Nappy Fabrics – Pros and Cons

We often get asked what’s the “best” or even most “environmentally friendly” fabric to use. Regrettably, there is not an easy solution also it is significantly less clear cut as almost all microfibre is natural and bad cotton is good, they almost all have environment impacts. As a parent you will have to determine what’s probably the most important environmental factor to you.

I do not want this article to become the excuse parents/carers are searching for Never to use cloth nappies. There’ll Remain a world effect of utilizing a nappy be that a cloth nappy or maybe a disposable nappy. The effect of utilizing a cloth nappy WHATEVER FABRIC is going to be less than that associated with a disposable.

Remember whichever nappy fabric you pick you’ll be saving approx 5500 nappies from going to landfill per baby. You will be lowering your plastic waste product, chemical waste, baby will likely be leading a far more breathable as well as chemically reduced nappy time.

I am in no way a fabric expert but these’re what I understand about nappy materials and their cons and pros below. The human understanding of ours is developing and changing all of the time, therefore I’ll keep returning to the post to upgrade on findings that are new.


The first nappy fabric used for numerous years in the traditional terry squares, cotton it’s the oldest fabric utilized by mankind. Cotton is comfy, absorbent and durable making it a fantastic fabric for nappies. Most cotton developed in the planet isn’t produced naturally, we try and relate to this as “standard cotton” to stay away from confusion with organic cotton nappies. Standard Cotton is among the most polluting plants in the environment and contributes to environmental contamination by using pesticides, insecticides and fertiliser. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages further below


Cotton is natural breathable fibre ideal for most weathers.
Hypoallergenic – are used close to the skin
Absorbent and will keep up to twenty seven times the own weight of its in water one Easy to clean up and can handle temperatures that are higher and can possibly be sterilized by boiling (we don’t suggest boiling for modern-day nappies though!)
Fabric is very easy to dye
Soft – although goes more difficult after a while with washing if not tumble dried Every component of the cotton plant is helpful in a way. The seeds are utilized in cattle feed, creating cotton oil. The lint is utilized to produce paper and medical supplies such as for instance bandages or perhaps cotton buds


Cotton (standard and organic cotton) need large amounts of water. Based on the WWF 20,000 litres of water have to create 1kg of cotton that is sufficient to create one t shirt along with some jeans. two
Huge amounts of electricity are required to develop, transport cotton and manufacture. Plus, it really needs lots of power to take care of the finished product. Information from WWF says a single ton of drying out requires 5x as much power as washing. This is the reason we constantly suggest you airdry wherever doable to minimise the environmental impact of the clothes of yours. You control the environmental impact of yours by your laundry choices. three.
Huge quantities of pesticide sprays and fertiliser are utilized to develop the crop. This can lead to destruction and pollution of the area and health implications for employees if farmed irresponsibly.
The Pesticide Action Network UK says that globally “cotton covers just 2.4 % of the planet developed land but consumes six % of the worlds bug sprays along with sixteen % of pesticides that is much more than every other main single crop” four Several of these insecticides are toxic. and hazardous “Pesticides are poisons created to eliminate and harm living organisms – and so they obtain that very successfully. Nevertheless, pesticides don’t only harm the organisms that they’re designed to control. Pesticides impact on non target organisms, which includes individuals. The World Heath Organisation (WHO) estimates 350 zero folks die each year from acute pesticide poisoning.” five
Cotton is susceptible to shrinkage so should be prewashed before sewing.
It’s usually combined with polyester to minimise shrinkage however this changes the framework of the cloth and polyester is not an all natural substance. Polyester is discovered in the starting weave of most cotton nappies.

Is cotton biodegradable? Indeed, it’s a totally organic crop grown in areas and it is totally biodegradable in the appropriate circumstances. It is able to also be reused. Nevertheless, if the nappy includes a base/mesh weave of polyester which end won’t biodegrade.


Organic cotton just love regular cotton. It’s pleasant, absorbent and durable however organic cotton is farmed so it is renewable and sustainable.


The organic cotton crop have to be grown based on established standards and also doesn’t use chemicals that are harmful like artificial fertilizers, pesticides or maybe GM organisms. 5.1 Organic cotton thus does not poison land, air and water resources. The organic cotton farm workers don’t experience illnesses triggered by chemicals used in regular cotton production.


Organic cotton for sure minimised the environmental damage the way it does not resolve the great water and power necessary for the harvest, as well as the time it requires to replenish the harvests.
Without having a polyester base/mesh weave present in many cotton nappies, natural cotton nappies will use quicker and are not as long lasting. This means the item is much more prone to require replacing quicker than a regular cotton version. The sole hundred % organic cotton nappy range we’ve discovered that does not possess the polyester base/mesh weave are organic cotton nappies created by Motherease. These could be the Organic Sandys, Organic Unos, Organic MEOS, Organic Duos.

Is Organic Cotton biodegradable? Indeed, it’s a totally organic crop grown in areas and it is totally biodegradable in the appropriate circumstances. It is able to also be reused.


Bamboo nappies launched back in 2005. They had been immediately popular as bamboo is much more absorbent compared to cotton and initially seems to be much eco friendlier crop in comparison to cotton. Nevertheless, as time went on there are increasing thoughts into the environmental impact of bamboo fabric production. The labelling of items has transformed from Bamboo to Bamboo Viscose or maybe Bamboo Rayon as these’re an exact description to what the fabric really is. Bamboo is no longer regarded as an all natural nappy fabric but a semi synthetic fabric.


Bamboo has numerous benefits over cotton. Based on Kew Gardens Bamboo is “considered to become the world’s fastest growing plant.” Bamboo “can cultivate numerous feet in twenty four hours and reach total level in monthly or maybe two.” six Bamboo is constantly re harvested with no harm to the planet. Unlike cotton, since it’s a grass, it regenerates after being cut without the demand for replanting – the same as a lawn. The speed it grows and since it is able to develop in such diverse environments makes the bamboo plant a versatile and sustainable resource.
Bamboo is an effective utilization of land. Bamboo grows very heavily, along with an impressive yield is usually manufactured in a tiny region. Moreover, bamboo is a “one time planting” crop and requires minimal maintenance or care.
The Bamboo crop has very low water usage and also little is irrigated Bamboo grows without the necessity for fertilizers or insecticides. Bamboo has a natural compound known as “bamboo kun” which is antimicrobial and provides the plant an all natural resistance against pests.
Bamboo is able to store “four times the CO2 of a stand of trees of similar “it and size” releases thirty five % more oxygen.” seven
Bamboo cloth features a really gentle feel (although is going to go harder with washing unless occasionally tumble dried) Absorbency – Bamboo can be quite hydroscopic it absorbs much more fluid compared to cotton and polyester. eight
Breathability – Bamboo gives larger air permeability or maybe breathability which makes it extremely cool to ear due to the micro areas in the fibre structure. nine


Bamboo is very absorbent the drying time is quite long as there’s far more water after cleaning to evaporate. I’ve known bamboo nappies to have three days to dry out on an airer. Bamboo is tumble dried but this ought to be on lower as the fabric is fine and may also be harmed by temps that are high.
Bamboo is not regarded as a “natural” fabric. The initial harvest is absolutely organic but as a result of the intense chemical process of switching the harvest right into a fabric, the completed fabric is closer in structure to a synthetic fabric. “Textiles labelled as being produced from bamboo are generally not manufactured by physical retting and also crushing. They’re usually synthetic rayon produced from cellulose extracted from bamboo.” ten
Bamboo calls for chemicals, water, and energy turning the bamboo crop into fabric. The “processing its fibre into textiles requires heavy duty chemical solvents …that can damage human wellness as well as the environment.” eleven Manufacturing bamboo viscose or maybe bamboo rayon has related environmental impacts to the alternative kind of rayon manufacturer
Although bamboo does not require pesticides, there’s simply no assurance that they’re not getting employed to maximise crop outputs.
The European NGO Created by rates Bamboo Viscose on similar environmentally friendly rating as typical (conventional) cotton. twelve This came as a total shock to me when researching this article.

As you’ve read through the vast majority of bamboo is created using harsh chemical substances making it right into a fabric however there’s good news. Some bamboo fabric is pronounced in a more earth friendly way and this appears to be the situation with the significant bamboo nappy manufacturers. Check your nappy for Oeko tex certification to make sure adherence to individuals and earth friendly manufacturing processes. Totsbots Bamboozle Stretchy and Little Lambs Bamboo has the top degree of Oeko tex hundred accreditation for their bamboo nappies. Motherease keep the Canadian equivalent certification.

Is Bamboo biodegradable? Indeed, it’s in the appropriate circumstances. It is able to also be reused.


Hemp was usually the eco helpful nappy fabric choice until around 2005 when bamboo came onto the nappy market place also we discovered sales of hemp cloth nappies uk heavily declined. They declined much we’d to delist the merchandise (there is just a lot of space in our warehouse). There’s been a huge change looking this season (2018) and hemp is certainly back in style and in demand that is high in nappy world! Hemp is a fast growing robust crop that develops in most temperate or maybe sub tropical areas. Hemp is produced from the Cannabis Sativa plant; the fibres of hemp are recognized for the longevity of theirs. Hemp was among the first plant life being spun into fibre. thirteen


Hemp as a crop grows incredibly fast (quicker compared to weeds) and it is obviously pest resistant so it could be cultivated without using deadly bug sprays and also fertiliser.
Hemp is planted densely making effective use of land. Hemp is able to produce 200 250 % more fiber in exactly the same quantity of land as cotton. fourteen
Hemp is a multi use annual crop grown for seed meaning, animal feed, and fibre there’s minimal wastage Hemp comes back up to seventy % of the nutrition to the dirt from the rarely used areas of the plant life including stems, roots and leaves, that actually leaves the farm land ready and fertile for the following crop. fifteen Hemp also assists to avoid soil erosion and is great for aerating & building top soil. Hemp has long roots which descend for over 3 feet that anchor and defend the top soil from run off and erosion. sixteen
In comparison to cottons huge needs for water research indicates that hemp needs on average 300 500litres of water for the generation of one kg of dry issue of which thirty % is ideal for fibre production. seventeen
When you include processing into the equation, cotton uses over 4 times as water that is much as hemp. eighteen
As a fabric hemp is an excellent fiber which keeps its design and it is extremely powerful.
Hemp gets softer with use.
It’s porous and therefore water absorbent.
Hemp is a breathable fabric which will keep us warm in cool and also cold weather in summer time. It is very effective in warm climates since it resists degradation by heat and is much less susceptible to fading.
Hemp absorbs dyes well,


A distinctive aspect of hemp is its coarse nature. As a result of this, it doesn’t look smooth against the skin. Nevertheless, as well as the situation with Ella’s House hemp nappies it may be combined with some other fibres like cotton to allow it to be softer. Over time if not tumble dried out we do discover hemp nappies are able to go rather hard.
Garments made totally from hemp usually wrinkle easily. Not much a problem with nappies particularly when mixed with cotton. I’ve noticed several hemp boosters go wrinkly though.
Hemp resists degradation in high heat, however hemp fibres could be assaulted by bacteria and fungi under humid and hot conditions so be sure you do not leave boosters or hemp nappies languishing inside a nappy container near a radiator or even in the summer months. Mildew rots and also weakens the material.
Overall, hemp seems to be somewhat easier on the earth than cotton, considering it is superior on water and also land requirements, and just somewhat worse for electricity consumption.

Is hemp biodegradable? Indeed, it’s a totally eco-friendly in the appropriate circumstances. It is able to also be reused.