and heat for about 20 minutes.

  • While the oil phase remains in the hot water bath, carefully add the heated water phase to the heated oil phase. Use a cloth to prevent drops of hot water from dripping from the beakers.

  • Gently stir the created (very liquid) emulsion and remove it from the hot water bath.

  • Mix your emulsion using a stick blender for about 5 minutes. Be careful for splashes as it is still rather warm.

  • After a few minutes of stirring, leave your formation to cool for 15 minutes.

  • Using your stick blender again, mix your cream again once it is cooled.

  • Your cream should be much thicker by now.

  • Once it is cool to the touch (a little warm is ok), weigh and add the ingredients from the cool-down phase.

  • Stir these in properly and put your cream in a jar.

  • Enjoy.

Storage & Shelf-life

This cream contains a high amount of water so you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to prevent microbial growth. Even with the use of a preservative, this lotion will eventually spoil as our tools are not sterile laboratories. So, if you notice any change in color, scent, or texture, stop using it and make a fresh batch.


Be aware that making substitutions will change the end product. While these changes won’t break the recipe, you will get a different product than I did.

  • You can choose a different water soluble preservative if you like (check the manufactures description).

  • You can use a different water-soluble humectant for this lotion

  • Don’t substitute Cetearyl Alcohol as this is a key part of this formulation.

  • Argan oil can be substituted with any oil your skin loves. If you don’t have argan oil, I recommend using squalane or jojoba oil.

  • Olivem 1000 can be substituted with a different emulsifier however, most are not plant-derived. I recommend using Polawax or Ewax as substitutions as even though they are not completely natural, they are very easy to work with.

  • You could leave out the calendula extract or vitamin E if you can’t get your hands on it.


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Valinda - Natural Parenting Blog - Eco-friendly mom - Cloth diaper - sustainable pregnancy

Meet Valinda

Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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