Kids Home > Home Remedies for Diaper Rash

There are many home remedies for diaper rash. Successful treatment focuses on minimizing moisture, friction, and irritation (from both stool and urine) to the affected area. This typically means more frequent diaper changes, diaper-free periods, and being gentle. Most cases of diaper rash can be treated with these time-tested home remedies.

Home Remedy for Diaper Rash: An Overview

Baby's skin is so smooth and soft -- until that day you go to change a diaper and underneath the diaper the skin is red and irritated. How could this be? You have done everything to prevent a diaper rash: regular diaper changes, airing out the skin, and using "sensitive" wipes and super-absorbent diapers.
First of all, know that diaper rashes happen to almost every child and there was probably nothing that you could have done. Very sensitive skin, moisture, friction, and irritating stool and urine are the perfect combination for creating diaper rashes.
The good news is that most rashes get better with a little time and patience. Also, the home remedies available for diaper rash are considered the standard of care in most situations. So you're not going to have to try some off-the-wall remedy passed down from some distant cousin in hopes of treating this problem.

Specific Diaper Rash Home Remedies

Many parents have a medicine cabinet full of commercial diaper rash products. While many of these products have stood the test of time and are important for treatment, there are many other things you can do at home to help make a diaper rash go away.
Here are some remedies that you can try that might speed up the healing process naturally:
  • Change your baby's diaper as soon as it becomes wet or dirty. You may find yourself going through many more diapers than usual during this time. Changing the diaper every two hours is a good rule of thumb while your baby has diaper rash. You may have to get up once (or more) during the night to change the diaper.
Tip: Healthcare providers recommend using disposable diapers until a diaper rash heals. They are specifically designed to decrease moisture on the skin. Put them on a little looser than usual to allow for some air flow. If you do choose to use cloth diapers, do not use the plastic pants until the rash goes away. They limit the air flow and trap heat and moisture.
  • Allow your baby's skin to dry completely before putting on another diaper. Letting your baby hang out without a diaper on can be fun and cute to watch, but watch out for accidents!
Tip: A good place to "park" your baby while letting him "air dry" is a potty training seat. It is designed to catch everything that could come out and it also lets the air in. You may have to hold him up and still, but it only take a few minutes to let the skin dry.
  • When wiping your baby's bottom, pat the area instead of wiping. Anything you can do to avoid further irritating the area, the better. Once the area gets red and irritated, it is easy to start chafing. Treating the area once the skin has broken can take twice as long.
Tip: Consider the wipes you are using. Some contain chlorine, alcohol, and/or heavy moisturizers. If baby wipes are used, choose a brand that is alcohol- and fragrance-free.
Many healthcare providers feel that some of the high-quality "sensitive" baby wipes now available are a good alternative and are more practical than the old standby of warm water cleaning with each diaper change. Dried stool can be removed with mineral oil applied to a cotton ball.
  • Allow your baby to sleep without a diaper. Nap time is a good time to let things air out. You can place your child on an open cloth diaper or towel to prevent leaking into the mattress. Remember, though, that infants should not be put to sleep on their stomachs, due to the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Use products that contain a barrier. Zinc oxide ointment (such as Desitin® or A&D Ointment®) or petroleum (such as Vaseline®) can help protect your baby's skin from moisture (see Diaper Rash Creams and Ointments).
Tip: Switching to a different brand of diaper rash ointment is not always the answer. Many diaper rash treatment products are identical (or almost identical) to each other. Carefully read the ingredients of your current diaper rash ointment and that of the alternatives. 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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