There are many fabrics used in modern style cloth diapers. They all have their purpose and are good for different things. You can decide what will work best for you and your baby. Here is a simple explanation of different fabrics used in Cloth Diaper production.
Synthetic Materials: Man-Made materials or fabrics that are not considered natural fiber. They are generally more affordable but don’t last as long or hold up as well as natural fibers. This includes:
This is a man-made synthetic material, most commonly a type of suede cloth or fleece, that wicks moisture away from baby giving a stay dry affect. This is great for babies who have a sensitivity to wetness. In most cases cloth diapers that are “Stay Dry” do a better job at keeping the baby dry than disposables do.
This is a man-made material used for absorbency. Because the nature of the fabric is to attract (think of cleaning your car or dusting) it can be irritating and is not recommended to go against your baby’s bottom. It will most often be found inside of a pocket diaper or the inner layers of other inserts. Labels usually read 80% polyester/20% nylon or 80% polyester/20%polymide
Natural Fibers: These are made from plant based materials. These fabrics will not wick away moisture so baby will fill the wetness against their skin. This is great for older babies who are trying to potty train or for parents who want a more natural option. They generally hold up better than synthetic materials. Any natural fiber will have to be washed repeatedly prior to the very first use. This will strip the natural oils from the fabric making it absorbent.
A highly durable fabric that can be used for absorbency. Generally you will find this in prefolds, flats, or blended with other fabrics to add softness. Names can include cotton twill, cotton birdseye, cotton flannel, cotton jersey, velour, ect.
Known for its softness it is most often found in fitted diapers and inserts. It offers more absorbency than cotton alone and is naturally antimicrobial and resists odor. Often tag will read rayon from Bamboo, bamboo velour, bamboo terry, ect.
Hemp is usually blended with cotton or bamboo because it is stiff on its own. It is the slowest to absorb, yet the most absorbent fabric. It is perfect for doubling up any diaper at night. Hemp seems to be the most durable fabric wash after wash. Almost always the tag will read 45% cotton 55% hemp.