Delaminating Diapers – Can They Be Salvaged? (Part 2)

In spite of my earlier failed attempts to restore a delaminated pocket diaper to its former glory, I was still hopeful that I could come up with a solution to this problem. It’s frustrating if you have a diaper that is otherwise functioning well except for, oh, the waterproof part.

As I mentioned before, you can spot delamination by examining the shiny inside of a diaper cover or pocket diaper. Cracking or bubbling indicates that the laminate is degrading. You’ll see in the photos below that I took a wet sponge, inserted it in the pocket opening of a delaminating bumGenius 4.0, and set a kettlebell on it to simulate the pressure of a baby’s weight on a wet insert. When I removed the weight, the back of the diaper was totally saturated.

Delaminated Cloth Diaper

A quick trip to Joann’s Fabrics was encouraging – I found a few types of patches that seemed like they had potential for cloth diaper repair. In addition, while I was re-organizing some cleaning supplies at home, I came across a can of spray-on water repellent. Score! I assembled a team of delaminated bumGenius 4.0s so that all of my delamination experiments would be performed on essentially the same cloth diaper.

Possible Delamination Repair Products
From L-R: Kiwi Camp Dry silicone spray ($5.79), Dritz nylon patches ($4.49), Singer fabric bandages ($1.99), and Dritz iron-on mending fabric ($3.99).

So I get down to the task of testing each of these options out, starting with the spray-on silicone stuff. I’m perusing the back of the can to figure out the best way to apply it and how long it should dry, when all of a sudden I notice the little warning that, oh, you know, well, this product contains a chemical known to cause cancer. (Someone really should notify the other 49 states about this, because apparently only California knows about it so far.)

Kiwi Camp Dry Causes Cancer

Obviously that’s as far as that experiment went.

Next I applied the three patches. The first two were the stick-on type, one nylon and one plastic. The nylon patch was much easier to apply than the plastic patch, and it also seemed more flexible – kind of like the difference between fabric and plastic Band-Aids. The third patch was an iron-on, which made me nervous considering how I’d recently ruined a delaminated diaper by ironing it. However, I was careful in ironing on the patch and did not allow the iron touch the exposed PUL. I was pleased with how easily I was able to apply the iron-on patch.

Patches for Cloth Diapers

Of course, none of this means anything if the patch doesn’t wash/dry well, so I threw these three diapers in a hot wash with a tiny bit of detergent.

The nylon patch made it through okay, although a couple of corners were beginning to turn up on the patches. I doubt that it will hold up well through repeated washes and the stuffing/unstuffing of inserts.

Nylon patches after washing

The plastic patch peeled off completely in the washing machine. Fail.

Fabric Bandage after washing

And surprisingly, the iron-on patch came through looking great. (There were a couple of loose spots that I hadn’t ironed well enough to begin with, but I re-ironed them after taking this photo.) This diaper is going back into my rotation and I’ll let you know it holds up long enough and well to justify spending money on the patch. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you want to hear how it goes!

Iron-on patch after washing