Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Absorbency | A Closer Look at Hemp-Cotton

Absorbency is key when finding the perfect diaper for your little one, especially at times of extended wear like car trips, naps and night time. Absorbency does two things: keeps baby feeling dry and keeps all moisture from leaking out of the diaper. We are going to have a closer look at the various fibers used in modern cloth diapers. Today we are exploring the Hemp-Cotton fiber. 

Hemp is an organic fiber that is renewable and doesn't require the use of pesticides because it is a natural deterrent of pests and insects.1 Hemp cotton is a fleece fabric that is soft to the touch and is often a better choice over cotton alone. 

What Makes Hemp-Cotton better than Cotton Alone
  • Hemp-cotton is naturally anti-microbial, anti-mildew/anti-fungal and naturally UV-resistant.1
  • Hemp breathes well and wicks moisture away from the baby better than cotton.1
  • Hemp is also 4 times warmer,  4 times more water-absorbent and has 3 times the tensile strength of cotton.1

Tensile strength is a measurement of the force required to pull something such as rope, wire, or a structural beam to the point where it breaks. The tensile strength of a material is the maximum amount of tensile stress that it can take before breaking.2
Hemp derived products are nontoxic, biodegradable and renewable. Hemp also readily takes on eco-safe plant-based dyes, but is a naturally unbleached cotton color.

Hemp-cotton is more absorbent than cotton alone, you will need less layers to absorb the same amount of liquid. Fewer layers are needed for the same amount of absorbency as cotton, the cloth diaper will be trimmer and fit better under baby's clothing.

Hemp-cotton is a natural fiber, there are natural oils that need to be washed out of the material before it can be fully absorbent. It often take 3 to 4 washes to remove the natural oils. Hemp can be used alone after it has been fully prepped. Hemp is also great to add to any other fiber insert you may have for extra absorbency, often called a doubler. The hemp is best placed behind other fibers, as hemp will absorb the moisture from fibers above it. 

Hemp-cotton is such a sturdy fabric it does not let go of moisture easily, keeping compression leaks to a minimum. It is possible to get a hemp insert fully saturated that it will not absorb anymore. If this is the instance, we recommend adding additional inserts to the diaper. Hemp cotton does take longer to dry than other fibers because of its natural ability to store so much moisture. The use of wool dryer balls can greatly diminsh the time it takes for natural fibers to dry in the dryer.

For optimal wicking of moisture from baby's skin, add a microfleece liner or insert that already has a stay dry material on top of the hemp-cotton insert. This will help baby stay comfortable longer for those extended times they go between changes. 

1 AKAS Textiles & Laminations, Copyright © 2014 by AKAS Tex LLC. Published by AKAS Tex LLC. All rights reserved.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of Student Science, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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