Diaper Accessories Diaper Liners

Disposable Cloth Diaper Liners vs. Using Viva Paper Towels as Liners

Disposable #clothdiapers liners vs viva paper towels as liners via @chgdiapers

Post contains affiliate links – pictured items were purchased by me. I was not asked to write, nor was I compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own. In my 4 1/2 years of cloth diapering, I have never used a diaper sprayer or disposable diaper liners. I thought I would “need” them when I started cloth diapering, but I was stressing myself out with the idea of all the things to buy, so I decided to wait. I figured I’d buy them when I felt I needed them, but I got by fine without them and never bothered. That said, I think they would make life easier, especially if you are hand washing!

There are many brands of disposable liners available, and prices range from about 5 cents each up to almost 9 cents each. Most are sold in rolls of 100 or 200, and there are a few that are available in 2 sizes. I purchased this roll of GroVia liners with affiliate credit ($10/roll of 200 – some of the least expensive available), but I have not used or touched other brands (Applecheeks, EcoSprout, Bummis, OsoCozy & others.)

@GroViaDiaper liners via @chgdiapers 1

Liners are designed to lay inside your diaper to make clean up easy. Some are marketed as flushable and some are not. Many are reportedly very sturdy (GroVia are) and can make it through one or more wash cycles to be re-used if only wet. I personally do not recommend flushing anything but a modest amount of toilet paper, whether you are on municipal water/sewer or a septic system. However, that’s a choice you’d need to make for yourself.

@GroViaDiaper liners via @chgdiapers 2

GroVia’s Bioliners are made of 100% natural Ingeo fabric, which is fragrance, dye and chlorine free, as well as breathable. They allow moisture to pass through, while catching solids. They don’t absorb moisture & thus won’t end up making your stay-dry diaper more “stay-wet.” They are quite large and may need to be folded or cut to fit many diapers, although some people just leave the edges sticking out.

@GroViaDiaper liners via @chgdiapers 3 @GroViaDiaper liners via @chgdiapers 4

In my opinion, they are not soft, but they are quite sturdy. I got a liner wet and had to really work to get it to tear at all. I have no doubt that these would hold up to anything your child dishes out.

@GroViaDiaper liners via @chgdiapers 6

I’ve often heard of people using Viva paper towels as liners. They are really quite sturdy, and though we don’t use many paper products, they are my paper towel of choice. I got hooked on them when they were $1.78 at my store & there were 75 cent coupons that doubled. I was paying 28 cents + tax for paper towels forever, and when the price went up & the coupons were scarce, I continued to buy them. They are certainly less expensive than diaper liners, but they cannot be washed & reused and they will make your child’s skin feel wet rather than allowing moisture to run through.

Another reason people use liners at times is to protect the diaper from diaper cream. Typically you’d want to double up in that case. Just for giggles I put a wet liner and a wet Viva paper towel on my counter, and slathered diaper cream on. This is of course a gross exaggeration since you would put diaper cream on baby, not directly on a liner pressed up against the diaper!

Liner on the left, paper towel on the right:

#clothdiapers liners vs paper towels via @chgdiapers 1

Not much of anything came through the paper towel, but you can see the smudge on the counter where the cream came through the liner.

#clothdiapers liners vs paper towels via @chgdiapers 2

Again, this isn’t how they were meant to be used, and it actually somewhat demonstrates that the GroVia will allow moisture to go through, keeping skin more dry than a wet paper towel.

Here is the back side of the liner (left) and paper towel (right):

#clothdiapers liners vs paper towels via @chgdiapers 3 reverse of liner #clothdiapers liners vs paper towels via @chgdiapers 4 reverse of paper towel

So which is better? Depends on what you want to use them for, if you want baby’s skin to feel dry, if you think you’d use a whole roll of liners, whether you want to re-use them…

I’d like to compare all the different brands as well since this is my first experience with liners, but I’m not sure I want to spend $35+ on something I won’t actually use. 🙂

Have you used diaper liners or paper towels as liners?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Frederik-Andre Savard
    September 28, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Is it smooth enough for the skin ? Seems a bit rought but wuite cheaper than the bamboo liner.

  • Kenra
    May 7, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Hi there.

    For anyone in Canada trying to find viva it’s pretty difficult. I dunno why but Walmart is always out and co-op stopped carrying them. So I tried bounty and it works just the same as viva

    • Enna
      July 13, 2019 at 7:41 am

      I thought the bounty paper towels were too rough to be against a baby’s bum, how did it go for you?

  • March 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    […] Liners: In your diaper assembly line, add a flushable liner like this one from Buttons.  You can even use Viva paper towels (read about them here and here.) […]

  • September 12, 2016 at 9:36 am

    […] sprayers, splatter shields, and disposable cloth diaper liners can be helpful but plenty of families have success without […]

  • March 4, 2015 at 9:00 am

    […] Even with “cloth diaper safe” bottom balms, it’s always recommended to use a liner. When using the powder and bum balm, I used a fleece liner. If you don’t have liners, they […]

  • Amanda D
    November 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I just found this post, and I am so happy. My nearly 7 month old son just started eating solids. I have been stressing about dealing with the poo, and if liners would be a good fit for us. Going to try the Viva papertowels first since our budget, especially with the holidays coming up, is stretched pretty thin.

  • Courtney S
    March 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    We use Viva paper towels. I cut them in half so that they fit nicely in the diaper. I’ve never tried other liners because they seem so expensive for something I will throw away. I only use liners when we need to use cream, so $1 for a roll of Viva is much more reasonable for us than $10!

  • March 24, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve used kushies liners with my first. With the rest I used sometimes. They can be useful and work well. But I dont think they are needed unless in need of using a diaper cream. That said I have agreed to use them this time as its my boyfriends first time using cloth and I’ve brought him from against trying cloth to excited about it. In this regards, Im a big fan lol. It was my only comprises also which I think is pretty reasonable.

  • Julie
    March 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I used liners once, many years ago, on my first cloth baby. I remember them feeling really scratchy. I have no idea what brand they were. This must’ve been 10 years ago so, whatever was available back then. I didn’t really find that they were all that helpful but I’d like to give them another try. I don’t remember how old my son was last time I used liners but I wonder if they’d help a bit with my current cloth baby.

    This paper towel thing is really interesting. I just might pick some up at the store today and give them a try.

    I’ve been getting really sick of using cloth lately, I have to admit. Maybe a new trick would help me get through this and keep pushing on. I am definitely planning on potty training baby girl this summer before she gets any more stubborn.

  • Amye
    March 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I have used bummis and Imse brands. My toddler poops up to 3 times a day sometimes and it is always soft so I have been using a liner in every diaper. Sometimes it is helpful and everything stays on the liner, most of the time the liners bunch up and the piop is half on the liner half on the diaper. Usually always some still leaks through the liner. Either way the liners have cut down the time of rinsing poop and that is helpful. The bummis brand is the softest of the 2.

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