March 19, 2010

Part 3 of our series on cloth diapering fabrics

Microfiber & Hemp Together - This combination is the dreamboat for diapering products. They aren't actually woven into one fabric together, but paired together, as they are with LoopyDo inserts, SuperDo inserts, and Knickernappies Stackable Menstrual Pads, they are a perfect package. Microfiber absorbs quickly and can catch even the fastest stream of urine. It holds it while hemp soaks it up and locks it in. More companies don't produce this combination for several reasons: cost of shipping the fabric...suppliers for hemp do not sell microfiber and vice versa, meaning two shipments from two places. There are also special cutting and sewing requirements. The biggest reason is that hemp shrinks. Knickernappies prewashes all of their hemp at a professional fabric-washing facility to ensure their hemp doesn't shrink under their microfiber. Way cool!

Microfleece - The inner fabric for many pocket diapers is microfleece. Microfleece is a type of polyester that is fuzzy and soft. It also has the unqiue ability to pull (or wick) moisture away from the skin. As long as there is an absorbant layer underneath, urine with pass through the microfleece and soak in below, leaving the microfleece almost dry. Baby's skin is kept dry, too! This helps prevent rashes and moisture related discomfort. Knickernappies, Fuzzi Bunz, and Happy Heinys all use microfleece as the inner fabric for their cloth diapers.

Suedecloth - This fabric serves the same function as wicks moisture away from the skin. It's also a polyester, but the look and feel of suedecloth is a lot different from microfleece. Where fleece is fuzzy and plush, suedecloth is flat and almost smooth. It stains a little more easily than microfleece, but doesn't pill at all so it stays looking new for a long time. BumGenius OneSize Diapers and BumGenius All-in-One diapers use suedecloth as the inner fabric.

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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.
Blog post copywrite CDO, LLC. All rights reserved.

March 15, 2010

Cloth Diapering Fabrics, part 1

When I first started looking into cloth diapers for our daughter, I was amazed by all the fabrics. So many types that I'd never heard of before. I wrote several of them down and took my list into the local fabric store, fully expecting to be able to buy a few things and try making a diaper. But the ladies at the fabric store hadn't heard of these fabrics, either, nor did they have any idea of where to buy them.

Over time, I learned what everything was and how it was used. Given a little time, you'll learn too! In the meantime, here's a primer of cloth diapering fabrics.

PUL - Polyurethane laminate, more commonly called PUL, is probably the most common fabric in the cloth diapering world. It's usually a polyester knit fabric that has lamination applied to the back side to make the fabric waterproof. Nearly every diaper and cover that we carry uses PUL for the waterproofing.

Originally created for the healthcare industry, PUL has the unique feature of being waterproof and still somewhat breathable, unlike the rubber pants our mothers used! Some question the breathability of PUL...I once made a sandwich baggie, thinking it was a brilliant alternative to plastic ziplock bags. But alas, while my sandwich bag held water just fine, it would make my chips as stale as could be.

PUL is BPA-free, phthalate-free, and is CPSIA-approved for use with babies. It does not contain latex. Products that we carry with PUL include BumGenius, Knickernappies, Thirsties, Fuzzi Bunz, and more.

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