hemp or bamboo?

Why hemp or bamboo?

The Green Nappy soakers and boosters are made using hemp or bamboo fibres. These natural fibres are ideal for nappies as they are more absorbent and durable than cotton. Both fabrics are environmentally-friendly, requiring little water irrigation or fertiliser to grow and no pesticides. Our bamboo and fabrics are blended with 100% organic cotton, grown without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

The table below outlines the differences between bamboo and hemp fabrics


Hemp or Bamboo?


About the same. Bamboo slightly more absorbent initially but once the hemp is “washed in” they are about the same.


Hemp is extremely durable and our hemp soakers should last for several children in cloth nappies. As bamboo is a newer fabric, less is known of its durability although it will certainly withstand washing for one child in cloth nappies until toilet training. 


Bamboo is the winner here! Bamboo is incredibly soft and retains its softness after washing. Hemp tends to become stiffer once it has been washed about 20 times or more.

Drying time

Hemp dries much more quickly than bamboo. In our testing on a 28 degree day in Perth, hemp soakers are dry in full sun in 6 hours. Bamboo soakers require about 12 hours of sun. This means that if you choose bamboo you may need extra soakers or to wash more frequently.

Antibacterial Properties

Bamboo and hemp have similar natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is due to the micro-structure of the fibres which makes it difficult for pathogens to adhere.

About Hemp

Hemp has been used throughout human history.

Chinese archaeological evidence shows that hemp was used for clothes, shoes and rope over 10 000 years ago. Hemp was commonplace in Europe throughout the middle ages. It was used for textiles, clothing and even food. Hemp’s strength, durability and low cost made it ideal for military uniforms, ships’ sails and rope. More recently, hemp was cultivated in the United States during World War II to make uniforms, canvas and rope.

There are no psychoactive chemicals in Industrial Hemp used for clothing

Industrial hemp is grown from a completely different species of plant to cannabis used for psychoactive effects. Industrial hemp cannot be contaminated with THC as its production requires male and female plants to be separated to prevent fertilization. This is obviously not possible in a field of plants.

Hemp is environmentally-friendly.

Hemp grows easily and does not require pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. It is a very high-yielding crop and can produce 4 times as much pulp per hectare than trees for paper. It also grows rapidly and is drought-resistant.

Hemp fibres are amazing!

Hemp is one of the strongest, most durable natural fibres on the planet. Hemp is highly absorbent and breathable. It is cooler to wear than cotton. It is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is also resistant to sunlight, heat, salt water, abrasion and chemicals. It is fully biodegradable.

Interesting facts about Hemp

  • The word canvas is derived from the word cannabis (which used to mean hemp). Canvas was originally made from hemp.

  • The original Levi jeans were made from hemp for Sierra Nevada gold rushers. Levi Strauss took hemp fabric to make into tents to sell to the prospectors, then realized that what they really needed was rugged, durable pants. So he invented riveted pants, known today as jeans.

  • Hemp was used to help clean up after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, due to its ability to absorb radioactive toxins from the ground.

  • Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Chrysler now use hemp fibres in the interior panels of some of their latest vehicles.

  • Hemp paper can be recycled up to 8 times, compared to wood-pulp paper which can only be effectively recycled 3 times.

About Bamboo 

Bamboo is the fastest-growing woody plant on earth, some species growing at 3-4 feet per day! Like hemp, bamboo is easy to cultivate and naturally organic (requiring no pesticides or herbicides). During growth, bamboo absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere helping to combat global warming.

Bamboo makes a beautiful soft fabric. Like hemp it is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Bamboo is said to be more absorbent than hemp. It is a relatively new textile and is very popular currently. It's main drawback is that it takes a very long time to dry, even in warm weather.