Can you use Vaseline on your cloth diapers? The answer is yes and no. There is a safe way to use Vaseline, or other brands of petroleum jelly, on your baby with cloth diapers. When used carelessly, it can lead to repelling issues and cause leaks. Here’s how I have successfully used petroleum jelly with my cloth diapers (on occasion) for the past 3 years.
Sometimes bad rashes happen. The kind of rash that only a thick petroleum jelly can protect and allow for healing. Teething is usually the time when I bust out the Vaseline. I put it on at night and by morning the rash looks infinitely better. I learned to love Vaseline with my first baby back in 2004, but he was in disposables. So when baby #2 came along I intended to continue using Vaseline as needed. But we used cloth diapers and I had heard that petroleum jelly was a no go.
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I’m not a huge fan of petroleum jelly in general, since we are trying to green up all our product usage, but I do recognize it’s usefulness and so I wanted to find a way to use it when needed. Perhaps what I learned can be helpful to you as well.
It’s an oil product, so it repells water and wetness. That’s why it works so great to clear up rashes: it keeps urine off baby’s healing skin. But when petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, builds up on fabric, it can make your diapers repel instead of absorb. This is the opposite of what you want cloth diapers to do.
Liners are your best bet for ‘cloth unsafe’ diaper creams
Fleece liners don’t just make poop cleanup a breeze, they also keep any ‘unsafe’ creams like petroleum jelly or zinc off your diapers. You don’t have to use fleece, a cut up flannel receiving blanket, or even a cloth wipe works fine too.
It’s just one simple step to help ensure that my diapers stay perfect, as you can replace a ruined liner with less cost than a whole diaper. (But I haven’t had a ruined liner yet!)
A good wash routine is key
When I use Vaseline on my cloth diapers I always use a liner, but I believe my success is thanks to something else. My cloth diaper wash routine is perfect. I use enough of the right kind of detergent, and hot water, which removes any oil buildup from the petroleum jelly.
Tide Powder works best for me, and it includes all the necessary ingredients to keep my diapers blissfully clean. Combined with a HOT water main wash, the oils on our liners from any Vaseline use come right out. Any jelly that gets on the diapers themselves comes out too.
Sticking to ‘cloth safe’ creams may be your preference
It might be safer to only use Vaseline on occasion, like me. I do not use it every day, it works out to once or twice a month at most. The rest of the time I use cloth safe diaper creams. I use these because I prefer green products whenever possible on my baby’s skin.
If you don’t like petroleum jelly, or don’t want to risk it on your diapers, there are many other options. My two favorite cloth safe diaper creams are Baby Bum Balm by All Things Jill, and CJ’s BUTTer. Thirsties Booty Love is expensive, but amazing. Plain old coconut oil is also a community favourite amongst cloth diapering moms!
What is your experience?
It’s important to work together as a community and share your experiences with others. Feel free to comment below if you have any additional tips, or concerns. And of course, share this article with other cloth diaper users!