How do I stop leaks with pocket diapers?
Pocket diapers, designed to tailor absorbency, are often confused with All-in-one diapers (AIOs) because of their equally waterproof or water resistant exterior fabrics and their ease of use. Though similar, eliminating leaks with all-in-one diapers differs slightly from pocket diapers.
Leaks with pocket diapers may have several causes, but the most common solution can be focused on just what makes these diapers so special in the first place - the pocket.
Perhaps you need extra absorption?
The pocket in the pocket diaper is where the absorbent insert is placed. If your pocket diapers are leaking, consider adding more inserts or a diaper doubler to help boost absorbency. You can even use prefold diapers your child has outgrown to stuff in the pocket for extra protection or for a heavier wetter.
Check pocket diapers for detergent Residue
Pocket diapers are primarily made of polyester materials, which make them an easy candidate for detergent build-up. If you suspect that your pocket diapers are leaking due to detergent residue, try to strip wash them by throwing the pocket diapers into a hot wash without any detergent. While the diapers are washing, take a peek inside to see if there are any soap suds. So long as soap suds are appearing during the wash cycle, you need to continue running the diapers through repeat hot washes. Only when the bubbles are gone are your cloth diapers ready to use again. After getting the diapers clean again, strongly consider a new detergent or use less detergent in your wash.
Do your baby's pocket diapers fit poorly?
Pocket diapers with a poor fit, like all other styles of cloth diapers, will leak. If the insert or prefold diaper placed inside the pocket diaper is too small or too narrow, it won't be able to absorb as much as necessary. If the pocket diaper itself is too big, moisture will escape through the gaps left by the loose fit. If you find the pocket diapers have suddenly started leaking, this may the problem. Measure your baby and move up the next size.
Has the waterproof layer started peeling or suffered wear and tear?
Because cloth diapers stand up to rigorous washing regimes, the waterproofing or lamination layer can start peeling or wearing away over time. Bleach and certain chemicals in stain removers can break down this crucial layer, decreasing the life of the pocket diaper, and contribting to leaks, therefore, these agents should not be used when washing cloth diapers. If this is the case, your pocket diaper will likely need to be replaced or worn when maximum dryness is not an issue.
A Note About Microfiber Pocket Diaper Inserts
Many pocket style diapers include a microfiber insert to be used along with the pocket diaper. Microfiber is highly susceptible to detergent build up. Because the fibers of this fabric are...well...micro, the channels can easily become clogged with the detergent thus making it harder for the fabric to properly absorb. This is usually the most common reason for pocket diaper leaks. If this is the case, perform what we call a "strip wash". This basic wash routine consists of repeated washes with plain hot water on the lowest water level until all of the detergent has been released. We suggest a maintenance "strip wash" once a week or every three washes without any detergent to ensure they remain free of detergent residue.
If you have both pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers in your cloth diapering arsenal, you may want to read about how to stop any leaks with all-in-one diapers as well.