Discover the Important Difference Between Diaper FabricDelve into the world of cloth diapering and you soon become aware that diaper fabric can be just as elusive to understand as brands and styles of diapers. What is suede cloth good for? What fabrics are the most absorbent? Should you favor breathable cover materials? Is bamboo worth the extra cost? While you can certainly order one of everything, testing out the pros and cons yourself, it’s more cost effective to study the various issues and making a more informed decision before you purchase. Below we will discuss the most common diaper fabrics in the market.
Absorbent Diaper Fabrics
The absorbent diaper fabrics make up the bulk of a cloth diaper. These are the materials that make the diapers effective and workable for the average family. Each has its own pros and cons.
Cotton- This is the most common category of absorbent diaper fabrics. Cotton indicates what fiber is actually used to make each type of fabric. Cotton can be milled to create woven fabrics such as flannel and terry cloth. However, modern cloth diapers favor flexible knit fabrics, including interlock, jersey, Sherpa, French terry, velour and knit terry cloth. Look for fabrics that have at least a 75-80% ratio of cotton fiber.
Hemp- This fabric is highly recommended by parents who are eco-minded. This diaper fabric is not only earth-friendly, but extremely durable. Hemp fabric is not, however, quite as soft as some of the other absorbent fabrics, so it may not be ideal for the lining or interior.
Bamboo- For the ultimate softness, bamboo is the go-to fiber. It is often mixed with other fibers, such as cotton, to increase durability. Bamboo is sustainably grown, making it very environmentally friendly.
Waterproof Diaper Fabrics
While the ability to soak up moisture is crucial for the main diaper fabrics, covers must use diaper fabrics that repel wetness effectively. There are several common choices.
PUL- Polyurethane laminate fabric is the most widely used diaper fabric for cloth covers. Any type of fabric can be laminated to make a waterproof barrier. However, in most cases, plain or printed knits are used as the base. PUL is the most effective material, and it's able to contain even the soggiest diaper. It is, however, not as breathable as other choices.
Wool- Cloth diapering purists tend to favor natural fibers, both for the diapers and for the cover. Wool is the most sustainable and natural cover material. Wool covers can be as simple as knitted pants or as detailed as a felted wool wrap. The denser the wool, the more effective the cover will be. Wool actually absorbs and locks in wetness, so it is susceptible to compression leaks and may become saturated with overnight use.
Fleece- This cover is a man-made material but makes use of recycled materials. Different types of polar fleece vary in quality and not all are ideal for use as diaper covers. Malden Mills creates good polar fleece for diaper covers, though this cover option has slowly faded from product lines in favor of trimmer diaper fabric options.
There are, of course, many other types of diaper fabrics from which to choose. For example, materials such as suede cloth and thin fleece can draw moisture away from the skin and into the interior of the diaper. Liners feature a thin layer of biodegradable fabric than can be flushed. For more help understanding diaper fabric, ask the experts at Kelly’s Closet.