Many cloth diapering parents are always looking for ways to make cleaning dirty diapers easier. One way to do that is to use cloth diaper liners.
Cloth diaper liners serve to keep your baby’s poop off of the diaper itself, making it easier to wash. How you deal with the poop on the liner depends on what kind of liner you use. There are disposable liners and reusable liners, and there are pros and cons to both.
Check out the video at the end of this post to learn how to EASILY make your own no-sew reusable fleece liners!
There are several different disposable cloth diaper liners on the market. Many of them claim to be flushable or biodegradable. Unfortunately, they aren’t really either.
Flushable liners do not break down as toilet paper does. These liners can wreak havoc on plumbing systems. Many people will say they have never had a problem so they will keep doing it, but the reality is that the problem isn’t always in your home. These cause a lot of issues in water treatment centers, which costs cities thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to prematurely repair and replace equipment.
Do flushable wipes and liners sound convenient? Sure. But flushing them is not responsible or advised.
Responsibly Disposing of Liners
If you use flushable liners, I recommend getting as much poop off of them as possible in the toilet and then throwing the liner in the trash.
Some people will just throw the whole liner, poop and all, in the trash, but you really shouldn’t throw poop in the trash. It poses a health risk to sanitation workers and bacteria from fecal matter can contaminate groundwater underneath landfills.
If you read the side of most disposable diaper packages, they will say to dispose of poop in the toilet before throwing the diaper away. Yes, I understand most people do not do this. But just because they don’t do this doesn’t mean it’s right. Quite frankly, we do a lot of not okay things on this planet. Our never-ending search for the easiest way to do things wastes resources, time, & money.
As far as being biodegradable goes, things that could theoretically biodegrade have a hard time doing so in landfills. For things to biodegrade, you need to have certain conditions and unfortunately, landfills rarely have these conditions.
Cost of Disposable Liners
As far as cost goes, most disposable liners cost between $0.06 and $0.10 per liner. If you are cloth diapering to save money, an expense like this doesn’t make sense. This is about half the cost of the disposable diaper already, plus when you factor in the cost of the cloth diaper, detergent, water, etc… you probably aren’t going to come out ahead.
All that said, disposable liners are an option available to you on the market, and many people love them. As you can probably tell, I am not a fan. However, here are the overall pros and cons:
- Makes poop removal super easy
- Flushing them can cause plumbing issues
- They won’t really biodegrade
- Even if your baby doesn’t poop, you need to throw the liner away every time you change the diaper
- Disposable liners are prone to bunching up, which means it doesn’t always contain all of the poop and you end up having to clean poop off the diaper anyway
Reusable liners serve more purposes than just making poo removal easier!
You can also use reusable liners to help with wetness sensitivity. If you use primarily natural fiber diapers (like cotton, hemp, or bamboo), and you notice that your baby has a wetness sensitivity, you might want to look into a moisture-wicking liner, such as fleece or silk. Not all babies are sensitive to wetness, but some are and it could make them red in the diaper area.
Using a fleece cloth diaper liner with help keep your baby’s skin drier. Fleece is moisture-wicking, so it will help your baby feel drier than if they have the natural fiber right against their skin.
On the other hand, some babies find synthetic materials aggravating and prefer the feel of natural materials. You could use a silk liner, which offers a stay-dry feel and is thought to help with rashes, or you could even lay a thin, natural fiber booster or thin insert on top of the inside of your diaper to function as a liner. You could also use flannel (be sure to check what your flannel is made out of as some flannel contains synthetic materials).
Keep in mind that lining your diaper with a natural fiber will probably not offer a stay-dry feel (except possibly silk).
- You do not have to throw away the liners after they have been used.
- Poop removal is much easier to do from a liner than a diaper.
- Reusable liners tend to stay in place better than disposable liners, meaning they catch more poop.
- More economical than disposable materials
- You still need to deal with poop in some capacity
- Because they are so cheap, some people will throw away a soiled fleece liner rather than clean it off and then just reuse pee liners. This is pretty wasteful as fleece is essentially plastic. It creates more waste than a disposable liner.
- Synthetic fibers can shed microfibers in the wash, which is an environmental concern. However, this isn’t limited to fleece liners. This goes for anything we wash in a washing machine that contains any polyester, nylon, rayon, or other synthetic materials.
Which Is Best?
I personally do not think it’s worth it to deal with disposable liners. I can’t figure out which motivation for using cloth would be in line with disposable liners–if your motivation is to reduce waste, these create unnecessary waste. If your motivation is to save money, these add up in cost.
If you want to use liners, I recommend fleece. It is moisture-wicking, cheap, and easy to wash!
How To DIY Fleece Liners
Check out the video below to see how I made fleece liners without any fancy tools– just some fleece, scissors, and something to measure with.
I make mine 6in x 14in. This will be big enough for any diaper and can be folded easily for smaller diapers.