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What are reusable nappy liners?

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Liners are used to "line" your cloth nappies and come in two types; disposable or reusable. Their main goal is to catch poo (but let pee travel through) and are placed between the nappy and your baby’s bottom. Their main benefit is that they make removing poo a much simpler task.

Note: You’ll hear us talk about a “stay dry” layer here. Basically, this is layer than keeps your baby feeling dry. Some nappies already have this built-in (i.e. there is a layer between your baby's bum and the absorbent material) and some don’t (i.e., your baby’s bum is directly in contact with the absorbent material). Without a stay dry layer your baby will feel wet when they pee.

With that out of the way, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the different liners!

Disposable liners

These are usually made from a thin layer of plant-based material.


  • Can be lifted off the nappy (poo included) and put into the bin

  • Stops barrier cream from getting on your nappies (as this can affect absorption)

  • Creates a thin stay-dry layer (i.e. keeps baby’s bum dry)

  • Very thin so less bulk in your nappy than a reusable liner

  • Reduces the chance of stains on your nappy


  • Creates waste (which is often what we are trying to avoid with cloth nappies)

  • Some people find them flimsy as they’re so thin

  • Ongoing cost

cloth nappy liners

A reusable fleece liner on the left, and a disposable liner on the right

Reusable liners

Reusable liners are usually made from fleece. They function the same as disposable liners except you don’t throw them away. This means you have to remove the poo from them by either plopping it into the toilet or scraping/flushing it off


  • Zero waste and reusable

  • Many people find it easier to remove poo from a liner than the whole nappy

  • Creates a stay-dry layer

  • Very soft, so very comfortable for your baby

  • Reduces the chance of stains on your nappy

  • Sturdy to handle


  • Removing the poo from the liner

  • Often bigger upfront cost than disposable liners

Do I need to use cloth nappy liners?

There are a couple of instances where liners may not be for you…

1) Pre-weaning breastmilk poo is water-soluble (i.e., easily washed out), so these nappies can just go straight into the wash without removing the poo

2) If your nappies have a stay dry layer then this acts kind of like a built-in reusable liner. However, you may still want to use a disposable liner for the handiness of removing poo, or a reusable liner as it’s easier to manoeuvre to remove poo than the whole nappy

If you’re still unsure whether you want to use liners or not, we suggest trying without and see how you go!

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