Is Nylon Safe for Babies? Discover Safer Fabric Options

baby girl wearing green clothes

When shopping for baby clothes, it’s important to look beyond adorable style. If you want to provide optimal comfort and safety for your little one, you must also consider the fabrics the clothing is made from.  

Despite the growing prevalence of synthetic fabrics in the clothing industry, that doesn’t mean they are the best choice for your baby.While many of these fabrics are made to appear soft and cozy, that doesn't necessarily mean they are the best option for your baby. Unfortunately, they can cause irritation of sensitive skin, lack the breathability needed for your baby’s optimal comfort and safety, and wreak havoc on the environment.

With so many choices, it can be challenging to know which fabrics are best for your baby. Take nylon, for example. Is nylon safe for babies? We’ve got you covered, Mama! This post explores everything from how nylon fabric is made to how it can impact your baby’s sensitive skin—and the environment. After reading, you’ll understand why we recommend saying no to synthetic fabrics, like nylon, and yes to safer, comfier fabrics.

Nylon fabric

What is Nylon Fabric? 

Nylon is a chemically produced synthetic fabric made from melting petroleum polymers. While there are several different types of nylon fabric, they are all made by mixing the same chemicals before spinning long fibers that are woven together to create a fabric. Similar to polyester, nylon relies on non-renewable oil resources and requires a chemical and energy-intensive process. However, the final product is a durable and strong fabric that is known for its elasticity and lightweight nature.  

Nylon was first introduced in the 1930s as a more durable alternative to silk, introducing the word to the first fully synthetic fiber (1).  Despite not being as popular in the fashion industry today as it once was, nylon can still be found in clothing such as performance wear, swimwear, and women’s tights. In everyday clothing, nylon can be found combined with other fabrics to enhance versatility, durability, and stretch.

Baby Clothing and Nylon Fabric: Here’s What You Need To Know 

While nylon is generally considered “safe” and affordable, it is not the best fabric for baby clothing. Since babies often have delicate skin and cannot properly regulate their body temperature,  it is important for parents to choose gentle fabrics with high breathability.  Nylon falls short in these areas, with its biggest drawbacks being its inability to absorb moisture, its tendency to trap heat, and the presence of potentially irritating chemicals.

These concerns apply not only to baby clothing but also to baby bedding and blankets. Even if nylon fabric feels soft and comfortable, it could still negatively impact your baby’s overall comfort and harm their sensitive skin.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most concerning factors to help you understand why nylon might not be the best option for your baby. 

Moisture Absorption and Heat Retention

Nylon fabric does not absorb moisture, which can lead to dampness and discomfort. This is particularly problematic for babies who are prone to sweating or drooling. The inability to wick away moisture can cause skin irritation and rashes, exacerbating conditions like eczema. Due to a lack of breathability, the fabric also traps heat, which can cause babies to overheat. This is especially concerning during warmer months or when layered under other clothing. Overheating is not only uncomfortable but can also be dangerous, as it increases the risk of SIDS, heat rash, and other heat-related illnesses.

Chemical Concerns

Additionally, nylon is made with potentially irritating chemicals, including synthetic dyes, flame retardants, and bleaching agents, all of which can negatively impact a baby's delicate skin. Synthetic dyes, for instance, can cause allergic reactions and skin irritations. Meanwhile, flame retardants, while intended to enhance safety, have been linked to health concerns such as hormone disruption and developmental issues. While these chemicals are used during processing and manufacturing, they often linger—even after washing—and can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.

Is Nylon Environmentally Friendly? 

In addition to concerns about the baby's comfort and sensitive skin, there are many environmental red flags associated with nylon fabric. One of the biggest concerns is that the production of nylon is resource-intensive and has a significant environmental impact. It requires significant use of petroleum, a non-renewable resource, and requires vast amounts of water and energy during production. Furthermore, nylon production generates harmful greenhouse gases, including nitrous oxide,  which has a much greater impact on global warming than carbon dioxide.

The environmental impact doesn’t stop at production. Post-consumer, nylon contributes to landfill waste and microplastic pollution. Unlike natural fibers, nylon is not biodegradable meaning it will sit in landfills for hundreds of years. But even before disposal, nylon materials can negatively impact the environment. Every time you wash a nylon garment, they shed tiny plastic fibers known as microplastics into the waterways. These microplastics then find their way into our oceans and other bodies of water. Not only have these microplastics been found in the bodies of various marine organisms, but more recently, in human blood, raising concerns about potential health risks (2). 

Are Recycled Nylon Fabrics Any Better? 

It’s true that recycled nylon is a more environmentally friendly option than virgin nylon as it gives a second life to plastics that would otherwise sit in landfills. While the process reduces the need for new petroleum extraction and decreases the overall environmental footprint, it is still not an entirely “environmentally safe” option. The recycling process itself is energy-intensive and may involve the use of additional chemicals to clean and break down the old nylon. Additionally, recycled nylon can still shed microplastics when washed. 

Parents looking for more eco-friendly fabrics should consider those sourced from sustainable and natural materials, such as organic cotton and fabrics delivered from wood. Additionally, look for fabrics produced with eco-friendly methods and safer additives, which are gentler on the skin and the environment.

Nylon fabric

What Fabrics Should Babies Avoid? 

In general, it’s best to avoid 100% synthetic fabrics, especially those made from petroleum. fabrics that are synthetic, especially those petroleum-based, as well as those that trap heat. Here are some key reasons to avoid these fabrics:

  • Lack of Breathability: Synthetic fabrics often do not allow air to circulate, which can trap heat and moisture close to the skin, leading to discomfort and potential skin irritations.
  • Heat-Trapping Properties: Synthetic fabrics tend to retain heat, which can cause babies to overheat. With nowhere to go, this heat can lead to increased sweating, creating an environment for bacteria and odors to thrive. 
  • Potentially Irritating Chemicals: Many synthetic fabrics require harsh chemicals during production and are treated with additional chemicals during manufacturing. These additives can be harmful, irritating,  and harsh on sensitive skin.

Fabrics to Avoid:

  • Polyester: Similar to nylon, polyester is not breathable and can cause skin irritation and overheating.
  • Nylon: For the reasons outlined above, nylon is not recommended for baby clothing.
  • Rayon: While technically semi-synthetic, rayon is processed with harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.

Acrylic: This fossil-fuel-based fabric is not breathable and can be scratchy, causing discomfort.

What Type of Clothes Trigger Eczema in Babies?

If your child suffers from eczema, avoid heat-trapping synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, rayon, and acrylic, as they can irritate the skin and exacerbate symptoms. These fabrics lack breathability and moisture absorption, leading to dampness and general discomfort from overheating. Despite its natural origins, traditional wool fabric should also be avoided as it can be scratchy and lead to irritation. 

In general, clothing that irritates the skin, promotes scratching, or traps heat is most likely to trigger eczema flare-ups or general irritation in babies. Therefore, avoid fabrics made from scratchy materials, those processed or treated with harsh chemicals, or those that lack breathability.

When it comes to choosing the best baby clothing for eczema, opt for soft and breathable fabrics, like Tencel or organic cotton.In cooler weather, layer thinner, breathable fabrics to provide warmth without trapping heat, inducing sweat, or causing discomfort. Additionally, wash clothing in unscented hypoallergenic laundry soap to further prevent irritation.

Baby girl wearing tencel roses bodysuit while outdoors

What Fabrics Are Suitable for Babies?

The best fabrics for babies are those that are soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, and moisture-wicking. When combined, these properties provide a safe option that will provide long-lasting comfort for your baby throughout the day or night. 

These qualities are typically found in fabrics made from natural fibers, such as organic cotton or other plant-based fibers like Tencel. These materials are known for being gentle on delicate skin and durable enough to sustain multiple washes. Additionally, they can add a sense of comfort and safety during sleep, helping both babies and parents sleep more peacefully. 

Suitable Fabrics:

  • Tencel Lyocell: Made from sustainably harvested wood pulp, Tencel is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic.
  • Tencel Lyocell (linen): This blend combines the benefits of Tencel with the breathability and texture of linen.
  • Organic Cotton: Free from harmful pesticides and chemicals, organic cotton is gentle on the skin and highly breathable.
  • Organic Cotton (muslin): Muslin is a loosely woven cotton fabric that is soft, breathable, and ideal for baby swaddles and blankets.
  • Organic Cotton (linen): This blend offers the softness of cotton with the durability and breathability of linen.

All of the fabrics above offer exceptional comfort thanks to their breathability. While many parents think thicker fabrics are best for colder weather, lightweight and breathable fabrics are more versatile. They can be safely layered during cooler months or worn as single layers in warmer months, helping to regulate their body temperature and prevent overheating any time of the year. 

Tencel Fabric: A Softer, Safer Alternative to Nylon

Tencel is a type of fiber sourced from sustainably harvested wood pulp, primarily eucalyptus, beech, and spruce trees. Unlike nylon fabric, the production process of Tencel is environmentally friendly. Overall, the process involves significantly less water, requires less energy, and uses fewer—and safer—chemicals than traditional synthetic fabrics, including polyester and nylon. The closed-loop process used in Tencel production means that nearly all the solvents and water used are recycled, significantly reducing environmental impact.

Benefits of Tencel

Compared to nylon, Tencel offers numerous benefits for a baby's health, safety, and comfort. It is soft, hypoallergenic, breathable, and moisture-wicking, making it an excellent choice for baby clothing and bedding. Tencel fibers are naturally soft, providing a smoother and more gentle option for delicate skin. Its breathability ensures that moisture is wicked away from the skin, keeping babies dry and comfortable. In addition to this soothing touch and optimal breathability, Tencel does not require harsh chemicals and additives during production. Therefore, it is not only a more comfortable option, but it’s a safer fabric for babies, too. 

Tencel is also versatile enough for various types of baby clothing and accessories, from onesies and pajamas to blankets and sheets. Its natural moisture-wicking properties help regulate body temperature, making it suitable for both warm and cool climates. Lastly, the fabric's durability ensures that baby clothing will withstand the curiosity of those early years, maintaining its integrity and comfort wash after wash. 

What Material Is Best for Babies In Summer?

With the summer months approaching, we recommend sticking to lightweight, breathable fabrics like Tencel Lyocell. Tencel provides a soft, cool comfort that is perfect for summer. Additionally, the fabric’s breathability and moisture absorption promote proper air circulation while wicking moisture and sweat away from the baby’s skin. As a result, your baby will stay dry and comfortably cool throughout the summer days and nights. 

The best part is that Tencel fabric's benefits don’t end when summer ends. Thanks to its exceptional qualities, Tencel is highly adaptable for year-long wear. Tencel baby clothes can be layered with other natural fabrics, such as organic cotton,  for additional warmth during cooler months without the risk of overheating. This versatility makes Tencel clothing a practical investment for year-round use.

Cuddle Sprouts: Where Comfort Meets Quality 

At Cuddle Sprouts, we are committed to providing the best comfort and quality for babies while protecting Mother Earth.  Every decision we make, from the fabrics we choose to the styles we design, stems from our desire to empower mamas like you to make better decisions for your baby and their future. 

We believe that choosing the right fabric is not just about comfort but also about ensuring a healthier future for our planet. That's why we craft our baby clothing and bedding using sustainable fabrics like Tencel Lyocell.

Only The Best For Your Baby 

While nylon may provide parents with a versatile and affordable option for baby clothing, it’s worth considering the risks to your baby's comfort, skin, and the environment. Your baby deserves nothing short of the best when it comes to comfort and quality. Our collection of Tencel baby clothes allows you to dress your baby in top-notch comfort without worrying about the impact on their skin or the environment.

Say goodbye to petroleum-based fabrics and hello to a safer, comfier, and more sustainable option for your little one. Shop Cuddle Sprouts’ baby clothes, blankets, and crib sheets made with love, care, and Tencel Lyocell.


1. Science History Institute, “Synthetic Threads”

2. Science Direct, “Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood.” 

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