August 7, 2013

Synthetic vs. Natural Fibers - Which should you choose?

There are many options when it comes to choosing cloth diapers. Not only are there different brands and styles, but you also need to decide if you'll want synthetic or natural fibers. Here's a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of both.

Synthetic fibers are things like microfiber, microfleece, and suede cloth. Any time you hear the words "stay-dry" used to describe the diaper you will assume there are synthetic fibers. 

  • Inexpensive - diapers that are made with synthetic fibers tend to cost less
  • Quick absorbing - these diapers soak up the urine quickly
  • Absorbent
  • Needs one quick wash to prep. 

  • Need to be replaced every few years if used daily. Inserts like microfiber will lose absorbency over time. You'll need to replace them. This isn't so bad if you have pocket diapers, but all-in-ones that feature synthetic fibers are most likely going to need the whole diaper replaced. 
  • Compression leaks - Microfiber is notorious for leaking from the weight of your baby. 
  • Hold in smells - Microfiber tends to trap ammonia and other smells in the fibers. 
  • Some babies have sensitivies to synthetic fibers.
  • Microfiber inserts must be either stuffed in a pocket or have a stay-dry top to go against your baby's skin.

Natural fibers are things like hemp, bamboo, and cotton.

  • Can be used inside a pocket or against the skin.
  • Absorbent
  • Easy to care for. These diapers can withstand more of a "beating" than others.
  • Will last for multiple children, many years.

  • Must be washed multiple times before use. 
  • Slower to absorb (hemp). 
  • More expensive than synthetic fibers.
  • Some babies are sensitive to the wetness against their skin and will need a stay-dry layer added. 
  • Holes can be worn into the fabric over time (particularly cotton). 
These are just a few things to consider when trying to choose which cloth diapers to buy!