Charcoal Bamboo: Should You?

There is a trend in cloth and bamboo fiber diapers right now to ‘add’ charcoal to it. In reality, it is a synthesized process that adds elements to the bamboo. It leaves the diaper with a lovely deep gray color finish at the end. It is thought that there are a number of benefits in adding the charcoal to the diaper, but it may all be for naught.

charcoal bamboo diaper

The Benefits of Charcoal Bamboo

Charcoal in itself has a number of benefits. These same ones, such as odor absorption, are thought to work in the diaper as well. Other benefits rumored to come from charcoal bamboo include

  • Microbacterial resistance: The charcoal fights off any bacteria found in the diaper that may lead to rashes or skin irritation.
  • Temperature Control: Charcoal bamboo is efficient at absorbing not only wetness, but humidity as well. This leads to a dryer and more comfortable baby butt. It can also release humidity to keep the skin from getting too dry if necessary.
  • Anti-Staining: Due to its color, it is incredibly difficult to stain charcoal bamboo. It constantly comes back looking new.
  • Calming: Supposedly, charcoal bamboo releases negative ions that are absorbed by the body. These in turn help to calm the mind.

The Truth About the Benefits

People who stand behind their charcoal bamboo will list off many reasons that it is a better material. The truth, however, is slightly different. If you take each of the benefits listed above, you cannot find research that actually backs up these assumptions. Here is what is actually shown to occur with each benefit

  • Microbacterial resistance: Natural bamboo has this quality, however, it is lost during the processing it takes to turn it into a diaper or cloth insert. If this exists at all, it is so minimal that there is no noticeable effect.
  • Temperature control: Charcoal bamboo, like natural bamboo, does wick away moisture. It does not, however, adjust the humidity levels of your baby’s diapers.
  • Anti-Staining: This benefit is actually true to some regard. The charcoal bamboo inserts are difficult to stain because of the darker color. It is not anti-staining, it just hides the stains better.
  • Calming: This is one of the most far-fetched claims that has been made. There is absolutely no evidence behind the theory that charcoal bamboo can calm the mind. If you have an extremely high needs baby, you may think it is worth a shot but should not expect results.
  • Odor Absorption: Charcoal does absorb odors. Charcoal bamboo, however, will not make a noticeable difference to any other diaper. If your baby makes a smelly poop, everyone is still going to know.


The benefits listed with charcoal bamboo diapers seem to be made due to the benefits of charcoal itself. These do not, though, carry over from the natural form of charcoal to the synthetic additives in the diaper. If you want to test out the different diapers, definitely do. The only real benefit here, though, is going to be for cloth diapers specifically due to the staining. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to rinse and reuse a disposable diaper.


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