Ultimate Guide: How To Cloth Diaper With Microfiber Inserts


Microfiber inserts are a great choice for many families who are just getting started cloth diapering. Microfiber is simple to prep, easy to use, and super absorbent. This post will cover all the basics of using microfiber inserts, including how to prep and wash the diapers, plus tons of tips to help you find the best microfiber inserts for your baby.

Do You Need To Prep Microfiber Inserts?

No, you do NOT need to prep microfiber inserts. Simply wash the inserts with a detergent of your choice and then dry them in the dryer, then they are ready to use inside of a pocket diaper. Microfiber inserts only need one initial wash to get them clean from the manufacturing and shipping process. Just like you would wash a new pair of underwear before putting them on for the first time, this is all you’ll do for new microfiber inserts.

Other types of cloth diapers that are made with “natural fibers” need to be prepped because they contain natural oils which prevent them from being absorbent. The prepping process is simply washing and drying the diapers several times, usually 6 to 8 cycles in order to make the fabric absorbent.

Microfiber is already absorbent and does not contain these natural oils which inhibit absorption. Other cloth diaper materials such as cotton and hemp will need to be prepped before the first use on baby. If you took a brand new cotton diaper and poured water onto it, the water would roll right off like a bead, rather than being soaked up. Not good for keeping potty inside of the diaper!

Microfiber inserts are very convenient because they do not require the 6 to 8 cycles of washing/drying that the other types of diapers do. These inserts will save you a lot of time, energy, and water because you won’t have to prep them!

How To Wash Microfiber Inserts

  1. Remove solids from the diaper (diaper sprayers work great)
  2. Store soiled inserts and covers in a dry pail (3 days max)
  3. Load diaper laundry into the washer (ideal load 12-18 diapers)
  4. Run warm wash or rinse
  5. Run hot main wash with detergent
  6. Run extra rinse to remove any excess detergent

FAQ: Can you wash diaper covers and inserts together?

Yes, you can wash diaper covers and inserts together. Most pocket diapers are designed so that the inserts will agitate out of the pocket cover inside of the wash, but some do not so be sure to check with the manufacture.

How To Strip Microfiber Inserts

Microfiber can be prone to build-up and diaper odor. If you are having issues with your microfiber inserts, it may be time to strip them. Stripping is harsh on diaper materials so it’s best to avoid this process unless absolutely necessary. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with clean diapers
  2. Fill washer with HOT water then add 2 tablespoons of DAWN dish soap
  3. Add the diapers in and run a regular wash
  4. Rinse several times until there are no more bubbles or slimly residue

*DO NOT use this DAWN dish soap method with an HE machine. You can use a bathtub or another large washing container instead. Another option for HE washers is to use a product called RLR, which you can find on Amazon.

Check out this post from Thirsties for more troubleshooting tips.

How Do You Dry Microfiber Inserts?

Drying microfiber inserts is a fairly straightforward process. Simply throw them into the dryer and dry on hot heat. If you are drying your inserts with the outer waterproof covers, then you should use a lower temperature in order to protect the waterproof lining from becoming damaged.

Line-drying is another option, and is especially helpful in combating stains and odors when combined with “sunning”. If you hang your diapers in the sunshine it will eliminate stains and help to disinfect the fabric.

How To Use Microfiber Inserts

Microfiber inserts are most commonly used in a pocket-style diaper. This type of diaper has two parts, the outer waterproof cover or shell, and the absorbent insert. The shell is made with an outer layer of waterproof material called PUL and has an inner layer of stay-dry material sewn inside. A small opening or “pocket” is sewn into this stay-dry layer at the top or bottom of the diaper.

The separate insert, which serves as the absorbent component of the diaper is then stuffed into the pocket. When the baby urinates the moisture is absorbed through the stay-dry layer of polyester and goes down into the microfiber insert. The microfiber insert will become saturated while the stay-dry layer serves to create a barrier which keeps the baby feeling dry.

Microfiber inserts can be used in other diaper covers that do not have a stay-dry inner liner, however, they will need to be paired with another type of fabric as microfiber CANNOT be placed directly against a baby’s skin. Because microfiber is so effective at pulling moisture into the fibers, it can actually irritate and dry out a baby’s skin with direct contact.

If you want to use microfiber inserts inside of a regular diaper cover all you need to do is place the microfiber insert inside the cover first (bottom layer), and then add another layer of natural fabric on top (against baby’s skin). The most common types of natural diaper materials to choose from are cotton, hemp, or bamboo. Another nice way to ensure the microfiber does not come in contact with the baby’s skin is to wrap the microfiber insert inside of a prefold diaper.

Best Cloth Diaper Microfiber Inserts:

  • Best Bottom Microfiber Overnight Insert
  • GroVia No-Prep Soaker Pads
  • Rumparooz Microfiber 6r Soaker Insert
  • ALVABABY Microfiber Inserts
  • Nicki’s Diapers Micro Inserts

In another post, I tested out 12 different types of inserts in order to find out which one was the most absorbent (find that post here) and the Best Bottom Microfiber Overnight Insert (size Large) held the most liquid. You can find it on Amazon here.

Pros & Cons of Microfiber Inserts

Pros

  • Very affordable and often times come included with the purchase of a pocket diaper
  • Highly absorbent
  • Easy to use, which makes them great for beginners

Cons

  • Not the most durable fabric, microfiber tends to wear out faster than other materials such as cotton
  • Prone to compression leaks (when a baby sits or lays down the pressure can squeeze out the liquid)
  • Difficult to get clean because the fibers are so small and interwoven

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