Backwards WMFW- Getting my cloth diaper covers to stop leaking!!!

Backwards WMFW- Getting my cloth diaper covers to stop leaking!!!

Some of you may remember that back before Christmas, I was ecstatic to order 4 new Bummi’s Super Whisper Wraps. Unfortunately, my excitement was only short lived.

They are leaking now, not just from the edges, but even from the back and front panels. It is so bad that I am actually preferring my el-cheapo Gerber’s plastic pants these days- now that’s bad!

I did a bunch of research on this yesterday and came up with the basic idea that the problem may be related to detergent residue, which has hurt the PUL fabric and is allowing the wetness to seep through. I found this info on the Bummi’s website:

  • People have reported problems with the following cleaning agents:
    • All Free and Clear (and other Free and Clear detergents). They have brighteners!! Read labels carefully.
    • Dr. Bronner’s Soap
    • Some versions of Bio-Kleen
    • 7Th Generation
    • Dreft
    • Ivory Snow
    • Most “pure soap” products
  • Products
    that have been damaged by natural cleaning products can sometimes be
    saved! Repeat the following process twice: Run your covers and diapers
    through a wash with only hot water (if allowed by manufacturer’s
    washing instructions). Run a second wash using 1/2 cup baking soda and
    1/2 cup vinegar in the wash – and 1/2 cup vinegar again in first rinse
    cycle. Run a second rinse cycle with plain water.

I use Bio-Kleen detergent, which I had understood was safe to use with diapers and covers, but apparently not with Bummi’s? It also says further down on this “Caring for your Bummi’s” page that too much detergent can make your diapers stink (I haven’t had this problem yet) and make them ineffective (ie. diapers not absorbent, covers not leak-proof). Perhaps I have been using too much detergent?

So, yesterday, I went through the process detailed above (a wash cycle only, then a wash with baking soda and vinegar, then a rinse again). They seem a little bit better today, but still fairly leaky. Not like how they were when I first got them a couple months ago.

And at long last, the question…

Has anyone else had a problem like this with their covers, and were you able to fix it? What did you do? And which detergents do you find work well with your cloth diapers and covers? Please, help me save my precious diaper covers!

My son’s bottom and my overflowing laundry hamper thank you profusely. 🙂

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  1. I use Fuzzi Bunz, but I think it is pretty much the same concept. When I stripped mine, it took about 6 washes in hot water to get it all out. Now I just use Allen’s Naturally and haven’t had a problem since.

    You might want to go a little lighter in the amount of detergent that you are using. Too much could be the source of your problems and not really the brand.

  2. I have that problem from time to time. I try to make sure I use less detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener. Even if you used it in an earlier wash there can be residue that will get on the diapers and covers when you wash them. Also a little squirt of Dawn detergent will help cut out the junk that makes them leak.

  3. Ditto here – I use Fuzzi Bunz as well, with Allen’s Naturally. I only use 1/8th of the recommended amount of detergent, any more than that will cause a residue build-up.


  4. Do you put your covers in the dryer? Run a load of just the covers in a hot wash with nothing else and then put them in the dryer on high. Sometimes the PUL needs a hot dryer to “reseal” it.

  5. I have been using Super Whisper Wraps for a couple of months too. I haven’t had any problems w/ them? I’ve been using Charlie’s Soap. I know someone else that uses Purex All Natural? Maybe changing soaps will make all the difference. I hope so, good luck. 🙂

  6. has the most comprehensive and amazing page on detergents that you could imagine!

    seriously – that should help you out a ton. i don’t use covers (i’m a pocket / AIO girl myself) but if you don’t have the right detergent, everything goes haywire!

  7. I use fuzzi bunz as well, however I also have some bummis covers I use for newborn. Anyway, I’ve tried a lot of different detergents and I have have the best results with Purex. It has worked on all of my diapers, no problem with stinking, striping etc. I have used both regular and the “free” versions and they both work great. I’d say keep washing, switch detergents and use less detergent. It sounds crazy, but I only use 2 Tablespoons of detergent and they get clean. You really should use more than 1/4 cup per load. The rule of thumb I’ve read is that there shouldn’t be suds, you should just see bubbles break the surface & if there is soap in the water during the final rinse, you still have detergent in them and you need to do another rinse. Hope that helps.

  8. I have a variety of different pocket diapers, as well as prefold covers. I have 4 bummi covers, and they are my absolute favorite–that’s why I was sad to hear you were having trouble with them. But then I got to thinking that I had a problem with them a month or so after I got them. They started to stink really badly, and were wet out the outside. I think the problem is that they not made of PUL like Fuzzi Bunz or most other diapers. I suppose that’s why they need to be cleaned differently. At the time, I was using Charlie’s Soap, which is supposedly residue free. I just think that it wasn’t getting the laundry clean enough. So, I switched to Country Save detergent, and my diapers have smelled much fresher, and I have had no wicking or leaking problems!

    My personal thought is that diaper companies tell you what commercial brands of detergents you can use as a bare minimum because they don’t want to scare anyone away by telling them that you have to get some special detergent you’ve never heard of before. But even the recommended commercial and some natural ones have brighteners, which can cause build up. You might check and see if yours has brighteners (you’ll know if it tells you that you’ll have brighter or whiter clothes.)

    If your detergent really is additive free, then are you using any other detergents or fabric softeners in your washing machine? If so, you might want to run a rinse load before you wash diapers so you don’t get build up on your diapers.

    I hope it works out for you! I hate to see good Bummi’s go to waste! 🙂

  9. I use 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz.) of Allen’s detergent per load. We use a few types of diapers and covers (including Bummis) and we’ve never had any problems with any of them.

    You’re not washing the covers with your diapers are you? It can wear them out quickly, but I’m not sure if that would cause leaking.

  10. I’m going to lurk & read your comments…we just started cloth diapering, and I’m trying to get the hang of it, so any tips people share will help!

  11. I agree about the dryer comment 🙂 And you may need to strip them again.

    Do you use bac-out? I’ve been told that using enzymatic detergent is a NO NO, and I’ve used BioKleen regular detergent myself just fine, but I’ve heard people have problems with the bac-out.

  12. That pinstripesandpolkadots laundry chart is AMAZING. I have had much success with Purex Free and Clear in the past and now use only Country Save.

    I agree with the dryer suggestion, too. I’ve never had Bummis leak before, but I have had to run PUL outer pockets through the dryer to help reseal the material.

    Good luck! I KNOW how frustrating leakage can be!

  13. Well, just to add even more confusing options…I’ll submit what works for me!

    I use BG’s and prefolds with Thirsties and Imse Vimse covers (but it’s all the same concept with the PUL).

    I third the recommendation to dry your covers in the dryer. I do believe they need to re-seal every few washes.

    When my diapers need stripping, I wash mine with about 2 Tablespoons of Tide, and about 2 oz of OxiClean. Now I know the other CD mommas out there are about to die at the thought of the oxi clean, but it has stripped my diapers better than any other method I’ve ever tried. I tried it in a moment of desperation and it worked!

    I wash every other day… but about once a week, I wash my dipes on the Whitest Whites cycle on the steam sanitizer with a second rinse. The rest of the time, I wash them with a cold rinse, then Whitest Whites on HOT, then one last cold rinse.

    I’ve had zero trouble with leaking and smelliness.


    -Lauren in NC

  14. I also use the whisper wraps and have so far had no problems(I have used them for over a year now).
    I run a cold wash first with a little detergent- I use sunlight powder from Costco. My second wash is a hot cycle with either a little baking soda or a little bleach. I then do another rinse cycle. Everything goes into the dryer after that. Seems to work for my diapers and covers.


  15. I’m so glad I read this first! I was planning on washing and using my comfy bummi’s (all-in-ones)next month and have Bio-Clean (thinkinh it was a recommended detergent). Now I’m not sure what to use on them. They were quite an investment and I don’t want to mess them up! So I think I’ll just lurk around until I figure out my plann of attack. Thanks so much for this post! Sorry I couldn’t offer any suggestions to help you!

  16. I’ve used Nikwax on PUL covers and it really re-waterproofs them! Look up Nikwax, and you should be able to find it. Hope this can solve the leaking problem for you, as it did for me!

  17. I used regular cloth diapers—with pins, and cheap store bought plastic rubber pants on my kids. Late 80’s—early 90’s. I find with cloth diapers, the cheaper the better. All the new stuff out there costs a fortune and it’s no where near as reliable as old fashioned cloth diapers are!

    I was a teen in the 80’s and babysat to earn money and I changed lots of babies in old fashioned cloth fold up diapers with pins and el-cheapo rubber pants! I credit all those mothers for having made it easier for me to choose cloth diapers for my own kids. If I hadn’t had the experience of babysitting kids in cloth diapers I probably would have used disposables.

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