‍Every parent knows that throwaway diapers are a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll be using cloth diaper to keep your baby clean and germ-free. But what about those dirty diapers? What can you do to make sure they clean well and stay bacteria-free for as long as possible? 

Disposable diaper manufacturers include fragrances, dyes, and harmful chemicals in their products to make them smell good, look appealing or increase their shelf life. Unfortunately, these additives aren’t just unnecessary but they’re also potentially harmful to your baby’s health. Here are Some ingredients you need to avoid in your baby’s diaper and why they’re bad for your baby:



Cotton is a plant fiber and is use to make most diaper products including, absorbent wipes and diapers. On the whole, cotton is a safe fiber for babies but the process of growing it and the growing conditions differ between countries and even farms in the same country. 

This means that not all types of cotton are safe to use in diapers. Cotton is pick in the fields and then is either grow organically or through an unsustainable process called “conventional” cotton. The unsustainable process of conventional cotton has led to many issues for farmers, including issues with water contamination, soil depletion, and increased use of pesticides and fertilizers. 

The cotton use to make diapers can come from areas where harmful pesticides are grow. These pesticides can find their way into the cotton, which is then use for making diapers. Cotton grown with pesticides isn’t safe for your baby.



Most fragranced diaper lubes and wipes are either petroleum-base or scent with fragrance oils made from a variety of chemicals like ethanol, propylene glycol, perfumes, and more. The fragrance is use to mask bad odors, which is why most diaper products are scent with it. But the truth is that your baby’s sensitive skin is much more like to react to the chemicals use to make up fragrance oils, which is why fragrance products are often label as “unscented.” 

And while they don’t smell as strong to you, they’re still very noticeable to your baby. Many fragrance oils contain chemicals like ethanol (which can cause severe damage to a baby’s developing brain and nervous system) and aromatic hydrocarbons (chemicals that have show to cause allergies and asthma) that are know to cause health problems.


Polyurethane (PUF)

PUF is a synthetic product that is a by-product of oil refining. It is use in many diaper products including, diaper covers, absorbent inserts, diaper liners and even baby wipes. PUF is make from polyol, a sugar-based chemical, and urethane, a synthetic plastic. PUF has show to cause damage to your baby’s delicate skin and urinary tract when used in regular diapers. The polyol in PUF has show to cause inflammation in babies’ delicate skin and urinary tracts. PUF also releases ethoxylate, a chemical that has show to damage human DNA. PUF is also know to release formaldehyde, a know carcinogen.


Disinfectant Chemical

Disinfectant chemicals like chlorine and borax are add to most diaper detergents to kill off harmful bacteria like salmonella, e-coli and staphylococcus. But too much chlorine or borax can be damaging to your baby’s skin and urinary tract. Excess levels of these chemicals have show to cause irritation and redness in your baby’s skin and urinary tract, which can cause serious damage like kidney problems and even urinary tract cancers. 

When it comes to destroying bacteria, too high of a concentration isn’t enough. Disinfectant chemicals like chlorine and borax have a “critical concentration” of one part per million (ppm). This means that they must be present in the wash water at one part per million in order to be effective. For example, the amount of chlorine that is need to be present in the wash water at one part ppm is 1/100,000 (1/100,000 = ppm).


Color Additive

While no one is arguing against color, most disposable diapers include color additives to make them appear whiter and fresher longer. However, some additives can cause health risks to your baby. Most of the additives use are coal tar derivatives, which are know to cause allergic reactions and health issues in your baby. 

There are many different types of coal tar, but most of them have link to negative health effects in children, including damage to the nervous system, allergies and a risk of cancer. Some additives use are also know to cause irritation to your baby’s skin, eyes, mouth and urinary tract.


Optical Brightener

Optical brighteners are use to help release the color in your baby’s diapers. This is why they’re often label as “bleaching agents.” Optical brighteners have show to be detrimental to your baby’s health. They’re know to cause irritation to your baby’s skin and respiratory tract, and they’re also linked to damaging DNA damage. 

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Optical brighteners are also known to be potential carcinogens. Combined with other chemicals used in disposable diapers, optical brighteners can cause a lot of damage to your baby’s skin, respiratory tract and DNA.


Synthetic textile yarns

We’ve all heard that 100% cotton is best for baby. And for good reason it’s the best for your baby. But what about the fabric used in disposable diapers? Many diaper manufacturers use synthetic fabric yarns in their products. The problem with synthetic yarns is that they’re made from petrochemicals that release harmful chemicals when they breakdown in your baby’s diaper. 

Synthetic yarns are known to release chemicals like benzene, toluene, xylene and even formaldehyde, which have been linked to damage to your baby’s DNA, respiratory tract and nervous system.


Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) and Terpineol Dihydrate (TDH)

BPO is a bleach used in many diapers to disinfect the materials and kill off harmful bacteria. BPO has been shown to cause DNA damage and is known to be a potential carcinogen. TDH is another bleach additive and has been shown to cause DNA damage and is a potential carcinogen. Too much of BPO or TDH in your baby’s diaper can cause damage to your baby’s skin and respiratory tract. BPO and TDH are also known to release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.



Disposable diapers contain harmful chemicals that can damage your baby’s skin, respiratory tract and DNA, even after only one use. Switching to cloth diapers can remove these harmful chemicals from your baby’s diaper, but it does require extra work. Luckily, there is a better way to keep your baby germ-free. 

Simply invest in a newborn diaper pail, diaper pail liners and diaper sprayer. These products can keep your baby’s skin, urinary tract and respiratory tract as clean as possible while they’re in diapers. With these products, you’ll never have to worry about harmful chemicals in your baby’s diaper again.