Cloth Diaper Inserts and Liners FAQs

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Don’t let cloth diapering overwhelm you. If you have questions about cloth diaper inserts and liners, you’ll find the answers here.

FAQs Cloth Diaper Inserts

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Whether you’re a veteran at cloth diapering or a newbie, it can be overwhelming when you start looking at all of the choices in how to cloth diaper. Pocket diapers, Hybrids, and Fitteds & Covers all use different systems – different inserts and materials.  So, in this post, we’re looking at the different types of Cloth Diaper Inserts, Boosters, and Liners that are most popular in the cloth diapering world.

Cloth Diaper Inserts are the part of the diaper that absorbs liquid, essentially the “workhorse” of the cloth diaper.

Cloth Diaper Inserts:

The Insert is the workhorse of your diaper.  A Pocket Diaper with no insert, well, it wouldn’t do you any good at all! Cloth Diaper Inserts usually come with a pocket cloth diaper, but they are available to buy individually.

Cloth Diaper Inserts can be made from a variety of materials, but the most common are:  Microfiber, Minky, Bamboo, Organic Cotton, and Hemp.  All of these materials are used for different reasons – some absorb fast, some slow; some absorb more, some less.

Inserts can go in the pocket of a diaper or lay in a cover and sit directly against baby’s skin – EXCEPT FOR MICROFIBER. Microfiber should never be placed directly against your baby’s bottom. It pulls in moisture and could dry out your child’s skin. All other materials that I listed above can go directly against your baby’s skin.

5 Layer Charcoal Bamboo Inserts5 Layer Charcoal Bamboo InsertsBamboo Cloth Diaper InsertsBamboo Cloth Diaper Inserts100% Microfiber Inserts for Cloth Diapers100% Microfiber Inserts for Cloth DiapersBabyKicks 3 Pack Joey-Bunz PremiumBabyKicks 3 Pack Joey-Bunz Premium

  • Microfiber – This material absorbs liquids fast.  It’s cheap and does a great job as a cloth diaper insert, which is why so many manufacturers use it.  The downsides of microfiber are:  It can’t be put against baby’s skin, it’s known for holding in smells {“microfiber funk”}, it can be bulky if you need to add more than 1 insert for a heavy wetter.
  • Minky – This is a relatively new fabric being used in cloth diapers.  It’s extremely trim and seems to hold about the same as a microfiber insert that is comparable in size.
  • Bamboo – This material is super absorbent and is often used in conjunction with a Hemp Blend.
  • Organic Cotton – This material is organic, which is very important to some.  It does tend to dry stiff if you air dry, but is a relatively good absorber.
  • Hemp – The Cadillac of Inserts – It will hold about 2.5x the amount of a microfiber insert comparable in size and is very trim.

Expert Tip: I recommend at least 3 hemp inserts for cloth diapering. They’re great for nighttime, naps, and are so trim in cloth diapers.

Everyone always asks my favorite type of cloth diaper insert and I answer quickly… hemp. It just worked the best for my girls and my favorite way to use them was with a thin microfiber insert laid on top of a thin hemp insert [these were my absolute favorite] inside a pocket diaper.


A Cloth Diaper Liner sits as the top layer of a diaper and protects your baby’s bottom, as well as the cloth diaper.


Liners are a cloth diapering accessory that has nothing to do with absorbency.  There are 2 different types of Liners {reusable and disposable} and Liners are primarily used for 3 different reasons:

  • Protect your diapers from diaper creams
  • Keep your baby’s skin drier.
  • Easy clean-up of diapers.

Reusable Diaper Liners:  These are usually made from fleece and can be washed with your diaper laundry {unless they have lots of diaper cream on them, in which case I would suggest washing separately}.  You can purchase reusable liners from many cloth diaper stores or simply make your own!  Cut up strips of fleece, bought from a craft store, and lay them in your cloth diapers.

DIY Reusable Diaper Liners

Disposable Diaper Liners:  These are very, very thin sheets of liners that are almost like toilet paper sheets.  They lay into your diaper the same as resusable ones, but they are meant to be thrown away.  Most are flush-able.

  • Even if you’re using cloth diaper safe diaper creams, you may want to use a liner to help protect your diaper from encountering any build-up from the cream.
  • If your concerned about your baby’s skin staying too wet in cloth diapers, you can line them with a fleece reusable liner.  The fleece is amazing in that it wicks away moisture, but allows the urine to pass through, keeping their skin completely dry!
  • If you’re traveling, don’t have a diaper sprayer, or just don’t like dealing with cleaning poopy cloth diapers – disposable liners can be your best friend!  Simply take out the liner and throw it away or flush!

cloth diaper inserts


Are there any special rules to prep inserts?  

Microfiber and Minky Inserts need to be washed only once and they’re ready to use.  Any organic/natural fibers like Bamboo, Organic Cotton, and Hemp need to be washed a minimum of 4 times to begin absorbing and will reach maximum absorbency by about 10 washes. Some say that you can boil your natural fibers instead of washing them so many times.  The main consensus is to boil for about 15 minutes – but make sure you’re not boiling anything with snaps!  This will definitely cause damage to them!

Why should I invest in hemp inserts?  

BabyKicks 3 Pack Joey-Bunz, SmallBabyKicks 3 Pack Joey-Bunz, SmallIf you have a heavy wetter, if you have an older child/toddler in diapers, or if you plan/do use cloth diapers at night – you’re definitely going to want to have hemp inserts on hand.  They absorb a ton and are relatively trim, so you’re not stuffing your child’s diaper so full that they can’t move!  My favorite hemp inserts are Thirsties and JoeyBunz.

What is a booster?  

Boosters are simply inserts that are used in conjunction with another insert.  For example:  You’re using your minky insert that comes with a FuzziBunz and you need more absorbency.  You might add a hemp insert under the minky and thus your hemp becomes your booster.

What are some products that you recommend when it comes to the best cloth diaper inserts and liners?

Buttons Hemp/Organic Cotton Diaper Inserts - Daytime - 3 PackButtons Hemp/Organic Cotton Diaper Inserts – Daytime – 3 PackThirsties Stay-Dry Duo Insert, White, Size Two (18-40 lbs)Thirsties Stay-Dry Duo Insert, White, Size Two (18-40 lbs)Buttons Disposable Bamboo Diaper Liners (100 Count)Buttons Disposable Bamboo Diaper Liners (100 Count)Kanga Care Stay Dry Microchamois Diaper LinerKanga Care Stay Dry Microchamois Diaper Liner

If I want to layer my inserts, what’s the best order?

If you’re layering and using microfiber in your mixture, definitely put it on top. Microfiber absorbs the quickest so it will pull the urine down the fastest. I always layer microfiber and then hemp underneath. But remember – microfiber cannot touch your child’s skin directly. There is no problem to using hemp or another natural fiber as the top layer, but be aware if you’re having leak issues make sure the legs of your child’s cloth diaper are pulled tight enough.

If you have any questions about Cloth Diaper Inserts or Liners that you think should be added to these FAQs, be sure to let me know by emailing me or leaving a comment!

    1. Hi Jamisa! It definitely depends on the type of diaper you're using, as well as how dirty/wet the liner/insert gets. If you're using something like an insert inside of a cover and the cover doesn't get soiled, it would be fine to re-use a couple of times during the day. Hope that helps!
    1. Liners are definitely NOT required for cloth diapers, but are mainly used for 2 reasons. If you use a fleece liner, it can help keep your babies bottom a little more dry since the fleece wicks away moisture. If you're diaper has a fleece lining already, this isn't really needed. The second reason many use liners is to help keep stains away. If you use a disposable liner, it makes cleanup easier [love these when traveling] and a reusable liner may get stained, but they're way cheaper to replace than an entire diaper. Hope that helps!
  1. What is the best washing method when using a front loader machine? Do you recommend any soap that works best for getting microfibre funk out?

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