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Monday, September 26, 2011

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Before You Buy Natural

One of the best parts about cloth diapers made with natural materials is that there really is something for everyone. There may only be a few certain fibers that diapers are typically made with, like cotton, hemp and bamboo, but they can be woven so many different ways. They come in different textures and absorbencies, and some have stretch and give more than others. So, if you’re looking for a natural alternative you shouldn’t have a problem finding a diaper that’s right for you.

Here are some examples of the different natural fabrics that are available along with a small description and some specific products:

Hemp Jersey- Thin t-shirt type material. Very absorbent, trim, and has some “give”. Not quite as durable as fleece or terry. (BabyKicks JoeyBunz, Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds)
Hemp Fleece- Very soft and more absorbent than jersey. After extended use it will lose some of its fullness, but it doesn’t affect the quality. (Hemp Babies, Happy Hempies)
Hemp Terry- Resembles a soft baby towel with loops on one side. Considered to be more absorbent than hemp fleece. (BabyKicks Organic Fitted)
Hemp Velour- Yes, it does exist, but is still fairly new to cloth diapers. Soft and absorbent, but usually blended with some polyester for extra durability.
Bamboo Jersey- Similar to hemp jersey, but a little softer.
Bamboo Fleece- Super soft with a higher pile than other fabrics. Durable and very absorbent. Will be “pilly” until it is completely worn in, but it doesn’t affect the quality. (Applecheeks, BabyKicks 3g Pocket)
Bamboo Terry- Similar to hemp terry, but a little softer to the touch. (Bum Essentials Bum Pads, Sustainablebabyish Flats)
Bamboo Velour- Velvety soft and wicks up moisture quickly. Known to show wear after extended use. (Bamboo Baby, itti bitti bitti boo)
Cotton Jersey- Soft and breathable like the previous versions, but not quite as absorbent. (GroVia Soaker Pads)
Cotton Terry- Same style as the previous versions, but again, not as absorbent. (Kissaluvs Fitteds, Mother-Ease)
Cotton Velour- Very soft and generally outlasts bamboo velour, however, it’s not quite as absorbent as bamboo. (Blueberry Trainers, Thirsties Fab Fitted)
*Organic Cotton is also available and follows the cotton guidelines for the most part. It is much softer, though.

A good way to literally “get a feel” for which fabric you like the most is to check out your local cloth diaper store or see if a friend has the diapers you are interested in (or something similar) and ask if you can take a peek and see how it feels. The next best thing to holding the actual diaper in your hands is to go to the fabric store. Chances are they have most of the fabrics you are interested in. You can even purchase a very small amount and wash it to see how it holds up, which will give you a better idea of what you prefer. This little bit of exploring can save a ton of time, and money, which is always a good thing!

Gina is a green living advocate, and mom of two boys (ages 2 & 3), who has cloth diapered exclusively for 3 years. A self-proclaimed tree hugger, she loves to share the benefits of all things natural and organic.


Brenda said...

One of the reasons I prefer microfiber is that it line dries in hours whereas natural fabrics seem to take forever. I also worry about mold with natural fabrics.

Which natural fabrics would you recommend for exclusive line dryers?

lelaynia said...

Your fabric store must be a local one and not a chain if they have bamboo and hemp fabrics in any form! The chain stores don't carry them that I've ever seen (or heard!) Lucky you!! :)

organicpatchwork said...

Do any of these natural fibers (the fleeces for example) work like polyester fleece to wick the moisture away from baby's skin?

Vanessa Coker said...

Love this! Thanks for breaking it down :)

Tara West said...

I agree that "getting a feel" for the diapers is important. Seeing them in person can really help. If you don't have a local cloth diaper store or a friend with diapers you can check to see if you have a Diaper Parties rep close to you. They bring diapers to your home so you can feel them before you purchase them. I know there are a few companies that do this. One is . I know I had a hard time at first because there was no store in my area and I knew no one who used cloth. It would have saved me lots of time (and money) if I would have been able to see them first.

BabyKicks said...

Mold can be an issue with any cloth diaper, but only after it has been sitting for quite some time. Hemp is actually mold resistant (they used to use it for ship sails because of this) and has antimicrobial properties. Prefolds, flats, and Pockets are best for line drying and cotton or hemp will work for that. Straight cotton isn't as absorbent so it will dry faster.

They carried a few for a period of time. It was nice!

Silk is can be used as stay dry, but it doesn't work as well as synthetics.