love/hate of microfiber

love/hate of microfiber

One of the popular things in cloth diapers right now is to stuff pocket diapers with microfiber inserts. Microfiber is a synthetic fiber that absorbs a lot of moisture, cutting down on the bulk of cloth diapers. It is also good for nighttime diapers as it can hold a lot of liquid.

The bulk of my diaper stash are Baby Kanga pocket diapers, stuffed with bumGenius microfiber inserts. (See the picture to know what a microfiber insert looks like.) For about a year, I was pretty happy with them and didn’t have any issues at all. Then, I started having smell issues. I felt like I was just washing them over and over. After we bought the house, we discovered that our pipes need to be replaced – they are old and rusting, so our water is full of minerals. I found a detergent for cloth diapers that’s made for hard water like ours. I was really excited! I was hoping this would be the trick needed to get my inserts smelling like new again.

Well, long story short, after about 2 months or so I had to stop using the detergent because it gave Savannah *such* a bad diaper rash. I ended up doing disposables for most of the month of December, and then after Christmas I stripped the diapers. I boiled all the inserts, and then washed them in Calgon (a water softener), and then washed them without detergent or Calgon about 5 times. They smelled brand new after I finished, and I switched detergent.

In the meantime, I’ve done some research about microfiber and found some stuff that has made me sad. For one, microfiber is terrible with hard water. It tends to trap the minerals from the water, and people often have smell and repelling issues after about a year. I’ve also discovered that front-loaders do a poor job of getting diapers clean (I wish I’d known this when we bought our washer and dryer new while I was pregnant!).

So, the short is that I need to replace all the microfiber inserts. I think I’m going to go with all-cotton prefolds to stuff in my pocket diapers. I also want to get more soakers for my GroVia system – they are all-cotton as well, with PUL backing. It’s a bit frustrating, but you live and you learn, right?

9 thoughts on “love/hate of microfiber

  1. I hate hate hate microfiber. I can’t stand touching them. They make my already dry hands feel like the hook side of Velcro pair when I have o touch them.

    My front loader works great to get diapers clean, but it has a special sanitary cycle with steam. I use a tiny (like 2 tbsp) amount of Allen’s naturally to wash with about 2 capuls of bacout, dilluted with distilled water.

    Ive started using some hemp inserts too. They are trim.

  2. Yeah my wash is loooong. 2 and a half hours. My mil complains about her front loader too and hers is a nice one.

    Mcrofiber dries really fast in the dryer too. Hemp and cotton take forever. You can dry them outside till they’re almost dry and throw them in the dryer for the last little bit. Thatll soften them.

  3. Microfiber doesn’t breathe, so it doesn’t seem like it would be good to use on a baby’s bum…

    Okay, this may be the dumbest question ever, but I’ve never understood this: What is the point of inserts? I mean, once baby dirties the diaper, doesn’t the whole thing need to be washed anyway? So why the inserts? Why aren’t diapers made thick enough to begin with?

  4. Kesed: I was planning on getting the red-edged GMD prefolds. Savannah is 20lbs, so it seems that is the best size for her.

    Bianca: Microfiber does have a weird texture! I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either.

    I think mine is a low end frontloader. I don’t mind it for my other clothes – which is actually what is keeping me from selling and replacing with regular top loaders. I do have a sanitary cycle (no steam), but it’s 2 hrs long. I guess that’s the same as two regular cycles – I should try it and see if it makes a difference.

    One good thing about microfiber is that I love that it’s still soft after being air-dried. I will miss that when I am using all cotton!

  5. If you did decide to replace your washer… Having just shopped for one with diaper-washing in mind, we discovered there are very few (not very good) options when it comes to top loading washers with an agitator. We ended up with a top loading HE washer- no idea if it’s any better than a front loading HE, but we haven’t had any problems (but, we’re using prefolds not microfiber)

  6. Anne Marie: Yeah, you can’t put microfiber directly on the baby’s skin – you have to have something between it. The reason why some people prefer to have a separate insert and diaper is because the diapers thick enough to hold it all (all-in-ones) take a REALLY long time to dry. Also, if they are made with microfiber and you have to replace it, then you have to throw the whole diaper away. With pocket diapers, you just replace the insert – the rest of the diaper is the expensive part anyways.

    Joanna: I didn’t have any problems with my washer until Savannah started solids. (Love those exclusive breastfed dirty diapers! So easy to clean!) I would say probably about a year after I started cloth was when I noticed issues, and since then I’ve been constantly tweaking my laundry routine trying to find that magic method that gets my diapers clean. So frustrating!

  7. Mmm, there have been so many times when I’ve wondered why I cloth diaper! Usually when I’m dealing with poop… I think anything worth doing won’t necessarily be “easy,” though. :)

    I have a bunch of different inserts – some of them microfiber liners, some hemp, a bunch of prefolds, others I’m not 100% sure of. A couple times I had issues with smell, but I didn’t do anything special to remove the smell. I have a front-loading HE Washer, and I usually do a cold rinse or quick wash (sometimes with baking soda if I think of it), then the heavy cycle with hot water. I’ve played around with all sorts of detergent, and right now I’m currently using a homemade detergent (

    I bet you could sell your unwanted diapers/inserts on diaperswappers.

  8. Karla: You have to be active on the forums to sell on diaperswappers. I really don’t want yet another forum, so after searching the web I decided there are only two non-forum places… Craigslist and Ebay. I hope with diaperswappers’ new rules, it will push more people to Ebay (for purchases and selling), making it a more viable place to sell diapers.

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