It’s no secret. I hate microfibre inserts for cloth diapering. The microfibre inserts that come with most pocket cloth diapers are just miserable. They make my hands itch, and their overall poor performance got me heartbroken.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time in life where microfibre is awesome. Because microfibre is super thirsty and quick to absorb liquids it can be great for potty training toddlers, gushers (kids who just let.it.go), and cleaning. But aside from that, I’ll pass on the microfibre inserts, please.
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8 Reasons to skip Microfibre Inserts
- That Itchy Scratchy Feeling on My hands: Truth, this is the number one reason I don’t use microfibre because I just can’t handle that sensation on my hands.
- I have to stuff pockets: Microfiber inserts for cloth diapering can’t go directly against the skin and you have to remember to prep your diapers. There are no lazy shortcuts of just putting the insert on top of the pocket opening and calling it a day.
- The potential for Compression Leaks with microfiber inserts for cloth diapering: Because this mighty little fabric can hold a lot, it’s also susceptible to leaking when pressure is applied. It’s the nature of the textile. Many parents struggle with leaks when babe sits for too long in a wet diaper. No thanks, I prefer avoiding all opportunities to avoid leaks.
- Bulky Fluffy Bums: Ever wonder why everyone else has a trim tush? Its because they are using natural fibres. Two microfibre inserts are much more fluffy than one cotton prefold and give you less than, or about the same, absorbency. If you’re frustrated with pants that don’t fit then skip the microfibre.
- Microfibre effectiveness diminishes with age: The more you wash microfibre, the more it sheds, the more sheds the thinner your inserts get and the less it can absorb. Microfibre is one of those materials that will need to be replaced during your cloth diapering experience.
- It gets stinky: Microfibre loves to hold onto the stench and dirty in life. Most big brands with microfibre options openly recommend the occasional bleach or deep clean. Why go thru that stress of stinky diapers?
- Synthetic Material: if you’re in this for the environment, then skip the microfibre. Microfibre is polyester based synthetic characterised by extremely tiny (half the diameter of silk, much smaller than a human hair) materials. How do you make polyester? They use plastics, derived petroleum products.
- Constant washing impacts microfibre pollution in our oceans: taking care of our waterways should be a priority. Microfibre pollution is increasingly becoming a problem, and the challenges of microfibre in the ocean don’t compare to other organic materials such as cotton/bamboo/hemp (all of which have some environmental concern – you can’t be perfect). Patagonia is keeping everyone updated with microfibre pollution.
What can I do instead?
Many companies are switching out of microfibre to natural fibre materials. You can opt out of bringing home the microfibre and replace with a natural fibre insert of your choice (think flats, prefold diapers, or just inserts), choose a diaper that comes with a natural fibre insert, or try a different way of cloth diapering.
We just saw the Elemental Joy be released with a cotton flat! Some companies, like the Thirsties Pocket [USA|CAN] offer a mixed system with a hemp insert and microfibre, others like Funky Fluff & Lalabye now only offer a bamboo insert.
I really do not recommend microfibre. I find more people struggle with microfibre than not. Microfibre brings out all the ugly in the world of cloth diapering: leaks, bulk, and stink. Try something different from the get-go, start your stash with a solid set of cotton prefold diapers (like these Bummis available in Canada and the US) or Flat Cloth Diapers (check out this list of great options).
But skip the charcoal bamboo inserts. I know they are cheap as all can be, but if you read the description its often just a layer of bamboo rayon hiding up a few layers of microfibre. Not all Bamboo is created the same. Neither is microfibre. Bamboo rayon comes in a variety of different qualities, and many lower quality bamboo inserts are just as ineffective as microfibre. I’m also not sold on the bamboo manufacturing process.
Check out what other bloggers have to say about Microfibre Inserts.
- All About Cloth Diapers: Why you should break up with Microfibre.
- Cloth Diaper Addicts: Alva Baby Insert absorbency Test.
- Cloth Diaper Revival: The Truth About Microfibre.