Disposable liners versus washable liners

Liners for cloth nappies are all about catching the poo and making it a bit easier to deal with, you place it between the nappy and the baby to catch the solid waste.  They also act as a barrier to protect your nappies from nappy rash creams.  Fleece liners also act as a ‘stay dry’ liner which is useful for night time use with organic cloth nappies.   There are two types of liners, disposable paper ones or fabric re-usable ones. So what are the main differences between the two?   (Can I just say to any prospective cloth parents reading this who are horrified at the thought of dealing with poo – whatever nappy system you use you will be dealing with your babies solid waste and in my opinion there is nothing more horrific than wrapping a poo up in a disposable plastic nappy and letting it sit in your bin for a week or two, far better and much less smelly that the poo is flushed down the toilet!)

Reusable Cloth Nappy Liners 

Reusable washable liners are made from a single layer of fabric that can be washed many times without falling apart. Washable liners can be made from cotton, silk and fleece, with the most common material being fleece. Fleece is popular because it also wicks moisture away and maintains a dry feeling for your baby so it is like adding a ‘stay dry’ layer. Fleece is also inexpensive and doesn’t fray when cut which means it is very easy to make your own.  

Wet liners get chucked in the bucket with the dirty nappies.  Soiled liners are taken to the toilet and if the poo is solid then it should easily flick off down the toilet, when not solid I used to hold the liner (tightly) under the flush to get rid of the worst,  and then put the dirty liner into my nappy pail and wash with the nappies.

Disposable Cloth Nappy Liners

Disposable liners for cloth nappies are rectangles of thin fabric like mesh and are made from viscose, often rayon viscose or bamboo viscose or corn starch PLA.

Rayon is another word for viscose and is a material made from wood pulp broken down into cellulose bits, polymerized, and then extruded into fine, smooth fibres. “Bamboo rayon,” or “bamboo viscose” then is this same process but with bamboo pulp.  Corn starch PLA is a modern polyester derived from natural starches or sugars to create this simple spun bonded non woven fabric.    The active ingredient is lactic acid which is widely found in nature and a large number of organisms which live in soils and compost naturally metabolise lactic acid leaving behind them carbon dioxide, water and also soil nutrients such as humous

All viscose and corn starch disposable liners are biodegradable as they are made from natural fibres, even if the process to make them is a bit unnatural.

Of course, since they are biodegradable, it should be no surprise that they don’t hold up well to reuse. Some can be washed and reused once or twice but the majority find themselves super thin and useable after a wash with the nappies.   Disposable liners are much stronger than toilet roll so do not disintegrate into thousands of little pieces in the wash, they generally do stay in one piece.

Are Disposable Cloth Diaper Liners Flushable? Many disposable liners used to be sold as flushable, but recent opinions have now changed on this.  There are genuine concerns that because they take between 5 – 10 days to disintegrate they can get caught in the drain grids and contribute to the fatberg and some municipal sewerage systems around the EU aren’t really able to cope. So the general advice now is to compost or bin the wet ones and to shake of solids into the toilet and bag up and bin the soiled liners.  My kids are 16 at time of writing this so long out of cloth nappies but I did flush paper liners when I used them as it was so easy.  If you bin all wet ones and occasionally flush a heavily soiled paper liner that is your personal choice but we now have to recommend that you DO NOT flush them! 


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