Insert and Absorbency Guide

Inserts are the workhorse of your cloth diapers. They do all the hard work! There are many different types of inserts available and they vary in price, material, and absorbency. Let's talk about the most common materials used.

BAMBOO FIBER - Composition: usually 80% bamboo 20% synthetic blend - "pure bamboo" does not exist, bamboo must be blended with some other material to make it usable. The synthetic component is needed to stabilise the fabric enough to be able to endure the heavy duty use of inserts. Bamboo fabric is much to delicate to be used on its own. Bamboo terry is a towel like material that is thin, flexible but holds a good about of liquid. Bamboo is a great and absorbent material when paired with the right medium. It's a renewable resource, breathable, anti-bacterial, and gentle enough to go directly against baby's skin, so it can be used outside the pocket if desired. Its drying time is usually moderate. This material does not shrink after washing.

BAMBOO COTTON - Composition: usually 60% bamboo 40% cotton cotton or similar Super soft and super absorbent, bamboo cotton is a very popular insert option. They can take what feels like a million years to dry, but they're incredibly absorbent! Trifolds and are a great shape for this material - powerful absorption when folded up, faster drying when unfolded. Our absorbency options we offer made from this material is always preshrunk however it does still shrink some after washing but it is usually minimal. Bamboo Cotton typically takes 2 to 5 washes to reach maximum absorbency due to oils within the hemp fibers, but because we have ours preshrunk you can wash and use after 1 wash so prepping is easy.

HEMP COTTON - Composition: usually 45% hemp and 55% cotton or similar Hemp cotton inserts absorb a LOT of liquid. They do so slowly though, so it's important to use them in combination with a faster absorbing insert (like bamboo, bamboo cotton, or microfiber). A hemp cotton insert used by itself may cause leaks due to flooding (liquid not absorbed fast enough). Our absorbency options we offer made from this material is always preshrunk however it does still shrink a decent amount after washing but after 2 to 4 washes it typically won't shrink any further. Hemp Cotton typically takes 4 to 10 washes to reach maximum absorbency due to oils within the hemp fibers, but because we have ours preshrunk you can wash and use after 1 wash so prepping is easy.

MICROFIBER - Composition: usually 100% microfiber Microfiber is a synthetic material that is quite absorbent. It shouldn't be used directly against baby's skin as it can dry out and irritate - always use inside pocket. Microfiber inserts can act a bit like a sponge - soak up lots of liquid, but seep that liquid back out again too when squeezed (through baby's movement, for example which we call compression leaks). When paired with a stronger absorber like bamboo or hemp, microfiber can perform well. They are known to break down faster and some have a tendency to hold on to odors a but more and so we no longer offer this material. This material does not shrink after washing.

BAMBOO CHARCOAL - Composition: usually charcoal infused bamboo fleece on outside, layers of microfiber on inside. The name is a little misleading - there isn't much bamboo in bamboo charcoal inserts. The inside is usually microfiber. Bamboo charcoal inserts can touch baby's skin as the outside layers are a nice stay-dry blend but are also prone to compression leaks and can also break down faster. We do not carry anything with bamboo charcoal or microfiber. 

GENERAL INFORMATION When pairing two inserts, the fast absorbers should go on top (closest to baby), slow absorbers should go on the bottom. For example: bamboo on top, hemp on the bottom. While you can use a hemp cotton insert on its own - it absorbs liquid slowly which can cause leaks due to flooding and so you may want to add a bamboo fiber or bamboo cotton booster to help stop that from happening.

If you have microfiber or bamboo charcoal inserts, these should go on top as they absorb quickly - but please don't let microfiber touch baby's skin. Only use inside the pocket. Using only a microfiber or bamboo charcoal insert is only suitable for very young babies or extremely light wetters - and personally we don't recommend it. They act like a sponge: absorb liquid well, but once compressed, let it back out too! Common cause of leaks. However if you already have them it's always good to work with what you have and get things to boost them vs the expense of replacing your entire stash.

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