Liners and Inserts - What's the Difference?

Posted by Courtney Moser on February 26, 2014.

When you're first investigating this whole cloth diaper thing, you might be confused about a lot of the terminology. Or all of it. That's ok - in our "New to Cloth Diapers?" blog category, we'll clarify common areas of confusion and teach you what you need to know about getting started with cloth diapers.

We frequently hear questions such as:

  • "So I just take this outside piece and put a liner in it?", or
  • "How many liners do I need to put in the diaper?"

Of course, we know what they mean. They're talking about inserts. Just remember:


Cloth Diaper Inserts

Absorbent inserts are used in pocket diapers and all-in-two diapers. Inserts are usually rectangular or hourglass-shaped. Cloth diaper inserts are typically made of microfiber, cotton, hemp, bamboo, or a blend of materials. 

Note: Some types of cloth diapers (such as fitteds or all-in-ones) do not require inserts, because the absorbent fabrics are built right into the diaper itself.

Cloth Diaper Liners

Liners are an optional cloth diaper accessory. They are not absorbent. Parents use liners for a variety of reasons:

  • Flushable liners are an easy way to dispose of solid waste before you put dirty diapers in the diaper pail. This is a great alternative to a diaper sprayer
  • Fleece liners can be laid inside any natural-fiber diaper (such as prefolds or fitteds) to create a stay-dry feeling for your baby.
  • Any liner can be used to prevent heavy-duty, non-cloth-diaper-friendly rash creams from coating the fibers of your cloth diapers (which causes a loss of absorbency known as repelling). You can even make your own from old t-shirts or flannel blankets!


Courtney Moser


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