In the cloth diapering world, there are many different fabrics offered. Some manufacturers only offer synthetic (polyester fleece and suedecloth) inners on their diapers, and some offer only natural fabrics like bamboo and cotton. Why do some people prefer one over the other? Each type of fabric offers different qualities.
Synthetic fabrics claim to wick moisture away from baby’s skin into the soaker. The stay-dry quality is important to many who fear rashes. Some synthetic fabrics may be more resistant to wear than their natural counterparts. Some people feel as though synthetic fabrics cause their baby to be more prone to rashes. This seems to be partly due to the way the fabrics react to detergents used in wash routines. Some choose synthetic fabrics because of their extended life. Others prefer to steer away from synthetic fabrics because of the processing used to create these fabrics. Some of the processing techniques are found in this article.
Natural fabrics have the benefit of being a renewable resource. Cotton, bamboo and hemp are some of the most widely used fabrics in the diaper industry. Bamboo and hemp are especially popular because of their ability to be grown without the use of pesticides and much (if any) irrigation. Cotton, unless it is organic, often uses a significant amount of pesticides in its growth. Both hemp and bamboo are reported to have antimicrobial properties, but this is more likely to be in the treatment of the fabric, rather than the fabric itself. As with synthetic fabrics, some people feel that their baby is more prone to rashes, most often from “being wet.” There is some question about the “friendliness” of the processes used to create bamboo fabrics, yet many look past this because of bamboo’s rapid growth and renewal. I could not find any non-biased research on how bamboo fabrics are made.
Both synthetic and natural fabrics are durable, soft and have wonderful qualities about them. Combined with all the variations for the outer barrier, you can find a truly customized diaper for your family’s needs. No matter what fabrics you choose, you are still making a difference for our world by not using a throw-away product.
Written by: Diane Kovach of DoodleBunz Designs (formerly Pampered Bunz)