Why are my cloth nappies leaking?

Sprung a leak? Don't worry, leaks can happen especially if you are just starting out.

Leaks generally happen for two main reasons, either the fit is not quite right or you need more absorbency...

Common reasons cloth nappies leak

  • Check your fit. This is the most common reason cloth nappies can leak, especially if you are just starting out. You may have gaping at the legs or the size may need adjusting if you are using an osfm.
  • Check you don't have inserts poking out the top or sides of the nappy. Tuck them inside the water-resistant outer.
  • Are the inserts soaked? If so, you need more absorbency. Layer 2-3 inserts and use natural fibres where possible.
  • Are the inserts new? Natural fibres will increase in absorbency after 5-8 washes.
  • Are you using microfibre inserts? When microfibre inserts are saturated they will expel liquid when compressed. Add absorbency to your nappy with natural fibre inserts.
  • How often are you changing? Unless you are using a dedicated night nappy, cloth nappies should be changed within 2-4 hours. If you are only using one insert you are unlikely to get more than 1-2 hours.


Lesser known causes

  • Sometimes seatbelts and tight clothing/bodysuits can press against the nappy and wick moisture out.
  • As a child gets older they can go through stages of holding onto a wee then expelling a large amount at once and often at speed. This is called flooding the nappy and its when the nappy cannot absorb fast enough. Try adding a fast absorber like cotton flannels/tea towels next to bubs skin.
  • As above, sometimes if your baby is flooding the nappy with a fast wee you may find that stay-dry layer is not allowing the liquid to pass through fast enough, try putting the natural fibres against skin instead.



  • Natural fibres are more absorbent and longer lasting than microfibre which is prone to causing compression leaks.
  • To increase absorbency for heavier wetter try folding an insert and placing it in the 'wet zone'. For example in the front for a boy.
  • If you are laying inserts instead of using the pocket, try using the pocket instead or vice versa.
  • Cotton tea towels/flannels are fast absorbers, use these on top of inserts if your baby is flooding the nappy.
  • Do not put microfibre inserts directly against skin.
  • Some recommend microfibre inserts layered over natural inserts work however we don't believe microfibre absorbs any faster. Try using a fast absorber like prefolds/cotton tea towels or flannels.


Check out our fit guide here →


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