How do I stop leaks with all-in-one diapers?
All-in-one diapers (AIO) are most usually designed for a trim fit and ultimate convenience, but don't gain too many merits for maximum absorbency. AIOs are not the same as pocket diapers; leaks with pocket diapers are not unheard of either, but the following troubleshooting ideas are to eliminate leaks with AIO diapers:
Use a doubler - Since many AIO diapers do not have as much absorbency as other types of cloth diapers, you can boost absorbency by adding a diaper doubler or insert to the cloth diaper. This should probably be your first step in trying to fix diaper leaks in your AIOs - giving the moisture more places to absorb inside the diaper.
Check the all-in-ones fit - If your AIO is too small, there will not be enough diaper to absorb as much as you need absorbed. If the AIO is too big, it will have gaps, which are basically leaks waiting to happen. Don't be shy about moving up the next size of all-in-one cloth diaper. Measure accurately first to be sure you're using the right size.
Prewash - Most cloth diapers require 3-5 washes prior to use for maximum absorbency. If you haven't had a chance to prewash your diapers fully, this may be why the diaper is leaking.
Cleanse detergent build-up - Detergents, fabric softeners and more can build up a residue in cloth diapers over time causing them to be less absorbent. This is especially true of any cloth diapers with polyester, such as microfiber. If you feel this might be the case with your diapers, you must strip wash them.
Throw the cloth diapers into a hot wash without any detergent and on the lowest water setting. Take a peek during the wash cycle. If you see suds, you're dealing with residue. Keep repeating washings until you don't see any more suds. Only then will the diapers be clean again, and they will be softer again, too. Once your diapers are cleansed of residue, consider switching detergent brands and/or reducing the amount of detergent you use in each load to prevent the problem from reoccurring. Be sure to adjust your water level back to the highest setting for your normal diaper wash routine.
Check waterproofing - The beauty of the all in one cloth diaper is that it comes with a built-in diaper cover. This cover is waterproof or water resistant. If something happens to make the cover less resistant, it will leak. Items such as bleach or enzyme based stain removers can take a serious toll on diaper covers and remove the waterproofing agents. If there is no more waterproofing, there will be leaks. Cleaning items that cause this deterioration should be avoided, of course.
Remember again that AIOs are not the same as pocket diapers and leaks with pocket diapers will be dealt with in a slightly different manner including consideration for interior and exterior fabrics as well as the type of inserts used.