What Is Zorb? Do You Know?

September 5, 2008

Cloth Diaper Extras

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There is no end to the eternal quest for a more absorbent cloth diaper that remains trim.  We’ve all packed all poor baby in a diaper that is 6″ thick preventing her from bringing her legs together.  But that is certainly not done out of preference.  It’s sometimes a necessity just to get a few hours sleep at night.

However, there are products that do allow for less layers.  Hemp, microfiber and bamboo are all great options especially when used in combination with each other (ex.  microfiber on top of hemp).  But, hemp stinks, microfiber leaks, and bamboo isn’t quite absorbent enough for me.

There is a new soaker fabric available though. Recently, Wazoodle‘s cutting-edge textile design department developed a super absorbent product called Zorb.  Wazoodle.com is a huge online retailer of all diaper making (or non diaper making) fabrics and supplies.  It is their mission to improve the overall performance of a cloth diaper.

Although the hype has been growing since earlier this year, one question or doubt has loomed: What IS zorb??

One mama put it best when she said, “I’m still waiting to hear WHAT exactly it is … it sounds ideal for my heavy wetter, but I won’t take a chance if we’ll find out in 3 months that it’s something like ground up tires, bleached in acid and mixed with a polycarbonate resin that has been hydrolyzed to a fabric-like consistency.”

Speculations flew and the “too good to be true” mentality rose, until Wazoodle finally answered our questions.  I am quoting Mike the head of textile design at Wazoodle:

“Hopefully I can answer a few of the most common question, and debunk some of the common rumors and misconceptions.

1) What is it made of?

I can tell you with great certainty there are no “ground up tires bleached in acid and mixed with a polycarbonate resin”. We’re known for a lot of things good and bad, but when it comes to innovative diaper making textiles our attention to innovation, environmental and product safety, is second to none.

Zorb contains only tangled cellulose fibers from bamboo/cotton/viscose and poly micro fiber, the same fibers found in virtually every AIO diaper on the market – nothing else. These non-allergenic fibers are non-allergenic, durable and easy to sanitize We manufacture Zorb in the USA and Canadian in modern facilities that are safe & friendly for workers and the environment.

We keep the exact formula and manufacturing process a secret.

2) Is it thick?

That depends on how you compare things. Soaker layers are built up from 3-8 layers which generally produces a thick wad of fabric. One key goal was to reduce the overall thickness of the absorbent part of a diaper, AND to minimize the number of layers needed.

The best overall thickness for Zorb proved to be about the same as Sherpa or velour. Even though Zorb is thicker, you use far fewer layers which will always makes the diaper trimmer. Fewer layers also reduces cost and cut/sew time.

This enabled some completely new designs (you should see them hit the market soon) that are trimmer than anything currently available.

For a head to head comparison on thickness, stacking Zorb on a desk against the common fabrics will show you something like this. 1 layer of Zorb is the same as:

  • 3 layers of flannel
  • 2.25 layers of French terry
  • 1.3 layers of cotton fleece
  • 1 layer of sherpa.

Now, to get the same absorbency, as 2 layer of Zorb, you will need:

  • 8 layers of flannel
  • 6 layers of French terry
  • 5 layers of cotton fleece
  • 4 layers of sherpa.

When you’re diaper is finished, it should be trimmer and softer handed using Zorb. You should save material cost and some cut/sew time.

3) Does it wick under compression (leak off)?

Less than anything else. We spent a lot of time looking at leak off under compression, both with Zorb and typical natural fiber fleeces. Compression leak off occurs when a fabric reaches saturation and cannot distribute moisture from the ‘squish’ area to other parts of the absorbent web. Zorb cures this problem in a 2 ways.

First, Zorb is extremely fast at moving moisture around. Assaults are quickly spread over a wide area to minimize saturation and leak off in the area that is peed on. To see this drop a swatch into water, you will see the moisture moves instantly through the fabric.

Next, the ability to resist leak off depends on the resiliency of the fabric’s web. Zorb is considerabley more resilient than fleeces and terrys, and way, way more resilient than microfiber toweling. When you squish it using the typical pressure of a baby (around 5psi), moisture simply moves to another part of the Zorb web. Natural fiber knits are slow to move moisture around, so pressure creates a leak off channel, polyester fleeces (micro and polar) and microfiber terry towell have weak webs that collapse under any pressure, they have the most trouble with leak off.

4) Why is shipping so expensive?

Zorb is a lofty fabric so carriers calculate the shipping cost based on volume, not actual weight. 6 yards of Zorb weighs 8lbs, but the roll size cubes out to 21lbs, so that’s what UPS they charges us to carry the package. It isn’t so bad if you look at it this way: the cheapest diaper shop we found on the net charges $213.30 to ship 20 yards of hemp 54″ FT to ZIP 90210 including freight. 6 yards of 74″ wide Zorb does the same job at a cost of $72 including freight.

We have a vacuum packager that compresses lofty fabrics, unfortunately it handles rolls up to 30″ long – but we’re working on it!

5) Is it Hemp Free?

Absolutely. For those of you who know us, we are not advocates of hemp for use in diaper or healthcare products. We never use hemp fiber in our products.

Hope that helps a little.”

I completely respect that they are not willing to divulge their “recipe”.  Now it is just a matter of time to see just how well Zorb perfoms under heavy duty diaper use.

You can find cloth diapers and mama pads containing Zorb by doing a search on Hyena Cart.  I am slowly seeing more and more and hope to soon try it out.


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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

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35 Responses to “What Is Zorb? Do You Know?”

  1. anj Says:

    Interesting. Any insights on what their issue with Hemp is?

    Reply

  2. Stephanie G Says:

    Thank you for this article, I am just now finding out about Zorb and looking into just what it is. Do you know if something changed between when you posted this and now? You have him quoted as saying “We never use hemp fiber in our products” and now they sell an Eco hemp-cotton blend. I’m fine if they changed views or found a way to use hemp that made them happy, but I’m worried about it being something he’s used while saying he hasn’t…

    Reply

  3. katie Says:

    According to wazoodle original zorb is preshrunk but it is suggested that you conditon to what your needs will be for it I pre wash and dry mine on hot and it does shrink some but does not fall apart

    Reply

  4. Candace Says:

    I just ordered some zorb for the first time and it arrived the other day. The stuff looks and feels like thick felt, actually. I’m not sure what I was expecting – something magical, I guess? I have to say I was disappointed. It really does remind me of a cross between felt and flat batting. Hmm. I wish I’d googled and read this page first.

    Reply

  5. Tara Says:

    It’s very unfortunate thar Zorb is manufactured by Wazoodle. I really wanted to try it out. Beware of purchasing from them. This has been my experience as has many others I’ve found on babycenter.com:
    I placed $71 order on July 3. I have never received my order. I emailed and asked about it and got no response. Called on a Fri at about 3pm EST and they said they were closed b/c it was past 5. When I called the following Mon, they said that the only reason they hadn’t sent my order was b/c the aplix was back ordered. They offered to substitute it. I said fine. They said it would be sent out that day. The following Friday I called and asked for the shipping and tracking code and the guy said they would email it to me that day. They never did. I called later and the recording said they were closed b/c it it was past 5pm on EST. It was 11:27am. I was trying to find out if it was even on it’s way, b/c I was 38 weeks pregnant and needing to finish diapers with what I ordered. I ended up having to go purchase more fabric from a local fabric store which wasn’t what I ideally wanted to use. I was so mad, I sent them a scathing letter which I have never gotten a response from. That was over a week ago. SERIOUSLY??? In this economy?? I’m in the process of disputing the charges with paypal which is apparently also an orderal. There really is no excuse for refusing to even communicate with your customers. Don’t ever order from them!!!!!

    Reply

    • stephka Says:

      hi tara, thank you so much for your writing!! i am from germany and you hardly get the zorb here. i had to order it in the uk and they charge you 18,50 pound a meter, which is about 27 dollars a yard!!!! can you believe this?
      but wazoodle seems to be as horrible as that because they would charge me twice the price of the goods only for shipping. plus, as you wrote, i would never now if i get the stuff. imagine, i would order for 100 euro and had to pay 300. crazy that is.

      this is making me mad, because i want to make the best inserts and i dont find good material here as diapermaking is really really new in germany.

      Reply

      • stephka Says:

        hello, me again – one year later…
        the owner of wazoodle has changed and they are incredbly customer-orientated now.
        the zorb that i have been working with (and the zorbII) work REALLY good as inserts – better than anything else i have worked with so far. that’s why i sew and sell inserts from it.
        I only can advise trying it – i love zorb!

        Reply

  6. stephka Says:

    thank you for these information! is there anything new about zorb? did it prove on the market? i think about sewing with it.

    Reply

  7. Nicole Says:

    Hi, I just purchased the zorbII dimbled fabric (cotton & bamboo covering) and found that it does shrink…. ALOT! I cut for foldable inserts for a OS Pocket at 15 x 17 and it shrank in length (dried on low) to 15 x 14.5. That’s a loss of 2.5 inches! I also used it new off the bold and have had some wicking issues. I am a micro fiber mom, and was hoping to find something thinner. This was supposed to be 2 x’s the absorbancy, but found that although it moves the moisture quickly, it is more likely the same or less than my microfiber. I’m very disappointed to say the least.

    I will try washing my stash and see if they work any better, but now need to make more for the appropriate size. Any idea on how to pre shrink 10 yds of heavy zorb without cutting it up and wasting the fabric?

    Reply

    • Christine Hoezee Says:

      Hi Nicole – I have a 7 year old that has accidents at night. I recently started selling Norwex products. They have a microfiber cloth that is thinner than most other microfibers and absorbs more. Plus it has silver (a natural antibiotic) embedded in the fibers to cut down on odor. Anyway, I just recently had the light bulb go off and thought I would use the Norwex microfiber cloth (called the enviro cloth) to help keep him dry. It is less bulky for him – hopefully more comfortable. So far, so good on the leaking aspect. Thought I would share. If you would like to try it out please buy from me – sure would appreciate it. ChristineHoezee.Norwex.Biz.

      Reply

  8. Vici Says:

    Hi,
    Any updates on Zorb? I found this a really great read, but wondered whether anyone had any new experiences with it?
    It sounds like a great fabric, and was hoping to try some, but would love to hear any suggestions?
    Also, was it decided that it did shrink, or is it best not pre-washed?

    Thanks!
    Vici

    Reply

  9. Riena Says:

    I’d tried to use this zorb with cottton sherpa on top and bottom of zorb.After 2x still cannot absorbed..even microfleece of the cd’s inner getting wet!Don’t know whats the problem..is it because of cotton sherpa or need to prewash 7-8 times.Need to try again..may be zorb best friend’s is bamboo knit terry or bamboo fleece..but not cotton sherpa.Need to try again on those fabric..:(

    Reply

  10. Tanya Says:

    Yes, why not advocates for hemp? Curious..

    Reply

  11. Autumn Beck Says:

    Those look great! ToT Wraps has a great WAHM working hard on her products.

    Reply

  12. Keri Says:

    Hi i am looking for some training pants for my son..he is a very heavey wetter so i have never been able to use cloth thou i have tried..(Iv tried Fuzzi bunz,kissaluvs &Thirsties AIO with a cotton and hemp extra insert and still my son soaked thur on his 1 st pee)
    anyways I was wondering if you could suggest a trainer….I have been looking at a brand that uses ZORB and i am interested because my son pees so much its called Transitions Trainers from ToT wraps http://hyenacart.com/totwraps/index.php?c=79
    what do you think?
    Thank you
    Keri :)

    Reply

  13. JulyJoly Says:

    Thank you so much … I needed this informations!

    Reply

  14. Agnes Olafson Says:

    Thank you for posting the information on Zorb, Autumn! I’ve found it very helpful and have been back to this posting a few times now :)

    I always pre-wash my Zorb in hot water before using it without any problems. I find that it does shrink a tiny bit. Also, it does pill a little bit when you wash it on a normal cycle instead of a gentle one.

    I wonder how Wazoodle would compare their bamboo fleece absorbency to that of Zorb. I noticed it’s not on the list above.

    Agnes
    Northern Baby

    Reply

  15. Krysta Says:

    No, Zorb doesn’t shrink. In fact if you try to pre-wash it, it will likely fall apart as it is a pressed fiber like batting.

    Reply

  16. Vicki D. Says:

    Does anyone know if Zorb shrinks? I am wanting to use it as a soaker in some fitteds I am making. Just wondering if i need to wash it and shrink it before i sew it.

    Thanks!!

    Reply

  17. Autumn Beck Says:

    The above information inside quotes is from Wazoodle. I don’t have any problems with hemp. :)

    Reply

  18. Talia Says:

    Curious as to why you dont use/or support the use of hemp products. We’ve used it as stuffers in our pockets so I was looking for information as to why you dont :)

    Thanks!

    Reply

  19. Autumn Beck Says:

    Ashley, I’ve actually never heard of rainforest babies. Regardless, of buzz if you find a diaper that works for you YEAH!!! Sometimes it can be so difficult to find just the right fit for your little one.

    Reply

  20. Ashley Says:

    hi! i was wondering if you have heard anything about rainforest babies cloth diapers? I have been using them on my son since february, and i like them. I am , however a novice, and was curious if there was any buzz. thanks for what you do!

    Reply

  21. Michelle Says:

    Interesting stuff. Why are they not advocates for hemp? What am I misssing?

    Reply

  22. Ranae Kempe Says:

    Autumn, I’m SO happy you have taken the time & effort to share this information about Zorb to your readers! We have been making & selling doublers with Zorb inside & are convinced that is one of the BEST absorbent fabrics we have ever found. It really soaks up whatever comes it’s way, and I love how trim & soft it is. Thank you for helping others find out about the newest fabrics that are available for cloth diapers. Keep up the good work!
    Ranae
    Baby be Blessed
    http://hyenacart.com/babybeblessed/

    Reply

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