Cloth Diapering Woes: Repelling.

This has been a hard week for me and my cloth diapers. In all the time I’ve been cloth diapering, I’ve been able to say one thing: My diapers don’t leak. Although I did have some issues finding a good night time solution for my heavy wetter 9-month old, my cloth diapers have always been every bit as reliable as disposables, if not more so.

I’ve read horror stories of people’s diapers “repelling”, but it had never happened to me. I try to be careful. I use cloth diaper safe detergent and rash ointment. Rinse thoroughly. No dryer sheets. It’s worked for almost four years.

But this week my diapers started failing me. BIG time. I was nursing the baby while we were eating out last Sunday, and he leaked all over me. It was so bad you would have thought he wasn’t wearing a diaper. I had just changed him thirty minutes previously, but I thought it might be a fluke. Maybe he somehow peed out the side or top of the diaper. Over the next few days he had several more leaks, mostly by the legs of his diapers. Then my three year old started having leaks out of freshly changed diapers as well.

The most frustrating moment of the week was probably Friday afternoon. My mom was in town from AZ, and we were getting family pictures taken that evening. We spent all day running around to find some new pants for Isaiah, since his current pants were getting to short. I changed his diaper, we put on his new pants, and before we could get his shirt changed, he had leaked all over his brand new pants. With no time to get them washed and dried before pictures. Ahhh! Not a good moment!

Repelling seems to have hit my stash! If you are new to cloth diapers, repelling is something that can happen over time if your diapers develop build up from detergent or ointments. I’m wondering if mine was caused by the oils from some new natural fiber diapers I recently added to my stash. I washed them several times before washing with my other diapers, but I’m wondering if they weren’t quite prepped enough, and the oils from them have built up on my other diapers. I’ve also been using a rash ointment fairly often, but its one that is supposed to be cloth diaper safe.

So tonight while I write this post I am “stripping” my diapers for the first time. My husband picked up some blue dawn for me this afternoon, and I am hoping it works!

The "magic" stuff.


My plan is:

Regular wash cycle for dirty diapers (cold rinse, hot wash w/detergent, cold rinse).

Squirt of blue dawn, hot wash.

Another full hot wash.

Cold rinses until I don’t see any more bubbles.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! If you have any other tips or tricks that have helped you with repelling, I’d love to read them in the comments.


About Melissa

Melissa is a homeschooling mom to five children, ages 9, 7, 4, 2, and one brand new munchkin!. She loves blogging about her journey as a cloth diapering and breastfeeding mom - the good, the bad, and the chaotic, and helping other moms along the way.

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  • Samantha Jenkins

    I’m going through this right now and it must be the natural fibered diapers. I just got two new bamboo diapers and didn’t know I needed to prep them separately. :( Looks like I’ll be stripping my diapers too. Good Luck!