Cloth Diaper Fabric Types
There are a wide variety of cloth diaper fabric types and this can make things confusing when you are trying to decide on the best fabric type for your baby's
cloth diapers. If you are
making your own cloth diapers with a cloth diaper pattern
, it is best and safest to stick to all natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool.
Part of the reason to avoid disposable diapers is because they
contain toxic chemicals
© Nifty Nappy
Research into how petroleum based products affect human health is still ongoing,
but many petroleum based products have already been proven to cause disease in humans. So, this should be considered when choosing synthetic fabrics like
polyester and PUL.
For our family, I chose
unbleached organic cotton prefolds
organic bamboo velour fitteds
to make up the bulk of our diaper stash.
For my cloth diaper wraps
, I chose waterproof covers with PUL and also fleece covers. They both
work great at night!
is very environmentally friendly, as bamboo grows quickly and can be replaced again. It also releases a lot of oxygen into the air and
doesn't need fertilizer and pesticides to grow. Bamboo fabrics are very soft, but in some cases can be more fragile than cotton or hemp. I absolutely love how
bamboo velour feels in our diapers, but the manufacturing process can pollute the environment in some cases, so you may want to look for eco-friendly manufacturers.
- Deliciously soft and absorbent cloth diaper fabric. There can be a lower polyester count in this velour than in the cotton velour.
Synthetic Cloth Diaper Fabric Types
Some synthetic fabrics
could potentially offgas or cause negative health effects when a person is exposed to them over a long period of time. If you are going green,
you may want to consider whether or not you want to use these. Polyester has become rather ubiquitous in every day modern life, though, so it can be hard to avoid.
- Polyester is often blended with other natural fabrics to make them more durable. It is often the fabric of choice for covers. It dries very quickly.
PUL - Polyurethane Laminate
- PUL - is what makes most AIOs
or diaper covers waterproof and it can offgas.
- Looks suede-like, but made of polyester.
- Like fleece, but is also made of polyester. Fleece covers are often made of this.
- This is the most commonly used fabric in cloth diapers. If you are choosing cotton diapers, look for
organic cotton cloth diapers
. A lot of pesticides are often used on cotton,
so if you are going green and trying to use natural products for your baby
, this is the best choice.
Unbleached Cotton Twill
- Thick, very absorbent, fluffy and somewhat soft after washing away the natural oils found in this cloth diaper fabric.
Found in many brands of prefolds
Birdseye Cotton Fabric
- Many different types of diapers make use of birdseye cotton. It is gauzy and can be very absorbent. Most often seen in
- A great alternative to synthetic polyester fleece. This is very soft and made from 100% cotton.
- Soft fabric and absorbent. There is polyester in this fabric.
- A soft absorbent fabric. Can be made of different fabrics. Often seen in robes and towels. Can also come in a stretch knit and can contain polyester in the backing.
Burley Knit Terry
- Very popular and used in doublers and soakers. Has a polyester backing.
- A heavier stretch terry. Made of cotton and can have polyester in it.
- The nappy cloth we all know and love. Can be made of cotton or wool. Cotton flannel
homemade baby wipes
can be great and you can make them out of your old shirts.
is made from the inner bark of the Cannibus Sativa
plant. It is environmentally friendly as it grows quickly and doesn't need a lot of
fertilizer or pesticides. In diapers, it is very durable, absorbent and has natural anti-microbial and anti-mildewing properties.
Some people have found this cloth diaper fabric type to become rough after washing, but others love it and consider it to be a "workhouse" cloth diaper fabric because
of how absorbent it is. The fact that it is so absorbent may mean it can be a bit harder to get clean
Hemp French Terry
- Made with Hemp and feels like a terry cloth. Soft and often made with cotton and hemp.
- Another alternative to synthetic polyester fleece.
is a natural choice and is often used in covers and wool longies (water resistant pants.)
Lanolin is a substance produced by sheep and is what makes the
wool water resistant. Lanolin can actually neutralize the odor of urine, so these covers don't need to be washed very often. When they are washed, they
require special handling. They also need to be re-lanolized every couple of weeks. Wool is probably not for everyone since it requires extra upkeep.
If you have the time for it, though, and really want only natural fibers on your baby, wool might be a great thing to try. Look for organic wool, as sheep are
often sprayed with pesticides.
- Wool from Merino sheep.