How to get Desitin cream out of… well… everything

By | October 31, 2008

How do you get Desitin diaper rash cream out of carpets, sheets, clothes, blankets, or any other cloth item? If my experience so far is accurate, you can’t.

Somebody please, prove me wrong. Add a comment here with the solution.

I’ve tried using diaper wipes. That’s successful to a point, but not totally. On the carpet we tried shampooing after first using diaper wipes, and then blotting with soap and water. We still have spots on the carpet. That frustrated me for a good week, until I finally accepted that I couldn’t do anything about it.

See, a while back my wife and I were relaxing in the morning while our kids played elsewhere. Eventually I (or maybe it was my wife) went in to see what the 2-year old was doing and found her covered from the waist down with diaper rash cream, which was also all over the carpet, the closet doors, and the side of the changing table.

Hours of cleaning later, we are left with the aforementioned spots, and the knowledge that we can’t leave our 2-year old alone with the Desitin tube.

Fast forward to tonight, a month or two after the previous incident. We’re downstairs getting ready to watch a movie – something we’ve been looking forward to for a while. My wife says it sound like one of the kids is trying to come downstairs. I think she’s nuts. I didn’t hear anything, and it’s been almost an hour since the kids were put to bed, plus they were tired from trick-or-treating. But I’ve learned that she hears more things than I do, usually, so I went upstairs to check. I was right. No one was coming downstairs. But as I stood and listened, the 2-year old’s door opened and she started to come out. Okay, so my wife did hear something (good thing I didn’t tell her I thought she was nuts). So I picked my daughter up and put her back in bed.

In the dark, as I gave her a kiss and pulled the covers up, I felt the thick slime on my hands. “What the heck?” I thought. It took me a couple seconds before the realization and feeling of dread hit. When I threw the lights on my fear was confirmed. There on the bottom of the bed was the now almost empty tube of Desitin, wrapped in the bedsheet, the cream spread over the sheet and the two hand-knitted blankets we had received as gifts. Globs of the stuff, some sitting on, and some ground in to the blankets’ weaves. Obviously, we had forgotten to put the cream away tonight. Amazingly, I didn’t detect any of the goop on my daughter. She must have protected herself with the sheet as she squeezed the life out of the tube.

It may be relevant for you to know that I hate creams. Diaper creams, hand creams, face creams, first aid creams… about the only creams I like are ice cream and whipped cream. I just hate how they feel and smell. Slimy, slippery, and sticky, all at the same time – the filmy residue, impossible to completely remove. I honestly can’t understand why people choose to use them when they have other options. They are an “only when necessary” evil for me.

So I’m sure you can imagine the fun I’ve had over the last hour trying in vain to remove as much of the cream as possible from these blankets.

I hate creams.

I’m almost willing to toss the sheet. I’d really like to save these blankets, though. So what do you say? Any ideas?

Seriously. I’m begging. I know this will eventually come up again. I’ll take any idea. Leave a comment. Please.

147 thoughts on “How to get Desitin cream out of… well… everything

  1. PamperedMom

    Count me in with a two year old and diaper rash cream (Burts Bees but same deal as Desitin). On the sheets, clothes, dresser, rug, step stool, and a cotton/wool doll. Dish soap and lots of scrubbing seem to be the trick…although I haven’t gotten to the clothing yet. I know dish soap isn’t mild, but I’m hoping I can get it out of the doll with that and some scrubbing.
    .-= PamperedMom´s last blog ..How do I reconcile? =-.

  2. Michelle

    So has anyone had any luck with getting rash cream out of car fabric? I have tried many different things and to no avail nothing works. Since it happened it has now been about two and half years, so I think I might as well give up, and accept it never coming out…

  3. Melanie

    Add my toddlers to the mix. My three year old son and 1 1/2 year old daughter got in to a large tub of Desitin and had covered themselves head to toe and also the beige carpet, a new comforter and sheets, and an antique cherry dresser that my husband’s grandfather had made (and that I had painstakingly refinished while in one of my pregnancy nesting modes).

    I knew something was wrong when my seven year old came downstairs after I had asked him to check on “the babies” and he said, “Mommy, I hate to tell you this but…” All I could do was do was laugh and cover my mouth when my three year old stated, “Look we’re penguins!” Yeah thanks from our visit to the zoo last week!

    Of course this was happening when a friend of mine (ER doc) was over stitching up my five year old son’s head from an overzealous roughhousing episode with my seven year old son. I guess this is what happens during spring break and mother nature decides to rain most every day and four kids get a little stir crazy when their mom tries to get some housework done.

    I should know by now that when it’s too quiet, the kids must be up to something. My three year old is known for getting into messy stuff, like Pam spray, hair detangler, and toothpaste.

    My anti-Desitin solution: Baby wipes and a plastic scraper to get off initially. Then in the tub w/ baby wash for the toddlers.
    For carpet-scrape off, then baby wipes, then resolve carpet cleaner.
    For furniture-baby wipes & a lot of elbow grease. For clothes, sheets, etc. soak in hot water and a general anti grease solution for 20 minutes. then scrub with nail brush. Then into the wash with hot water and a little more anti grease solution.

    Oh and hide the Desitin next time!!!

  4. Melanie

    Update-spray and wash rub on stick worked the best of all the solutions. Good luck everyone!

  5. Jeff Post author

    Melanie, thanks for the update. It’s great when we get follow-up so we know how it worked best.

  6. Samantha

    I was incredibly stupid and i managed to put Eucirin cream in my hair. I have washed and scrubbed and pulled and ironed my hair over and over. anyone have any possible idea how to get it out!?!?!? HELP!?! email me!

  7. Jeff Post author

    Your best bet is any of the de-greasing agents mentioned above, I would think. There are some great suggestions there.

  8. AnnaS

    I used Shout spray, then followed up with hot water in a steam cleaner. Got all the Desitin out. Thank goodness — we have a navy blue carpet, and it was OUR bedroom, not my son’s.

  9. Chad

    My 3 year old just smeered up my mothers couch, but dandy.
    I didn’t know they put that much salve in one little tube.
    I’m hoping your dish detergent methods work on this beautiful fabric.
    I’ve got about 4 hours to clean it up.
    May God Bless this Mess!!!!

  10. Sarah Faith

    My 2-year-old son delights in smearing Desitin all over himself and his surroundings! AAAH!! I try to hide it, but he can climb like a monkey!

    Anyhow, my biggest dilemma right now is getting a huge spot of it out of my comforter.

    I removed the excess Desitin, sprayed Shout on it ,and then tried putting some cornstarch baby powder to absorb the grease. I brushed off the powder with a scrub brush. Now, I will try the hot water and scrub the spots again.

    It doesn’t seem like it will ever look the same, but I’m trying to be hopeful. Can I machine-wash the comforter?

  11. lisa

    I would also recommend that every one switch to Resinol. Sometimes hard to find, but your pharmacist should be able to order it for you. It is thick and sticks to the child. It is soothing and heals and prevents diaper rash and heals windburn, chafing, etc. But the smell is mild, it doesn’t burn your eyes, and washes off the skin much more easily with soap and warm water.

    It can stain clothes if you don’t use a pre-treater. I like Spray and Wash Stain Stick (not the spray–the STICK).

  12. Monica

    REJOICE! My son just did the same thing to his chocolate brown comforter…I scrubbed what I could out with dish soap, then soaked it in a jug of WHITE WINEGAR FOR 30 MINUTES in the tub. IT WORKED A MIRACLE!!!! Then just threw it in the washing machine to rinse out the excess dish soap and vinegar. Stinky, but sooooo simple!!!

  13. Sarah Faith

    Thanks, Monica!! I wish I had had some white vinegar on hand. I think the Desitin came out, but where I had to wash and rinse with hot water, I think it faded the comforter. That’s better than having greasy remains, but I wish it didn’t look faded in spots. I might just try the vinegar in bath thing and then throw it in the washer again. Thanks so much!! (P.S. My same adorable, cutie pie son also tore off the kitchen cabinet door a couple days ago to get to his snacks!! I had a child lock on it, so he just decided to tear the whole door off! He’s only 2, and I don’t think I could have even torn the heavy wooden door off myself! How do they do it?! :/)

  14. Katy

    SO GLAD TO HEAR I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A WILD 2 YEAR OLD!!!! Our very adorable 2 year old daughter was being awfully quiet today I told my hubsand to check on her and he said she’s on the couch watching Barney!! YAYA!!! About 10 minutes later I hear him scream….she had desitin in her hair, all over her face (including her eyelashes and eyelids), her arms and legs and even better ALL OVER our suede couch!! She is still a greasy mess after her bath and I’m sure out couch is ruined….I’ll be couch cover shopping tomorrow!! I will try the dawn dish soap thing tonight! But I think our couch is a lost cause!! Thanks for all the tips!!

  15. Stephanie

    Just chiming in on the two year olds… my twins did the full body cover yesterday. I had to call poison control due to the Desitin in the eyes. You need to run “clean” water (best from corner to corner; child on their side and held down with a sheet wrap and second person, ha-ha) for 10-15 minutes. After this wait an hour, if the eye is still red you are supposed to take them in for an eye exam. We were lucky and didn’t need to do the eye exam.

    As for getting the stuff off their bodies, good scrubbing with a wash cloth and baby soap (we did a bubble bath too so they would have soap all around). Hair came clean with one wash with Burt’s Bees shampoo/body wash combo and then conditioner.

    Clothes came clean with dawn dish soap scrub and then soaking in vinegar solution (1/3 vinegar 2/3 warm water) and then washing twice in warm water. They still have the lovely smell to them so I haven’t dried them in a drier to ensure that we don’t set in the smell. Going to try a full strength vinegar to see if I can kill the smell.

    Still working on the comforters. Dark blue and not having much luck.

    Glad to have found the site to see what others have tried and been successful with.

    PS I am allergic to fish so this really sucks!

  16. Jeff Post author

    Aaa… that sounds like a pretty bad one. Sorry to hear about the eyes, especially. Sounds like you had a rough day. Thanks for chiming in. Good luck with the smell.

  17. yllejane

    Well a guess it was our turn. My huband and I were working in the garden while my 3.5 year old daughther and next week to be 2 year old son played in her room “nicely” Next thing I know my son comes out to the yard so I would help him put a babyshirt on a baby. Both were white frtom head to tow: the dolly and my 2 year old. First I though it is a babypowder they used on the baby, but once i got a closer look, I knew it was Desitin. I went to my daugters room and she heard me coming and closed herself in the bathroom. Needless to say, she was covered in it. The walls, the mirrow and the carpet in her room. Walls were easy with the wipes. Haven’t washed their hair yet, but most of the stuff from body came off. But not from the carpet. I used wipes, soap, Shout greaze spray for clothes helped some but steam iron didn’t seam to do anything. Finally I just went to Walmart and bought some pink rugs to cover op the white spots. haven’t washed the clothes yet. What a day.

  18. Marie

    I know this sounds really bad. But have any of you even thought about where Desitin is applied regularly? The baby bum never seems to have Desitin on it when we open up that wet diaper. So basically, urine is the solution. It just rinses it away! I’m not suggesting cleaning in urine, I don’t think. But really, you can clean out urine in the washing machine. if you have an important gifted blanket, or something that was handed down to you from family, you may want to think about it…

  19. Breanna

    I have a soon to be 2 year old and 4 year old…both are about to make me pull my hair out!!! The oldest painted with her poop when she was little-on several occasions, played with desetin, shredded wipes and diapers, dumped out shampoo, strung easter grass throught the house, colored on everything, and anything you can imagine…now shes teaching my youngest the same things!!! Tonight was my 6th bout with desetin and guess what… Goo Gone X-treme does the trick! Its rather pricy but safe on fabrics, carpet, and just about anything else and gets it out in nothing flat!!!! Trust me I have tried it all becuse locks dont keep my kids out of anything, give em 2 minutes while im taking a pee and they have demolished something else!!!

  20. Jeff Post author

    Always good to hear the voice of experience! Thanks, Breanna.

  21. M Star

    I used Dawn diluted in warm water to get the diaper cream off my sofa, as recommended in some of the comments. I had to apply it a bunch of times and rub to really get rid of it all. After, I rinsed it as best I could by applying warm water until there were no more suds from the couch. It took nearly 2 days to dry, but, looking at it now, you would never know what a mess it was. Thanks for having this info available. It was a great help!

  22. Jeff Post author

    My thanks also to all the great commenters who shared their stories and solutions!

  23. Kayla

    did u ever get it out of your couch….im not positive is mine is micro suede of microfiber but either way im think it is hopeless….i wiped off excess with bby wipe first then dawn dishsoap and water…it ddnt do a thing…looks like it has bleached the color of couch almost (its a red!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! couch))))))

  24. Heidi NYC

    I’ve been hysterically laughing reading these posts… not that they’re funny, just happy that I’m not the only one. My 18 month old got into a tube of Desitin and spread it all over the rug. We had a professional steam cleaner come today and they claimed that the color was lifted from the rug from the Desitin, so they couldn’t remove the stains. I feel the color is still there, just hidden behind the Desitin which has been stuck there for 2 weeks. I’ll try the dish soap but I fear that we found this thread 2 weeks too late? Anyone know if there’s any way the color is bleached, or is it just the Destin itself keeping the white spots white?

  25. Becky Sproul

    It is so nice to know that I am not alone!!!! One whole tube of Desitin smeared all over my brand new chocolate colored suede couch; compliments of my 2 and 1/2 YO little artist. Needless to say a damp towel alone did not work. But I will try combing this with the iron steam method. Then on to the Dawn. Thanks to everyone that posted!

  26. Kasey

    THIS IS WHAT WORKS!! After using google to fingure out what to do with the mound of desitin on my 2 yr old son’s head I tried using dish soap, which worked ok. However, once I used peanut butter his hair came clean! I could literally see the oil from desitin coming out when I was lathering in the peanut butter :) Thank you!!

  27. Stacy

    My two year old just smeared Desitin on my mothers car upolstery. Yikes: so I read your ideas and went to the kitchen praying the dishsoap idea would work. Instead I found Lift Off 2. It really worked! Initially I had sprayed the Desitin with Amway’s LOC so it did soak a few minutes with this but the LIFT OFF 2 really seemed to work. Thank goodness. Of course, my 8 year old can’t wait to tell grandma what happened to her car.

  28. Stefanie

    I came on here to find out how to remove Desitin from doll hair. Guess how it got there? That’s right. My 2 year old. :) I guess now, after reading all these posts, I’m thankful it was only one doll’s hair and nothing else. Thanks for the suggestions, and I’ll be praying for all of us out there with 2 year olds. :)

  29. Concetta

    Okay just found something else that works besides Dawn dish soap and yes ironing it out did help somewhat but Fast Orange- the petroleum dis solvent for mechanics hand cleaners. Put on a generous amount and begin rubbing it between the fabrics sides, rinsing with hot water and THEN iron out the water onto a dry towel. Got the Destin out of my favorite black jacket after I picked up my granddaughter who had it on her hands (cause she was helping grandma)
    Good Luck, boy who knew that destin stuff was so powerful???

  30. Amber

    Oh wow, I seriously am amazed at the amount of kids that have done this!

    And in response to someone, my 3 year old did it with Desitin AND Resinol, and I would have MUCH rather it just been the desitin, the resinol turned my carpet orange and it it harder to get out.

    I borrowed a friend’s carpet cleaner, and that didn’t work, used an oxy pretreater and that didn’t get it all up, so I searched and found this site, and used Dawn disolved in hot water, and an upholstery brush (found in automotive section) and scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed….then used the carpet cleaner again, and WAH LAH…clean carpets!!

    Thanks so much everyone for sharing!

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  32. Lilith

    Thank you all so much for your suggestions and tips….My 2 year old just painted herself head to toe, along with the tv, carpet, couch, footstool and bookshelf. The fact that she managed to do it in under 5 minutes while I was changing laundry loads just amazes me. lol. I used wipes on all the easy surfaces and got them clean, I ended up here as I was looking for solutions to the upholstery and carpet cleaning. Good luck and god bless all of us and our kids. :)

  33. Laura

    Thank you for all the great info. I ended up using dawn and water and then the steam iron. I think it came out, now there are just “clean” spots left. I guess I should just clean the whole cushion. My 3 year old did this as I was standing by the washing machine trying to scrub out crayon that went through the washer and dryer and got all over everything in the load. It’s going to be a great day! (Note the sarcasm.)

  34. trina1999

    It looks like everything has been covered here in 2 years, but I thought I’d give my 2 cents anyway :) My daughter painted a tube of desitin cream on our microfiber couch last night, and after trying dishwashing soap and the carpet cleaner, I still had white on everything. So I called my chemist friend. He said you have to use 2 things, because Desitin has oil and zinc-oxide in it. To get the oil out, Dawn or a steam cleaner will work. Then you have to use a good stain remover for the zinc-oxide. Since I already used the steam cleaner, I had step one complete. So I went and sprayed Shout on the remaining white stuff, and it wiped right off! I didn’t even have to scrub or anything!

  35. Jeff Post author

    Well, now that we have a chemist’s answer we can shut down the comments! 😉

    Seriously, thanks for sharing! Great stuff.

  36. thelma

    My oldest daughter decided to do some painting this morning… she used boudreaux’s butt paste, though. This stuff is an absolute pain to get off. She had it on her, every item of bedding she owns, all of her stuffed toys (amazingly, she didn’t put any on her plastic toys) she even painted her little sister! I’ve tried the dish soap, the spray and wash, and the mechanic hand cleaner… still no help! I can’t iron these toys (most are hand made) help!!!!

  37. Jenny

    Of all the strange things! Peanut Butter worked for my daughter’s hair that was covered in Desitin. I was getting some laundry done when I had this feeling that my 2 year old was two quiet and needed to be checked on. Sure enough, her carpet and hair were painted in desitin. I washed her hair about three times with shampoo and another time with conditioner to no avail. I came across this discussion and said to myself, “I can’t believe I’m putting peanut butter in my daughter’s hair.” But it worked like a charm. I lathered the peanut butter in her hair and rinsed it out. Then one more wash to get the peanut butter out. Whew! Thank goodness for mom’s who try crazy things! Now to get it out of the carpet…..

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  39. Dottie

    Hi everyone, Just used dawn dish soap in my grandsons hair to get out ALOT of desitan. It WORKED beautiful. I put alot of soap on the dry hair & all the white showed up. Took dry paper towel & kept working it out by rubbing & patting it.Then washed & knew it was gone because his hair squeeked in my hands. Wonderful advice everyone Thank you sooooo much. Dottie It took all of 10 min.

  40. julie

    Hi there, after washing my 3 year old hair 3 times with shampoo without any success I came online to find help and came across this web site. Well just used dish soap on her dry hair (like 2 tsp) rubbed it in and then when to shower her head with warm water (I finished with some conditioner, dish soap is really harsh) and voila! It worked great to remove lots of diaper ointment that ended up by magic in her hair…Thanks a lot!

  41. Joshua Barnett

    My 2 year old just ran over to my couch when I had to grab a replacement pull up for the first one that had a pre-tear in it. I yelled, “Don’t sit down!” as her rear was completely covered with the nasty Desitin. My blanket and couch are now severely spotted. I put the blanket in the wash and hit google to find out what my cleaning options are, and after reading a small sample, I’m sure, of all the people in the world that face the same dilemma (I mean the hundreds of thousand that haven’t posted on here – haha), I had an idea. Since I’m sure my blanket in the wash ISN’T going to come out any better, I remembered how well Thoro (basically lighter fluid) has worked in the past. I had a pair of pants one time that was COVERED in tar I accidentally sat in when I was patching a roof (don’t ask), so I dumped a couple ounces in my washer with the normal amount of laundry soap. The jeans came out looking like new. I’m gonna try it. If it works, I’ll post a reply. Who knows, but I really like my blanket…

  42. Dominique


    I was looking on here how to clean nappy rash cream off suede. My 2 year old decided to paint our Grey microfiber suede couch with cream. After reading suggestions about steam cleaning and not having one, I IRONED my couch. Worked like a treat. All the cream came out. I cleaned up the big globs with a damp cloth first, then while the couch was still damp I put the iron onto the hottest setting and did a test patch. It’s didn’t melt or go funny looking so I kept going. The couch actually looks better than it did before the cream got there

  43. Alicia

    AHH!!! OMG! I have an almost 2 AND almost 3 year old. Seems like they’re partners in crime. Anyways, they got ahold of the tub that we have and when I finally noticed, my son (the 2 year old), had it ALL over his face, and in his hair. My daughter (the 3 year old), just had some in her hair, BUT she’s the one who’s the artist, and she had smeared it all over the table, the doors, and some on the walls. I got that cleaned up, but then I saw our Microfiber recliner….Anyone know what to do for that? This stuff is so AGGRAVATING!! PLEASE HELP!

  44. brandy

    well i have two little girls. My oldest is 2 and youngest is three. I was doing dishes and didnt hear a thing well by my surprise when i looked in on them my yougest was covered head to neck in desitin and my oldest had it alittle in her hair well i used dish soap on my yougest didnt work alot on the greasy part but did get most of it out and threw them in the bath and used alot of sauve shampoo and it got the greasy feeling out but the white is still there but ill try later to give them one more bath and try to get everything else out.

  45. kristina

    You would think ther would be more answers

  46. Simone

    My toddler smeared nappy rash cream all over the carpet today. I found that the best thing for it was boiling a kettle and half filling a large bowl with boiling water and using dishwashing gloves and a rag I just rubbed dishwashing detergent all over the area. I had to use plenty of water and I tried to get a good lather up with lots of soap, but the heat from the boiled water seemed to help. I changed the water regularly to keep it hot and clean, and worked from the outside in, mopping up the water with a dry towel as I went. It still took a long time though, definateley not the way I had envisioned spending the evening.

  47. Michelle

    I tried Greased Lightening and Shout on jeans to remove Desitin and neither one worked. So I tried some Western Family dish soap and warm water and it came right out. On my carpet I used the same dish soap and hot water and scrubbed for a couple of minutes and I could not even see where the stain was. My carpet is dark brown shag and I thought for sure it changed the color of the carpet with how bad it was. I can not even see where the stain was. Thanks for the tips. TRY DISH SOAP FIRST! IT WORKED FOR ME!

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