There are so many options for natural and non-toxic diapers available for infants and toddlers on the market today. While most chemical-free diapers have safe ingredients deciding which chemical-free diapers are the best can be the real challenge.
Let’s talk about disposable diapers…whether you buy your diapers online or in-store, there are many, many options of diapers that claim to be free from chemicals. But how do you know if they are actually free from the chemicals you want to avoid or are they just claiming to be “natural” without really being natural or completely non-toxic at all.
I just want to stop right here and mention that if cloth diapers work for your lifestyle they are definitely your healthiest option as long as you are selecting organic options. However, there are many reasons why they might not work for you and that is why I made this list. Or if you do cloth diaper you may choose to use disposable diapers for daycare or when traveling on vacation. (Here are more non-toxic recommendations for travel if you need them)
I have researched and studied as many “organic” diapers as I could find. The first step is to always analyze the ingredients. I personally will only consider companies that clearly list all of their ingredients on the package. It is not enough when they just list claims. For example, when diaper companies say their diapers are chlorine-free, latex-free, fragrance-free, but they don’t tell you what is actually in the diaper at all. The most important thing you can do is to be on the lookout for the actual ingredients.
Of course, this is only the first step, once you found a non-toxic diaper that has safe clean ingredients how do you know if they are actually going to work? Well, this is where I come in. I have tested each of the following brands of non-toxic disposable diapers on my 6 month old and I would love nothing more than to share the results of my findings with you.
This post may contain affiliate links. I promise to only recommend products that I use with my own children. You can read my full affiliate disclosure policy here.
Are “organic”/chemical-free diapers worth it?
In a word “absolutely”. Any time you can remove just one toxic chemical from your baby’s life you are making a positive change. Unfortunately, conventional diapers are full of many chemicals. The scary thing is that your baby is going to be exposed to these chemicals every time they wear a diaper, which will be constantly for the next few years of their lives. By choosing a diaper without toxic chemicals you are making a huge positive difference in the health of your baby. To fully understand just how important it is to invest in diapers free from chemicals it is necessary to look at the chemicals present in commercial diapers.
What Toxic Chemicals are present in disposable diapers?
- Chlorine: Chlorine is probably the most well known of the chemicals present in regular disposable diapers. The only purpose of chlorine is to whiten certain parts of the diaper. Unfortunately, this whitening process releases dioxins, a highly toxic chemical that is then present within your baby’s diaper. Dioxins can cause cancer, reproductive health issues, developmental issues, hormone interference and damage to the immune system. (source) This is why it is so important to choose chlorine-free diapers.
- Fragrance: Fragrance is a blanket term that companies can use in place of specifically listing a wide variety and combination of toxic chemicals. By law, companies are required to list the ingredients in their products, but there is a loophole allows these companies to simply list fragrance in place of having to list out every toxic chemical. Since there is no way of knowing exactly what is being used any time you see fragrance listed in the ingredients just know that there are hidden chemicals there that you want to avoid. If you are looking for more information about fragrances this is a really good article from the Environmental Working Group.
- Petroleum Based Lotions: Many of the major diaper companies place petroleum based lotions in their diapers as a way to moisturize your baby’s bottom and to create a barrier that will hopefully prevent diaper rash. Petroleum is a fossil fuel derivative. It is actually the substance left behind in the rigs after the oil is produced. While it is believed to be safe when properly refined, more often than not petroleum is contaminated with cancer causing impurities that can penetrate the skin. (source)
- VOCs/Phthalates: You know that smell that the big name diapers have. It is a smell I have often heard described as “baby smell” since that is what most babies smell like (thanks to their diapers). Well, unfortunately, it is from VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and Phthalates. These toxic chemicals evaporate easily and quickly at room temperature and are then released into the air allowing them to be inhaled as well as absorbed through the skin. They have many negative effects on our babies and can affect our babies’ development, as well. Some potential side effects are cancer, asthma, neurocognitive impairment, and congenital defects. (source)
- Synthetic Dyes: Most synthetic dyes are created from petrochemicals (see Petroleum Based Lotions above). These synthetic dyes have the potential to bleed through the diaper coming into contact with baby’s skin. You should always avoid disposable diapers that have dye located around the leg openings and the top waistband since these most commonly come into contact with the skin. Diaper Dye Dermatitis is a very common reaction babies and toddlers develop due to exposure to toxic dyes. It is a red inflamed rash that is both painful and itchy. (source)
The Best Chemical-Free Diapers of 2020
Eco by Naty
These are the first brand of non-toxic diapers that I ever tried with my infants. There is so much to love about them. Absolutely no plastic touches baby’s skin at any point, only plant-based materials. These diapers are totally chlorine-free (TCF) and are not bleached at all. I have never had a problem with leaks or blowouts with any Eco by Naty diapers that I have ever used. Another bonus is the elastic waist that provides enough stretch so you can pull it comfortably around your baby’s waist without having to worry about ripping a sticky tab off.
Out of all the positives about these diapers, the most impressive thing is their certifications. Not only do they use FSC certified wood pulp inside their diapers, and certified Vegan, they are the only diaper that is actually OEKO-Tex certified! Eco by Naty is probably the best disposable diaper to use if your baby has very sensitive skin.
The only negative thing that I can say about these diapers is that every now and then I will get a diaper where the tabs will be stuck making the diaper unusable. But it doesn’t happen often and this is such a minor issue compared to all the good these diapers have to offer. Eco by Naty is a Swedish company and the diapers are made in Turkey.
You can purchase Eco by Naty diapers here or you can try a free sample of them (only available in size 1) through their website here (you just pay a reduced shipping cost).
Eco by Naty Ingredients: Plant-based Polyethylene non-woven (Inner Non-woven), Plant-based Polyethelene (non-woven back sheet), Plant-based (Frontal ear), Plant-based Polyethelene non-woven covering elastic film (Elastic ears), Polyethelene non-woven (frontal tape), Polypropylene (tape),Plant-based Polyethelene non-woven(sides). Inside the Diaper: FSC and Totally Chlorine Free certified cellulose and SAP super absorbent, Polypropylene and PET (high loft), plant-based Polyethylene non-woven (elastic leg), Glue Safe and approved, based on SBS and SEBS, Cellulose is used where possible inside the diaper.
Bambo Nature makes chemical-free disposable diapers that are super soft, fully breathable and really good for sensitive skin. They are made in Denmark and have two different versions available depending on what your needs are. Both are super absorbent and non-toxic. I use these diapers often with my babies and have no complaints about their functionality at all.
Bambo’s certifications include FSC certified, Nordic Swan Eco Label which certifies sustainability throughout production and Eco-Cert Cosmos Organic. This certifies that at least 95% of the product contains naturally sourced ingredients. The original version referred to as the Classic Collection has a thicker core and no wetness indicator and does not have the asthma allergy nordic certification.
The newer version, the Love Collection, has the wetness indicator which is especially helpful for new mommies, who want to keep track of wet diapers and need a little extra help identifying them. The Love Collection has a thinner core which makes them a little bit more flexible and less droopy when full. This collection is certified by allergy asthma nordic. Per asthma allergy nordic.com: “The Asthma & Allergy Nordic label offers certification to products that pose the smallest possible risk of causing allergy, eczema or skin irritation to the user. Products that earn this certification must contain no fillers, perfumes or formaldehyde.” Honestly, I notice very little difference between the two collections and I usually purchase whichever version is cheaper on Amazon in the sizes that I need.
One negative that I do want to point out is that while these diapers are non-toxic they are Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) as opposed to Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) like all of the other non-toxic diapers on this list. While elemental chlorine-free diapers do not use elemental chlorine, which produces the dioxins that are so bad for our health and our environment. They are bleached with a chlorine derivative like chlorine dioxide, instead. (source)
If you are interested in the classic collection you can find them here or the newer Love collection is available here.
Bambo Nature Ingredients: Non-woven back sheet (outer side) of polypropylene and polyethylene, Absorbent of polyacrylate (SAP) and cellulose (ECF fluff), Topsheet of non-woven, Acquisition layer of non-woven (PET/Co-PET), hook tab fastening system of non-woven (Polypropylene/Polyethylene). Adhesive made of synthetic rubber—no optical brightener added. Wetness indicator. Elastication made from elastane.
Andy Pandy diapers are another really great chemical-free non-toxic diaper! I love these diapers so much. Andy Pandy is a super absorbent and super eco-friendly bamboo diaper from a family-owned company based in Michigan. The only thing that comes into contact with your baby’s skin at all is the bamboo back sheet that is completely free from any harmful pesticides. A light coating of aloe is added to the innermost layer to provide some added moisture. These diapers also have a totally chlorine-free pulp. Andy Pandy disposable diapers fit comfortably and I have never experienced any leaks with them at all. But if you happen to, they come with a leak-free guarantee, so if you are not happy for any reason they will refund your purchase price!
Just a note: their sizing is a little different than other diaper companies, instead of a number size they come in Newborn, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.
If you want to try Andy Pandy diapers out to see if they will work for your little one, they offer a sample pack on their website. Or you can buy the full-size package here.
Andy Pandy Ingredients: 100% Non-woven bamboo fiber for our back sheet Totally Chlorine Free Fluff Pulp, Sumitomo SAP, Pure aloe essence, Elastic in the waistband and around the legs, Velcro tape, Adhesive, PH Strip (Wetness Indicator)
I had never heard of these bamboo diapers until recently. As a matter of fact, I put off writing this non-toxic diaper post until I had the opportunity to thoroughly test these diapers out with my 6 month old. And I can happily report that these are also very good. These chlorine-free bamboo diapers are very cool. They remind me a lot of Andy Pandy and feel very similar except these are simpler in a good way. These are also sized in the same way Andy Pandy is with Newborn, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizing instead of number sizes.
Dyper has absolutely no inks on them at all which gives them an extra natural clean feel that I really love. This company is all about being transparent and eco-friendly. They even have simple directions on their website (which you can read here) about how to compost their diapers once you are finished with them. If you accidentally order too many diapers you are able to send the extras back with their prepaid postage shipping label so there is no unnecessary waste.
Dyper is available for purchase on Amazon here, but they also have a subscription service available on dyper.com that provides you with even more savings. I recommend giving these diapers a try. I initially purchased through Amazon just in case they didn’t meet my expectations but now that I know how well they work I am seriously considering signing up for their subscription service really soon.
Dyper ingredients: Biodegradable Top and Back Sheet Non-Woven Viscose Made From 100% Bamboo, Sumitomo SAP, Chlorine-Free Fluff Pulp, SMS Non-Woven + Spandex Side Guard, 3M Front Tape, Avery Denison Elastic Side Tape
Seventh Generation Diapers
Seventh Generation is one of the most well known non-toxic companies around.They are manufactured in Ohio using USA sourced and globally sourced ingredients. Their diapers are available in just about any store across the country, which is a huge plus if you are having a diaper emergency and need non-toxic diapers in a pinch. I usually buy these pretty regularly simply because I always forget to order my diapers on time.
Seventh Generation diapers have come a long, long way. When I first started buying these years ago they constantly leaked which was very frustrating and I actually stopped using them for a while. Now, thankfully, I have no problems with leaks at all. I also like that they have a stretchy waist so I never have to worry about ripping off the tab before I even get to use the diaper. These diapers are Totally Chlorine Free and have an FSC certified wood pulp. They have no other bleaching, so just like Eco by Naty they are not super white. Which is fine by me.
Seventh Generation diapers also come in an overnight version which is more absorbent than the regular version. I personally have no leaking issues and have no reason to use the overnight version but every baby is different. If you have a baby who is still consuming a lot of formula or breastmilk right before bed and then sleeping through the night you may need the extra absorption and then the overnights would be a good option for you.
You can purchase Seventh Generation non-toxic diapers here.
Seventh Generation Ingredients: Totally chlorine-free processed wood fluff pulp (absorbent core), sodium polyacrylate (absorbent core), polypropylene (core wrap, cuff, moisture barrier layer, fastening system, outer layer), polyester and unbleached cotton (quilted liner), adhesives (seams, joints), polymer spandex (fastening system, leg elastic), polyurethane (waist elastic), inks (external printed designs free from lead and heavy metals), pigments
Here is my honest review of The Honest Company Diapers (sorry I couldn’t resist). I will buy the Honest Company diapers on occasion also when I need diapers in a pinch and if I can’t find Seventh Generation in the store. Honest Company is known for having disposable diapers in the cutest prints. My boys always get a kick out of the fun designs like these astronauts and rocket ship ones. They have girl prints and boy prints which is nice when both are available-not so nice when I need boy prints and they only have girl prints in my boys’ sizes, but I guess it’s not a huge problem.
The Honest Company diapers are Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) and made from wood pulp from sustainably managed forests. Much like the Seventh Generation diapers, these have also greatly improved. When these first came out they were rough and leaked so much. Now they are really soft and super absorbent. Honest disposable diapers contain citrus extract and liquid chlorophyll that act as an odor inhibitor. This seems to be safe and natural although I prefer my non-toxic diapers not to have any kind of odor inhibitors. The more simple the less chance of any kind of irritation or reaction (which has been reported by some amazon users). The one problem that I do have with these diapers is that every time I use them I have to throw out at least 3 or 4 diapers because the waistband does not seem to stretch enough and I always rip a side off and then I can’t use the diaper at all. It’s very frustrating but it’s certainly possible that it could just be me who has this problem so I won’t hold this against The Honest Company.
They also have an overnight version as well if your baby requires a little extra absorption at night (or during the day). You can see all of their cute prints and purchase them here.
Honest Ingredients: Absorbent Bio-Core [Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) Wood Pulp From Sustainably Managed Forests, Sodium Polyacrylate Containing Renewable Materials & Odor Inhibitors Including Citrus Extract & Liquid Chlorophyll], Outer Layer (Plant-Based PLA), Inner Layer (Polyethylene & Polypropylene), Leg/Waist System (Polymer Spandex & Polypropylene), Polyolefin Adhesives in the Seams & Joints, Super-Cute Design on Backsheet (Inks)
Thrive Market Diapers
These diapers remind me a lot of the Honest Company diapers minus the cute all-over print, not that the animal print that they do have on them is not cute because it is. They both have very similar ingredients. Thrive diapers are Totally Chlorine Free and use FSC certified wood pulp. Thrive also uses citrus extract and liquid chlorophyll as odor inhibitors. I have never had a problem with Thrive diapers leaking or have any problems with blowouts.
In order to buy them, you do need to have a Thrive Membership. If you never heard of Thrive Market it is an online-only market that they say is like Whole Foods meets Costco. If you do have a Thrive Market membership these diapers are an absolutely amazing value. Each diaper costs 35 cents and Thrive is always running additional promotions to make them even cheaper.
These diapers are very good quality and worth the membership cost alone if you want to try them out. You can sign up for Thrive Market here (not an affiliate link).
Thrive Market Baby Diapers Ingredients: Totally Chlorine-Free Wood Pulp (From Sustainably Managed Forests. No Optical Brighteners), Absorbent Core (Sodium Polyacrylate Blended With Plant-Based & Plant-Derived Material), Plant-Based PLA (Inner & Outer Layer), Safe Adhesives (In Seams & Joints), Polymer Spandex & Polypropylene (In Leg/Waist System), Ink (Made Without Lead & Heavy Metals In Printed Backsheet), Citrus Extract & Liquid Chlorophyll (Natural Acting Odor Blockers In Absorbent-Core)
Which Chemical-Free Diapers Should I Choose?
All of these non-toxic diapers are really good, natural options. They all work well and are free from the toxic chemicals you want to avoid in all of those well know commercial diapers. Having plenty of really good non-toxic options is always a good thing and it gives you the opportunity to try out as many of the different brands you want. When you find ones that work best for you and your baby then stick with those. The good news is if all (or some) of them work well for you, then you can choose between different brands depending on current prices and sales. With that being said If I was to recommend a good starting point I would say hands down to start with Eco by Naty if you can.
Tips to Save Money on Non-Toxic Diapers
Like all things non-toxic and organic, the cost for disposable diapers without chemicals is considerably higher than the standard chemical-laden diapers. As I mentioned earlier buying non-toxic disposable diapers is completely worth their cost for the health of your baby and also for the environment. In an effort to buy the best diapers and still save some money, I have come up with some simple tips to help save you a little bit of money.
- Compare the prices of your favorite non-toxic disposable diapers. When I properly plan ahead I purchase all of my diapers from Amazon. Prices can change from day to day so always compare prices between the different brands and see if any of the prices have dropped.
- When you do notice a decrease in price stock up. Obviously only buy what you can afford and plan on using but spending a little more upfront will result in overall savings.
- Check zulily.com I have purchased Eco by Naty diapers as well as Bambo diapers off of Zulily plenty of times, during their events, for really good prices. Another tip: when these diapers are on Zulily I have found that they will be the same discounted price on Amazon as well if you prefer to shop from Amazon.
- Subscribe and Save: If you are an Amazon Prime member there may be a subscribe and save option through Amazon family. Not all of the diapers offer subscribe and save at all times but many do. Depending on how many items you have on your subscription for that month’s delivery you can get up to 20% off. Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program allows you to push back any delivery you don’t need to another month and you can easily cancel anytime. Just be sure if you are using this program to update your diaper sizes as soon as your baby outgrows their last size so you don’t get a shipment of the size your little one just outgrew (ask me how I know).
If you are not currently a member of Amazon Prime you can sign up for a Completely FREE trial here and experience all of the benefits Amazon Prime has to offer!
- Check for Sales and Coupons: For the non-toxic disposable diapers available in stores (i.e. Seventh Generation and Honest) check for stores to run promotions and sales. Buy Buy Baby will run sales on Honest and Seventh Generation from time to time. Also, Target always runs promotions on baby products that include toxic-free options. Usually along the lines of spending a certain amount on baby products to get a target gift card back (these are my favorite because I am going to spend the money anyway and love to get an extra bonus)and be sure to check the cartwheel app for any coupons and additional discounts as well. And don’t forget to shop with your Target Red Card (credit or debit) to save an extra 5% off your whole purchase!
If you are interested in getting your own Target Red Card (credit or debit) you can get more information and sign up here.
Just Some Helpful Diaper Tips:
I just want to share some simple and quick diaper related tips with you (the nursery nurse in me just can’t help myself sometimes)
- If you are experiencing any kind of leaking or blowout issues it is possible that you need to change sizes. While the size guidelines based on your baby’s weight are helpful they can sometimes be wrong. Oftentimes if leaking is now a common occurrence when you previously never had problems with the diaper you should consider sizing up and see if that helps the problem. A bigger size will hold more and can possibly fit your baby better. This is also why there is an overlap in weights between two diaper sizes. Sometimes even though your baby may still be the same size they just need a roomier diaper. Also, check to make sure that the diaper fits properly around your baby’s legs so you have nothing leaking through there and is tight enough in the waist.
- So here is something that not many people realize. If you ever read the package of the diaper it is always recommended to empty the contents of the diaper into the toilet before throwing the diaper away. This helps to prevent waste build-up in landfills and water supplies. So please, please promise me you will try to do this whenever possible. *pinkie swear*
- If your baby is experiencing diaper rash there are a couple of things you can do. First change diaper brands, while all of these are non-toxic and chemical-free sometimes your baby will just be more sensitive to something in that particular diaper. I would start with the Eco by Naty disposable diapers because I think that they are the best diaper for sensitive skin. Of course, be sure that you are changing your baby’s diaper frequently enough. If they sit in a dirty diaper (even if it is just a little bit of urine) for too long it can cause some possible skin breakdown and irritation. *Note: when your baby is teething it is normal for your baby to have a diaper rash as well. This is the best diaper ointment I have found for treating diaper rash. I recommend it to every mommy that asks. You can also simply use organic coconut oil if you have some readily available.