Materials in reusable nappies

All reusable nappies are essentially made of two to three parts.

1. An absorbent material - usually cotton, microfibre, bamboo, hemp or a combination of these materials. These soak up the liquid.

2. A waterproof material - usually polyester coated with polyurethane to waterproof the material. This keeps the liquid inside the nappy.

and

3. A liner material (optional) - usually fleece. This wicks the liquid away from baby's bum and catches any poo.

Which absorbent material should I use?

When choosing which material you would like to go for, we recommend thinking about how much drying room you have and how absorbent you need your nappy to be. For most babies we recommend cotton or bamboo because they give good absorbency without taking forever to dry. If you have very limited drying space, you might want to try microfibre. 

Here are some of our pros and cons for each material: 

Material Pros Cons
Microfibre
  • Absorbs liquid quickly
  • Dries quickly
  • Can leak when compressed
  • Doesn't hold as much liquid as other materials
  • Can dry out baby's skin
Cotton
  • More absorbent than microfibre
  • No compression leaks
  • Very hardy, can be hot washed and tumble dried 
  • Natural fibre
  • Can become hard in hard water areas
  • Less absorbent than bamboo
  • Cotton is crop that demands a lot of water, which can be damaging to the environment
Bamboo
  • Soft
  • Very absorbent
  • No compression leaks
  • Bamboo crops require less water than cotton
  • Dries slowly
  • More sensitive to heat than cotton nappies
  • Less hard-wearing than cotton
  • Bamboo fabrics are not 100% natural because a chemical process is required to turn the crop into textiles
Hemp
  • Slim and absorbent
  • Hemp crops require less water than cotton
  • Dries very slowly
  • Absorbs liquid slowly, baby may feel wet for a while after weeing
  • Does not feel as soft as cotton or bamboo