Hemp Bamboo or cotton?

Is hemp, bamboo or cotton the best choice when it comes to cloth nappy inserts? Here’s a look at the advantages of each one to help you make your decision.

Hemp, bamboo or cotton sleeping baby and teddy bear


Hemp has long been one of my favourite fabrics for cloth nappy inserts. It’s super absorbent and can handle a huge amount of liquid. It’s a hard-wearing fabric that will last well. Using hemp can take a little getting used to. Unlike many other fabrics, it takes a while to get it to reach full absorbency. You will hear people claim this about all nappy fabrics. Although they can get more absorbent with use over a long period of time, only hemp takes around 20 washes to remove oil residue. These are natural oils, which are left on the fibres in manufacture. Neither bamboo nor cotton has these or similar oils.


Bamboo fabric is created from the bamboo plant. Unlike the other two fabrics in this article, bamboo is more processed which means that it is in effect a manmade fibre created from natural ingredients. This means that it behaves like other natural fibres and absorbs the liquid, rather than trapping it between fibres the way that polyester will. The great thing about bamboo is the combination of how absorbent and how soft it is. Even after years of use and multiple washes, most bamboo will still retain a soft silky feeling. It’s these two properties that make it ideal for cloth nappies.

Cloth nappies for premature babies


Cotton is perhaps the fabric that has been used the longest for cloth nappies. Generations of parents have relied upon the ease of use and absorbency of cotton. If you’re looking for straightforward and simple, then you really can’t go wrong with good old fashioned cotton nappies. In many ways, cotton is the ideal choice. Quick-drying and pretty much bombproof, it’s just a bit less absorbent than the other two fabrics.

Should I use hemp, bamboo or cotton?

Really the choice of what nappy fabric to go for is down to personal preference. Only you will know if you prefer hemp, bamboo or cotton. In many cases, a combination of all three works well. Cotton is fantastic in the early days, bamboo works well for heavy wetters and hemp is great for nights.

Let us know your favourite combinations in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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