Why we hate microfiber cloth diaper inserts. And what you should opt for instead.
Let's talk about Microfiber in cloth diapers. Microfiber inserts are commonly sold by a lot of different cloth diaper brands. They are low cost to manufacture and do a solid job at soaking up liquids quickly… which is *kind of* what cloth diapers are supposed to do. Right? Eh.
Cloth diapers need to do more than just soak up liquids quickly. They need to hold on to liquids, they need to be able to hold a full bladder worth of liquids and they need to be able to be cleaned easily in a home washing machine.
Here are the reasons that I don't recommend messing around with microfiber based diaper inserts.
1. Microfiber is incredibly prone to compression leaks. It acts like a giant sponge and sucks up liquids fast, but as soon as any pressure is applied, it releases those liquids just as quickly. Families that use microfiber tend to have a lot of leaks in car seats, while sleeping and… just generally when baby is putting pressure on their bottom. These compression leaks will become more frequent as baby grows… and inevitably gets heavier.
2. Microfiber doesn't hold a lot of liquids when compared to other common insert materials. It simply underperforms across the board. This means as baby grows and produces more urine, they're going to produce more than their insert can hold and it's going to lead to more … you guess it, leaks.
3. Microfiber is super bulky. It's ironic that the insert fiber that holds the least amount of fluids would be the thickest and bulkiest of babies bum. A bulky diaper is cute, until you need like four microfiber insert for your toddler — then you just feel crazy.
4. Microfiber holds on to odors. The synthetic fibers trap urine smells and you'll more than likely find yourself stripping your diapers more frequently than families that use natural fibers like cotton, bamboo or hemp.
5. Microfiber cannot be placed directly against baby's skin. The material is super absorbent and will pull moisture from baby's skin causing rashes and skin irritation. This means you'll need to stuff any and all microfiber inserts in the pocket of your baby's cloth diaper. When using natural fiber inserts, you'll have the option to stuff in the pocket or simply place inside the shell on top of the lining.
What do we recommend instead of microfiber?
1. If you already have a big supply of microfiber inserts, you can stretch the life of them by boosting with a flour sack towel or cotton receiving blanket. This is an inexpensive and sometimes free option for families on a budget.
2. Replace your microfiber inserts with a natural fiber set. Something bamboo, cotton or hemp. (Be sure to read the fine print when shopping… some brands, especially lower cost ones, will boost their bamboo inserts with a microfiber core and market it as bamboo or charcoal bamboo. These inserts will still have all of the problems listed above.)