Friday, February 22, 2013

Staying dry with fleece

Fleece is a synthetic fabric frequently used in cloth diaper construction.  FuzziBunz cloth diapers was one of the first major diaper companies to use fleece in their diaper design when they created a diaper where a "stay-dry" fleece lining wicked moisture through the fleece and into an absorbent diaper insert.  Because the absorbent diaper insert held moisture more efficiently than fleece, the moisture was kept away from baby and baby was left feeling more comfortable.

Why does fleece work as a "stay-dry" lining?

Fleece has natural fabric properties that cause it to be water repellant.  Think about how quickly your fleece sleepers or jackets dry during laundering.  Fleece used in many aspects of cloth diapering needs to function as both water-penetrable (pee can pass through the fleece), and water-repellant (pee will not pass back through fleece towards baby).  Compression (pressure from baby wearing the diaper) is usually the factor that allows moisture to pass through the fleece.  Once moisture passes through the fleece, it gets sucked into a more absorbent type of fabric (microfiber, cotton) that catches and holds the moisture.  Moisture will not pass back through the fleece unless the cotton insert becomes extremely saturated. If you use a fleece cover over a cotton diaper, moisture will generally stay on the cotton unless it becomes extremely saturated.

Today, fleece is incorporated into a variety of different brands and styles of diapers. 

  • Pocket diapers: Used as a stay-dry lining.  Moisture passes through fleece and onto an absorbent insert withing the diaper pocket.
  • Cloth diaper liners: A simple fleece layer that can be added over any style of diaper to create a barrier between baby's skin and the absorptive portion of the diaper.
  • Fitted diapers: Fleece lining on inside of the diaper creates a barrier for moisture to pass through and into an absorptive area of the diaper.
  • Diaper Covers: Thicker fleece covers tend to repel moisture and keep it within the absorbent portion of the diaper.
White fleece peeking out from pocket diapers

Fleece troubleshooting:

Fleece needs to be both water repellent and water permeable in order to function properly.  If urine can not pass through the fleece even when compression is helping to force liquid that direction, the fleece has build-up that is causing it to repel.  Diapers with stay-dry fleece linings need special attention to ensure that detergent or oil build-up do not create a barrier over the fleece that can alter the function of the fabric.  Follow manufacturer instructions for detergent selection, and if you suspect a problem with the diaper you can "strip" it to remove build-up.

Fleece lining of a pocket diaper
Fleece-lined fitted diaper

Cloth Diaper Blog Hop 2013

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