What Fabric Are Cloth Diapers Made Of? (9 Best Fabrics)

Cotton and other natural fibers have been around a long time. Over the generations they have found their way into every aspect of home life. That is not a bad thing as everyone from babies to adults need the softness and comfort natural fibers bring.

What fabric are cloth diapers made of? There are several fabrics that are used to make cloth diapers. There is flannel, twill, terry, soft jersey and even cotton blends. Then you have different kinds of bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. Modern diapers are not the same as the ones your grandmother used.

To learn more about the different fabrics used to make cloth diapers just continue to read our article. It provides you with the information so you can decide which is the best one for your young child.

What Fabric are Cloth Diapers Made Of?


In the very old days cotton seemed to be the only fabric you could buy diapers in. But as the years went on and different people experimented with different types of fabrics, the world now has them made in industrial cotton, hemp, bamboo, flannel and many other different fabrics.

There are those microfiber fabrics that help keep your child’s sensitive skin comfortable and safe. Other synthetic fabrics include polyurethane laminate, microfleece and suedecloth.

Don’t worry there are many supporters of each style of cloth diaper. You may get overwhelmed by those who each chose a different cloth fabric as the best one for your baby.

Then do not forget that these different cloth diapers come in a variety of styles. There are waterproof, snaps, diapers with pockets and even different shapes. Once you have your child you may be shocked to see how many different types of diapers there actually are.

Bamboo Fabric for Cloth Diapers

This natural material has become very popular due to its versatility. You will find bamboo fibers used in all sorts of cloth products and there are many reasons why it has gained in popularity.

One of the first reasons this natural fiber is used to make cloth diapers is because it is soft. This softness makes it ideal to be used as an inner layer of the diaper. Plus, it is very absorbent material.

Another reason is that this material helps wick away moisture from your baby’s body. Then it is a breathable fabric that dries very quickly. Those are the good points. The main drawback to using bamboo is that it does require the use of chemicals to turn the wood into a fiber fit for cloth.

The other drawback is that it is not always economically priced. It may take some searching to find some inexpensive bamboo diapers.

Is Bamboo More Absorbent than Cotton?

That is a good question and the answer is that bamboo is usually 40% more absorbent than cotton. That doesn’t mean that cotton is bad, it just means that bamboo cloth is better. Bamboo just seems to be the better natural plant as well.

When you look at the facts, bamboo suffers about 1/3 less water than cotton does. That make sit a very efficient plant to grow. Then bamboo doesn’t need replanting every year like cotton does. It replenishes itself and will yield about 10 times more per acre than cotton.

That is not all, bamboo turns out to be stronger than cotton and can last longer saving you money over the long term. Bamboo is softer than most varieties of cotton except the Egyptian version

These are just some of the areas that bamboo tops cotton, there are more characteristics that bamboo has that makes it a superior fabric to use when needing cloth diapers.

Pul Fabric for Cloth Diapers


PUL fabric is actually a waterproof layer that helps let your baby experience the norms of life at earlier stages in their young life. This material is made from synthetic fibers and is a bit stretchy. That characteristic allows your baby to move more freely. Plus, it brings the fabric back to its original size.

This material was originally created for hospitals that needed a light waterproof or water resistant covering over its mattresses. It had to be strong enough to withstand sterilization. Those factors made the fabric ideal for diaper duty.

This is a reusable fabric that handles many washes and keeps being stretchy so your baby can move like they should. Also, PUL was created by a knit process. That is where the stretch comes from.

If you are going to sew with PUL fabric, the stretch should go across the waist not up and down the diaper.

Stay Dry Fabric for Cloth Diapers

These are comprised of microfleece and suede cloth, two polyester fabrics made completely on synthetic materials. The latter variety does not pill while the former one will and both have other uses than being placed on cloth diapers.

For the most part both fabrics keep your baby drier with the suede cloth being the better of the two. But there are some drawbacks that may have you reconsidering using these stay dry cloths.

First, the chemicals in those materials tend to bond with laundry detergent and other chemicals you place in your wash and form a barrier that starts to repel urine. If it doesn’t repel then it slows the absorption to the next layer.

While these materials do stays dry you may not know your child needs to be changed. That is the reason some parents prefer cotton and other natural fabrics for their diapers. They know when their baby needs changing.

Fleece Fabric for Cloth Diapers

To start fleece can be a very soft material that keeps your baby nice and comfortable. Then fleece is probably a better fabric to use when the weather gets cooler. It helps trap the warm air around your baby’s body and forms a barrier to keep the cool or cold air away.

Fleece is made from synthetic fibers including recycled plastic. In its final form it is very soft and light. Unfortunately, it is not the most absorbent material around. That is a problem when it is used for cloth diapers.

The urine will go down the leg of your child long before the material can absorb it. That is because fleece actually repels water. Microfleece is no different here either. Its claim to fame is that it is so thin that the moisture is wicked away quicker. That makes clean up a lot better.

Hemp Fabric for Cloth Diapers


There are different versions of hemp fabric. One of the reasons many people like using it on their baby’s rear end is because it is a material that is naturally resistant to bacteria. Then hemp provides some great UV protection allowing your child to crawl in the sun.

To put your mind at ease, hemp may look the same as marijuana but it does not contain THC, the psychic altering chemical. This is a safe, biodegradable fabric that absorbs more moisture than regular cotton diapers.

Also, it is stronger than cotton lasting a lot longer than its competitor fabric. While the material is not always called hemp fabric, you will find the majority of cotton blends like muslin, French Terry, fleece, knit jersey made from 55% hemp and 45% cotton.

The stretch knit terry comes with 4% lycra to add a little stretch to your baby’s active time.

Minky Fabric for Cloth Diapers

This fabric is supposed to be very plush and so comfortable that your baby may not know it is wearing a diaper at all. It is a versatile material that can work on either the inner or outer layer of a diaper.

But one drawback is that sometimes it is too plush to be effective as an inner layer. The material does pull moisture away from your baby’s body and does not stain. Although it does not wick moisture away very well. The material is better suited as an outer layer as it does not absorb exterior moisture like cotton or flannel can.

Muslin Fabric for Cloth Diapers

This material comes in several thicknesses and the thinner the fabric the more breathable it becomes. The fabric should be breathable as it is made from cotton. Besides being good for diapers, it has a variety of uses that make it a very versatile fabric.

You get all the benefits that come with regular cotton when you turn to muslin to make your cloth diapers. It is also good as a cover for other diapers, again, the breathable nature is the factor.

In addition muslin is about as durable as cotton making it a strong cloth to use. Your baby should feel comfortable as well.

Microfleece Fabric for Cloth Diapers


You may want to use this material as a diaper liner. It allows moisture to seep through fairly quickly and absorbs only about 1% of its weight. That helps your baby stay drier longer.

The key to an easy clean up time is to make sure the microfleece’s fuzzy side is laid up. Its main drawback is that this fabric is made from synthetic fibers , including recycled plastic, which does not make it good for the environment.

Of all the fleece varieties, this is the lightest weight of them all. You just have to decide if it is worth harming the environment or not before you use it on your child.

Mesh Fabric for Cloth Diapers

If you want to keep your baby drier then you may want to consider using a mesh fabric as a diaper liner. This fabric is lightweight and knitted in such a way that it draws moisture away from your child and lets it be absorbed by the inner diaper layer.

Mesh fabric can also be used as a swim diaper making it a strong fabric that withstands large amounts of water while protecting your baby. Then when you wash this material use warm water and no chlorine bleach.

Zorb Fabric for Cloth Diapers

This is supposed to be a material that is also more absorbent than cotton. Some people say 10 times more.That is its main claim to fame. There are some people who say it is not good next to your baby’s skin because it is not organic.

Then the characteristics of this fabric makes it an ideal fabric to use. It is supposed to be hypoallergenic, cost effective as well as thin so you do not have any bulking up. Then it comes in 6 different styles helping you find the perfect design for your child and his or her needs.

What Fabric Should I Use to Make Cloth Diapers?


This is up to you but if you want suggestions, natural fabrics are always the best fabrics to make into cloth diapers. The synthetic options use too many chemicals and that is not always good.

They may last longer than natural cloth fabrics but they are not as good at absorbing moisture and so on than natural cloth fabrics. Any of the natural fibers like bamboo, cotton, linen, muslin,and more will be good materials to use to make your cloth diapers.

But do double check us as you may find other fabrics more to your liking. We prefer natural over synthetic any day of the week.

What is the Most Absorbent Fabric for Cloth Diapers?

You have a fair amount of choice here as well. The stay dry diapers actually let the inner layers absorb the moisture so they are not always the best fabric to use when it comes to absorbency.

If you want good material next to your baby’s skin that absorbs well you should go with bamboo and zorb. They both absorb 10 times better than cotton which would be your 3rd choice.

Stay dry materials are good but they may delay you in changing your baby and that is not always good. Those stay dry may not repel bacteria growth as well as bamboo or hemp can.

Lining Fabric for Cloth Diapers

Microfleece is a good lining fabric. It is thin, and lets the moisture pass through its layer fairly quickly so the layers underneath can absorb the moisture. Minky may be a good choice as well as it does pull the moisture away from your baby’s body. Plus, it should not stain.

You do not want to use PUL as a liner as it actually repels moisture . That waterproof nature makes it perfect for an outer layer but not for a lining. Also,microfiber is so good at absorbing moisture that it may give a rash to your baby making it the wrong material to use as a liner.

Waterproof Fabric for Cloth Diapers


As we just mentioned PUL would be an ideal waterproof fabric for your cloth diapers. Just do not use it as a liner. TPU is another synthetic fabric that often replaces PUL when one is looking for waterproof material.

Then if you want to add a waterproofing coating, you can use these water resistant fabrics-- wool, polyester, microfiber and polyester fleece. You should be able to find waterproof diapers in your local supermarkets with ease.

Plenty of varieties exist making your choice a very difficult one. You can add bamboo to that list as a waterproof coating should work with lots of different materials.

Best Fabric for Cloth Diaper Inserts

Bamboo fleece is one material that is good as a diaper insert.If you can’t afford the bamboo version you can try the less expensive microfiber fabric. The best place for this material is as an insert as it doesn’t touch your baby’s body.

A 3rd choice would be zorb due its great absorbency powers. Again, like waterproof diaper fabric you will find lots of good choices in your supermarket. It will all depend on your preference of fabric.

Where to Buy Pul Fabric for Cloth Diapers


You are not going to be out of places to find PUL fabric when you need or want to make diapers. Joann’s, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby should have some in stock and should also be able to order some in for you.

Check with your local fabric outlets and department stores to see what they have on hand and if their prices fits your budget. Then if you do not want to face the traffic you can check Amazon and the other online fabric stores.

Some Final Words

Getting the right fabric for your baby will help you in the end. You have peace of mind knowing your baby is well taken care and you have easier clean up duties. There are plenty of good ones to choose from.

Go with the higher quality fabrics as you save more throughout the baby and toddler stages.

Leave a Comment: