Troubleshooting Cloth Diapers

Stained Diapers


As opposed to synthetic fiber diapers, natural fibered products are more prone to staining. Stains will not harm your diapers or their functionality, but if you prefer stainless diapers, you can treat diaper staining with Buncha Farmer’s Stain Stick. To help remedy staining, try line drying your diapers outside, but be careful not to leave them out there too long as the desert sun can be damaging toelastic and PUL. Bring diapers in immediately upon drying.
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 a diaper sprayer to aide you in removing solid waste.


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. See our Fitting Baby Visual Guide below 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 "Stinky Diapers" below.
Stinky Diapers

Diapers with excess mineral buildup may trap bacteria, which can create 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. Stripping will remove mineral buildup accumulated from washing in untreated hard water. 

  • If your diapers are stinky with an ammonia or “barnyard” smell
  • If you think your diapers are the culprit of rash problems
  • Overuse of rash cream
  • Preparing pre-loved diapers


You must use a laundry treatment such as RLR, Funk Rock, or Mighty Bubbles. Contrary to popular internet mythology, DO NOT use vinegar, baking soda, or dishwashing soap.

  1. Soak clean diapers in hot water between 125° - 135° with added laundry treatment for at least 4 hours (or overnight if preferred).
    • 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.
  2. After soaking, squeeze all water from the items and wash once with detergent and water-softening agent like Colgan or Borax (if needed).

  • 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.
  • Pocket shells and PUL covers usually don’t 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.