What's in a Modern Cloth Nappy Insert?

When it comes to Modern Cloth Nappies, there are so many things to consider and if you’re new, sometimes even just getting used to the terminology can be a hurdle. LOSFM? PUL? Pocket? OSFM? It’s can be a lot!

One thing you can be certain of though is that most, if not all, cloth nappies will use PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) on the outer shell. That’s because it’s water resistant and is the best fabric to ensure your bub doesn’t just leak straight through. 

But what about on the inside? Which materials are the best to use and why? What materials are even used? If there’s more than one, which configuration works best for you? Microfibre or cotton? Bamboo or hemp? Or all four? 

We’ve come up with this handy little break down of each fabric for your reference so you can be certain that you’re getting the best set up for whatever situation you’re in! 

Cotton

Let’s start with a good all-rounder and one that’s used in a lot of different set ups, cotton!

Lightweight and durable this little gem is the perfect midground, pretty absorbent and relatively quick to dry too it’s a good one to keep on hand to boost your set ups. Unfortunately cotton fibres are not always the most absorbent on their own and, depending on the manufacturing process, it can require a lot of water and resources to produce. Cotton is best used in conjunction with other materials like a 45% cotton 55% hemp insert or as an addition to one of the more absorbent layers.

Microfibre

If you’re looking for a quick absorbing material though microfibre is the way to go. It absorbs super-fast, dries just as quickly and is perfect for those babies that have a tendency to flood* their nappies.
*Flooding often occurs when babies do a high volume wee and the layers don’t have an ample chance to absorb it all properly. As a result, the wee ‘floods’ out of the sides of the inserts causing leaks… ain’t nobody got time for that!

Unlike other materials though microfibre is more prone to compression leaks, meaning if you put pressure on it, (like if bubs is a tummy sleeper) then it will almost definitely leak out. It also doesn’t tend to hold moisture for long periods of time so wouldn’t quite hold up on its own! Due to the nature of the material though, microfibre shouldn’t be placed directly next to bubs skin as it can dry it out, that’s why microfibre is best used between more absorbent inserts so you can get the most out of your set up! 

Bamboo

If the above is the case, maybe something a bit longer wearing might be the answer you’re looking for? That’s where badass bamboo comes into play. Undoubtedly one of the most versatile materials in your insert set up, bamboo is super absorbent and holds onto that moisture for long periods without leaks. It’s super soft on the skin and requires a lot less water that cotton to grow so it’s all round better for us and the planet too. 

Whilst it absorbs large quantities, it doesn’t absorb them as quickly as microfibre and cotton and maybe the only other downside is it doesn’t dry as fast either. Though the benefit of bamboo is you can use it however you want, pair it with microfibre for a faster absorbency for those little flooders or with hemp if you have a power pee-er on your hands. 

Hemp

If it is a little power pee-er that you have in your midst, hemp might be one of the best materials to include in your set up. Hemp is ultra-absorbent, anti-microbial and one of the most sustainable materials to produce; it’s a fantastic option for most nappy configurations. It holds moisture better than any other material but it isn’t without its faults. Hemp does take a lot longer to absorb moisture in comparison to the other materials and on its own it’s more prone to wear and tear. It’s for that reason that most hemp inserts are paired with another material, often cotton, to give it more durability and longevity. It’s fantastic under a bamboo insert as bamboo absorbs quicker, or on top of a microfibre insert as microfibre absorbs faster too.  


With so many different types of material it’s hard to know how to pair them to make them work best for your little one. The slightly frustrating reality is it’s a bit of trial and error! Some people find microfibre on top (but not directly on bub's skin) followed by bamboo, followed by hemp works a treat! Others have found bamboo on top followed by hemp works best. Personally, I find the hemp at the bottom with bamboo on top in a day nappy works well for my little power pee-er, and for nights it’s microfibre, bamboo then hemp… and then times it all by 2! 

Just kidding!

It’s absolutely something that takes a little bit of trialling, however once you have a configuration that works for you then stick with it. There’s no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ when it comes to nappies, there’s only the way that works best for you and your little ones, and that’s what matters most. 

Share your nappy set ups with us! We always love to see how our community is rocking their nappies and besides… who doesn’t love a good cloth bum?