The Best Burp Cloth
The Copper Pearl cloth was not the first to grab our attention, but after researching and using it alongside the competition, we fell in love. It has three layers of fabric, which is less than average. However, it offers bulletproof protection thanks to an inner polyester fleece layer that absorbs and wicks away everything. The outer material is a soft cotton jersey knit that is smooth against baby's face. The extra-long and thin shape of this cloth fits well on a shoulder and provides extra coverage down your back without leaving a bunch of fabric to hang over the side of your arm, which also helps it stay put and avoid slippage.
While we love the performance of this cloth, the different fabric types tend to shrink unevenly, and it looks a bit rumpled and disheveled right from the beginning. It is average when it comes to absorbency time, meaning that it will take a few seconds longer to soak in any spit up it catches and may let some roll-off. However, cotton generally gets more absorbent after multiple washes so that this problem may self-correct. Overall, we love the Copper Pearl cloths. The cute patterns and excellent performance make these our favorite.
The Burt's Bees Baby Burp Cloths feels like your favorite perfectly worn-in t-shirt, but softer and thicker. These are some of our favorite cloths to keep stashed around the house, as they come in handy almost everywhere you can imagine. Although comprised of only two layers, the thick and heavy jersey knit uses organic cotton and is very absorbent. Our favorite part is the plush quality of the fabrics. The supple fabric is the perfect weight and texture. The stitching feels durable, and these cloths wash well with minimal shrinkage. We also appreciate that they are organic, making them ideal for eco-minded parents.
In the beginning, we experienced slow absorption times with this product. However, this problem faded with time and multiple trips through the wash. If you want full absorbency right away, we recommend tossing them in with your regular laundry 2-3 times before their first use. We would also prefer the cloths to be a touch longer. As is, they are one of the smallest in the review, and we like a little more coverage. These few drawbacks are not dealbreakers to us. We love using these burp cloths and think you will too.
While we do not have a hard time thinking of different ways to use our burping cloths, the Aden + Anais Burpy Bib is the only product in this review that has an intentional dual-purpose construction in mind. The cotton muslin cloth has a contoured shape that fits perfectly on mom's shoulder but also has a discreet snap that allows it to turn into a bib. The high quality of the materials and the simple addition of a snap closure ensure that the Burpy Bib will be a long-lasting product well worth the initial investment. The Aden + Anais is on the longer side and offers a lot of front and back coverage without bunching around the neck. There are four layers of fabric, but the weave is much tighter than some other muslin options, making these much thicker and more absorbent. The absorbency time is one of the fastest in the group, and the fabric distributes liquid, so you aren't left with a single sopping wet spot on your rag.
When you first get these, you may be amazed by the large size. However, muslin is notorious for shrinking, so plan to have a cloth that is about an inch smaller in each direction. We also recommend prepping the fabric by putting it through 2-3 wash cycles so it can reach full absorbency before use. One key consideration is the price. It is one of the most expensive options in our review, but we think that the high-quality construction and the multipurpose ability of this cloth make it worth it. If you like the classic muslin feel and are looking for a product that will be useful for many years, then we recommend the Aden + Anais Burpy Bib.
The Hudson Baby Flannel is a soft and pliable cloth composed of two panels of fabric sewn together and overlapping in the center. It is cozy straight out of the package and gets even softer after washing. We appreciate that it is one of the larger cloths in the review, allowing the option to either have extra coverage or fold it for double absorbency. One of the best parts about the fabric is the lightning-quick absorbency time. You can be sure that it will catch and retain any liquid as soon as it touches the cloth, no more worries about where the goopy mess may trail off to behind your back.
Unfortunately, we found this burp cloth is not the most durable. Right away, some of the stitching started to unravel, and there were a few loose threads around the edges. While very soft and malleable, the weave of the flannel is not very tight. There is also a fair amount of shrinkage after the first wash, about 1-2 inches in both directions, but the cloth is extensive, to begin with, so we did not miss the extra surface area too much. Overall, we enjoy using these, and if you are parenting on a budget, but still want something cute and functional, then the Hudson Baby Flannel is the perfect option.
The Gerber Prefold Gauze Diaper is a product that also works great as a burp cloth. The Gerber Prefold is a classic and also a multi-purpose product that parents can use a burping cloth, a cleaning rag, and of course, a cloth diaper. The multilayered cotton utilizes a gauze fabric that is similar to muslin, but a bit more coarse, giving it extra absorbency abilities and excellent durability. Despite the coarseness of the weave, the fabric retains its softness and gets better with use. It is one of the thickest cloths in our review, piling on six layers of fabric. We found that liquid is absorbed almost instantly into the material, and very little, if any, reaches the other side.
Gerber Prefolds have the most significant amount of shrinkage of all the options in our review, losing nearly 3 inches of length after the first wash. The overall size ends up being slightly smaller than average, and so it does not offer as much coverage as some other products. While these cloths are handy and functional, you don't get the same cuteness factor from the plain white fabric. It is first and foremost a cloth diaper, and that is how it looks. But if aesthetics are not your priority, and you are a fan of multitasking products, then this may be the best choice for you. We love that Gerber provides a perfect option for parents with a tight budget, and cannot think of a better value competitor.
The Gerber Flannel Burp Cloth is the most durable but least soft cloth on our list. The flannel is a bit rough from the get-go, but on the flip side, the material feels like it will last forever. In contrast with the Hudson Baby, the fabric is extra thick, has a tight weave, and the stitching around the edges is solid. Shrinkage is very minimal, and these large cloths offer great coverage. We can imagine using these for burps, or as an impromptu changing pad while the baby is small, and then continuing their use for years to come as a kitchen or cleaning rag. They are also one of the most affordable options on our list, and their durability increases the value. The cute patterns are great for baby but neutral enough to have around the house.
Straight out of the package, and even after the first wash, these Gerber cloths are stiff. They will likely loosen up over time, but in the beginning, they are almost awkward to use because they are so impliable. They don't mold and fold very well into convenient shapes. We do not appreciate the texture of the flannel and would describe it as nearly abrasive. It is not something we would use to wipe baby's face or our own for that matter. We have high hopes that it will soften up over time, as most fabrics do. However, we did not reach that point in the duration of our testing. Although not perfect, we can't pass up a hardy and functional product that we know will last. We recommend Gerber Flannel cloths to anyone who values durability above all else.
The Milkbarn Organic is a simple square cloth of organic muslin fabric that comes in cute and unique prints. Although it is lightweight, the tight weave feels durable and does not snag or tear easily. While other muslin products on our list are pre-layered and shaped, the Milkbarn cloth is only a single layer to begin. You must fold it multiple times to offer adequate absorbency, but this allows you to tailor the size and thickness to perfections. Also, due to the thin nature of the fabric, it is exceptionally fast-drying. The large size offers greater versatility and comes in handy as a light blanket, or a car seat or stroller sunshade. Many babies get attached to the lightweight and malleable familiarity of the cloth and use it as a lovey. The high-quality feel makes this an excellent choice for all-around home use. In addition to all the baby-related functions, we find it works well as a dish towel, hand towel, or napkin.
The large size and thin fabric add versatility to this product, but it is not as easy to use as other more dedicated products. You must take the time to fold and arrange the fabric before throwing it over your shoulder, and for some parents, this is an extra step for which they just don't have the patience. Another downside is the price. Milkbarn makes high-quality muslin products that come with a price tag to match. While not for everyone, we love the style and feel of the Milkbarn Organic and enjoy having them around the house. If you are looking for a less-traditional item for all-around home and baby use, then this is your best bet.
Green Sprouts Muslin is an organic cloth with four layers of cotton muslin sewn together in a dogbone shape that contours the shoulder and provides extra coverage on the ends. As is typical of muslin products, the cloth will get fluffier, softer, and more absorbent with time. Even after the initial shrinkage, this cloth remains above average in terms of size, and it has a long and narrow shape that fits perfectly on the shoulder.
Like the Aden + Anais, the Green Sprouts has four layers of muslin; however, the weave is looser, and the cloth feels much thinner because of this. It seems to have a slightly lower level of quality overall and does not feel very durable compared to other options in the review. Topping off the list, the price of this cloth is still relatively high, despite having lower quality and functionality. We like the use of organic materials and appreciate the simplicity of the Green Sprouts, but think that there are better options out there.
The Comfy Cubs Muslin is a simple rectangular cloth that combines the luxury of muslin with a budget-friendly price tag. It has a whopping six layers of fabric sewn together, and the extra-large size means you can fold it to customize absorbency. The light and fluffy feel of the fabric is pleasant to the touch and soft enough for baby's sensitive skin. The material absorbs liquids almost instantly and will not let a single drop of spit-up roll onto unwanted surfaces.
Although it boasts 6-layers of muslin (two more than Aden + Anais), the weave of the fabric is so loose that the combined layers still do not feel very thick, leaving the cloth somewhat lacking in absorbency. Right from the get-go, the Comfy Cubs seem like one of the least durable products we tested. We found several threads coming loose from the border stitching, and the loosely woven muslin snags more quickly than other fabrics. Comfy Cubs is not our favorite, but if you are not concerned about the longevity of a product, it is the best choice for any parent in search of a more affordable muslin option.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review of the best cloths for burping is led by Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford. With 6+ years of professional childcare experience and many more years as the oldest child in a family of 6 kids, she uses her baby knowledge to inform testing processes and product selection. Abriah has been a Senior Review Editor at BabyGearLab since 2015 and during that time she has extensively tested and analyzed hundreds of baby products. Also key to our burp cloth testing process, was expert help from 6-week old Noah, who literally grew up with our extensive field testing process, and helped us explore the performance of each cloth in real world situations.
Analysis and Test Results
We broke down our testing into four main metrics absorbency, coverage, softness, and durability. Examining these factors helped us select the best cloths for burping babies.
While burping cloths can be fantastic for multiple uses, their primary purpose is to catch and absorb spit-up and keep it from reaching your clothing after feeding your baby. Therefore, absorbency is very important to the selection process. The type of material used, and the number of layers in a single cloth both contribute to the absorbency level. Our favorite for absorbency, the Copper Pearl, has a fleece inner core lined with soft cotton knit fabric on each side. While it is only three layers, the core makes it one of the most absorbent cloths on our list. Built for the sole purpose of being absorbent, the Gerber Prefolds is also a top performer, letting hardly any liquid through the numerous layers of gauze weave fabric.
If extra absorbency is needed, some cloths, such as the Milkbarn Organic, are large enough to fold over multiple times. Others, like the Burt's Bees and Hudson Baby Flannel, have the extra folds built-in. These cloths have numerous layers of fabric sewn together in the center, similar to a cloth diaper. This type of construction offers more absorbency in the place you need it most while keeping the bulk down around the edges.
The amount of coverage you want from a burp cloth is mostly personal preference. Some people feel that more coverage is better, as you are never sure how far the mess will travel. Others do not like the feeling of lots of fabric and prefer to have just enough to do the job. We tried to find a happy medium. We discovered that cloths with a contoured shape offer more coverage in the right areas and less bunching and folding. When placed over your shoulder, items such as the Aden + Anais Burpy Bib and Green Sprouts Muslin provide more fabric for chest and back areas, without bunching around your neck.
The Milkbarn Organic is the largest burper on our list. However, it is only a single layer of thin muslin, so you must fold it if you want it thick enough to avoid leaking through. Folding decreases the size significantly but may increase versatility as it allows you to double up certain parts of the cloth to offer the best coverage for you. Although not contoured, the long and narrow shape of the Pearl Copper is another one of our favorites. It is wide enough to cover our shoulder up to the neck but does not leave a bunch of loose fabric hanging off the edge.
Burp cloths are items that will be touching baby's skin multiple times a day, and often for more extended periods. Softness helps avoid irritation or rashes. While all the products we tested are softer than your average dish towel, we love the organic cotton and smooth jersey knit of the Burt's Bees. The fuzzy soft flannel of the Hudson Baby is another favorite. Both of these options are soft enough that we feel comfortable resting a baby's face on these protective cloths.
The Aden + Anais is the coziest muslin option in our test, getting softer and fluffier with each wash. The muslin on this cloth has a much tighter weave than others, providing a smoother surface and higher absorbency to boot.
Durability and Longevity
How much use do you like to get out of your baby products? If you are looking for a multipurpose workhorse that you can use through multiple children and for various tasks, there is a cloth for that. The Gerber Flannel, in particular, uses heavy-duty fabric, has tight stitching around the edges, and is generic enough to fit into many areas of the home. We also love the Aden + Anais Burpy Bib for its multitasking abilities. The small snap closure allows it to become a drool or mealtime bib after the baby has outgrown the burping stage. The high-quality muslin does not wear thin over time, making it an excellent choice for those who would like to reuse baby items through multiple children.
Some options offer slightly lower quality materials and may not last as long, but they have a price tag to match. For parents looking for an item to use only as a burp cloth, this is perfectly acceptable. Any item in this review will last long enough to serve that purpose. However, if you are on a budget, you can still find a cloth built to last. The Gerber Prefold is one of the most durable we tested on our list, as well as one of the most affordable, so you don't have to make the compromise.
While most any burp cloth will work in a pinch for a spit-up prone baby, we definitely found in our test that they aren't all equal. We hope our testing and review analysis can help you find the right product for your needs. And, that might mean choosing more than just one. As you'll want a pretty hefty stash of burping cloths, so you can always have one on hand, you can mix and match styles to suit your needs. Each choice has its perks and will work best in a different situation.
— Abriah Wofford