My Diapers Leak/Smell


Many moms ask ‘Why does my baby's diaper leak? ’. Here are some tips to follow.

  • Does the diaper need to be changed?
    • Any diaper will leak once full. If your baby is having problems with leaks, check this first. The vast majority of the time we hear this question, additional absorbency or more frequent diaper changes solves leakage problems. If the diaper is heavy when it leaks, it means its has reached its absorbency limit.
  • Make sure that you washed everything at least once before using.
    • If you have charcoal bamboo, bamboo terry or hemp diapers, they must be prewashed in hot water with a small amount of detergent 3-5 times before they become absorbent. They reach their full absorbency after 10 washes.
  • Is the insert flat?
    • Make sure that the insert is flat when you put the diaper on your baby. If it is twisted or wadded up, this can cause leakage.
  • Is the wetness at the top edge of the diaper?
    • Make sure that the insert isn’t pushed up too far in the front of the diaper. The insert should be placed approximately one inch below the top edge of the diaper. The top edge of the diaper should be flat against your baby with the soft fabric against your baby’s belly.
  • Is the wetness at the legs, label or the tabs?
    • If the diaper is leaking from the tabs or the legs, change the diaper and remove the insert. If it is saturated then your baby needs a more absorbent insert or a more frequent diaper change. If the insert isn’t saturated, then the diaper may not be adjusted to fit your child properly. See that the fit around the thighs is snug.
  • Is the diaper fitted properly?
    • To properly absorb, the inner fabric needs to be against your baby’s skin and pressure needs to be applied. If the diaper isn’t fitted properly and is hanging away from your baby’s bottom, liquid can pool and may run out of the diaper.  If this is the case, try adjusting the diaper up one rise setting.  If the diaper is too tight, it can also cause leakage.  Make sure that the bottom edge of the diaper is at or just below your baby’s belly button and that the elastic is fitted to their legs, but not uncomfortably tight.  If it looks like it would be uncomfortable for you to wear, adjust it.  If you’re not sure that you’ve got it right, email a photo of your baby to us at We’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot fit.
  • Does diaper need 'Stripping'
    • After continuous usage and wash cycles, diapers get a layer of detergent on top, that prevents them from absorbing to their capacity. At this stage, diapers are said to be 'Repelling'. A truly repelling diaper meets the following requirements:
      • The diaper is properly fitted to your child.
      • The diaper has leaked a significant volume of liquid (this isn't just damp clothing).
      • The insert is nearly dry. This indicates that the diaper repelled the pee instead of absorbing it.

        If the diaper is truly repelling, it needs to be 'Stripped' to fix the problem. The best way to strip cloth diapers is to wash them in 'hot, but not boiling' water 3-5 times, without a detergent. 90% of the times, the problem will be fixed. If you still feel you have the repelling issue, add some mild vinegar to the water and wash one more time.

        A WORD OF CAUTION: You cannot test for repelling by pouring water into your diapers. The only accurate way to test for repelling it to put the diaper on your baby. 

Some moms also ask 'My baby's diaper stinks even after just one pee'... Why is that

Please note that these cloth diapers do not contain any artificial aromatic chemicals or smell repressents. So, some smell after a period of wearing is natural. Having said that, if you feel that your diaper starts smelling like 'ammonia' even after one pee, it might be because of ammonia buildup on the diaper inner surface, which happens after repeated usage. If so, your diaper needs Stripping. See the stripping instructions above.


(Written with input from Bumgenius troubleshooting guide)