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What Are Cloth Diaper Liners?
Cloth diaper liners are a thin layer of cloth put into the baby’s diaper next to her skin. Unlike inserts and doublers, which are placed in diapers to absorb moisture, liners simply wick away the moisture from baby’s bottom. Cloth diaper liners are made with different materials that suit particular purposes.
Cloth diaper liners are a go-to for cloth diapering moms because they help preserve expensive cloth diapers as well as make clean-up a breeze.
Do You Need to Use Liners With Cloth Diapers?
As with cloth diapering in general, nothing is truly required. Each parent has their own preferences and needs. However, the difference between a cloth diapering pro and a newbie is that the pro recognizes that the difference between success and stress are just a couple more simple tools. In short, yes! Diaper liners will troubleshoot a variety of issues on their own.
Issue 1: Clean Up
While diaper sprayers are a staple of easy diaper cleaning, liners are the understated superheroes. They prevent a lot of poop leakage from migrating to the nooks and crannies of your cloth diaper. This is especially useful when you are using a diaper cover with fitteds, flats, or prefolds. The liners can catch a lot of the poop that would otherwise spread between the covers and the absorbent layers. Many times the poop simply peels off of liners without the need to use a diaper sprayer. These liners will be your best friend for a quick, less gross cleanup.
Issue 2: Moisture Wicking
Disposable diapers have a filling that pulls moisture away from your baby. This helps to keep baby’s sensitive skin dry. Some cloth diapers, like pocket diapers, tend to have the upper pocket layer made of fleece to wick away moisture. Many other types of cloth diapers (prefolds, flats, fitteds, and all-in-ones) don’t come with this layer. A cloth diaper liner will act as a moisture barrier for any type of cloth diaper. These are great because if you have different styles of cloth diapers in your stash, a simple liner can be used with all of them. Nighttime and naps are truly when these cloth liners shine. They keep ammonia and wetness off of babies’ sensitive areas when they are most vulnerable.
Issue 3: Cloth Diaper Preservers
Liners put in the hard work, so your cloth diapers will last from one baby to the next. These liners can take the stains that would otherwise ruin your cloth diapers. If your liner is stained, it can withstand harsher laundering conditions than many of your cloth diapers. Even if you have to replace a liner, it is much cheaper than replacing a diaper. Note: if you bleach some brands of cloth diapers, their warranty will be voided (I’m looking at you Charlie Banana). Liners can also take all types of diaper creams. If your baby requires diaper rash cream that isn’t compatible with cloth diapers, simply apply a liner, and wash the liner separately with clothes after. In my opinion, this really helps with the versatility of cloth diapers.
Cloth Diaper Liner Types
While we discuss and recommend various types of cloth diaper liners below, the only way to know what will work the best for you is to give each a try. I suggest grabbing a scrap of each at the fabric store to trial them before committing your entire collection to just one type of fabric.
Flushable Cloth Diaper Liners
The most common type of liner used is a flushable liner. These liners let moisture pass through to the diaper while preventing solids from smearing in. Flushable liners are biodegradable, and many can be rinsed, hung to dry, and re-used if they are not soiled. This type of liner is popular during the newborn’s early meconium poop phase and also when babies begin to eat solid foods. Caregivers can simply pull the liner containing poop out of the diaper and flush it…no spraying, swishing, or rinsing required.
Microfleece Cloth Diaper Liners
The second type of liner is made of fleece. Microfleece liners wick moisture away from baby and into the absorbent layers of the diaper below, much like how most pocket diapers work. These are useful diaper additions for those who use prefolds, fitted diapers, or even non-wicking AIOs.
Many people find that babies sleep longer if they feel dry, and moisture-wicking microfleece liners help keep the moisture away from baby’s skin. Solids also slip off of microfleece very easily and help keep the diaper free of stains. Parents also use this type of liner with creams and ointments that may have adverse effects on their diapers.
Microfleece tops many peoples’ recommendations due to comfort, ease of cleaning, and cost. You can buy microfleece in all kinds of colors and patterns at fabric stores and through many online sources. Microfleece cloth diaper liners are relatively cheap and wash easily. To wash, simply hold the edges, “slosh” or drop the waste into the toilet, and add to your regular diaper laundry. In addition, microfleece is a great option for heavy wetters.
Suede Cloth Liners
Stay Dry Cloth Diaper Liners. A similar option to microfleece is suede cloth. Suede cloth is just as easy to find as microfleece, plus you can use commonly issued coupons and frequent sales to save on these.
Suede cloth diaper liners do not generally stain, and they can stay newer longer then the microfleece does; however, this is not a good option if your little one is a heavy wetter. With that in mind, suede cloth is excellent for keeping your baby dry (with a regular amount of pee) and holds the smell better than microfleece. An added extra is that it’s very easy to clean.
While suede cloth liners are an easy choice for cloth diapers, there’s one caveat you need to remember. Some babies react to this fabric. Before you commit to using only suede cloth, make sure to test it on your baby. Try a suede liner and observe if their skin shows any reaction to it.
Raw Silk Cloth Diaper Liners
Another choice is raw silk liners. These liners have the same moisture-wicking capabilities as fleece. Silk is also known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can keep yeast at bay and help cure diaper rash. Silk liners can be used as an alternative to salves and creams as a natural way to cool down and heal inflamed skin. Silk liners should be washed by hand in a gentle detergent and laid flat to dry in an area without direct sunlight to keep their healing properties. If washed with the regular diaper load, they will maintain their moisture-wicking capabilities, but will no longer display the other benefits of silk.
As much as we want to reuse our diapers, sometimes it’s just easier to use disposables. Disposable diaper liners are a great choice if you are out running errands with baby. You can stash these in your diaper bag to make diaper changes easier while on the go. Who wants to try and wash poop out of a cloth diaper in a public restroom without a diaper sprayer? No thanks! Every mom should keep a few disposable liners in her diaper bag for these times.
Some disposable liner brands include Bummis, and Wegreeco. The most affordable disposable liners are the Grovia Bioliners. These can be flushed if you desire, but remember, this is at your own risk.
Another eco-friendly liner is the Little Lamb Nappy Liners. These are made of bamboo, a sustainably harvested wood, that is processed into a very soft and absorbent fabric. These are also not flushable, and they take anywhere from 2-12 months to decompose.
If you find yourself in a pinch, you can even use paper towels. Yes, you heard correctly. Though not ideal, they can roughly get the job done if you’re out of the house. These might be a cheap option to carry in your diaper bag.
DIY Cloth Diaper Liners
If you like the idea of cloth liners, but don’t want to pay money for each liner, you can DIY a set. Many parents choose this option to save money since these liners won’t be seen from the outside. These liners can be very simple (and cheap) to make.
Microfleece material will run you about $8-$11 USD per yard, and many fabric stores send out coupons that can make this cost even less. You should be able to get 30+ cloth diaper liners out of one yard. Microfleece is easy to find on sale at large craft stores making this option even easier on your wallet. Microfleece will probably be the easiest to make because you don’t have to sew the edges. For all the non-crafty parents, this is your best choice. You can also try suede or raw silk.
If you really want to cut costs and reuse/recycle, you can make your fleece liners from an old fleece blanket. I found an old fleece blanket sitting in our closet that we never use, so I repurposed it.
How Do You Make Cloth Diaper Liners?
The most popular type of diaper liners to DIY are microfleece liners. No sewing machines, needles, or thread will be needed.
- Gather Your Supplies
- Decide on a Size
- Cut Your Diaper Liners
1. Gather Your Supplies
The supplies you will need to make your own fleece liners are:
- 1 yard of microfleece
- marker or piece of chalk
2. Decide on a Size
First, decide what size liner you would like to make. Premade liners are typically 5 in x 12 in. These are then folded and tucked to the preferred size. If you would like a more custom size, you can use your baby’s open diaper as a guide. With smaller or newborn babies, you might want a smaller size to cut down on the bulk. Open baby’s diaper and lay flat. Measure the approximate length and width of the area you want the liner to cover. Use this custom measurement for your liners.
3. Cut Your Diaper Liners
Using the general 5 x 12 measurements, or your custom size, mark the size on your microfleece fabric with your marker or chalk. Cut your first liner out and place this new liner on the fabric to use as your pattern. Rinse and repeat. It’s really that easy!
What Kind Of Fleece Do You Use For Diaper Liners?
Fleece is woven out of man-made, synthetic polyester fibers. These fibers are then brushed to break the fabric loops to produce a thicker fabric that allows airflow. These fleeces are known as polar fleece, blizzard fleece, and brushed fleece. Anti-pill fleeces then undergo shearing which trims the fibers so they will not pill. This gives anti-pill fleece a furrier look. Microfleece goes through the same processes as anti-pill fleece, except it is originally spun with smaller polyester fiber yarn.
Of these types of fleece, you want to pick microfleece for your liners. Microfleece is the softest of the fleeces because of the small fibers that are sheared to produce tiny fuzzy bumps. Its thinness allows for it to quickly wick away moisture. This is probably the comfiest option for baby. It’s the softest fleece and its thinness doesn’t add as much bulk or warmth to baby’s diaper. In your baby’s diaper, moisture is sucked through the microfleece liner to the absorbent layer underneath. Thus, baby’s bottom stays dry and happy. Thirsties and Rumparooz use microfleece in their stay-dry liners.
Could you use polar, blizzard, or brushed fleece for liners? These types of fleeces aren’t as efficient for wicking moisture but are cheaper than microfleece. They are also easier to find in craft stores and many cheap blankets are made from this type of fleece. These types of fleece are actually better for diaper covers. Since they are thicker, they repel moisture instead of allowing it to easily soak through to an absorbent layer underneath. They would be excellent as covers for containing moisture in the diaper while microfleece would transfer moisture from your baby to the cloth insert or prefold.
How Do You Use Fleece Liner For Cloth Diapers?
All cloth diaper liners, including fleece, are used right next to baby’s skin. Open the diaper and lay it flat with the absorbent inside part up. Place the fleece diaper liner on top to cover as much of the diaper as you can. It is similar to placing a menstrual pad on top of a panty to protect it.
If your baby’s diaper is small compared to the fleece liner, you can fold the liner for a better fit. You will generally use these fleece liners with flats, prefolds, fitteds, and some all in ones. These styles of diapers do not usually have built-in liners. Pocket diapers on the other hand, usually include a microfleece or suede cloth liner already sewn in. Also, diapers that use inserts with a stay-dry liner on one side do not technically need a liner. With that said if you are looking for stain protection and ease of cleaning, then you can use your fleece liners in all of your diapers.
If you want to look into more information about liners, you can read our Bummis Bio Soft disposable liners review here or our Wegreeco Bamboo Liners review here.