COPY - Troubleshooting Your Cloth Diapers

Leaky Diapers

  • Diapers can leak if they are not absorbent enough. As a baby grows, more absorbency may be needed. Try adding an additional insert or fold the insert differently. Baby boys may need double in the front.
  • Diapers can leak due to improper fit technique. Make sure legs and waist fit snug and no "fluff" is peaking out from the leg area. Check out our Fitting Baby diagram for more help.
  • Diapers can leak if the diaper is the wrong size. Make sure the size is appropriate. Babies too big or too small may not fit into "one-size" diapers.
  • Diapers can leak if they have been washed in hard water for too long without an added softening agent. See stripping instructions below.

Stained Diapers

Natural fiber diapers, as opposed to synthetic fiber diapers, are more prone to staining. Stains will not harm your diapers or their use, but if you prefer stainless diapers, you can treat diaper staining with Buncha Farmer’s Stain Stick. To help prevent stains from appearing, you can line dry your diapers outside. Be cautious when line drying though; if you leave your diapers outside for extended periods of time, the sun may damage your diapers and disintegrate your diaper fibers. Keep your outside drying time limited. Also, just like any other article of clothing, if you rinse your diaper with cold water as soon as possible, you can help avoid staining. Try using our Diaper Sprayer to aide you in removing solid waste.

Got Stinky Diapers? Consider "Stripping" Them:

Stripping will remove mineral buildup accumulated from washing in untreated hard water. Diapers with excess mineral buildup trap bacteria and have either an ammonia smell, usually present after baby pees, or a barnyard or “fishy” stink, usually more obvious when fresh out of the dryer. The bacteria trapped in the fibers of the diaper can cause chemical burns or rashes, and can also inhibit absorbency.

When to "Strip" Your Diapers:

  • If your diapers are stinky, such as ammonia or “barnyard” smell
  • If you think they are the culprit of rash problems

  • Overuse of rash cream
  • Preparing pre-loved diapers

How to "Strip" Your Diapers:

You must use a recognized laundry treatment such as RLRGrovia Mighty Bubbles or Funk Rock. Contrary to popular internet mythology, DO NOT use vinegar, baking soda, dishwashing soap or any of the other crazy suggestions that abound in cyber space!
  • Soak clean diapers in very hot water between 125° - 135° with RLR, Grovia Mighty Bubbles or Funk Rock for at least 4 hours (or overnight if preferred). Use the amount recommended on the package.
  • If you do not have a top load washing machine, diapers may have to be soaked in a tub or utility sink.
  • Water must be over 125° and not more than 135°. Less than 125° will not allow the laundry treatment to penetrate the fabric properly and more than 135° may harm your diapers.
  • After soaking, squeeze all the water from the items and wash once with detergent and a water-softening agent like Calgon or Borax if needed.
  • A 1/2 cup of detergent can be added to the stripping liquid as the surfactants in the detergent will help rinse away the yuckies.

Pocket shells and PUL covers usually do not need to be stripped, unless you are trying to remove buildup from overuse of rash cream or if you have used detergent that is not recommended for cloth diapers.

How to Avoid Stink Issues:

A change to your wash routine must be implemented after stripping your diapers to avoid the problems reoccurring. Consider adding a water softening agent to your routine or adjust the type/amount of laundry detergent being used.