troubleshooting leaky cloth diapers

For a few weeks now I’ve been second guessing my choice for Flip cloth diapers. Which was a bummer since the majority of our diapers are the Flip variety.

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Once he fit in them, they worked perfectly the first month. Yes, poop gets on the cover and I’d have to wipe it out, but at least it was staying contained. Then all of a sudden we kept getting more and more leaks out the leg holes. I’d strap him in nice in tight in the covers, but leaks were still happening. If he had pants or anything with a leg on, it would have to get changed. He’d be sitting on my lap and all of a sudden my leg would get warm and wet – Hunter pee.

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Frustrated was definitely one of the ways I was feeling. Cloth diapers are an investment, and for them to not do what they are supposed to do was disappointing.

Jacob suggested I go to Cotton Babies to talk with them about it, so I did. He went with me to make sure I was nice. Of course I’d be nice. :)

I told them the problem, we went through our washing routine (read it here) and she suggested I strip the diapers. The stay dry microfiber inserts can get a build up in them, which causes them to repel liquid instead of absorbing it. I didn’t really think it would do anything since my washing routine was going well and I was using clean rinsing detergent and no fabric softeners… so I thought.

I got home, looked at our lint sheets and they clearly state fabric softener on the box. While I don’t put the dryer sheets in with my diapers, they’re used with all our other laundry. Could it be leaving a coating on the dryer then transferring to the diapers? Mmmmm.

I picked up some disposable diapers and began stripping the diapers. All of my cloth diapers, including pocket and all-in-ones (even though they weren’t having any problems) went into the washer on HOT with 1 tbsp blue Dawn dish-washing detergent and about 1/3 cup bleach. After the cycle I kept running HOT cycles until there were no more bubbles. I think I ran about 10 cycles and finally decided that was enough of hot water to waste. Instead of putting them in the dryer I used my new nifty octopus drying hangers from Ikea.

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Once they were dry the true test came. Would they continue to leak? Would I look like I peed my own pants when really Hunter peed on me? Would I still be frustrated and annoyed? Would I stop asking questions and give you an answer?

They held up! Leaks are now gone. Poop and pee stay in the diapers, which means less outfit changes and less frustrations! I’m so so SOOO happy it worked!

Maybe this is happening with your cloth diapers too. If so, I hope this is helpful. One thing to note is I have an old top loading washing machine. If you strip your diapers in a new HE washing machine, the instructions I got from Cotton Babies said to use 1 tsp of Dawn, instead of 1 tbsp. Just so you know.

Cloth diaper users – have you had to deal with anything like this? And how do you handle frustrating situations with stores?

I know I would have been nice even if Jacob hadn’t said anything… I was just super frustrated but I’m always nice. :)

Heather

10 thoughts on “troubleshooting leaky cloth diapers

  1. So far I haven’t had any leak problems with our cloth diapers (GroVia) but I had read a lot about the detergent build up effecting how they absorb. I never use the full amount of detergent but instead use 1/4-1/2 of a scoop and the diapers and inserts still come out clean.

    I try really hard to be nice but some times my frustration overcomes me.

  2. Hey, Heather, Yes I’m still reading! I have bleached my microfiber inserts before which has saved me when the smell started to creep up.. I’m now giving my diapers lots of UV rays outside to dry. Now I must get one of those octopuses!!! It’s adorable and practical. A mom told me to let the diapers get sun, even in winter, even if it’s raining. It helps with stains and bacteria. I can see a cheerful octopus helping fulfill that! Off to ikea soon…

  3. Thanks-your article was super helpful! I am going to strip my diapers because my son’s skin had a bad reaction to Charlie’s Soap. I have only flip covers and stay dry inserts. Did you strip the covers or just the inserts?

    • I think I ended up stripping everything, covers and inserts, but thinking back only the insert are really necessary, since the build up happens in them. Hope that helps you out Courtney!

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