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Old 05-25-2011, 06:02 PM   #1
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Is there any science...to any of it?

Have there been any studies done on cloth diapers? There is so much contradictory information out there and my two semesters of college chemistry just aren't enough to draw any definitive conclusions. I would like to know the following:

Does yeast live in diapers and if so whats the best way to kill it?


My pediatrician says that he would be surprised if yeast could survive in diapers well washed diapers at all but LLL recommends bleaching your bras if you have thrush. (Not quite the same thing but I would think that all the same rules would apply) Grovia recommends bleach and sunlight and says that vinegar/tto/gse won't kill it. But I've also read that sunlight can encourage yeast growth and that drying on hot is the best thing for it. If yeast can live in diapers how does it get in there? Is it from waste or from contact with the yeast rash? Why does no one tell 'sposie using mamas to bleach their baby's towels/bath tubs/anything their kid gets poop on? And finally can kids give yeast to each other?

What does antibacterial mean when used to describe fabrics?


We often talk about wool being antibacterial. When I first heard that I was like "okay, yeah sheep's coats don't rot and fall off I can see them being antibacterial." But then people used it to explain why wool doesn't smell like pee. But pee is sterile. The stink from pee is caused by the waste matter in it not by bacterial organisms. Then I heard people describe bamboo as being "antibacterial" and saying that that's why it doesn't cause rashes? So I'm even more confused.

What impact does the amount of soap used have on the fabric?


Has any one actually done any studies (and I mean studies that with stand scrutiny and meet the standards of scientific testing) or are we all just peeking in our washers during the rinse cycle and make broad statements?

What rash creams are safe?
There is all kinds of contradiction about this. I think in part because different fabrics react differently to different amounts of rash cream. I can happily use gobs of aquaphor on flats and have zero issues but if I use gobs of aquafor and a fleece liner the liner will start repelling so badly after a few uses that the part of the diaper directly under it will be completely dry. I can only imagine what it would do to the lining of a fuzzibunz.

Are there any definitive answers out there? Are there any studies? Is there any science? Because sometimes I feel like we're all just standing over a top loader going "Boil Boil toil and trouble" and hoping for the best.

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Old 05-25-2011, 06:10 PM   #2
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Yeast lives in our intestinal tract and an overgrowth would be present in the feces. Put that yeast feces in a warm, wet diaper area and now we have a yeast rash. It may be killed off in the laundry (on diapers, etc) but every new bowel movement brings more yeast. This is especially true for kids on abx frequently since their gut flora is off, and also for kids with diets high in sugar.

Going back to look at other questions.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:19 PM   #3
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

I don't know of specific studies, and I don't pay as much attention to what a certain fabric is advertised as, but I do know that my baby's skin tolerates bamboo and wool best. He can't do all pul in one day or he gets a rash, he can't use microfiber or baby powder because it dries his skin out (eczema) Grandma El's and baby bum bum balm work great on him, but anything on the butt that is coconut oil breaks him out. If I don't rinse diapers well enough, he gets a rash. Over my search for a great cloth detergent he has shown a sensitivity to certain brands. He is my only cloth diapered child and also the only one that has never had a yeast infection or any other type of major rash, except for once when I had him in a night diaper that had bad ammonia build up he woke up with a big fluid filled blister on his butt. That is when I knew I needed to try yet another detergent. We finally have one and the diapers have not had this buikd-up since. In theory wool keeps things cooler, so I suppose that helps keep away yeast overgrowth since they like damp dark and sweaty environments.

I do know that lanolin and urea make soap (saponofication). And wool does not stink until it needs more lanolin.

This was all learned over the last 17 mo with a lot of crazy trial and error.

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Old 05-25-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

Oh, and I guess my point was that my child is unusually sensitive, so all those variables that make things an issue for us may not bother some children. He also will start to get rashy after being in a disposables for only a couple of hours. This is what lead me to discovering cloth in the first place.

I always use some kind of liner when using any rash creams, unless it is a prefold or flat.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:38 PM   #5
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

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Old 05-25-2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

haha, this made me laugh b/c I think the same thing sometimes. My Pediatrician told me the same thing about yeast though. He said unless I didnt' wash the dipes well, he couldnt' imagine yeast 'living' in cloth. I did bleach my dipes anyway, but he was convinced it wasn't necessary. As far as the rest of it, I have no idea. My younger DD gets rashes from wetness next to her skin - it has nothing to do with the material of the diaper, so I'm not much help there. but i'd love to see some studies too. My question is, when a deep sniff in 'clean diapers' smells clean and then after my daughter pees in them, they smell really yucky even when she's had lots to drink that day , what does that mean? not enough detergent, too much detergent, something else?
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

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Originally Posted by rescueremedies View Post
Oh, and I guess my point was that my child is unusually sensitive, so all those variables that make things an issue for us may not bother some children. He also will start to get rashy after being in a disposables for only a couple of hours. This is what lead me to discovering cloth in the first place.

I always use some kind of liner when using any rash creams, unless it is a prefold or flat.
Your answer is kind of my point. You've given me a great anecdotal over view of whats worked for you. Not why they have worked. And your a nurse. Nurses are super smart! They know a lot about science.

Why do you think some detergents work for your son and not others? Do you think some get your diapers cleaner and thus reduce irritants such as ammonia? Do you think some detergents contain chemicals that cause his rashes? Also what constitutes a clean diaper? I consider a detergent to be working if I only have 3 or fewer stained diapers per load and if the stined diapers have only faint stains. If the stains are vivid I know I need more detergent and if every diaper has stains I know that the detergent just doesn't work.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

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Originally Posted by madiganandpupsmom View Post
My question is, when a deep sniff in 'clean diapers' smells clean and then after my daughter pees in them, they smell really yucky even when she's had lots to drink that day , what does that mean? not enough detergent, too much detergent, something else?
Why does my hemp, and only my hemp smell like a barnyard in the am? Not ammonia just barnyard-ie? Its not to bad with tide but its awful with all f&c. Bleaching fixes it though. Also how do you scientifically quantify barnyard and yucky?
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

These are very good questions...

My question would be HOW and WHY would someone (a single person or more likely- a large company with lots of resources) go about testing all of these things? I can see either a large cloth or a large sposie company attempting to test all of these things, but those studies would be way too biased. A cloth company is more likely to come to the conclusion that yeast doesn't live in cloth and that certain fabrics are antibacterial or that their recommended detergent deep cleans better than any other one out there. And a disposable company will more than likely want to prove that cloth diapers are dirty and unhealthy and yucky...

So...I really have no idea. LOL. It does seem like we all just kind of go with what we read online or on these forums without really knowing the real REASONS behind X working but Y not, etc.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: Is there any science...to any of it?

1) Yeast, like all living things, needs FOOD. There isn't any food in a clean diaper (or, rather, there shouldn't be :wink Your bra, however, there is a food source, constantly reintroduced as soon as you put that bra back on those milk filled ta-tas. I'm just sayin' Yeast can't live on fabrics, no, but it can start growing as soon as there is a food source and a nice warm environment, which happens instantly in a nursing bra, not so much in a diaper. That's sort of my rational for the yeast issues with nursing vs cding.

2) Don't have any idea what that really means. I've always thought it is mostly just hype anyway. I don't see any real benefits to antibacterial fabrics. But, the washer is LOADED with E.coli, so maybe it's useful to a degree. I doubt it, though.

3) Soap is what gets into fabric to make them release whatever else they were previously holding onto, therefore the amount of soap certainly affects the level of cleanliness (at least in terms of released "other stuff").

4) Ones that soap can make "let go." LOL

Yes, I'm definitely,a boil, boil, toil and trouble, kind of CDer. My motto diapering sensitive, rashy, eczema prone babies has definitely been "try, try again." sigh

Loved your post!!
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