Zero Waste Cloth Diaper Safe Diaper Cream

This is a great recipe for when you want a bit of protection (a barrier) and some healing properties for your baby. My daughter is pretty sensitive to urine so this provides a nice barrier that prevents rashes or discomfort, especially during naps and overnight. Many parents who cloth diaper find they don’t need to use a diaper cream regularly, but this helps my daughter stay comfortable so I apply a thin layer during every change.

First, a confession: I bought Grandma El’s brand diaper cream last year in a blind panic. I say blind because I was pretty desperate for a good barrier cream for my daughter. This brand is highly rated and highly recommended in the cloth diapering community. But I need to remind myself sometimes that just because someone you like/respect recommends something, doesn’t mean it is a good choice for your family.

Upon closer inspection of the tube, I was dismayed to see “petroleum jelly” on the ingredient list. I avoid petroleum products for a variety of reasons but this post by Indie Lee nicely sums up the potential risks (especially with non-UK made products) and why it isn’t necessarily a safe or effective ingredient to slather on your baby’s bum.

The other ingredient I was surprised to see in the Grandma El’s was lanolin. I use lanolin regularly so I have it on hand. Apparently it’s totally safe to use with cloth diapers. I use lanolin to make my wool covers waterproof so, it’s a bit counter-intuitive. Basically when lanolin is applied to the baby as part of a diaper cream like this one, very little of it transfers to the diaper, and if it does, it should not cause any repelling. (Diapers that “repel” are preventing liquid from absorbing and/or causing liquid to bead up on the interior surface, which causes leaks.)

The fact that I had a jar of lanolin in my cabinet made me start experimenting with my own, all natural “dupe” of the Grandma El’s cream.

I’ve been using this recipe for many months now and I’m pleased to say it works well! I haven’t had to change my wash routine in the slightest and my daughter hasn’t had any redness. I believe some people experience light staining when lanolin is used, but I haven’t experienced this. Plus, stains on diapers don’t really bother me because I know that sun will take most stains out easily.

This zero-waste (or less waste, depending on the packaging of the ingredients you buy) recipe is so easy to create and works really well as a light daily diaper cream and barrier cream. Plus, you will avoid the plastic packaging that comes with buying a tube of diaper cream at the store.

Ingredients >>>

Coconut Oil*
Shea Butter*

Instructions >>>

Melt all of the ingredients together in equal parts. Yup, just equal parts, that’s it. If you want to test it out for your baby, start with a 1/2 tablespoon of each. If you want to mess with the ratios, go ahead with your bad self. Keeping it super simple is just what works for me. You could also add some essential oils for scent – lavender and sweet orange would be lovely. But they are not necessary in my opinion. Make 10000000% sure the oils you’re using are baby safe and very diluted (aka not very many drops.)

Pour your mixture into a glass jar. Because you KNOW you save all your glass jars and have approximately 5,687 of them in your house like me, right? I am currently using a little one (easy to travel with) that at one point years ago contained an adorable amount of ketchup. But now it holds my diaper cream 🙂

Pro tip: if the cream ever seems grainy because ingredients are separating, simply place in a bowl of hot water (make sure the level doesn’t reach the top of your jar) to melt together or pop in the microwave at 30% power at 15 second intervals until it fully melts. Now place your jar in the freezer and once it hardens it’ll be good as new!


Thanks for reading! Xo, Meredith

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