Learn how to treat nappy rash naturally and effectively, using my tried and tested chamomile tea natural remedy.
It’s been a little while since my kids were in nappies. In fact, my youngest daughter started school this week, which completely blows my mind. While it’s been a few years since we’ve used nappies, a few of my friends have had babies lately. I’ve really been enjoying being able to meet up with them for a cup of coffee and marvel at their tiny humans, all whilst being able to pass their babies back as soon as they start to cry!
One friend I met with recently was in a bit of tizz because her baby had developed a rash on its bottom. She wondered if reaching for the Sudocrem was the best solution for how to treat nappy rash. Then I remembered one of the best tips my health visitor ever gave me to treat nappy rash naturally…
From experience, I’d also add to that list that nappy rash can definitely be triggered by teething.
It’s quite easy to identify nappy rash. The whole of your baby’s bottom may be red, or it could be limited to red patches. You might find spots, blisters, or pimples, and the area may look sore and feel hot to touch. Nappy rash can be very uncomfortable, but the good news is that it can be really easy to treat.
How To Treat Nappy Rash With Chamomile Tea
When my eldest daughter developed a bad case of nappy rash when she was teething, our health visitor recommended an amazingly simple natural remedy. She told us to make up a cup of chamomile tea in the normal way – one chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiled water – and then leave the teabag in to steep. When the tea has cooled, soak a cloth in the tea and then use that to wipe her bum. Alternatively, you can decant the tea into a sterilised spray bottle, and then use that at nappy change time in combination with a reusable baby wipe.
Our health visitor didn’t normally hand out natural remedies. I knew, coming from her, that this was the real deal. And it was because the nappy rash cleared up amazingly quickly after using the chamomile tea. It turns out this natural nappy rash remedy works because chamomile has mild antiseptic, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and is incredibly soothing. Chamomile also rapidly aids the skin’s healing after a nappy rash appears. It’s all-round magic in a teabag!
Other Top Tips
There are some other top tips you can follow to help treat or prevent nappy rash:
Firstly, if your child is suffering from nappy rash then making sure that you change their nappy more frequently is a good first step. This helps to minimise the time they are in a damp nappy, helping the rash to clear up.
Secondly, air is brilliant at helping nappy rash to subside. Nappy free time really helps to get the circulate around your baby’s bottom. It sounds silly, but think about when we cut ourselves. We know that once we have stemmed the blood flow then letting air in rather than suffocating it behind a plaster is often the best course of action. It’s the same with nappy rash. For babies that aren’t yet mobile, then simply place a towel down on your baby changing mat, and letting them enjoy some nappy free time can really help.
Finally, minimising the use of scented lotions and potions can be helpful. For example, scented bubble bath was always a no when our kids had nappy rash.
Looking for the best eco-friendly baby wipes in the UK? Find out the eco terms to be wary of, and then try out my top suggestions for sustainable baby care – from plastic-free to certified compostable.
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The truth is that choosing eco-friendly baby wipes is a quagmire of greenwash. There are so many green claims that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Let me start off by showing you the marketing terms to be wary of, before showing you the best eco-friendly brands.
The Eco-Friendly Baby Wipe Terms to Be Wary Of
The eco-friendly baby wipe market in the UK is awash with green buzzwords, many of them without substantiation. Here are some of the most common terms to be wary of:
Biodegradable sounds good, but have you considered what the term biodegradable really means? Many people think the term biodegradable means compostable. However, this isn’t true as all compostable items are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable items are compostable.
Confused? Compostable means being able to be broken down to make compost. Meanwhile, the term biodegradable means that an item can be broken down into increasingly smaller pieces. This isn’t helpful with regards to biodegradable plastics for example. A biodegradable plastic bag will break down into smaller pieces, and hence biodegrade. However, those smaller pieces of plastic become microplastics, which in turn poses a much bigger environmental problem.
I’ve written more about the differences between biodegradable and compostable that explains in more detail. The short version is the term ‘biodegradable’ isn’t very helpful for anyone trying to make greener shopping choices, and in particular, those looking to make eco-friendly baby wipe purchasing decisions.
A packet of baby wipes may say that they are compostable, however, it depends on how you dispose of them. Did you know that food waste doesn’t break down in landfill? With that information in mind, then it’s safe to say that compostable baby wipes certainly won’t compost in a landfill. For compostable baby wipes to compost, you have to have access to the correct facilities.
For home compostable baby wipes, there are a number of issues when it comes to composting. In particular, if you plan on using your homemade compost in fruit or vegetable beds. What’s the issue? As a starter for ten, if you’ve been wiping a poopy baby bum, then you don’t want human faeces in your lovely compost. The other issues are that baby wipes tend to be impregnated with moisturising lotions, perfumes, or detergents. In short, chemicals that you probably won’t want in your compost.
Something else to think about is how large your compost bin is, and if it can handle the number of baby wipes you plan in using in a day. In order to make good compost, you need a 50:50 mix of materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon. The nitrogen comes from materials such as grass clippings, and food waste. Meanwhile, carbon comes from brown material, such as woody stems and cardboard, and compostable baby wipes. Will it be possible for you to maintain a 50:50 mix by adding baby wipes every day? If you have too much carbon in your bin (as you may do so by adding baby wipes every day), then the composting process will be very slow. It’s definitely a point to consider.
There’s a lot to look out for and consider, but thankfully there are options out there.
The Reusable Baby Wipes
As with pretty much every sustainable swap, the most eco-friendly baby wipes are the reusable ones that you wash and use again and again.
If you want to go down the reusables routes then there are a few options:
Make Your Own Reusable Wipes
The greenest option would be to use something you already have to make baby wipes. An old towel or an old cotton or flannel sheet, cut up into squares, would do the job. If you have access to a sewing machine, then hemming the edges to prevent fraying is a good idea. Alternatively, if you have a stack of old facecloths, these would also work without having to spend any money. When you need to use them, simply wet and wipe, then wash. And then repeat into infinity!
If you don’t want to go down the DIY route, then Cheeky Wipes reusable wipes are a great option. These are cloth wipes that you wet with water when you need to use them, and once used you pop them in the washing machine.
I personally used Cheeky Wipes on my youngest daughter, and I really loved them. My disclaimer is that I was already using reusable nappies, so I didn’t find this a hard swap as I was already used to washing nappies. I used these in the house, but I used them out and about too. Simply pop a few cloths in a bag and carry a bottle of water in your nappy bag and you’re good to go!
My youngest daughter is five now. Although baby wipes don’t feature much in our house now, I repurposed my Cheeky Wipes and now use them alongside my homemade cleaning wipes solution. Just to show that you can repurpose the wipes once the baby and toddler days are long gone!
When you are past the nappy stage, but still in the messy eating/playing stage then I also found a great tip for wiping hands and faces whilst out and about. Simply carry a damp face cloth/flannel/Cheeky Wipe in either a wet bag or a plastic carrier bag (such as a plastic zip-lock bag), for wiping your kids down. When you get home, simply pop it in the wash at the end of the day. You’ll leave it in your bag or in the basket of your buggy, leaving it to go stagnant and stinky just a few times before you get into the habit of taking it out and putting it in the washing machine, promise!
The Best Eco-Friendly Baby Wipe Brands
Reusable wipes don’t suit everyone. Therefore, in the interest of not excluding people who need to use disposable baby wipes then here are some more sustainable brands to look out for. These are eco-friendly baby wipe brands available in the UK that are good for your baby’s skin and better for the environment than standard disposable wipes.
CannyMum Bamboo Dry Baby Wipes
Bamboo dry wipes are a new one for me, but if you want to use disposable baby wipes but want to eschew the plastic packaging then these CannyMum wipes are a good eco-friendly choice. These plastic-free baby wipes come in a cardboard box, and when you want to use one simply wet it with water and wipe. The wipes are soft yet strong and don’t disintegrate when wet, as toilet paper does. The used wipes can then be composted at home if you want to (perhaps not the poopy ones).
Buy CannyMum wipes in packs of 400 directly via the CannyMum website for £18,98.
Cheeky Panda Bamboo Dry Wipes
Another bamboo dry wipe brand, Cheeky Panda Bamboo Dry Wipes* is one to look at as an alternative to baby wipes. These wipes are plastic-free. They are also FSC certified, free from animal testing, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. What’s more, Cheeky Panda is a certified B-Corp, meaning they have been independently verified to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance.
Again, wet these super soft wipes with water when you want to use a wipe. The wipes can then be composted at home, if you have the facilities to do so and you aren’t composting the poopy ones. Cheeky Panda says these will break down in your home composting facility in around 3 weeks.
The only point to note is that outer packaging is made from wax paper, which isn’t always recyclable, depending on where you are.
Naty eco-friendly baby wipes* are chlorine and perfume-free. What’s more, you won’t find any alcohol, parabens, or phthalates in them either. They do contain sodium benzoate though, which I know that some people like to avoid. I haven’t been able to find anything scientific of note to back up that sodium benzoate is harmful. Interestingly, sodium benzoate is permitted in certified organic products. However, it’s definitely your call as to whether you avoid this ingredient or not.
The Naty wipes themselves are made from 100% beechwood tree pulp from sustainably managed forests. They have also been independently certified to home compost in 12 weeks. And the good news is that Naty wipes are also free from animal testing and suitable for vegans.
My only gripe is that the wipes do come wrapped in bioplastic, and are marked with the recycling number 7 label. These types of plastic generally cannot be recycled in the UK, so the wrappers need to go into your landfill waste bin. I would love it if Naty could investigate more recyclable packaging options.
Natracare’s eco-friendly baby wipes* are free from detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or any of its close relatives. They also don’t contain any parabens or synthetic preservatives, including methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and other types of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
The wipes themselves have been certified as organic by The Soil Association, and they’re vegan and cruelty-free. Scented with organic essential oils of chamomile, apricot, and sweet almond oil, these cleanse and refresh.
Something to note is that Natracare says their eco-friendly baby wipes are home compostable in the UK, however, I couldn’t find any independent verification to support this claim.
I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, a UK based eco blog. I'm a sustainability expert, and my aim is to make sustainability simple, by researching and writing on all things environmental - from product guides to breaking down big ideas - so you don't have to.
As well as the blog I've also written a book on natural cleaning - Fresh Clean Home is out now!
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