DIY Cloth Diaper Repair

IMG_1965We like to think a cloth diaper is forever, but after months or years of regular use, diapers will wear. Think if you wore your favorite t-shirt once every day or two… for several years. When a diaper breaks down, don’t fret! Most any cloth diaper repair can be done with scissors, a seam ripper, and a few basic supplies you can find at a craft or fabric store locally or online. You can also look for a local seamstress to do almost all of these repairs for a nominal fee per diaper.

Consider the type of repair and if it matters to you. For example, we have a fitted that has a few worn holes in it. They are essentially cosmetic, as the diaper retains its function. Our large hanging wetbag, after three years of heavy duty use, has TPU that stretched and delaminated. As those spots were at the top of the bag, it did not harm the function and the bag is still going strong.

A small hole, even in the TPU/PUL of a diaper or wet bag, may not cause issue depending on its size and placement. You can sew on a patch, purchasing TPU/PUL fabric at a craft or fabric store for less than a dollar. Likewise, a hole in an insert, pre-fold, or fitted may be fixed with just some stitching or a small patch of absorbent material. Repurposing the material as a cleaning rag in your home or garage may prove the most useful way to utilize an insert at the end of its life.

Elastic is one thing that really does need attention for proper use of the diaper. You can stretch your luck (literally!) by tightening the hip or waist snaps more tightly to compensate for the loose elastic; eventually you may need to replace it. Some brands sell repair kits, or you can find elastic at almost any store with a craft isle. A cotton blend of elastic usually holds up best but most any can work. Google online for a pattern, video tutorial, or just eye ball it yourself if you feel adventurous. The new piece of elastic will be shorter than the one you are removing. A seam ripper and sewing machine are helpful to best care for your diaper but not necessary. Consider looking at your specific diaper brand’s website for information or contacting them to see if they have particular tips or suggestions to best care for your diaper.

Replacing aplix/Velcro also involves very little expertise. Again, your craft store for a seam ripper and materials will suffice. You can remove the old aplix yourself (carefully!), and then use a friend’s sewing machine or ask a seamstress to finish the job. Replacing/Converting to snaps requires some familiarity with a snap presser. Again, borrow to save cost or purchase one for yourself if you are converting a large quantity of snaps.

If you don’t want to repair a diaper but it still has life, consider donating to The Rebecca Foundation, which takes diapers even in need of repairs. You could ask on a buy, sell, and trade page if another family would like your diapers. You can also consider second uses for your diapers. They fit baby dolls or are great for use in pretend play. A delaminated diaper can still make a great swim diaper too, so a diaper can go on living long after it finishes the most functional time of its life.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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