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charcoal bamboo inserts

I NEED to introduce you to an insert that can make or break your cloth diapering experience. The 5-layer charcoal bamboo inserts are something that you must consider getting apart from what is packaged in a cloth diaper of your choice. When paired with the correct insert and cover, it can work wonders. But it can also be a disaster if it's your first time.

The good news is, I have tried them to each and every cloth diaper in my stash, and I am just about to share which combination works best and what to avoid.

Let's get started.

The 5 layer Charcoal Bamboo Inserts

4 Months Used Charcoal Bamboo Inserts

#1 recommended combination

Best Bottoms All-In-Two Cover* and its overnight insert* + Naturally Natures Charcoal Bamboo* on top (tested for nine months every night and every time we go out).

charcoal bamboo cloth diaper inserts

We used to utilize disposable diapers every time we go out and as well as for overnight use until we discovered this combination. This is reliable in terms of absorbency and is leak proof.

You can expect it to last for 6 to 8 hours regardless of how much your little one's fluid intake is during the time frame she's wearing the combination.

Because the charcoal insert wicks away wetness from the skin, your child's bums will not get reddish compared to when it is in contact with non-bamboo charcoal surfaces for long hours.

charcoal bamboo inserts cloth diapers
5 layer charcoal bamboo inserts

If you haven't tried this combination yet, you are missing something in your cloth diapering journey!

Something to remember: Remove the Best Bottoms overnight insert below the charcoal bamboo, and it's a disaster. The Charcoal bamboo alone inside the Best Bottoms cover will not do the job. It will be the contrary, and you can expect not just a simple leaking, but a crime scene, LOL. Naturally Nature's Charcoal Bamboo Insert seems to be porous. Without something below to absorb the fluid that has passed through the charcoal bamboo, the wetness has nowhere to go but to leak.

As I see it, this is how the charcoal bamboo works. It is not good on its own because it only absorbs a little liquid, almost as if the liquid is just passing through its pores. That is why it always feels dry. It needs something below it to catch the wetness. That something needs to be made of a different material - not charcoal bamboo as well. And should the insert below gets soaked, the charcoal bamboo doesn't absorb the excess liquid. It just stops the wetness of the other insert from touching the skin. And because it serves as a barrier between the wet insert and the skin, the baby's skin always feels dry. The diaper cover then absorbs the excess liquid.

Because the insides of the Best Bottoms cover is made of waterproof material almost like plastic without anything that can absorb wetness, the excess fluids escape, ergo, a disaster.

Feel free to contradict my theory, but that is my observation from changing my daughter's nappies every day. 🙂

During rainy days when I run out of inserts, I tend to combine the Naturally Natures Bamboo insert with another piece of an insert in my stash. My main reason is that it only takes a while to dry a charcoal bamboo insert. Ten minutes after spinning, air dry it for another hour or two, and you can use it again.

So I have decided to record the exact figures that the next three combinations yield. It usually gives the same results, roughly around the time frame, I will be stating below.

Combo #1

Charlie Banana pocket diaper* + 1 small, medium or large Charlie Banana insert* + 1 Naturally Nature's bamboo charcoal insert.

charcoal diaper inserts

The test I did for this combination is using my daughter's twenty-seven months used Charlie Banana and a 4-month used Naturally Natures bamboo Insert. 

For three hours, my daughter took an average of 24 to 32 ounces of fluids. With a liquid intake like this, she would usually ask me to change her nappies in 30 minutes to 2 hours if I am using only the Charlie Banana pocket diaper with 2 Charlie Banana inserts inside. Note that it is because my CB has already been 27 months used for every day (although it can be more absorbent in the early months to past one year).

charcoal bamboo diaper

This combo is not very bulky but also not very sleek.

With the combo #1, it can take up to 3.5 hours before my daughter would ask me to change her nappies.

Also, make sure that when you stuff the inserts inside the pocket, the charcoal bamboo insert is on top of the Charlie Banana insert.

the 5 layer charcoal bamboo inserts

Please excuse the photo. It's how drenched it is after 3.5 hours.

charcoal bamboo diaper inserts

Actual photo of soaked 27 month old Charlie Banana + CB insert and 1 piece of Naturally Natures insert

To make this combination work overnight (up to 8 hours, YES 8 hours), make sure your child has already peed before sleeping. It will only work if your child slept straight and didn't ask for any fluid during the entire time frame.


Combo#1 verdict: must try.

Naturally Natures Cloth Diaper Inserts 5 Layer Charcoal Bamboo Reusable Liners - Insert - for Cloth Diapers (Pack of 12) (Grey)
Price: $26.97 ($2.25 / Count)
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1 new from $26.97 ($2.25 / Count)0 used
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combo #2
best price cloth diapers

Stuff the bamboo insert inside the pockets and on top of the Imagine Baby insert

This is tested with four months used Imagine Baby pocket diaper. Testing is done right after the first combo (Charlie Banana cover + CB insert + bamboo inserts).

This combination is BULKY. Always watch out for the tummy area for any leaking just in case because the waist area is not tightly secured with this combination.

The 32 ounces of fluids taken during the first combo has already been partly released. I, therefore, expected it to take long before my daughter asks me to change her nappies.

I was wrong. She asked me to already change it after her first pee (only thirty minutes). The inserts inside the pocket were not even wet yet. I am guessing it has something to do with not being comfortable.

It is too bulky and therefore, she didn't buy it.

Combo#2 verdict: not very ideal.

combo #3

Bum Genius All-In-One Diaper* + 1 piece of Naturally Nature's bamboo insert on top.

cheap all one cloth diapers

This is tested with my daughter's 5-month used Bum Genius AIO right after the 2nd combo. She hasn't taken any additional fluid yet apart from the 32 ounces from the first combo.

The combination is a bit weird to use, but nonetheless, useful. After putting the default Bum Genius inserts on top of each other, add the charcoal bamboo insert on top.

The Result? It lasted for only an hour and 15 minutes. Heavily soaked but no leak. While it only lasted for a while compared to the first combo, the amount of fluid that was released and absorbed by the inserts feels a little more than the first combo. And although the diaper was heavily soaked, there was no sign of wetness on the outer cover of the Bum Genius AIO.

Combo #3 verdict: can be relied on.

other combination results

  • Ecoable AIO (Read My Review Here) + bamboo Insert - Although the bamboo insert can fit inside the pocket, the Bamboo-like material of the Ecoable's lining inside is already doing the job of wicking the wetness away from the skin. What you need is another piece of a non-charcoal bamboo insert to boost the absorbency and not another bamboo insert.
  • Grovia All-In-Two Cover + Grovia Insert + Bamboo Insert - Forget about even trying. Without the bamboo insert, it is already not producing a good result and adding the bamboo insert didn't make any difference. Read My Review Here.
  • Thirsties Duo All-In-Two Cover + Thirsties Inserts (My Review Here) + Bamboo Insert - This is another unreliable combo. The cover is wipeable plastic kind and the inserts are not absorbent at all. Add the Charcoal bamboo on top and what you get is another 10 minutes more compared to its original result.
  • Bum Genius Pocket Diaper + 2 Bum Genius Inserts (Read My Review Here) + Bamboo Insert - The bamboo insert is just nice for the width of the Bum Genius cover. Although you can force the other two Bum Genius inserts together to fit inside the pocket, it will end up very bulky. Nonetheless, it's ok to combine. You might not be able to use two buttons on each side, therefore, there would be a loose gap in the thigh area that can invite leaking.
  • Rumparooz pocket diaper + Rumparooz insert (Read My Review Here) + Bamboo insert - The bamboo insert can fit, but the pocket diaper itself is already bulky. Adding the bamboo insert will result in a bulkier combo. The second bulkiest, in fact, of all the combo I have mentioned here.
  • OsoCozy Prefold (Read My Review Here) + Bamboo insert inside a Best Bottoms cover/Thirsties Duo cover/Imagine Baby pockets - Call me crazy now but yes, I tried them. This is the bulkiest combination of all. Nevertheless, IT HAS GOOD RESULTS. The prefold absorbed all the fluids nicely while the bamboo insert kept my daughter's skin dry. 

Why do I need to use the charcoal bamboo insert? Are the default inserts not enough?

If you have read my individual reviews as well as the comparison reviews of all the pocket diapers in my stash, you'll notice that there is no perfect cloth diaper especially if the cloth diaper is already more than two years used for every day. They will slowly show their weaknesses, and the absorbency of the inserts will slowly be lower in quality as well.

Just when you thought your cloth diapers are slowly becoming useless, you can still save them and maximize their use by adding the Naturally Natures bamboo insert.* Unless you are starting your cloth diapering journey with my recommended combo, I feel it is okay to wait a while until your chosen cloth diapers show a need for a little help.

Use the charcoal bamboo insert mainly to keep your child's skin dry and not in contact with a wet, non-charcoal insert. And if you always run out of inserts because of an erratic washing schedule, stop using 2 non-bamboo charcoal inserts on top of each other. Replace the 2nd insert with the bamboo insert and save the next non-bamboo insert for the next nappy change. This way, you can extend the interval of your washing schedule without getting more diapers to include in your stash.

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What do you think?

Please feel free to express your views in the comments section.




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  1. This is SO helpful as I’m just starting out CD. I bought some pocket diapers and inserts secondhand and have two of the charcoal bamboo inserts. They actually took the longest to dry (two dryer cycles plus hanging under a fan) and smelled musty until they were thoroughly dry. Is there a reason for this? Do they need to be stripped to take away the smell? Thank you for the wonderful information!!

    1. Hi Savana,

      May I know if the charcoal bamboo inserts are of the same brand (Naturally Natures Charcoal Bamboo)?

      Honestly, I did not experience to machine-dry my stash, so I only know how long it takes to dry after washing, spinning and line-drying.

      The musty smell, I can only assume, came from a bad washing routine where the inserts were left sitting damp for a little too long before they washed it. Right after using, it’s better to rinse the inserts and pocket diapers with plain water until the pee/poo/any smell is gone, before you keep them in a wet bag to wait for your washing day. This is how you can avoid a stinky stash.

      I have heard of the “stripping” of 2nd hand cloth diapers, but I cannot guarantee if they will still perform well after, as the things involved are usually baking soda, vinegar, etc. – all of which are mostly not recommended by manufacturers if you check their respective websites.

      The main issue with 2nd hand cloth diapers and inserts is that you don’t exactly know how the washing routine of the previous owner was. Adding fabric softeners, baking soda or vinegar usually affect how the inserts’ absorbency will be, and we are not sure what type of additives the previous owner used for your purchased inserts, which can also be the cause of the musty smell and longer than expected drying time.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Hi Pitin, thank you so much for such a thorough review. I own a whole lot of grovia and had successfully cloth diaper my first born for two years but now my second one is a heavy wetter.. Like you said the grovia soaker is pretty useless. What insert would you recommend for me to pair with my grovia AI2?

    1. Hi Ivy,

      Do you mean you will be still be using the Grovia Cover? From my experience, the Grovia cover is not waterproof at all. So I worry that even though you can pair it with a reliable insert, you will still get wettings, especially for a heavy-wetter baby.

      Do you have any other all-in-two cover to use?

      Kind Regards,

  3. I really like your thorough review. I found the pictures really helpful and you gave so much great information about each combination. Those charcoal liners look amazing! So cozy and I love that they are a dark colour so that stains are minimized. I also like that you offer different ways to use the combinations and how long approximately baby can stay dry.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I appreciate your thoughts. 🙂 I like how the Charcoal Bamboo inserts can save my day, especially during days when my washing schedule becomes erratic. They dry so fast they are usable again in no time. I agree with not seeing any stain on the grey surface – probably it doesn’t stain at all since I haven’t seen any trace so far.



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