Types of Inserts


Inserts are designed to be stuffed into pocket diapers. They are usually rectangular, and are made of absorbent material. Inserts can be made from a variety of materials, but the most common are:  Microfiber, Minky, Bamboo, Organic Cotton, and Hemp.  All of these materials are used for different reasons – some absorb fast, some slow; some absorb more, some less.

Inserts can go in the pocket of a diaper or lay in a cover and sit directly against baby’s skin – EXCEPT FOR MICROFIBER.  Microfiber should never be placed directly against your baby’s bottom.  It pulls in moisture and could dry out your child’s skin. 

All other materials that listed here can go directly against your baby’s skin.

Microfiber – This material absorbs liquids fast.  It’s cheap and does a great job as a cloth diaper insert, which is why so many manufacturers use it.  The downsides of microfiber are:  It can’t be put against baby’s skin, it’s known for holding in smells, it can be bulky if you need to add more than 1 insert for a heavy wetter. Microfiber is a man-made, absorbent material. Made of a polyester/polyamide blend, they are light and fast-drying. You should use a barrier, such as fleece liners, between a microfiber insert and your baby's skin, because microfiber can dry out and irritate their sensitive skin. Microfiber is also a little like a sponge - since it's fluffy, moisture may "wring out" of it when subjected to compression. In general, layer for layer, bamboo, hemp, and cotton are trimmer and more absorbent than microfiber.

Bamboo– This material is super absorbent and is often used in conjunction with a Hemp Blend. Bamboo is also a breathable and thermal regulating product. It dries quickly, and can keep your baby comfortable and cool, even when wet.

Bamboo fleece – this is a knit fabric. It is often used as the center layer of diapers and doublers to provide more structure for the diaper and for absorbency. Similar to the knit fleeces used in sweatpants, it has a flat side and a fleece side, and is very easy to work with.

Bamboo terry – resembling a towel, terry fabric consists of thousands of small loops. Bamboo terry is stretchy and very absorbent, and is often used on the outer layer of bamboo fitted and prefold cloth diapers that are fastened with Snappis.

Bamboo velour – this is soft, knit fabric. It is very absorbent, and is often used as the inside layer of the diaper. Bamboo velour does not wick moisture, but feels comfortable when wet. This material is quite slippery feeling and can be hard to sew.

 Cotton- Cotton is one of the oldest and most familiar fabrics used in cloth diapers. This natural fabric is affordable, absorbent, and available everywhere! Fitted diapers and some all-in-ones use knit cotton, but prefolds and many other inserts are made of woven fabric. Infant prefolds can be folded into thirds to make good cloth diaper inserts for your pocket diapers, too.

Organic Cotton – This material is organic, which is very important to some.  It does tend to dry stiff if you air dry, but is a relatively good absorber.

Hemp – The Cadillac of Inserts – It will hold about 2.5x the amount of a microfiber insert comparable in size and is very trim. Hemp inserts are a real work-horse in the cloth diapering world - they are durable and super thirsty! You won't find much 100% hemp fabric, it is usually blended with cotton (45% cotton, 55% hemp), which makes it softer and more comfortable. Hemp does come off the clothes line quite stiff, though, so you may want to soften it up in the dryer!

Charcoal Bamboo- They absorb 8oz+ liquid. Charcoal bamboo works well at wicking moisture from your baby's bottom -this is a great stay-dry feature! Charcoal bamboo also has antibacterial qualities, thus a great option for babies with rashes and avoiding stinky inserts. These won't bunch up, are easy to wash and dry, and are a stain resistant colour.