Q&A: Fix for Leaking Cotton Cloth Diapers

Here is a quick email correspondence with a customer who was having problems with her GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system.

From Customer:

Hello BumRite - I'm not sure who to address this email to, but I'm having some problems with the Grovia diapers I bought from you a few months ago. I seem to have a lot of leakages with them and wondered if you had any suggestions about how to avoid this? My son is 7 months old and I have had problems for a few months with his clothes getting wet when he has a wet diaper. I change him more frequently but this doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I don't have this problem with the other diapers that I have (rumparooz) and I wonder if it's because of the cotton inserts. 

Reply to Customer:

Hi!  I am sorry that you are having problems with the diapers.  I assume that you  "prepped" them by washing AND drying at least 5 times before use.  I swear - it took my GroVia soakers 15 times before the really worked well.

The dryer also helps to eliminate the naturally occurring oils in the cotton so that they don't repel.

Do you have access to DAWN dishwashing liquid (the Blue formula)?  It sounds like you have either 1) mineral buildup 2) detergent buildup 3) a combination of the two and you need to "strip" the material with the Blue Dawn.

Here is a "How To" article on washing (read the section about "stripping"):


Also - print this list and take it to the store for proper laundry detergent (you don't want anything that will coat the diapers, like softeners, fragrances, brighteners, etc):

Hope this helps.  We use GroVia during the day and love it - but Cotton can be persnickety.  Once you get it right, though, it is THE BEST diapering fabric available.

Stick with it!


Angela Powell
Chief Bum
BumRite Cloth Diaper Company
(707) 812-1BUM


BumRite Birth to Potty Training Cloth Diaper Package

So many people email or phone us with questions about cloth diapers: they want to do it, but are overwhelmed by the options.

I point them to the BumRite Birth to Potty Training Package that we assembled to make it easy to visually see and read WHY we chose the items that we did.

We advise people to take a look at the package and read the descriptions below.  Now they have a foundation on which to build their own stash, or simply choose colors and click, 'Add to Cart'.

Below is the BumRite Birth to Potty Training Package description.

BumRite Birth to Potty Training Package includes:

We put these products together for the parents that want a simple, complete, top-quality package that will take them from birth to potty training and that includes all of the necessary accessories that will make your cloth diapering experience a breeze.

Why did we put these items together?  We like organic cotton next to our baby's most sensitive parts.  During the Day.  We like the stay-dry comfort and adjustable absorbency ability of a pocket diaper for nights.

Here is what is included in this package - and why we chose it:

GroVia LIVE package
12 versatile one size diaper covers (can use with most fitted and prefold diapers, as well)
24 snap in soakers

If you plan to cloth diaper from 8+ pounds on, you need enough shells to keep in rotation 1) for mitigating laundry chores 2) longevity. 

These will be your most washed, most used natural fiber organic cotton GARMENT (remember this) in the next 3 years.  Each soaker has been commercially wash-tested to last 200+ washes.  24 soakers will get you 4,800 diaper changes.  You may need to add a few packs of extra GroVia soakers later on - but it is always nice to get new fluff.  Keep it in mind, but don't worry about it now.

Newborn poo is runny.  GroVia will hold it in, but it may get on the shell.  That is why we put so many shells in this package: longevity and runny-poopy-ness.  Expect to go through at least 6-8 shells in one day in the beginning.

We also chose the GroVia diaper b.c it also allows you to choose between using the organic cotton soakers OR an earth-friendly/baby-friendly disposable.  Super convenient when needed.

GroVia Boosters 2 2-packs (4 total)

GroVia Boosters are made of 3 layers of thirsty Certified Organic Cotton!  Perfect for naps, nights, or long car rides.  These will boost the absorbency of your diaper without adding bulk!  Great for added absorbency in a pocket diaper, too!

3 FuzziBunz One Size Pocket Diapers

Our nighttime solution when doubled with a JoeyBunz Hemp Doubler (also included!).  FuzziBunz are the most adjustable one size pocket diaper available.  Button-Hole elastic micro-adjust for the perfect fit around the legs and waist. 
pocket diaper keeps his skin dry by using fleece to wick away the moisture into the
absorbent material inside of the pocket.  We get 12+ hours at nights
with this solution!

We put 3 of these in this package.  Expect to use 2/night in the beginning.

Joey Bunz Hemp Inserts for Nights & Naps!
(2-2pk mediums included in this package)

24 GroVia Cloth Wipes

Throw your wipes and dirty diapers into your trash can lined with a pail liner.

We chose the GroVia Cotton Wipes because they are simple, soft and absorbent. Use 1 to clean.  1 to dry. 

We toss our clean wipes into a basket next to our changing table.  No folding.   We simply dip a wipe into a solution of boiled water, tea tree oil, and a mild soap that we keep in a wipe warmer.  We cheat and use Knickernappies Baby Bum Drops to make our solution.

Confession: since we introduced solid food, we use disposable wipes for the Number 2 changes.  Then we follow up with a cloth wipe for a thorough, gentle cleaning.

Diaper Sprayer (optional)

Highly recommended.  At the beginning, you don't need to spray off the "solid" poos.  But when you introduce solid food, poop transforms.  It must be discarded into the toilet.  The diaper sprayer is a wonderful appliance for helping those peanut-buttery, sticky excrement into their rightful place: the toilet.  We'll be using this accessory even after diapering.  It makes a great personal shower (aka bidet), easily rinses out the potty training bowl, etc.  Thankful for our sprayer.

click for more info
2 Diaper Pail Liners

These aren't fancy - but they do the job and have held up well over the last 2 years of constant use!  Line your diaper pail
with this washable, elastic-topped waterproof bag.  When full, simply grab
the bag and haul to your washer.  No drips on the floor! 
No need to touch those dirty diapers!  Dump in diapers into the machine by pushing the bottom.  Toss in bag.   Wash together.

You need 2 because you will continue to change diapers while the first is in the wash.  You also want these to last...


Innovative Seam Sealing

  • Reusable to help further reduce waste
  • Made with sturdy no pill elastic
  • Resists most odors & stains keeping smells in
  • Anti-microbial
  • Made in the USA
  • Innovative leak-proof construction to prevent wicking and leaks. First & ONLY in the industry!
  • Generous sizing to fit most diaper pails or waste cans. (approx. 28" tall & circumference of 54". Can be used alone as well.
  • PVC Free

2 Smalls and 2 Mediums BabyKicks® Joey-Bunz Hemp Inserts

Dimensions are as follows:

  • Small 13½” long, 6” at the widest part of hourglass shape and 4 ½” at the center

  • Medium 15 ¼ ” long, 6” at the widest part of hourglass shape and 4 ½” at the center

love JoeyBunz!  These have the absorbency of 4 layers of hemp, but
since they are only sewn on 1 end - they dry a lot faster!  Love that we
can customize the absorbency of our heavy wetter at night when we
double one (or two) of these with 1 cotton microfiber insert in our
pocket diapers.  These also work fabulously with a prefold diaper
tri-folded around it.  Very Versatile.  Very Slim.

Pouch riders for your Pocket Diapers! Now
you can enjoy the trim, absorbent and easy to use Joey-Bunz with 4
layers of our most luxuriously soft 55% hemp / 45% cotton fleece! These
are only 1/8 of an inch thick, and re-engineered to allow for even
faster drying.

better yet, you can fold our Premium Joey-Bunz in order to have
protection where you need it most.

1 Magic Stick Diaper Ointment

With so many options and so much confusion about WHICH, exactly, diaper wetness barrier is safe for cloth diapers, we included one in this package to alleviate some anxiety.  This is a big purchase and you don't want to ruin the diapers' absorbency by choosing a non-cloth-friendly ointment.  We also love the scent and convenience of the GroVia Magic Stick: no fingers in the bum!


How to care for and wash your cloth diapers

Washing Instructions

These are not the diapers of the 70's!  No diaper service required. 

By washing at home, you get to decide what products and/or (not) chemicals with which you wash your diapers. 

My diaper load is the easiest of all my laundry.  It is already sorted and transportable from the baby's room directly to the washing machine with a pail liner.

HE Washing Machines do the best at cleaning cloth diapers.  Lots of rubbing and agitation gets them clean!  The fast spin at the end helps with drying time, too.  We use a "Bulky" setting for the wash cycle - it adds more water and a thorough soak at the beginning.

Everybody seems to have an opinion on which and how much detergent to use/not use.  What are the rules?
No brighteners, enzymes, fragrances, dyes. Salt-based detergent (NO PLANT, like soy, coconut, etc).

i.e. Don't use anything that will coat the fabric and compromise absorbency!

No waxes or petroleum for the diaper balm.  We use Magic Stick to create a nice, organic, moisture barrier on the skin.

If a yeast infection is suspected - see your doctor.  If you need to use Nystatin cream, switch to a disposable or GroVia BioSoaker.

We use (and sell) Tiny Bubbles on all of our laundry.  It is great for sensitive skin. 

At the Changing Table:

Change baby.  Pee-only diapers can go directly into the pail.

Regarding the Poopy Diapers:
Exclusively breastfed babies make a lovely water-soluble poop that simply washes away in the washer.  Once you introduce solids, though, things change.  You'll need to shake off the solids into the toilet before you put it into the dry pail.  For the sticky ones, a toilet sprayer is helpful.  Now that I've introduced solids to my baby, I SWEAR BY THE TOILET SPRAYER!  (The toilet sprayers are also nice and gentle for post-partum cleansing, toilet bowl cleaning, and later  - potty training bowl rinsing.)

If you choose a fleece-lined diaper, like FuzziBunz or Bum Genius, most solids simply fall into the toilet.  If you go with cotton, like a prefold or GroVia , you can lay a biodegradable liner between the baby and the diaper.  When baby poops, simply grab the ends of the liner, and plop into toilet to flush.  Word of caution: know what kind of plumbing you have in your house before you flush anything besides the norm!  For instance, we have a poop-mulcher/pump because our plumbing terminates in our basement, below the grade of the sewer pipe.  Having already had to replace the $1700 pump once because a tampon was thrown down the toilet, I don't think that the bioliners will have enough time to biodegrade before they are chewed up and wedged in the pump (and I am not going to test my theory).    Same goes for Septic systems.  Caveat Emptor.


A washing and drying process that readies a naturally oily fiber, like cotton and hemp, to become fully absorbent.

Prepping can be a pain, especially when you are excited to start using your diapers right away.  But you only have to do it once and it makes all the difference in the world.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  Cotton and Hemp are my favorite diapering materials - but they can be tricky in the beginning.  The great thing about natural fibers is that you can beat them up in the washing process and they only get more absorbent and soft.

If you are using plain prefolds or hemp, I will offer you a short-cut.  DO NOT do this with the GroVia Soakers or any AIO diapers as it will void the warranty, cause the waterproof material to shrink and render the elastic saggy and worthless.


Dawn Original Dishwashing Soap
  1. Fill 10 quart cooking pot with water. 
  2. Bring to boil.  Take off heat.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoon Dawn Original Dishwashing detergent and stir.
  4. Add cotton diapers, hemp, etc.
  5. Cover with lid and leave overnight.
  6. Throw into washer and wash with detergent and dry once.
  7. Use on baby.
  1. Wash on Hot with normal amount of detergent.  Rinse.
  2. Dry on Med-Hi.
  3. Repeat 5 times.
You may do this with other laundry, like towels, t-shirts, or sheets.  Just don't prep with your other diapers or the oil from the new ones will coat the old ones and cause them all to repel.

Once prepped, all of your diapers can be laundered together from here on out.

Ready to Wash?

1) Grab your full diaper pail liner bag.  Insert new one.
2) Drag bag to washing machine.  Dump diapers in, toss in bag.
3) Set the wash for a Cold prewash/rinse cycle.  No detergent.
4) When complete, set to 'Super Cycle' on Warm with the normal amount of detergent and double rinse.  DO NOT use super duper HOT water on items that contain PUL or TPU (the waterproofing layer).  Hot water will break down the fibers and cause tears, shrinkage, breaking.  And will usually void the manufacturer's warranty.
5) Transfer to dryer on medium heat (be sure to read manufacturer's suggestions as well) or sun/line dry for extra energy savings and natural bleaching. 

My favorite detergents? (in alphabetical order):
*Country Save 
*Tiny Bubbles from The Natural Baby Company
*Tide Free & Clear (for cotton/natural fibers only - contains enzymes)

What does “stripping” the diapers mean and should I be doing it?

Too much detergent, not enough detergent, well-water, hard water, blah blah blah.  If your diapers aren't working the way you think they ought to - or used to - it is time to strip them.

Persistent stink?  Repelling fleece/cotton? Leaky diapers?  You have residue build up and must get rid of it.  Here is how:

  1. Put your diapers in the washer, add 1-2 Tablespoons Dawn Dishwashing Detergent.  DO NOT add too much as this product is not made for the washing machine and causes A LOT of bubbles.  For my HE machine, I simply squirt in what might be 2 seconds worth of a light squeeze.
  2. Run a warm water wash with an extra cold water rinse.
  3. Wash again (short cycle) WITHOUT any detergent to thoroughly rinse your diapers.
Your diapers should be ready to go again - revived!

For tough stains, try the following:

* Wash every 1-2 days.
* Spray with Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator by Bi-O-Kleen before you put soiled diaper into pail.
* Get a toilet sprayer to blow off all the poop directly into toilet (where it belongs!).
* Lay diaper out in the sun for a day (a natural and free disinfectant).
* Use a bit of OxyClean in the second wash cycle.  Use conservatively.

Concerned about Bacteria?

Twice a month, whether we are cloth diapering or not, a good practice is to run a load of sheets, towels, shower curtains, etc with bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide (color-safe).  This sanitizes the basin.
Stinky Diaper Pail?:

Simply toss a cloth wipe (or torn piece of t-shirt) with a few drops of tea tree oil on it into your diaper pail and don't close the lid all the way. Wash with your diapers.  Air circulation is your friend in the diaper pail. 

This and other knowledge articles can be found in our Cloth Diapering 101 section at www.bumritediapers.com.


Everybody needs a special place

Do you have a special place?  A place in your memory to where you can escape - if only for a moment?

I remember a high school health class in which our teacher led us on a relaxation adventure. 

Seated in our classroom, he asked us to imagine a relaxing place - real or made up.  Where are you?  How does it smell?  How do you feel?  Warm?  Cold?  Wet?  Breathe.  Relax your eyes.  What do you see?  Imagine taking off your shoes and socks.  Are you connected with the Earth?  Do you feel the Earth's pull?  Who is with you?  Are you alone?  How does that make you feel?  Breathe.

Fairly progressive for a late 1980's teacher in Puyallup, Washington.  And I am so grateful for that lesson.

At 15 years old, I think my Place was a beach.  The ocean.  Hawaii, maybe.  Palm trees.  Blue water.  Warm sand.  Consistent and rhythmical waves crashing to the shore.  Then receding.

Fast forward 10 years.  

The 25th year of my life was pivotal.  A series of unrelated events compounded to create a feeling of unrest.  What am I doing?  Where am I going?  What am I supposed to be doing?  I was in a relationship that was, in retrospect, well-timed and key to who I am today - but wasn't an exact fit.  My shoulder was so sore from hours of playing volleyball that I needed to down 600mg of Ibuprofen 20  minutes before a match so that I could swing hard and play through the pain.  I was working a corporate job for a quintessential Corporate-America company.  Rapidly advancing.  Recruiters calling.  Company car.  A mortgage.  The works.  

Something was off...yet I kept trudging along.   

Since I wasn't listening to myself or taking care of myself - my body took care of me.  

That Spring, I ruptured my Achilles' Tendon at a National Sales Meeting in Princeton, NJ.  

This story is a blog entry unto itself and the only thing that I will say is, "Heed your mother's advice and wear CLEAN, DECENT underwear.  Always."   You just might find yourself in New Jersey lying face down on an Emergency Room exam table faced with a dilemma: do I let them cut my favorite black velour pants for access to my achilles' tendon OR do I save the pants and expose my g-stringed fanny to a room full of doctors and nurses?

I digress.   In retrospect, snapping my Achilles' tendon in half was a good thing.  It sat me down.  Literally.  It forced me to take a hard look at my life.  And I made some changes.

I broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job and enrolled in SCUBA classes to prepare to go on a one week sailing cruise - ALONE - in the Caribbean.   

I had such an amazing time that first week in the French West Indies, that I decided to extend my vacation.  Another week.  Another sail boat.  This time in the Grenadines and Venezuelan Islands.

I had such an amazing time the second week, that I applied for a job as a Cruise Director.

It was during that Summer as I conjured up Julie McCoy from the Love Boat that my Place was discovered.  Actually,  I have two memories that serve as my Place(s): one from the beginning of the Summer, and one at the finale of my Caribbean journey at the end of the Summer.  Coincidentally, they both happened while sailing back to the port of St Georges Harbor in Grenada.

I refer to my adventure as My Summer of Self-Discovery.  

Place #1) Sitting at the bow.  Alone.  Icing my throbbing Achilles' tendon while gawking at the Millions of Stars.  The Milky Way.  The sound of the massive hull slicing through the black water.  The gentle rolling of the boat.  Humid, silky, salty air.  Endless sky.  Endless opportunity.  Endless, unfamiliar LIFE just beneath the water's surface. 

Place #2) Lying face down on the Widow's Net beyond the bow tip.  My face perfectly positioned between the hexagonal-shaped ropes.  Dusk.  Flying over the water.  Then, from afar, Dolphins.   They came to greet our boat.  Full of curiosity and playfulness, they surfed at our bow.  They darted beneath me.  Their long noses gave the impression that they were smiling.  I couldn't help but smile.  I was flying with them.   Optimistic.  Light.  Hopeful.

I go back often to these Places.  I dream about them.  They flash in front of my eyes when I feel like I cannot take another minute of the Snarky-ness, the Teasing, the Whining.  The Whirling Dervish looks-like-a-Tornado hit our house crazy-ness.

Each day comes to a close.  The boys are fed, bathed, tooth-brushed, PJ'd and cuddled to sleep.

I pour a glass of wine and nod to my husband.  He nods back.  No words are necessary.

We are exhausted.  We are sated.  We are optimistic.

We have our special Place right here.

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