One question I get on almost a daily basis is: What are the differences between bamboo and polyester? Are bamboo inserts more absorbent than microfibre? Why are bamboo diapers more expensive? Here are your answers!
First of all, the main difference between bamboo and polyester is the material itself – polyester is a man-made synthetic fibre, while bamboo is organic. As are most organic things, the bamboo material is more expensive than polyester, thus the price difference. Because bamboo is a natural organic material, when prepping the diapers, you need to do some additional rinses to strip the natural oils of the fabric, which naturally repel water (which is extremely counter-productive when you want the inserts to absorb). Also, because bamboo is organic, it’s life cycle is slightly less than polyester – Over time, bamboo can get firm, and eventually stiff. As a comparison, a polyester diaper that is machine washed, life dried, and used in a rotation of 24 may last 4-5 years, while a bamboo diaper treated the exact same may last 3-4 years. This number will depend on the care and rotation size of your cloth diaper stash.
(Photo: Piddly-Winx Bamboo Diaper with Bamboo Insert)
Bamboo is a thinner material, but can absorb slightly more than microfibre. By default, our polyester diapers come with a 3-layer microfibre insert, and our bamboo diapers come with a 4-layer bamboo fibre insert – they are very close to the same thickness. Because bamboo is thinner, it easily allows for additional layers to be stuffed into the pocked without adding bulk to the diaper. This makes bamboo a popular choice for overnight diapers, and for heavy-wetting babies.
(Photo: Newborn Piddly-Winx Polyester Diaper with Microfibre Insert)
Our polyester diapers, however, have been strategically designed to resist pilling, and have a soft suede inside. The microfibre inserts are designed to wick away moisture by pulling it through the suede layer into the insert, but because of this, it should not be placed directly on your baby’s skin – it should always be stuffed beneath the suede layer. If you have to have the insert place on top of the shell though, be sure to use a little bit of Vaseline or lotion to help keep your baby nice and moisturized. Bamboo inserts are perfectly safe to have your child lay directly on (ie: not stuff), as they do not “wick” all moisture away and do not absorb your baby’s natural oils. You do not need to use extra Vaseline or lotion with bamboo diapers.
(Photo: Piddly-Winx Cloth Diaper Stash on Line Outside)
Whether you decide to go bamboo or polyester, they are both quality and resilient diapers. Our stash consists mostly of polyester, but we do have a few bamboo diapers and they fit right into the rotation. Both diapers are very soft, and are waterproof with the PUL outer layers. The outer layer has 2 different options – smooth and fuzzy. Both are equally water resistant, and do not affect the functionality of the diapers in either way – it is strictly a cosmetic appeal.
Experienced cloth diaper user? What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment!