Microfiber is one of the most used synthetic fibers for cloth diaper absorption. Similar to microfiber cleaning towels these relatively thin soaker pads can contain amazing amounts of liquids. Microfiber if properly cared for can be a bullet proof solution for cloth diapering, meaning less leaks and simpler diapering.
Microfiber is mainly made from polyester, although some companies are now offering poly/cotton or poly/bamboo blends. Because these types of microfiber products are combined with natural fiber they are gentler on skin. It is recommended not to place microfiber directly against the skin. Microfiber should be covered by another layer, such as a pocket diaper, you can also top microfiber with any stay dry or natural cloth.
Microfiber can be a tricky fabric to deal with, if you do not care for it properly it can result is repelling and stinky diapers. Repelling is when the liquid does not soak into the fabric and rolls off the side instead. Repelling is a major cause of diaper leaks. The other issue stink is caused from either diapers not getting clean or having detergent build up. Using too little detergent has caused as many problems as too much. This can happen with any type of fabric but microfiber seems to have more issues with this. There are few ways to deal with these problems but the advice varies from person to person. Here are the main ideas of getting rid of stink and repelling.
Repelling: Strip your diapers. This is done by either running several plain hot hot washes or running a hot wash with a drop of dish liquid and then running several plain hot washes after that. You may wish to remove any diapers contianing PUL or TPU when you wash at high temps. This is the basic plan for getting rid of repelling, however some people have switched to commercial, non-diaper friendly detergents like Tide and claim they have never had to strip again. Remember that using these detergents may void your warranty, so make sure that you have tried everything else before using this method.
Stink: Suggestions for getting rid of stink include baking soda, adding vinegar to the rinse, and drying in the sun. Stripping is also a method that many people use but if you have ever had really bad ammonia smell in your diapers stripping will only last so long. Rockin Green has recently come out with a detergent specially designed for stinky diapers; I have heard good reviews of this formula. Cotton Babies recommends 1/4 cup of bleach once per month. Once again though it seems that for those who just can’t kick the stink Tide is the answer. Like before mentioned, using Tide or detergents like it may void your warranty, but it may be worth it for you. Warranties do not cover smell and repelling issues. A detergent I recently began using is Babyganics, it is earth friendly but does contain plant enzymes, and I haven’t had any troubles with it. Thristies has a similar formula. Many agree that enzymes may be needed in diaper care especially when dealing with synthetic fibers.
For me microfiber is kind of a love hate relationship. I love how absorbent and easy to stuff it is, but dealing with stinky diapers can be a pain. Because many cloth diapers do have microfiber in them it is important to know what to do if things start to go downhill. Once I had my wash routine down microfiber wasn’t a big deal. I haven’t had stink or repelling in a very long time. It is an easily accessible and cost kind choice for cloth diapering. There are many debates as to whether synthetic fibers are any better than disposables, but in the end if you do choose to use microfiber, you will still be keeping one less diaper out of the land fill, and that is worth it to me.