June 29, 2012

Do you need to prep Bamboo Cloth Diapers and Accessories?

Thoughts on using Bamboo, Whether to prep it and how to.

There I was tweeting away during the weekly Monday night #clothdiapers chat when another cloth diaper user posed the question: Do you prep your bamboo separately from your other cloth diapers? I balked at the question thinking, “Wha? Why would you need to do that? I’ve never done that.” I responded with that answer (well, it was a little more polite, I mean I don’t know the Tweeter so I can’t be completely snarky). Much to my surprise other people started chiming in that, yes, of course you should prep your bamboo separately! Suddenly I was out of the ordinary and left in a quandary of figuring out whether or not I had completely ruined my bamboo inserts out of sheer ignorance.

It seems from the research I’ve done (i.e. Google searches + reading various sources and forums) that natural fibers should be prepped with other natural fibers. The thought behind this is that the oil that is present in natural fibers (those such as cotton, hemp and bamboo) can become a problem for a synthetic fiber (aka microfiber or PUL) when prepped together. 

Now when I say prep I mean that you’ve just received your bamboo insert, prefold or diaper and you’re itching to test out this puppy’s super absorbent powers. You know better than to just put it right to the test; you want it to make a good first impression given the best opportunity you can give it. It’s perfect timing too b/c you’ve got a load of pockets and inserts (microfiber) ready for their wash down. Well, wait just one second! According to sources you should not wash that brand spankin’ new bamboo insert with your regular cloth diaper laundry that consists primarily of synthetic fibers; after all, when it comes to prepping: synthetic goes with synthetic and natural goes with natural.

My humble opinion? Well, I’ve had hemp inserts and bamboo inserts before and I never prepped them separately from the microfiber inserts and PUL pockets I had. When I first bought my hemp inserts I didn’t know anything about cloth diapering so it didn’t even occur to me to prep things according to the kind of fiber the item is. I can tell you that I personally didn’t see nor have I seen the repelling issues that some people have reported seeing when you prep natural fibers and synthetic fibers together.

I’d say that it’s definitely recommended to prep bamboo, hemp and cotton separately from microfiber. Off the record…(shhhh, looks around to ensure no one’s listening)…I think you’ll be fine if you haven’t prepped natural fibers separately. I know my precious stash hasn’t seemed to suffer the consequences of my uneducated prepping; plus, in a life filled with constant “to do” lists and demand, it’s nice to have one less thing that’s complicated. But you didn’t hear it from me if you want to keep the warranty on your diapers!

Elizabeth (aka Bert) is a stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for She Thinks Media. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Ben, her son Buggie, and daughter Lady Bug.  When she's not trying to convince Buggie to expand his interests beyond Thomas the Train or put his pants back on she's writing about her experiences as a mom on her blog, First Time Mom (FTM). After all, Bert maintains there's a first time for everything, even if you  have more than one child! 


I laughed when I saw this post, I am the one who asked the question. I was grateful for all the different advice.