The truth about microfiber

A lot of my stash is used to be pocket diapers. When I first began cloth diapering I was extremely particular about my inserts.  The insert that came with the shell had to be stuffed into that exact diaper. No mixing and matching! Bumgenius inserts go in Bumgenius diapers. Don't stick a Happy Heiny insert in my Bumgenius diaper. Seriously.

Unfortunately, most cloth diapers come stock with microfiber inserts. At first, I had no problems with microfiber. I read multiple posts on Facebook where moms were discussing hating microfiber, but I didn't see what the big deal was. Now I get it!

Let's talk about microfiber...
Microfiber is a synthetic material. It is great for absorbing liquids quickly. If you have a heavy wetter, you could stuff your diaper with two microfiber inserts (which can be super bulky) or you could stick a hemp doubler behind the microfiber insert. You should never put microfiber directly against your baby's skin. Because it absorbs so well, the microfiber will absorb all the moisture and can cause a nasty rash. Always be sure to have a layer of fabric between skin and microfiber.  It is one of the cheapest insert options for diapers. It dries very quickly in the dryer.

Here are some common problems with microfiber...
Compression leaks: When your baby is sitting for long periods of time (car rides, high chair, or not yet mobile) in the same position the compression of their weight can cause the liquid in the insert to leak out. This seems to be my number one complaint with microfiber. A lot of times I would find this happening when Noah was on my hip. Then I had to change his diaper, his shorts, and my shirt. Not a happy mama!

Absorbency: Microfiber is great for absorbing quickly. And it can hold a lot, but natural fibers (hemp, cotton, bamboo) can hold even more! Once your insert is full of liquid, the pee won't have anywhere else to go and you'll get leaks.

Bulk: It is one of the bulkiest inserts I own. Especially if you have a heavy wetter and are doubling up inserts. Talk about a fluffy butt!

Smell: The inside of a microfiber insert can really trap in the smell of urine. Eventually, you may find yourself stripping your diapers to get rid of the dreaded ammonia smell.

So now that I've confessed my microfiber woes, what now? I've begun replacing all of my diapers with inserts made of natural fibers. Slowly, but surely I'll get there. Check back soon for part two, where I tell you what I'm using instead!

What are your thoughts on microfiber? Love it? Hate it? Share your thoughts below!

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  1. We have been battling ammonia recently with our HE top loader. We have moved our pail to a cooler part of the house, taken the lid off, started washing every day for smaller loads on the bulky setting so we are using the maximum amount of water for the smallest load we can. We have also cut our detergent in half. And we stripped. We are currently in an okay holding pattern, but toddler pee, combined with infant pee is bad. So we are swapping as much of the microfiber out for hemp and bamboo as we can. I was advised to buy hemp, but it is pretty expensive. I have some, but was able to bulk order bamboo relatively inexpensively. Just waiting for it to arrive.

    I have ONLY had stink issues with PUL backed microfibers, and microfiber inserts. I do not have the stink issues with microfiber towels that are tri folded and used as an insert. Or with any of my other diapering items (Flats, prefolds, pockets, AIOs, covers).

  2. I understand these complaints with microfiber but I still love my microfiber. If taken care of properly, which includes using a little bleach every now and then and lots of water, the ammonia issue can be avoided. Also using a hemp doubler under mcrofiber for heavy wetters or long car rides / overnight works great at avoiding compression leaks. The biggest reasons I love my microfiber are for its price, its extremely quick drying time (even line drying inside which is my preferred method) and its fast absorbency. The drying time of my natural fiber diapers is by far the biggest downside of them for me.

  3. I'm cloth diapering for the first time. I bought a mix of diapers, lightly used because I didn't know what I would like the best. I have some bum genius, some blueberry, Some fuzzubunz. Why can't you mix the inserts? They are all microfiber, right?

    1. Hi Betsy! You could mix and match the inserts. The only problem is that some of them may not fit width/length wise in some of the diapers.

  4. I am about to cloth diaper my 6th baby, and after 18 yrs of cloth diapering I know this: I to dislike microfiber! It feels weird on my fingers and it was designed for cleaaning and so traps bacteria, which is why it has ammonia and stink issues. Im a cotton mom for sure. Great post (y)

  5. I started Cloth Diapering using microfiber inserts, now I'm expecting baby number three and ordered cotton prefolds and covers to use with my new baby.

  6. What fabric do you recommend to have between baby's skin and the microfiber? The aio's have a place to put the insert inside...is that where they go? As you can tell, I'm a noobie. Lol

  7. I used to be the same way - the insert that came with the diaper HAD to go with that diaper, no exceptions. Now I am much more relaxed about it. As far as microfiber goes, I haven't had the smell problems that others have reported but I do use it less now that my son is older and wets more. I am leaning more toward prefolds as inserts for my pockets (laid on top, using the pocket diaper as a cover since I'm tired of stuffing) or other natural fibers for their extra absorbency.

  8. I am just starting with my pockets so this is helpful.

  9. I use mostly microfiber but have actually just gotten a few diapers with bamboo inserts. So far I do like that they are more trim but I guess I'm just skeptical that they can somehow hold more. So far they only seem to last about 30 minutes longer than microfiber but since they are so trim I might be able to add more.
    On a completely separate note I flushed one of my diapers down the toilet on accident today and it was brand new��

  10. Jennifter - that is funny!! Bamboo definitely holds more than microfibre, even though it's thinner looking... weird!

  11. I've been trying a new combination for nights: A little bloom pocket nappy with 2 bamboo inserts over a little lamb bamboo nappy without a cover on. So essentially two nappies at once. So far it has held my 1 month old for 8 hours overnight:-)

  12. I don't love Microfibre, I don't hate Microfibre. I use natural vs Microfibre 60-40. MF is easy to dry, cost less and works wonderfully with a Hemp insert. Can't spend too much on Natural fibres, so I bought FSTs but sometimes padfolding 40-50 FSTs is a job of its own and then stuffing it. So I padfolded as many FSTs as I can and stuff rest with MF. Sometimes all with MF. So it's okay for us to use MF.


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