Cotton is more durable, definitely. It actually gains strength when it’s wet, whereas bamboo loses strength when it’s wet. So if you're washing diapers often (and yes, yes you are!), then the cotton ones will last an awful lot longer.
Cotton is also more abrasion-resistant than bamboo, and altogether tougher. This is because it has not been subjected to as much processing and chemicals as bamboo has, leaving the individual fibres long, strong, and durable.
A cloth diaper can abrade (rub) against many things, so abrasion-resistance and durability are important for the longevity of diaper. A cotton cloth diaper will fare much better if you or or baby do any of the following high-abrasion activities:
- your baby goes coverless often
- your baby is active, causing abrasion between the diaper and diaper cover
- you use a top-load washer with an agitator
- you line dry with clothes pins
Cotton also retains its shape better and doesn’t shrink as much. You will see that cotton diapers launder much better than bamboo ones.
The downside is that cotton does not absorb as much, though with careful selection of the weave and brand of cloth diaper, your cotton diaper can be as absorbent as a bamboo one!
Happy cloth diapering!