What are the best cloth diaper inserts?

One of the most frequently asked questions when preparing to use cloth diapers is: what are the best cloth diaper inserts? Let's take a look at the most commonly sold and used insert materials and why some are better than others. 

Let's break it down.

Microfiber (MF)

A wise mom once said, "Your diapers are only as absorbent as the inserts you put in them." This is so true and this is exactly why we stopped manufacturing microfiber inserts here at Easy Peasies. Microfiber gives cloth diapers a bad name, here's why:

It repels water. Contrary to popular belief microfiber is slow to absorb and unlike natural fibers it does not get any faster with age. They were the bottom of the barrel in our absorbency rate test. Watch the video and pay close attention at the end, there is still a pool of water sitting on top of the microfiber while every other insert absorbs the stream almost instantly- take a look.

Compression Leaks. Whether baby is in the carseat, the jolly jumper, the high chair, or on your lap- compression leaks have and will continue to frustrate and baffle many parents, resulting in the cloth diaper itself to get the blame. Too many leaks, too many outfit changes, too much unnecessary laundry. Microfiber is like a sponge, and we all know what happens when you squeeze a sponge full of water. This is known as a compression leak. 

Microfiber stinks. It holds odors like no other, and can cause major deterrence when it comes to using and sticking with cloth diapers. Unlike natural fibers, like cotton, the smell rarely comes out in the wash, doesn't seem to fade with a good sunning, and often times requires complicated and time consuming processes to get rid of the odors. 

Microfiber is harsh. There is a reason why dollar store dusting rags are made of MF. When you look at microfiber under a microscope (pic) the fabric is comprised of tiny hooks- great for collecting dust, but this can really irritate a baby's skin, and is exactly why the brands that sell it advise you not to use it next to your baby's skin. When you wash it, tiny bits of fibres can distribute throughout your laundry at attach itself to the inside of your diaper's fleece, your other inserts, and even your wipes, causing rashes, and other unpleasant side effects.

These are all reasons we recommend you stay far far away from microfiber diaper inserts. 

 

 

Cotton 

Ahhh cotton, doesn't it just make you think of a beautiful field in the evening breeze, or a fresh set of crisp sheets. There is a reason why cotton is so widely used. From your favorite quilt, to your t-shirts, its universally associated with cool, fresh and clean- making it the perfect affordable alternative to microfiber. Here are some reasons we love cotton. 

Very little prepping. Even though cotton does require some prewashing, it reaches its maximum absorbency-potential pretty quickly compared to other options, like hemp for example. Run some water over your cotton inserts, when it soaks right in, its ready to use. Generally after 1-3 good soapy washes- rinsed well of course.

It's cheap. Cotton is super affordable. This allows us to pass that affordability on to you.

Its versatile. You can sun it, bleach it, boost it, and it is completely safe for your baby's skin. You can stuff it in pocket diapers or lay it in on top of the fleece, and just swap the insert out at change time- allowing you to reuse your pocket cover several times. You can do this with hemp or bamboo as well. 

 

Bamboo

The Easy Peasies Bamboo fleece is a dream. Seriously, this stuff is the softest most luxurious fabric I have ever felt, and I have looked at a LOT of fabric samples. Its more expensive than cotton, but you need half the amount so it evens out (for example if you need 2 cotton inserts, you likely only need 1 of our bamboo). Here are a few more reasons this is a favorite.

Minimal Prepping. Our bamboo is blended with cotton, so it needs minimal prepping. Wash 1-2 times and you should be good to go. It will get more absorbent the more you use it though.

You only need 1. Our bamboo is 3 layers of fluffy fleece so you only need 1 per diaper. Most moms report they get between 2-4 hours per bamboo insert which is fantastic for cloth diaper duration. 

You can use it at night too. Before we started making the Dry-Nights AIO diaper, 2 Bamboo trifolds were about the only thing that would get my toddler through the night. They are that thirsty! 

You can quad-fold. My favorite way to fold these inserts is in 4! It gives such a trim diaper between your baby's legs for a more ergonomic fit! You can do this with hemp too! 

 

Hemp

With baby #3 I discovered hemp and boy was it a game changer. So trim, and so thirsty- when fully prepped. It does take a bit more to get it ready to go, which is why more parents choose bamboo, but I will forever be a fan of hemp, here's why:

It's just. so. trim. Trim is a term you will see a lot of when chatting about or reading up on cloth diapers. Its the ultimate goal for most moms. While we all expect a fluffier bottom on a cloth diapered baby, it must be within reason- because like it or not, there are times when your baby needs to wear pants. Hemp is the answer to your trim-diaper prayers. 

It won't compress. The hemp Easy Peasies uses to make our tri (or quad) folds is a hemp terry. Its so densely woven that there is very little air space, meaning very little squishability (is that a word?) for compression leaks to happen. 

It's blended with cotton. Once you wash all the natural oils out of the stuff it absorbs SO fast which you can see in the video here. We attribute the cotton blend to this phenomenon. Its also safe to use next to baby's skin. 

You can boost it. Because our hemp flats are so trim, you can easily boost it with a cotton flat if you need to for nap time, car rides, or other extended wear-time instances. 

 

So what is the best option? If you ask a group of moms what the best insert for cloth diapers are, you will get a rainbow of answers all stemming from features that are most important to them. So what is more important to you?

Best affordable cloth diaper insert? The winner is cotton, hands down!

Best long term cloth diaper insert? The answer is bamboo, its absorbent enough to grow with your baby.

Trimmest cloth diaper insert? Hemp is the one for you. 

 

Check out our insert options and decide what is best for your family. 

 

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