Microfiber Basics

This is part of a weekly series exploring the textiles involved in cloth diapering. We talk about basic usage as well as the potential environmental impact.

You catch the video my YouTube channel or below.

5 Things you Need to Know about Microfibre

Today, we’re talking about microfibre inserts and what you need to know about this textile before you start cloth diapering. I wish this textile didn’t exist, but you’re welcome to form your own opinions on the matter.

  1. It’s new to the game  – Microfibre is a synthetic material made out of polyester and nylon making it a petroleum based product developed sometime in the mid-late twentieth century, and when modern cloth diapering took a turn to what we know today in the twenty-first century, it quickly gained popularity. There’s all sorts of varieties of microfibre and different manufactures make different quality products. Some is 2, 3, 4 layers, and some is wrapped and some is not. Remember, just like everything there is complexity and uniqueness to the textile. 
  2. Microfibre is not really absorbent… let’s just be real, sure it can hold up to seven times its in weight in water but there’s only two sizes of microfibre out there and even the biggest one is a mere 8-10 ounces of liquid at full capacity. If we consider that full capacity means major compression issues, we need to stop saying Microfibre is absorbent because similar bamboo, hemp and cotton sized prefolds are just as thirsty without the leakage problems. 
  3. Microfibre has a short lifespan – it’s not well advertised that microfibre inserts are typically only good for 1-3 years. That’s right, depending on the quality and type of weave, this synthetic is prone to shedding and overtime it will loose it’s fluff and it’s absorbency. This is why many families struggle with microfibre in toddlerhood because toddler pees are no match for a material that is performing less than new. And let’s stop to talk about that shedding because microfibre, like many other textiles, sheds in the wash. However, because a synthetic material these tiny little plastic fibres end up in our water systems and just pollute.  Which is why I just hoard my old microfibre and I don’t use them to clean because I don’t want to wash them and pollute the oceans. 
  4. Microfibre is Bulky – and it’s bulky not only in the fluff factor but in the size factor. Microfibre typically comes in two sizes big or small. Both of these are wide inserts, and the small one is pretty useless and the big one is overwhelming on a small child. Microfibre doesn’t lend to be flexible or adaptable in its life. 
  5. Microfibre holds onto stink – as a synthetic designed to absorb and clean suff it does a really good job at holding onto the smells of the body – I would even wager to say any synthetic from microsuede to polar fleece also included in this. Many parents find they struggle with smells and microfibre leading to somewhat regular bleach washes and laundry fustrations.

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