Cloth diapers lose absorbency. If you’re experiencing leaks, it doesn’t necessarily mean your diapers are bad. Part of your wash and drying routine could be causing leaks and stinks. There are tricks and hacks to bring cloth diaper absorbency powers back. But first we need to troubleshoot to get to the root of the problem.
How to know if your cloth diaper is losing absorbency
- Leaks: Are your cloth diapers leaking? They may just be struggling to absorb any more liquid. Just because they are leaking does not mean there are absorbency issues. We are creating an in-depth guide to cloth diaper leaks., stay tuned
- Stinky Smells: If you start to notice your little one’s diapers smell bad after just a short time on your babe, your diapers may not be absorbing to full capacity.
- Stiffness: If you choose not to dry your cloth diapers using the dryer, but hang dry them and they’re very stiff once they’re dry you could see absorbency issues. This is because not all of the wash detergent has rinsed completely from the diapers. This could also be an indicator of hard water. See below for how to resolve each of these issues.
Reasons your cloth diaper is losing absorbency
- Laundry: There is a certain way that you need to wash your diapers. If you do not use the correct cycles or water temps you will likely lose absorbency. Please see ClothDiaperBasic.com’s Comprehensive Step by Step Guide: How to Clean Cloth Diapers.
- Detergent buildup: If you’re not rinsing your cloth diapers and inserts thoroughly your detergent could be built up on your diapers, preventing the pee from being able to absorb. You’ll also want to make sure the detergent you’re using works well if you have soft or hard water.
- Fabric Softener: If you dry your diapers using a dryer, then do not use fabric softener. The fabric softener will cause your diapers or inserts to repel pee vs soaking it in. If you hang dry your cloth diapers, avoid liquid fabric softener.
- Hard Water: Hard water can cause mineral build up on your cloth diapers. The mineral can lead to bacteria build up, and cause major absorbency issues. Choosing the right detergent can help combat build up from hard water. You will find built in water softeners in many laundry detergents, more so in powdered detergents than liquids. Sometimes, detergent alone isn’t enough, and you may need to consider having a water softener installed to ensure all of your laundry is getting clean, not just your cloth diapers.
- Wrong Inserts: Different fabrics absorb at different rates. For instance, Hemp absorbs slower than cotton or microfiber. If your little has fast pee, then then the inserts you’re using may not be able to act quick enough. Try different materials, and you may see the end of your absorbency issues.
- They’re all pooped out: Everything has a useful life. Cloth Diapers are no exception. Sometimes you just need to retire them. You should expect you to get a couple of years out of your diapers or inserts with proper care, washing and stripping.
How to improve absorbency, and prolong the life of your cloth diapers
- Laundry: Read ClothDiaperBasics.com’s How to Clean Cloth Diapers: A Comprehensive Guide. We’ll walk you through it.
- Strip them: This is the process of stripping the additives that have built up on your cloth diaper. You shouldn’t need to strip your diapers too often. Read How to Strip Cloth Diapers: The Best Guide.
- Inserts: Sometimes kids just have really big tanks and unload them in their diapers. Inserts can add a layer of absorbency. There is also a variety of different types of inserts that you can use if your little one is
- Vinegar: You can add 3-4 cups of vinegar to your laundry load and using hot water wash your diapers to help remove any detergent or softeners that are built up and preventing diapers from absorbing.. BONUS- it will also help remove any stains that might have lingered.
You have to know when to walk away
Sometimes you just need to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away. There are times when you just won’t be able to bring the absorbency back to life. If you’ve tried all of the hacks and tips we’ve mentioned in this post, and you’re still seeing absorbency issues it may be time to replace your inserts or diapers.
If your diapers have lost their absorbency, try the above tips. They should help bring the absorbency back. If these don’t work, then it’s time to move on to new inserts or diapers.