In a pocket diaper or a waterproof cover, inserts are the primary absorbent layer. They are available in a variety of styles and materials.
Cloth diaper inserts come in three varieties: bamboo, hemp, and microfiber. While all three are soft and absorbent, they also have certain unique qualities that distinguish them.
- Bamboo fabric is softer and more absorbent than hemp fabric, while hemp fabric is more durable and resistant to stretching than bamboo fabric.
- Bamboo and hemp are eco-friendly, sustainable fabrics requiring less water and fewer pesticides than conventional cotton. At the same time, microfiber is made from synthetic materials and is not as sustainable.
- Microfiber is a popular fabric for athletic wear and outdoor gear because it is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. In contrast, bamboo and hemp are more commonly used in bedding, towels, and clothing.
Bamboo vs Hemp vs Microfiber
Bamboo is known for its softness, breathability, and anti-bacterial properties; hemp for its durability, strength, and resistance to mold and mildew; and microfiber for its softness, durability, and moisture-wicking properties. Bamboo and Hemp fabric are both naturally obtained, unlike microfibre.
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The bamboo charcoal insert is made up of 5 layers and may last for up to 4-5 hours on average. It is both dry and velvety to the touch. It is self-contained, very absorbent, and bulky when combined with additional inserts.
There is no risk of causing injury to a baby’s skin or of not absorbing quickly enough, resulting in leaks.
Hemp is a natural material, and hemp inserts are incredibly absorbent, trim, and antibacterial by nature. They have a higher absorbency than microfiber (they can hold twice the fluid).
Most hemp inserts are made of a cotton-hemp combination. Furthermore, the more we wash hemp inserts, the more absorbent and softer they get.
Microfiber is a polyester and polyamide-based synthetic fabric. It is regarded as one of the best synthetic fibers. It is reassuring a broad variety of industries in the production of various goods.
Microfibers have several applications. Microfiber’s qualities make it a good choice for producing cleaning products.
|Parameters of Comparison||Bamboo||Hemp||Microfiber|
|What are they||Inserts made of bamboo that have undergone chemical processing||Inserts made of natural hemp||Inserts made of synthetic material|
|Drying Time||Longest time||Longer time||Quickly|
|Absorbency||Less absorbent||Most absorbent||Very absorbent|
|Sustainability||Least (goes through chemical processing)||Most sustainable||Synthetic material|
|Affordability||Less affordable than microfiber and more than hemp||Least affordable||Most affordable|
|Softness||Soft but may become hard sometimes||Least soft||Most soft|
|Lasting||3 hours||6 hours||4-5 hours|
What is Bamboo?
Although bamboo is commonly seen as a natural fabric, it is subjected to extensive processing, often including harsh chemicals. Bamboo rayon is the end product of this process, and it is utilized in cloth diapers. Bamboo rayon is soft and absorbent.
Even after washing, it retains its softness. It does not, however, contain the antibacterial characteristics of actual bamboo. Bamboo inserts are more expensive than microfiber and cotton inserts but less expensive than hemp inserts.
Due to the general method bamboo is produced, there is considerable debate about whether it is a truly natural fiber. More information may be found here. Bamboo is a very absorbent material that keeps inserts supple wash after wash.
While still very absorbent, rayon from bamboo, which is the real material used in cloth diapers, does not preserve the antibacterial characteristics of genuine bamboo. Bamboo/rayon and polyester blends are common.
What is Hemp?
When bamboo, hemp, and microfibre are compared, hemp is the most sustainable insert alternative. It is also the most costly choice.
At the same time, hemp has a stiffer feel than other materials, and if the inserts are line-dried, they will feel crunchy. They are also exceptionally long-lasting.
Hemp is a natural fabric that is extremely absorbent, trim, and naturally antibacterial when used as an insert. Hemp inserts contain about 2.5 times more fluid than microfiber! When utilized beneath microfiber inserts, they make an excellent bedtime solution.
Hemp absorbs slowly and steadily. Some hemp works best when placed beneath (furthest away from the skin of the infant) another insert, such as cotton or microfiber.
Hemp inserts are made up of four layers and may last up to six hours on average. It can contain 2.5 times as many microfibres. It’s slim, very absorbent, and rigid enough to remain in place. When used alone, it is more effective than when combined with microfiber.
What is Microfiber?
Microfiber inserts are made of synthetic fabrics. However, they are the most widely used in cloth diapers. They are also the most cost-effective solutions. Microfiber inserts absorb liquids rapidly and dry quickly as well.
Since the early 2000s, microfibers have grown in popularity. Microfibers offer unique cleaning abilities. It has become a popular textile fabric for washcloths, towels, mopheads, and other household items.
Extruding is the initial stage in the manufacturing process. Small-sized microfibers are ejected via a long metal tube during extrusion. The resulting polyester fibers are cooled before being mixed with polyamide strips.
When compared to hemp and bamboo, microfiber is less durable. These inserts may flatten and lose absorbency with time. They also have a high risk of compression leakage.
After a while, certain microfibers begin to stink. They are so absorbent that they can absorb moisture directly from the skin, resulting in redness and rashes.
Main Differences Between Bamboo, Hemp, and Microfiber
- Bamboo undergoes chemical processing and is made out of bamboo. Hemp is developed through natural hemp, and the microfiber is developed with synthetic material.
- Bamboo takes the longest time to dry, while hemp takes a little less time while microfiber dries very quickly.
- Bambo is the least absorbent, and hemp is the most. Microfiber is in the middle.
- Bamboo is the least sustainable since it goes a chemical treatment while microfiber consists of synthetic material. Hemp is the most sustainable option.
- Hemp is the least affordable while microfiber is the most, and bamboo is somewhere in the middle.
- Bamboo is considered soft but may turn hard when wet. Hemp is the least soft out of the three, and microfiber is the most.
- Bamboo has 3 layers, hemp has 4, and microfiber and 5.
- Bamboo can last up to 3 hours, hemp can last up to 6 hours, and microfiber can last up to 4 to 5 hours.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.