About Brian Cline

Brian Cline is the Marketing Director of Nature Bumz and father of two young boys, and a girl that have all worn cloth diapers, and husband to Crystal Cline. Brian often interacts with fans on the Nature Bumz Facebook wall and with our followers on twitter.

Which Cloth Diaper Fabric is Most Eco-Friendly?

Which Cloth Diaper Fabric Is the Most Eco-Friendly?Most families that cloth diaper choose to cloth diaper because of economic reasons: let’s face it, cloth diapers are definitely much more economical than disposable diapers. As, we’ve blogged previously about in the Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapering Fabrics it’s super important that cloth diapering fabrics be absorbent, and be very strong because they will be washed hundreds of times.

In our years of cloth diapering, we’ve started to realize that it’s also important that we buy the most eco-friendly option that we can afford for our baby. Sorting through all of the different cloth diapering options is overwhelming for many families, and we hope that this blog post will simplify things for you and help you find the best option for your family.

Synthetic Materials

Synthetic, or materials made in a factory are generally made from nonrenewable resources like petrochemicals or require an incredible amount of processing such as Bamboo from Rayon.

Polyesters / Microfibre

In general, most of the inserts made from synthetic materials are made from microfibre which is actually a polyester. Sometimes, the inserts are called by other names like minky, or zorb. Polyesters aren’t very eco-friendly because they are actually made from chemicals and petroleum (oil) byproducts. There are a few upsides though: micorfibre is known for it’s quick absorption, durability, is very economical and very light.  

Most cloth pocket diapers come with a pair of microfibre inserts which to most families will be more than absorbent enough. Read on about some of the different options.

Bamboo From Rayon

Bamboo is increasingly becoming very popular with cloth diaper inserts because of how soft, and how light it is in textile form. Bamboo really would be the perfect fabric if we were completely able to ignore the environmental consequences. Unfortunately, bamboo goes through a very rigorous and fairly unfriendly process to become a useful textile. In our blog article called “How Is Bamboo from Rayon Made” we discuss the process in detail.

Interestingly enough though, before the processing happens bamboo is the ideal plant for fabric. Bamboo grows so quickly that it is not actually considered a tree. Instead it’s considered a grass!

Bamboo requires roughly one third of the amount of water to grow cotton and doesn’t require the use of pesticides because it has very few natural pests and grows so quickly. Our top selling cloth diaper inserts are actually the Bamboo From Rayon Inserts by AppleCheeks which we find to be incredibly soft and absorb quickly.

Natural Cloth Diapering Materials

Over the last few years, the cloth diapering community has come to really embrace natural fabrics and show tremendous interest in products made from hemp. Many different companies have changed their focus completely and started offering more natural diapers such as cotton or hemp.

Cotton

Traditionally, cotton is used most often for fabrics in clothing and cloth diapers. Most of the clothing you own is probably made from some sort of cotton blend. Cotton is most often used for flat diapers, prefolds, and fitted diapers.

Cotton requires a growing period of at least 160 frost free days which eliminates many areas of the world. Major cotton producing countries are the United States, China, India and Pakistan.

Weather, insects and moisture can affect the growth of cotton: many farmers opt to use pesticides and other methods to better optimize the growth. In many countries, such as India and Pakistan the use of pesticides is not very well monitored and may be over applied.

Cotton is actually not a very eco-friendly choice, because it requires a lot of water to grow and generally there are a lot of pesticides that are applied while it grows to keep it pest free. Bummis, is our favourite manufacturer of prefold diapers because they have opted to only sell certified organic prefolds.

Hemp

Hemp is a very eco-friendly plant and incredibly versatile because it can be grown from either seed or fiber. Hemp is a very eco-friendly cloth diapering choice.

In the past, hemp hasn’t been used much for cloth diapers because it is illegal to grow hemp in the USA and difficult to get a license to grow in Canada. In the USA, Hemp is known as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which means special permission is needed to grow it. From a few different google searches and sources, I’ve found it is very difficult to get permission and then just it’s just as difficult to find someone able to make hemp into a fabric. In Canada and many European countries, farmers can grow it but may require special license.

Hemp materials are very absorbent, quite thin, but don’t absorb as quickly as cotton or polyesters which means they are usually paired with another material like cotton. For example, AMP Hemp inserts are a 45% Hemp and Cotton blend.

Hemp is a very popular choice for cloth diaper inserts designed for use at night. Our favourite hemp diaper inserts are the Punkin Butt Patch Inserts or the AMP Hemp Inserts.

There are some brands of fitted diapers that use hemp like the AMP Hemp Fitted diaper.

Wool

Wool is created by sheep and very sustainable. In cloth diapering, wool is pretty much the gold standard for absorbency, breathability, and is most commonly used for wool diaper covers.

The only problem for many families considering wool is that it does require a little bit of special care, but it’s actually really easy once you have the hang of it. If you are considering wool diaper covers, we recommend taking a look into Sustainablebabyish diaper covers.

Are the environmental benefits of cloth diapers important to you? What material did you decide to use for cloth diapering your little one?

How to Use Your Snappi Diaper Fastener

Wonder what this three legged stretchy contraption is?  It’s super easy to use, saves your fingers, and even baby can’t get it off!  Snappi Diaper Fasteners fasten most cloth diapers from flats & prefolds to Contour diapers that need fastening.  Here’s how to use YOUR Snappi Diaper Fastener:

Simply Stretch your snappi, Hook it on the Left of the cloth diaper, Hook it on the Right side of the diaper, pull it down & then Hook it in the Centre (downward).

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You will get used to doing it once you first use your Snappi and it will become like second nature.  The reason we LOVE our Snappis is the fact that you don’t pin yourself like diaper pins, and even though the claws are fairly sharp, they also come with a protector that pulls down over the claws when they aren’t in use!

Snappi Baby has even created a great video to help show you what it’s like to actually put it on a real baby.

What is YOUR favourite style of cloth diaper fastener?

The Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala

We are so excited to have been nominated for the Environmental Award by the Niagara Entrepreneur of the year awards.  These awards began in 1993 where a small group of individuals from the community – people involved in various business, educational and service organizations – got together and recognized outstanding achievers in Niagara.

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Over the past 20 years they have honoured many outstanding innovators and achievers who have made their mark, and continue to excel in their chosen field.  We are so very humbled to have been nominated for this very special award.

The Environmental Award acknowledges an entrepreneur who’s company; has had a positive impact on the environment.

We had a lovely time meeting many different business owners throughout the Niagara Region and learning from what many of them had to say.  Here’s a few shots of us at the awards dinner gala held at the Sheraton on the Falls in Niagara Falls.

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No Bummis About it! We welcome Elephant Tale & Playful Painter!

Bummis New Limited Edition Prints are here once again in the Bummis Simply Lite Diaper Cover!  We have a limited quantity and are here while supplies last!  Along with these beautiful prints we’ve also re-stocked our Bummis Fabulous Wet Bags in Medium and Fleece Liners!

The first print is an adoreable Elephant Tale print with brightly patterned elephants great for boys or girls as it is a neutral print.

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The second print is the playful painter, picasso style bright paint is covering a black canvas perfect for either sex and great for those creative little bums out there.

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Paired with a great prefold or fitted diaper these Bummis Simply Lite Diaper Covers are perfect for the cloth diapering parent.  Which one is YOUR favourite?

AppleCheeks Love Happens & Pink About It!

We are super excited to announce the adoreable new print and colour from AppleCheeks in their latest Valentine’s Reveal!  We are now accepting Pre-orders of Love Happens (a beautiful print):

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And of course Pink About It…. a beautiful light pink with dark pink snaps!

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Pre-orders should arrive between 3-5 weeks as we get them from AppleCheeks.  What is YOUR favourite AppleCheek colour/print?

Cascade and Cloth Diapers…

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We have been approached many times now about using Cascade and cloth diapers as a stripping method and felt we should create an article to put the readers minds at ease.  Please DO NOT use Cascade with your cloth diapers.  Not only does the manufacturers advise against it, but there are many reasons as to why this is NOT a good way of getting rid of ammonia, barnyard smell, repelling or other issues you may have with your cloth diapers.

1.  Cascade is designed to clean dishes NOT your diapers!  Yes – the ingredient list is similar if not identical to that of most detergents, HOWEVER the concentrations used of these ingredients is much stronger to tackle tough stains on enamel and hard surfaces like dishes, which when used on your cloth diapers will damage PUL (the waterproof material in your diapers), elastics and much more.  Especially with cheaper made diapers, you could be ruining your entire stash, causing leaks and so much more.  The first time you may notice an immediate difference – fresh smell, stains gone, etc.. but the deterioration of your diapers and their effectiveness of being absorbent will definitely be impacted and in fact you may ruin all of your diapers.  We recommend a ‘Rock a Soak’ from Rockin’ Green – not just because we sell it, but because it is FORMULATED for use on cloth diapers and will protect your cloth diapering investment.

A comment was made from chemistry expert Shirley Murdoch of Bummis who said: “Most commercial cleaning products work on the same principles of cleaning, pH, bleaching, surfactants, enzymes. While the components look similar, they are formulated specifically for what they are being used for and so are not the same. For example you may find the same ingredient in hand soap, laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent but it will be at different concentrations. Auto dish detergent is formulated to be much harsher than laundry detergent because it is attacking hard surfaces, while your laundry is full of fabrics/dyes which are far more sensitive than a ceramic bowl.”

Cascades List of Ingredients.

2.  There are other options to strip your diapers that are safe and will preserve the life of your diapers.  After all… I’m sure you want your diapers to last through their lifetime after spending so much on the initial investment.  Here are some great articles we’ve put together to make cloth diapering not as hard as it seems to help tackle those tough cleaning issues you may be experiencing.  How to Strip your Cloth Diapers, Washing cloth diapers in a Front Loader, and more Washing Cloth Diapers 101.  Products we highly recommend to use for stripping cloth diapers are RLR, Rockin’ Green’s Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer & The Laundry Tarts Strip It!  Pre-Treatment Formula!

3.  Cascade could be harmful for your little babies bum.  These ingredients are in such a concentration to scrape and remove tough grease and grime off of hard porcelain and similar surfaces, just think of what that could do to babies bum if it’s not washed out completely or rinsed enough?!

4.  You may void the warranty of your washing machine.  Most washing machines are clear on what they allow inside their drums, and again – the concentration of Cascade’s ingredients could do some damage to the drum of your washer.

If you have other issues with cloth diapering or want more information about finding the right cloth diapering washing routine for you then please join us on facebook and ask questions away on our wall or private message us.  You can even contact us anytime and we’d be happy to help you out!  Cloth diapering really shouldn’t be a difficult thing, and it could be a matter of water type, washing machine type, or other things that we can certainly help with.  Have a fluffy day!