March 17, 2010

Cloth Diaper Fabrics, Part 2

Part 2 in our series on Cloth Diapering Fabrics

Hemp - Due to it's supreme absorbancy, anti-bacterial properties, and trimness, hemp is very commonly used in diapering products. What it is: a sustainable plant fiber that can be easily grown without pesticides or herbacides. What it isn't: something that can ever be smoked! While hemp and marijuana are related, they are different plants with different properties. However, hemp is not legal to be grown in the US. But it is legal to import the fabric and create diapers! Good thing, too, since hemp is the saving grace of many cloth diapering families.

Inserts made from hemp tend to be trimmer than those made from other fabrics, but they're very absorbant. I love hemp inserts because they make a cloth diaper nearly as trim as a disposable diaper, sometimes even trimmer!

Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial, which helps prevent odors. Many moms who've had stink issues with other types of fabric often find hemp to be a breath of fresh air, literally!

Drawbacks? There are a couple of drawbacks to hemp products. They tend to be more expensive since hemp can't be grown in the US but must always be imported. And hemp is slow to absorb. This is fine for most kids, but some kids are "fast pee-ers" and they can overwhelm a hemp insert before the fabric has time to absorb. I'll discuss this a little farther on in the article because there's a great solution for it!

Some of our most popular products are made from hemp, including LoopyDo inserts, SuperDo inserts, and Just-Hemp inserts. Also a wide range of doublers, menstrual pads, nursing pads, and other products.

Microfiber - Microfiber is one of those fabrics that everyone talks about, but no one ever says what it is. I've heard of microfiber couches, microfiber shirts, microfiber sheets. You find it in the automotive section for car cleaning cloths. You find it in the cleaning aisle with window cleaner. Microfiber is kind of a catch-all term for a special type of polyester. Some types are smooth, like for couches, others are silky like for shirts or sheets. And still another type is plush like a towel...and VERY absorbant.
That last kind is what you find in diapers. Why? Because it's really, really absorbant! Microfiber can absorb several times its weight in water. It also happens to be fairly cost effective, making microfiber inserts affordable for most families. It's kind of squishy, so it's comfortable for baby to wear.
Drawbacks? Yup, it's not a miracle fabric! One, microfiber is so absorbant that against the skin, it can be an irritant. So it must be covered by another fabric or used inside a pocket. Second, microfiber is kind of like a sponge: it soaks up a ton, but put any weight on it and some liquid will escape. In diapers, this can lead to leaking. But keep reading, because there's a really good cure for this!
We carry many types of microfiber inserts, plus these are the most common insert included with diapers, such as BumGenius or Fuzzi Bunz.
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I'm finding these articles EXTREMELY helpful! I'm so glad you're doing this!!!

You're so welcome! I'm going to try to keep them coming!