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What to Do When Your Diaper Leaks

Dealing with leaks can be a messy, frustrating process. But with just a little time, effort, and patience, your baby can easily stay clean and dry around the clock.

There are 3 main overall causes of diaper leaks. Here's a rundown of the potential reasons behind these causes, and how to fix them:

1) Absorbency Issues

While our diapers are made from highly absorbent materials, your routine will depend largely on your child’s wetting habits and his/her body. Diapers are not meant to be left on for endless hours, period. So if you’re facing leak issues, test to see first if shortening your time between changes helps first. Diapers typically need to be changed every 3-4 hours. Sometimes sooner if you have a newborn or a heavy-wetter.

Most babies tend to pee just shortly after eating and waking up. So you might want to check on their diaper around that time. 

If you’ve tried changing more frequently, it could be that you might need more absorbency for the diapers. Here are some things you can try:
  • Add extra doublers or inserts. If you're using pocket diapers, use both inserts that the diapers came with. 
  • If you're using pocket diapers and microfiber terry inserts, switch to bamboo inserts, hemp, prefolds or flats. All these alternatives will absorb more than the micro terry inserts.
  • See if changing diaper styles helps. If you're using pockets or AIO's, try a 2-part system with fitted diapers, prefolds or flats and covers. And try adding extra doublers with those as well.

2) Sizing & Fit Issues

Diapers that are too big, too small, or just have a poor fit will cause diapers to leak.

If your baby is too small, the diaper may not tuck tightly around his/her waist & legs, leaving gaps for pee to leak out. One-size diapers usually don't start fitting well until babies are at least 9-10 lbs. Get a size smaller if this is the case with you. We have a variety of newborn options for babies that don't yet fit into our one-sized diapers.

If your baby is too big, the diaper might not provide enough absorbency. Either size up or add extra inserts & doublers.

For baby boys, make sure you're pointing his penis down before tucking the fresh diaper around him. This will help keep wetness within the diaper, instead of up and out.

Another possible reason for unwanted wetness? Your baby’s onesie might be creeping up into the diaper, and getting wet in the process.

Is your baby’s diaper the right size? Here’s how to check: 

A well-fitting diaper is snug on all sides, with no gaps between fabric and skin. Leaks will slide out of any hole they can find, so make absolutely sure your little girl/boy is cozy and secure before scooping them off the changing table.

3. Repelling Issues

If you've got residues or buildup in your diapers, the diaper will repel wetness and not absorb it. To test for this, try pouring some warm water into the inside of the diaper. Does it absorb straight into the fabric, or just roll around without ever soaking in? As long as the water soaks in, you’re good. So don’t panic if the drop rolls around for a moment before being absorbed. But if water isn't getting absorbed, then your diapers are repelling.

It's important to know what causes this so you can fix it and prevent it from happening again. Repelling can be caused by any of the following:
  • You have hard water. Sometimes hard water can leave mineral residues in your diapers that prevents them from getting completely clean. If you have hard water in your house, you need to be using a water softener or a laundry additive that helps soften the water. Calgon or RLR is a great for this. 
  • You’re using diaper cream without a protective liner in the diaper. Most commercial diaper creams that contain petroleum or mineral oils will coat the fibers of your diapers and will cause them to repel and leak. If you need to use a diaper cream, look for those that are safe for cloth diapers and we suggest using a liner when doing so. Make sure to wash the liner separate from the other diapers so that residue is not deposited onto other items
  • You’ve used fabric softener/dryer sheets, or someone threw a dryer sheet into the dry cycle. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets will leave a waxy residue on your diapers that, while making them feel soft, will also prevent them from absorbing wetness and cause leaks.
  • You're using the wrong detergent. Detergent that isn't safe for cloth diapers can leave residues and buildup that cause diapers to stink and leak. Purchase a detergent specifically intended FOR cloth diapers
How to fix repelling diapers:

If your diaper is indeed repelling wetness and causing your diapers to leak, follow the instructions below to "re-set" your diapers:
  1. Soak your CLEAN diapers in hot water (up to 140F) with just RLR (2-3 packs) or Calgon (1/2 cup) for about 3-4 hours. No detergent. 
  2. Agitate or stir the diapers once in a while to help loosen things up.
  3. Drain and spin the diapers dry.
  4. Run the diapers through a hot wash with no detergent to make sure everything gets rinsed out.
  5. Dry as normal.
If your diapers are still repelling, repeat the process.

One your diapers are clean and working properly again, make sure to follow a good wash routine to prevent the problem from happening again.