Monday, October 5, 2009
Fabric Focus: Hemp and Cloth Diapers
As you know hemp has been widely used in cloth diapers for a number of years. Yes- I know just mentioning the word "hemp" might get some of you to grin! It is a pure fact that hemp comes from the same family as marijuana- the Cannabis genus.
From a quick look hemp looks very similar to marijuana however hemp contains no THC which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Hemp fibers are 3-4 times stronger than cotton fibers and it grows with very little care and usually no pesticides need to be used because the plant has no known insect enemies. Hemp is also much more absorbent that cotton.
Due to USA regulations hemp is not allowed to be grown legally in the states. This is why the cost of hemp products, including diapers that contain hemp, are relatively much higher in cost than a traditional cotton diaper.
Hemp is usually found in the following type of fabric forms:
Hemp fleece-widely used in cloth diapers.
Hemp knit jersey-which is comparable to the feel of regular cotton t-shirts.
Hemp french terry-usually a hemp and organic cotton blend
Hemp stretch-knit terry-a blend of hemp and Lycra- very absorbent and used in some brands of cloth diapers
What you need to know about hemp and cloth diapers:
If you purchase a diaper or diaper accessory product (like BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz) keep in the mind the following:
Wash the product at least 3 times (5 times is more ideal) in hot water with a cloth diaper friendly detergent. Dry in between cycles. This will remove most of the natural oils from the product. As you use the product more it will become more absorbent.
Make sure that when you dry your diapers that they get completely dry. If the diaper(s) stay semi-damp (for example: if you don't put them in the dryer long enough) they can be prone to retaining odor. To remove the stink we recommend washing and drying in hot water 3 times. To remove stains hang in the sun if possible.
Some interesting facts about hemp (taken from the BabyKicks "Why Hemp" Web Page):
Did you know ...
*Hemp can displace cotton which is grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. Fifty percent of the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton.
*Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more mildew-resistant than cotton. The original Levi Strauss jeans made for the Sierra gold miners were made of hemp sailcloth.
*At a volume level of 81%, hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the “good” fats). It is quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother's milk.
*Hemp is good for the soil in which it's grown, as opposed to other crops that deplete the soil of nutrients.
*You can't get high from industrial hemp.
*Industrial hemp actually poses a threat to marijuana growers by cross-pollinating with their high THC plants, and greatly reducing the THC level in subsequent generations.
*George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp.
*Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper.
*Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
Some hemp diapering products we recommend:
BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz- made of 45% certified organic cotton and 55% natural hemp- these are truly the "work-horse" off all hemp inserts.
Knickernappies Super-Do Hemp Terry Inserts: We find this is the most absorbent insert on the market- hands down. This insert contains 6 layers of hemp terry and 2 layers of thirsty microfiber. We use this insert along with a bumGenius one-size micro terry insert in our pocket diapers for our baby. A 12+ hour night with no leaks- guaranteed!
Baby Beehinds One Size Hemp Fitted Diaper- These diapers are made from 55% hemp and 45% certified organic cotton. Baby BeeHinds Hemp Fitteds offer a 100% natural fiber option with flexibility in fit and absorbency, enabling you to adjust the diapers to suit your baby's own needs.