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Did you know that disposable diapers are responsible for 2% of the U.S.’s landfill waste? According to Greenmatters, “It’s estimated that single-use diapers take 500 years to decompose in a landfill. And considering the fact that disposable diapers only hit the mass market in 1948, according to Mother Jones, not enough time has passed to know exactly how long diapers (and other plastic products) really take to break down.”
That’s a tough pill to swallow. Babies use thousands of diapers in their first year of life, and they continue to wear them until they’re potty-trained. It’s overwhelming to think about the number of diapers that are sitting in landfills taking centuries to decompose.
We understand that diapers are a necessity—for babies, and for some adults—but how can we justify throwing away something that is used for a few hours to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years?
If you’re currently navigating this dilemma, we want to first encourage you that we recognize that you’re trying your best. We understand that sometimes a disposable diaper is the only answer, and we don’t want you to feel guilty for doing what you have to do.
In saying that, we hope that this article will educate and equip you with information on the best fabrics to use when making cloth diapers so that you can be confident in creating an item that will prevent our landfills from growing.
Cloth diapers are a fantastic alternative to disposable diapers for both adults and children. With the right material, they are gentle on the skin, moisture wicking, and keep the person wearing them feeling dry and comfortable. Now let's get to the fabrics.
Cloth Diapers usually have three layers, though some diapers have two layers because one of the layers merges two of them together.
The first layer is the Wicking Uppermost Layer. This layer of fabric touches the skin. It’s important that this layer wicks moisture away from the person’s bottom to leave them feeling dry and comfortable.
Then there is the Absorbent Core Layer. This layer is intended to hold any liquids and lock them in tight! We all know the importance of having an absorbent diaper.
The third layer is the Waterproof/Water-Resistant Layer. This layer is going to keep everything else dry by ensuring that the absorbent layer doesn’t leak.
Finally, we do have All in One Absorbent and Waterproof fabrics that could combine the second and third layers together. This is a great option for people who are looking to save time and money.
The last thing you want is a cranky baby because its bottom is irritated from sitting in moisture. The wicking uppermost layer needs to be soft, comfortable, and it needs to keep the person wearing the diaper dry!
A moisture wicking fabric will prevent diaper rashes, discomforts, and complaints! Our stay-dry fabrics wick moisture away from the body and towards the second layer of the cloth diaper (which is the absorbent layer). This technology works well for cloth diapers, workout clothes, and more!
The ProCool Performance Jersey is a great option because it’s a lightweight moisture wicking fabric, the ProCool Performance Interlock is a great lining fabric if you’re looking for a more affordable option, our ProTEC Microfleece is a common choice for baby’s diapers because it’s our softest option, making it very gentle and comfortable.
Each of our stay-dry fabrics are uniquely engineered from premium hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers. Make sure to use the mesh side against your skin!
All of our stay-dry materials (and all our materials in our whole shop) are free from any harmful chemicals, so you can be confident that your cloth diaper won’t cause unwanted irritations.
It’s important to have an absorbent core layer because you do not want put the time and energy into creating a cloth diaper to find out that the absorbent layer you chose isn’t as absorbent as you thought.
Zorb Original is one of our best choices because it is incredibly absorbent. It is important to note that Zorb Original is an interlining type of material, so it will need to stitched or serged between two layers of fabric. This is to ensure that Zorb Original stays absorbent for longer.
Meanwhile, Zorb 3D Dimple does not need to be interlined between fabrics, and our Zorb 3D Organic Cotton Dimple is by far our most absorbent fabric. It does not need to be serged between two layers. The Bamboo Dimple option is a great choice if you’re looking for a soft fabric.
If you’re looking to merge your stay dry fabric and your absorbent fabric, you may want to consider a Zorb 3D Stay Dry Dimple option – this will wick away moisture while absorbing liquid.
It’s important to remember that there are LOTS of different fabric combinations that you can choose between to create the perfect cloth diaper for your situation.
Each of these fabrics feature Antimicrobial Silver which means they have been infused with silver ions. This is a great feature for cloth diapers because it will help control odor, inhibit bacterial growth, and it will ensure your cloth diaper stays fresher longer.
To prevent any unwanted messes, you’re going to need a waterproof / water resistant layer for your third and final layer. This layer is the outer layer of your cloth diaper and it is going to ensure that no outfits get ruined (unless of course there’s an unavoidable blowout).
Our top three options are our 1 mil Eco-PUL, 2 mil Eco-PUL, or our Lightweight Eco-PUL. Our 1 mil Eco-PUL is our standard fabric that people use for diapers, while our 2 mil Eco-PUL is a little bit thicker and more heavy duty so it may be a better option for adult cloth diapers. Our Lightweight Eco-PUL is a great option for you if you’re looking for a thinner option.
Each of these fabrics are breathable, and they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns so you’ll be able to find one that fits your style!
As we mentioned above, some of these layers can be combined into one layer. This is a great option if you’re looking to save time, money, and energy by cutting and sewing fewer layers.
Our top three choices for an all in one absorbent and waterproof layer that will combine the second and third layer of your cloth diaper are our 4D Zorb Stay Dry Dimple CORE Eco-PUL, Bamboo Fleece Eco-PUL, or our 4D Zorb Organic Cotton Dimple CORE Eco-PUL.
The 4D Zorb Stay Dry Dimple CORE Eco-Pul is a combination of our stay dry dimple absorbent fabric and our 1 mil Eco-Pul waterproof layer. The 4D Zorb Organic Cotton Dimple CORE Eco-PUL combines the Zorb 3D Organic Cotton Dimple with our 1 mil Eco-PUL. Then the Bamboo Fleece Eco-PUL has fleece on one side and a waterproof barrier on the other side. This is an option if you’re looking to have a diaper that has an outside fleece layer. The fleece fabric is a great option because it will feel soft against your baby’s skin.
Once you have your fabric layers picked out, you will also need to ensure that you have snaps and elastics to keep your diaper secure and in place.
The elastics below are made in USA and known to be durable, any of them would work well for your cloth diapers.
At Wazoodle, we are passionate about protecting our planet. We are thrilled that you’re reading this article because it means that you’re interested in making a change too. We hope that you make the shift to make a difference. We are making a difference on our world by creating fabrics that are environmentally friendly. All our materials are free from harsh chemicals, and we are constantly striving to minimize our impact.
This article is focused on the best fabrics to use when making a cloth diaper, opposed to how to make a cloth diaper. If you have a cloth diaper pattern that you would like to share with the greater Wazoodle community, please reach out! We would love to share your pattern, tutorial, or suggestions.
*Disclaimer: The above article and recommendations are based solely on the author’s knowledge of our fabrics, understanding of the guidance documents and the articles referenced. Links to all references have been provided above so you can read and understand them yourself and make your decision. We do not make any claims to the effectiveness of the product. No tests were performed to substantiate the recommendations.