Cloth Nappy Fabrics
What type of fabric is best?
Well it depends what ticks your boxes and fits with your beliefs and circumstances. Let's take a closer look.
Bamboo: A synthetic fabric called Viscose derived from bamboo, with a high level of absorption. Beware of greenwashing statements about this fabric as most inserts will state bamboo but there is really nothing left of the bamboo as it has been turned to Viscose. There are two manufacturing methods of bamboo fibres: a Chemical Process or a Mechanical Process. The majority of the bamboo fibres are produced by the viscose rayon chemical processing method. Which is cheap to produce but has some environmental downsides. Ensure that you are getting a high-quality bamboo fabric, make sure that it is manufactured with a mechanical rather than a chemical process.
Cotton: A natural fabric with a high level of absorption. Cotton has been used for hundreds of years. It has a well known manufacturing process with many life cycle studies to back its lower environmental impact overall.
Fleece or microfleece: Not to be confused with microfibre, this is a polyester material that can be used next to the skin. Often found inside pocket nappies as the internal "stay dry" layer, and as reusable liners. However, be mindful that polyester sheds during washing and end up as microplastics in the environment. For this reason, we do not sell fleece products.
Hemp: Natural fibre made from the hemp plant. It is very popular in cloth nappy use because of its durability, absorbency and natural anti-microbial properties. Inserts made of hemp work well in conjunction with a natural fabric like the Real Nappies cotton prefolds: place the hemp insert inside or under the prefold to boost absorbency.
Microfibre: Microfibre is a fast absorbing synthetic polyamide fibre that is often found in pocket nappy systems. It is cheap to manufacture, absorbs moisture very quickly and can hold up to 7 times its weight in water but it is prone to compression leaks. It should not be used directly next to the skin as the tiny fibres can cause irritation. If you choose to us microfibre, it works well in conjunction with a natural fabric like the Real Nappies cotton prefolds: place the microfibre inside the prefold to catch any compression leaks. However, be mindful that microfibre sheds during washing and end up as microplastics in the environment. For this reason, we do not sell microfibre products.
Suedecloth: A stay-dry material often found on the inside of nappies. This is a synthetic polyester material and has no relation to animal based suede. Suedecloth sheds during washing and end up as microplastics in the environment. For this reason, we do not sell suedecloth products.
Terry Nappy or Terry Squares: The Terry Nappy is the traditional nappy that your mother or grandmother would have used! A square piece of terry cotton that can be folded in a manner of ways and fixed with a nappy fastener such as our Snappis. They are inexpensive, extremely versatile and quick to dry. A good alternative to the prefolds in the newborn or infant days.
Unbleached: Unbleached fibres are those which have not gone through a chemical bleaching process. They usually retain more of the fibre's natural oils and waxes, so may need washing more times than bleached fibres before they reach full absorbency but have undergone less processing and are softer on skin.
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