Cloth Diapers Should NOT Leak

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leaking diaper

Do you cloth diaper and have leaks at every single diaper change? Are you frustrated and ready to quit cloth diapering?? Cloth Diapers should not leak! Leaking cloth diapers are NOT normal, and this generally means something is wrong. Not to fear! I hope this will help you decide what the problem is before you give up on cloth all together!

Reasons for leaks (and blowouts – these shouldn’t happen either):

1) Inserts are not fully prepped: This happens with new diapers only! When using cotton, bamboo and hemp fired inserts must be washed and dried a minimum of 5x before use. Even with this amount of prepping they are not fully prepped. It takes a full 10+ wash and dry cycles for these natural fibers  to reach their maximum absorbancy. When you use them with only 5 cycles you will have to change more often!

Solution: Wash and dry a few more times! Do not fret, once fully prepped the absorbency of these fires will amaze you.

2) Poor fit: This is common with newborns when using one size diapers. When diapers are too big, they will leak from gaps around the legs. Be sure that the diaper fits snuggly around the legs and waist. Fit leaks are also common with brands that do not provide a good fit around the legs because they are to bulky, elastics are not strong enough or they are too wide in between the legs.

Diapers that are too small will also leak. If you are using a newborn diaper or size 1 diaper and they begin leaking it may be time to adjust the rise on a one size diaper or change to a size 2!

Solution: Try adjusting the rise or changing size. A different brand may fit your baby better. Each brand and diaper style will fit differently. If you don’t think your diaper is fitting properly, send me a picture and I will help you trouble shoot!

3) Diaper Elastics Need Repair: Cloth diapers should fit snug. There should be no space between babies skin and the elastics. Slight indents on babies skin are normal. When elastics break down (due to prolonged use, poor detergent choice or hanging to dry) leaks will start to happen. To check how the elastics are, simply lay the diaper flat on the floor. The elastics should bunch up, not remain flat with the floor.

Solution: Have the elastics repaired. We offer bumGenius elastic repair kits and have a GroVia elastic repair tutorial.  If you are handy with a sewing machine elastic repair should be a cinch! Need help, send us a message!

4) Compression Leaks: Microfiber inserts are the biggest culprit for this. If an inserts is close to being wet through, a when pressure is applied you will get a leak. That being said not all microfiber inserts are created equal and some brands will hold more than others.

Solution: Add a booster or change to a natural fiber insert like bamboo or hemp will minimize or eliminate this type of leak.

5) Inserts are repelling: To test for this, simply take a clean and dry insert and pour some water on the top. With gentle pressure the water should absorb into the diaper. If the water beads on the top, your inserts are not absorbing as they should. When inserts repel, it may be time to strip. (*With a good, simple wash routine stripping shouldn’t be needed). Repelling can happen for the following reasons: repeated washing with a poor detergent or fabric softener, use of dryer sheets/bars, using a non-cloth safe cream.

Solution: Eliminate the problem. (simple detergent switch, eliminate softeners and dryer sheets etc). If stripping is required we recommend a blue dawn strip in the bathtub, rinse well then rinse in the washing machine!



I am sure there are a few more reasons that I am missing, but the moral of the story is a good fitting cloth diaper will not leak! If it is leaking, there is a problem.

If you are struggling with leaks and can’t determine the cause Contact Us and I will be happy to help!!!!


Owner/Operator, The Diaper Drawer, Lethbridge Alberta

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21 Comments on “Cloth Diapers Should NOT Leak”

  1. These are some good tips! I see a lot of people on the larger swap/chat boards talk about how important stripping is. It’s not the primary way to prevent/stop leaks and is often unnecessary. A good fit really is the most important thing. 🙂

  2. Very useful tips. I will keep these in mind when I start to cloth diaper my little one. It’s good to know where to find this kind of info.
    Thanks 🙂

  3. Yes I found compression leaks very frustrating but by adding natural fibres(AMP bamboo trifolds) to my diaper stash problem solved. Also adjusting fit as my baby grows and changes!

  4. Help. I tried to make my own laundry detergent at home. It had borax in it which I have read a lot about how it breaks down the fibers of the liners. I have tried stripping them (rinsing repeatedly in hot water and soaking in vinegar) and it helped a bit. Are the liners destroyed ?

  5. This is not commonly discussed. My leaking problems are from the label. Moisture seeps around labels sewn into the diaper. All brands, so I know they can’t all be defective.
    Too bad most companies don’t tag their products instead.

    1. A simple fix for this is 10 minutes on the dryer on medium heat. If diapers are leaking around the tag it means the PUL is not fully sealed, and the dryer can help re-seal. OR, the insert just can’t handle that amount of pee and is overly saturated. The first place a diaper will leak is at the seams where sewing occurs. bumGenius labels are a tag 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  6. I am using pocket diapers, and I am so frustrated with leaks I am about to give up on them! They used to leak around the legs because his legs were so small. Now at 4 months, his legs are big enough that this doesn’t happen. Now they are leaking in the back!
    I have Alva Baby all-in-two pocket diapers with microfiber inserts, buttons, and elastic in the back. The inserts seem to be absorbing well, as they are quite full of urine. During the night is the worst, so I tried using two inserts, but they still leak up his back. The elastic on the back is tight to his skin, so it doesn’t seem to be a fitting problem. I also make sure no part of the diaper is sticking out from the inside, and that his clothes are not tucked into the diaper.
    Any other suggestions? I am ready to give up on cloth diapers!

    1. Sorry these comments weren’t coming to me for some reason!! Alva’s tend to have this problem. Not all microfiber is created equal. The microfiber inserts are not absorbent enough. The best options are to change brands or purchase some Bamboo inserts, something like AMP Bamboo Trifolds. I have seen so many give up on cloth due to this brand. If you need help please email me or message me at the page! Sorry for the slow response!!!!!

  7. I’m having leakage problems. I’m using Alva diapers. Yes I know not the best ones out there. However, I’m using amp trifold bamboo inserts. I’m still getting leakage. I’ve doubled up on the inserts and she’s still leaking. Now she’s a heavy wetter, but there has to be something I can do. I have 4 amp diapers and I find these are even worse than the alvas for leaking. So I’m willing to spend the money, I’m just not willing to spend it on diapers that still don’t work. Now my daughter is a chubby gal. She’s got pretty chunky thighs. That’s where all the leaking is happening. now my question is, do I spend the money on new inserts or on new diapers?

  8. My daughter is a heavy wetter, I am using Flip covers and GroVia with microfiber inserts and find she is soaking through causing leaking. She is also getting a sore bum… I have had 2 big blowouts as well even with the proper fit. I am VERY ready to give up but really wanted to try cloth. Help!

    1. Hi Alison! Is this for night time? Or day? How often are you changing? For nights the ONLY Diaper I can get through the night with the GroVia ONE diaper.If you want Please PM us at our Facebook page and we are happy to help you trouble shoot!

  9. I have bumgenius 4.0 pockets. my daughter used them, now we are on our second child, my son using them. hes been in them for 5 months and weve noticed leaks….not by the legs necessarily ( i replaced all the elastics) but through the PUL. its almost like the PUL has lost its ability to keep the wetness inside. Is this what you think might be happening? If so what should i do? any way to save these. Id really like to save them and NOT have to buy new ones.

  10. Mine are leaking at the seams (leg or back) and the inserts aren’t fully wet. Often happens on his first pee in the nappy. I have 4 different brands of diaper and about 10 different inserts. It happens with all of them. The only thing I cannot think is that he pees with such force and so much that it doesn’t have time to absorb in. Could this be the issue?

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