Sunday, 11 October 2015

Troubleshooting Cloth Diaper Leaks

The most obvious reason:
It may be that the inserts are full. Sometimes the inserts do fill up. Why? Sometimes your baby will pee enough to fill the inserts.

The Inserts Soaked or Heavy  

If the diaper has leaked and the inserts ARE HEAVY, it means you need more layers of absorbency and/or need to change your baby more frequently as bladders grow.

  •  New cotton, bamboo, and hemp inserts may need to be washed 3-6 times before they become fully absorbent.  If you have new natural fiber diapers wash them a few more times and see if they still leak.
  • If you are having leaks with just one insert in a pocket diaper add the second insert before trying other tricks. 
  • Hemp and bamboo inserts or doublers may provide more absorbency than microfiber or cotton.  Hemp works really well when placed behind a microfiber insert.  Microfiber is quick to absorb, and hemp will hold more pee and is trim.  Note: Microfiber is typically used inside of a pocket and should not be placed directly next to your child’s skin.
  • Fitted diapers paired with a cover provide even more absorbency and are a preferred overnight option.  Please note that fitted diapers are absorbent across the entire diaper and not just in the wet zone. 


You can find out if you are fitting your baby snugly if you cannot put more than one finger inside the diaper. A poorly fitted diaper might also result in leaks. Diapers that are too small or too big will cause leaking. If you're using a one-size diaper, they may not begin to fit properly until your baby is roughly 8-10 lbs.  Newborns may or may not fit into a one-size diaper at birth depending on how much they weigh.  For smaller newborns, a sized or newborn specific diaper might fit for the first several weeks. 

To get a good Fit:
  • Snug fit. Not too tight neither too loose
  • Be sure that your diaper is fitting inside the leg rolls where the natural underwear line would be. Not around the thighs
  • Boys tend to pee in the front or towards the top of the diaper.  Girls tend to pee in the middle of the diaper.You may need to adjust where the absorbent layers are or add an extra insert where they need it most. 
  • For those with boys, please make sure boy bits are pointed downwards
 In case of AI2 – Marvy / FAP AIO
Just make sure everything is tucked in. If the insert(s) are peeking through the legs, then once that moisture wicks through the insert, it will naturally continue to the outside shell of the diaper via the "peeking" insert.

Clean Inserts Have A Faint Smell Of Ammonia Or Urine:

This is easy to fix. The detergent build up often happens when the detergent is not completely washed out from the diapers. This mainly happens if you use more than the recommended detergent or there is not enough water during the washing. The good news is that all of this is curable. In order to get rid of excess detergent build up on the Inserts (not the diaper covers/Pockets) you need to wash them in hot water (60 C) at least 3 times *without any detergent.*
 Please use the maximum water possible. If you have Front loading washing machine that doesn't put in loads of water on its own then use a wet towel to trick the machine into thinking there is more clothes.

Also, DO NOT use any kind of fabric softener during or after washing the diapers. Read the labeling on your detergent to check if there is any kind of fabric softener, if there is you should not use it. They will inhibit the absorbency of the inserts.

Are Your Inserts Absorbing Well Or Working Like They Should?

We can easily find it out.
Even if there is no smell of ammonia, just to see if your inserts are absorbing well you could try this test out.
Take some water in the palm of your hand and drop it on a fresh insert. Use your fingers to apply a bit of pressure to the water to kind of push it into the fabric. If the water beads up on top of the inserts, it means that they are not absorbing and thus explains the leaking, which moisture is escaping from the sides because the inserts are not sucking it up like they should? This again can be easily fixed. Just wash the inserts (not the diaper covers) in hot water (60 C) at least 3 times. If you have Front loading washing machine that doesn't put in loads of water on its own then use a wet towel to trick the machine into thinking there is more clothes. Try the test again. If the inserts still don't absorb readily, then you need to wash again.

Mineral/Residue Build up

Hard water minerals can get trapped in the fibers of your diapers and prevent the detergent from rinsing clean.  This can cause your diapers to leak or repel.  Additionally, if you have used fabric softener, fragrances, dyes or diaper creams with your diapers they may be clogging the fibers of your diapers. If you have soap scum or mineral buildup to the point that your diapers are repelling, it’s time to strip and bleach   

You may know have lot of questions on how to fix them. Watch our next article on stripping your diapers  ! Coming Soon!