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There is a massive variety of diaper brands and styles on the market, and it can honestly be overwhelming if you’re a new parent. On average, a baby goes through more than 2,500-3,000 diapers in the first year, which is about 6-8 diapers a day! That makes it incredibly important to find the perfect diaper that’s comfortable to wear, and won’t cause diaper rash or irritation, leaks, or, even worse, the dreaded diaper blowouts.
Diaper manufacturers often market several variants and sub-brands, and it can be confusing to tell the difference between one diaper and another similar-looking one. They all offer endless promises, but which ones stand up to the test?
And, importantly for us, should you buy diapers with perfume to cover up smells, or is it better to go fragrance-free?
To guide you through the diaper jungle and help you find answers to your questions, we have thoroughly tested every single diaper brand and variant on the market in 2023. Or rather, a very junior member of our staff has. And we have put together our findings in the below review of the 9 best fragrance-free diapers in 2023.
Editor’s note: Every baby is different, and ultimately, what is the best diaper will vary from baby to baby. The results also depend on how often the diaper is changed, the fit, and your baby’s shape and size.
Why you should choose a fragrance-free diaper for your baby
When it comes to our little ones, we all want the best for them. But what exactly is the best? To start, ditch the perfumed diapers! It’s unnecessary (and sometimes unsafe) to use diapers with perfume. Numerous studies and research show that constant exposure to perfume may trigger allergies, respiratory symptoms, skin irritation, and other health risks.
Infants and children have more sensitive skin than adults, so it’s even more important to protect them from potentially harmful substances. And there really are no good reasons to expose babies’ sensitive skin, let alone baby bottoms, to perfume and harsh chemicals.
What is fragrance and why is it so bad?
But what is fragrance? And isn’t it a good thing to scent a diaper, so it smells like a flower field? Of course, no one enjoys the lingering odor of a soiled diaper – but there is a cost to adding perfume to mask smells. And the scent is there to remind you to change the diaper (immediately).
Let’s start from the beginning. Fragrances are added to products to make them smell better. But because the FDA doesn’t regulate the use of “fragrance,” consumers have no idea what the generic terms “fragrance” or “perfume” really mean or which harmful chemicals they may contain. Moreover, fragranced products often contain phthalates, which help scents last longer, but they are rarely listed as an ingredient.
A given fragranced product may contain anywhere from 50 to 300 different chemicals (pdf), all of which could be irritants, asthma triggers, allergens (causing an allergic reaction), or carcinogens (causing cancer.) Unfortunately, consumers have no way of knowing if any (or which) of these chemicals are harmful. That’s why we recommend avoiding any fragranced products altogether – and especially fragranced products for babies and children.
Perfume-free, fragrance-free, chlorine-free, phthalates-free… what does it mean, and is it important?
Now that you may have decided to opt for a fragrance-free diaper, it should be pretty straightforward to pick one. Unfortunately, there are a few more terms to learn, but we’ll help guide you.
It’s not enough to search for a perfume- or a fragrance-free diaper. Instead, manufacturers love to throw around buzzwords and slap on promising labels to grab customers’ attention at the store or online. And unfortunately, in some cases, these misleading labels and promises are examples of greenwashing.
If you’re looking for fragrance-free diapers, there are a few more things to look out for before pulling down a diaper pack from the store shelf.
TIP: Visit DiaperPrice.com to compare diaper prices and find the lowest price on your favorite diaper brand.
Key terms to know when shopping for skin-friendly diapers
- Fragrance-free vs. unscented: be aware that unscented products can still contain perfumes and scents. If you want to completely avoid perfume, then go for fragrance-free products. Confused? Read more here about the difference between fragrance-free and unscented in our explainer.
- Lotion: some diapers contain lotion, but we recommend that you avoid (pre-applied) lotion in your baby’s diapers because these lotions often contain perfume and/or other chemicals that shouldn’t be in a baby’s diaper. Manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s contained in the lotions.
- Phthalates: are a group of chemicals used as industrial plasticizers that make plastic softer and more durable. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Phthalates are also often used in fragranced products because they make scents last longer. Generally, you want to avoid Phthalates, which often means you need to avoid fragranced products altogether.
- Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) vs. Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF): wood pulp is used to absorb wetness in diapers. To whiten and soften the pulp for diaper use, it goes through a process called “bleaching.” Many diaper brands market themselves as “elemental chlorine free,” which means that elemental chlorine is not used when bleaching pulp. What manufacturers don’t disclose is that the pulp is bleached with chlorine dioxide, which is a chlorine derivative and still might contain traces of dioxin. Unless a diaper is labeled Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF), it may thus contain dioxins, another substance you want to steer clear of.
- Latex-free: many diaper brands highlight that they’re latex-free, which is great for people with latex allergies. However, today’s disposable diapers are usually all latex-free )pdf). So, it really just confuses the consumer and instead is (somewhat misleading) marketing speak.
- Parabens: are a group of preservatives that are added to products to extend product shelf life. Parabens are inexpensive and have been used widely in personal care products since being commercialized in the 1950s. Recent research has raised concerns that paraben exposure may potentially interfere with our hormone production by mimicking estrogen. While it’s always good to avoid parabens, they’re actually rarely found in disposable diapers. Parabens are unnecessary for these types of products. So, again, when diapers companies highlight their paraben-free diapers they are engaging in a bit of (misleading) marketing.
Review of the 9 best fragrance-free diapers
Now that we have everything covered and know the key terms to be aware of let’s dive into our review of the best fragrance-free diapers.
A junior member of our staff has meticulously tested all diapers, and the diapers have all been exposed to the most stringent test methodology possible.
We have tested how the diapers hold up to being soiled, their fit, and everyday use – in addition to checking up on the contents and possible allergens and other potentially harmful substances used.
Below are our reviews of the 9 best fragrance-free diapers in 2023.
Honest Clean Conscious Fragrance-Free Diapers
Honest Clean Conscious Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Honest’s new Clean Conscious Diaper is fragrance-free, latex-free, and made from plant-based materials. In addition, Honest Diapers are available in a variety of adorable prints and limited editions. Because parents (or babies) go through many diapers, having cute patterns on diapers is one of those things that can brighten your day.
The Clean Conscious Diapers are totally chlorine-free (TCF), which means that no chlorine or chlorine derivatives are used in the bleaching process. In contrast, Huggies and Pampers are just elemental chlorine-free (EFC), meaning that the pulp is bleached with chlorine dioxide. On top of that, Honest’s diaper cart boxes are made of 100% recycled cardboard and are recyclable (one more reason to love Honest!).
Diaper-wise, the diapers are thinner than the old, classic diapers that the new Clean Conscious Diapers are replacing. In addition, the new flexible leg cuffs run larger than the original diaper, so it’s not necessary to size up (as with the original Honest diapers that ran a bit small.)
We have not experienced any leaks (with the new or old version), and they have held up just as well as the Pampers and Huggies stalwarts. However, others have complained that the diapers sometimes leak. While that runs contrary to our very positive experiences, all babies are different, so make sure to test them before buying a year’s worth.
We highly recommend the Honest Company Clean Conscious diapers, and if you’re looking for a fragrance-free and totally chlorine-free diaper, they are the best. And the cutest. It’s not for nothing that Honest Diapers have a huge following.
Honest Clean Conscious Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Available size newborn to size 6 (with different features for different sizes.)
- Newborn diapers have a belly button cutout to protect your baby’s healing belly button.
- Sizes 1 & 2 have “poo pockets” to make sure everything stays inside the diaper.
- Sizes 3-6 have stretchy sides designed for those active babies and toddlers.
- Wetness indicator.
- Enhanced blow-out protection.
- Fragrance-free, latex-free, and totally chlorine-free (TCF.)
Huggies Little Snugglers Fragrance-Free Diapers
Huggies Little Snugglers Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Huggies was first introduced to the market in the 1970s. Today, Huggies is one of the leading diaper brands in the US. Their product range offers diapers designed for newborns, active toddlers, and babies with sensitive bottoms. All Huggies diapers are free of perfume and lotion, but (surprisingly) they don’t advertise it much!
Huggies diapers are readily available in stores across the country and only a few clicks away if you prefer the comfort of shopping from your sofa (convenience and availability can be lifesavers).
Overall, Huggies Little Snugglers is a perfect perfume-free diaper that will keep your little one’s bottom dry and safe. The diaper locks in moisture well and doesn’t contain any fragrance or lotion that will irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. And that’s basically what you want from a diaper. In the many years that we’ve used Huggies Snugglers (as well as Little Movers), we’ve very rarely experienced blowouts or accidents and hardly any signs of diaper rash.
Huggies Little Snugglers Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Available in size preemie (up to 6 lb.) through size 6 (up to 35 lb.)
- Fragrance-free and lotion-free (actually all Huggies diapers are free of fragrance and lotion!)
- Free of phthalates, natural rubber latex, and elemental chlorine free (EFC.)
- Preemie and newborn-size diapers have an umbilical cord cutout to protect your newborn’s healing belly button.
- A color-changing wetness indicator lets you know when it’s time for a diaper change.
- A pocketed waistband keeps the diaper snug and secure and keeps everything inside.
- A breathable outer cover makes sure that the wetness stays inside the diaper.
Huggies Little Movers Fragrance-Free Diapers
Huggies Little Movers Fragrance-Free Diapers Review
Huggies’ Little Movers are another excellent option if you’re looking for a comfortable, absorbent, and of course, perfume-free diaper. Because the diapers stay snug and secure, they are especially suitable for crawling babies and active toddlers.
We’ve never experienced a blowout, unwanted leak, or mess with Huggies Little Movers. We particularly like the stretchy waistband that keeps the diaper (and diaper content) in place. Over the years, Huggies have become our go-to brand for fragrance-free diapers, and they never seem to disappoint.
The only downside is that Huggies Little Movers sometimes sag slightly. But it’s not a big deal, and individual fit may vary. We still think Huggies diapers are among the best perfume-free diapers on the market.
Huggies Little Movers Fragrance-Free Diapers Features
- Diapers are available in sizes 3-7 (> 41 lb. or >18kg.)
- Fragrance-free and natural rubber latex free.
- Free of phthalates and elemental chlorine-free (EFC.)
- Color-changing wetness indicator to let you know when it’s time for diaper duty.
- Diapers are great at locking moisture away without leaking.
- Smart double grip strips keep busy little hands from ripping off the diaper so easily.
- Diapers have a soft, stretchy back waistband that keeps the diaper in place and makes sure content stays put (the same feature as Little Snugglers diapers.)
Pampers Pure Protection Fragrance-Free Diapers
Pampers Pure Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Pampers is probably one of, if not the best-known, diaper brands in the world. Every single day more than 25 million babies around the world wear the 50-year-old diaper brand. So even people without children know Pampers. Not surprisingly, they are often the go-to for first-time parents – and with good reason.
Pampers have decades of experience and expertise, and it shows. Pampers Pure Protection is the first more eco-friendly product in Pampers product range. They are free of fragrance and all the harmful content that shouldn’t be in a diaper. The diaper is softer and thinner than Huggies, but they still absorb well, and we haven’t experienced any leaks or blowouts.
Pampers diapers work very well for babies of different sizes and come at a reasonable price for the quality diaper you get. However, unlike Huggies, whose diapers are fragrance-free, not all Pampers diapers are free of perfume. So be sure to go for Pure Protection when shopping for Pampers diapers. Another favorite from Pampers, the Pampers Swaddlers, contains a light scent, and that’s why we recommend you get Pampers Pure Protection if you’re looking for a fragrance-free diaper.
Pampers Pure Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Come in sizes newborn up to 6 and are available in different cute prints.
- Wetness indicator to let you know when it’s time for a new diaper.
- Pampers Pure Protection diapers promise up to 12 hours of protection.
- Free of fragrance (liner is enriched with shea butter to protect the skin.)
- Free of phthalates, latex, and elemental chlorine free (ECF.)
- Made with soft plant-based materials and premium cotton that’s responsibly sourced and grown in the US.
Dyper Fragrance-Free Diapers
Dyper Dyper Fragrance-Free Diaper Features Review
Relatively new to the diaper market, Dyper’s bamboo diapers are fragrance-free, lotion-free, and free of all the ingredients you don’t want near your little one’s sensitive skin. In addition, the diapers are made with responsibly sourced bamboo viscose fiber which makes them incredibly soft.
Unlike most other brands, Dyper’s diapers don’t come in all kinds of different printed patterns but are just plain old, white (to avoid the use of inks – nice!) In addition, they are somewhat thicker and run a bit larger than other brands such as Huggies, Pampers, and Honest.
We’ve found that Dyper’s diapers absorb well, and we didn’t experience any leaks. The diapers can feel a little moister to the touch compared to conventional diapers. Dyper themselves explains that this is perfectly normal and expected since the diapers are made from Bamboo fibers. We didn’t experience any signs of diaper rash, so it does not seem to be an issue.
One thing that sets Dyper apart is their “redyper” program that allows customers (for an additional fee) to ship back dirty diapers in specially designed boxes to be composted. Dyper also purchases carbon offsets on behalf of customers with each delivery and packs diapers in clear bags made with oxo-degradable materials. They’re all in.
If you’re an environmentally conscious parent looking for a more sustainable, fragrance-free diaper, Dyper may be the right choice for you.
Dyper Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Available in sizes: Extra Small (<10 lb/4 kg) Small (6-16 lb/3-8 kg) Medium (13-22 lb/6-10 kg) Large (20-31 lb/9-14 kg) Extra Large (28+ lb/12+ kg)
- Fragrance-free, lotion-free, latex-free, alcohol-free, and elemental chlorine free.
- Made without polyvinyl chloride (PVC,) tributyltin (TBT), or phthalates.
- Diapers are Standard 100, certified by OEKO TEX.
Andy Pandy Dyper Fragrance-Free Diapers
Andy Pandy Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
These fragrance-free diapers from Andy Pandy are great for babies with sensitive skin. The diapers are made of bamboo fiber and, therefore, super soft and perfect for a sensitive baby bottom. They’re free from the harmful chemicals you don’t want in your baby’s diaper (and they’re totally chlorine-free). While the diapers are not entirely biodegradable (only 87%), they’re at least friendlier for the environment and can partially break down over time.
The diapers are very similar to Dyper’s diapers (both brands are bamboo diapers, plain white without any patterns, and slightly bulkier than competing brands.) However, these Andy Pandy diapers, unlike Dyper’s, contain a wetness indication line (which is quite helpful) and an aloe liner (which we didn’t notice). But apart from that, the two diaper brands were so identical that we had a hard time telling them apart. Diaper-wise, these bamboo diapers are incredibly soft to the touch, have good absorption, and most importantly, best of all, do not leak.
The Andy Pandy diaper is an excellent option for parents trying to limit their baby’s exposure to chemicals and if you’re also concerned about reducing your environmental impact.
Andy Pandy Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- The breathable back sheet is made of 100% bamboo fiber (grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.)
- Diapers are 87% biodegradable.
- Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) Fluff Pulp.
- Alcohol-free, latex-free, and free of preservatives, phthalates, PVC, TBT, and antioxidants.
- Wetness indicator line on the back of each diaper.
- Fragrance-free but it does have an aloe liner.
Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection Fragrance-Free Diapers
Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Seventh Generation is well-known for its eco-conscious household and personal care products. Seventh Generation is of the biggest brands on the market for fragrance-free household products (we love their hand soap). You’ll surely recognize them as they’re pretty much available in every store and online.
The Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection diapers are also fragrance-free, totally chlorine-free, and made of sustainably sourced materials. The diapers are thinner than most other diaper brands, but they absorb well and held messes inside the diaper (good).
However, we were not entirely confident that they would stand up to the worst of incidents (something other parents have noted too). We also miss the wet diaper indicator strip, which is particularly important for younger babies (with more irregular outflow and the inability to alert you), while for older babies, it may be less of an issue.
If having a USDA Certified Biobased diaper is a priority, then get the Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection. Otherwise, we prefer the Honest, Huggies, and Pampers alternatives.
Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Sustainably sourced materials.
- Totally chlorine-free (TCF) as opposed to most diaper brands that are only elementally chlorine-free (ECF).
- First and only USDA Certified Biobased diaper (with 30% biobased ingredients.)
- Double-leg cuffs and stretchy waistband to prevent leaks.
- Free of perfume and lotion.
- No wet diaper indicator.
Kirkland Signature Fragrance-Free Diapers
Kirkland Signature Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Made with plant-based materials (at least 20% by weight.)
- Pocketed waistband (same as Huggies.)
- Size-up indicator and wet diaper indicator.
- Free of natural rubber latex and elemental chlorine free (ECF.)
- Fragrance-free and lotion-free.
Kirkland Signature Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Kirkland Signature diapers from Costco are made by Kimberly-Clark, the manufacturer of Huggies diapers. Kirkland’s diapers are very similar to Huggies diapers. We switched from Huggies diapers to Kirkland’s diapers for a brief period and were very satisfied (and appreciated the reasonable price point).
We didn’t experience any leaks or accidents but eventually switched back to Huggies diapers because we experienced that the bigger sizes (around size 4) would sag a lot (the Huggies tend to hang a little too, but much less than the Kirkland edition). Moreover, the diapers also felt moister on the outside of the diaper.
Buy these diapers if you like Huggies diapers but are looking for a more cost-effective, fragrance-free option.
Find the lowest at Costco.com (requires membership)
Abby & Finn Fragrance-Free Diapers
Abby & Finn Fragrance-Free Diaper Features
- Available in sizes 1-7 (up to 38+ lbs.)
- TCF (totally chlorine-free) wood pulp from sustainably managed forests.
- Fragrance-free, lotion-free, and free of phthalates, dyes, or latex.
- Elastic waist and anti-leak side cuffs to make sure everything stays inside.
- No wetness indicator.
- The diapers can only be bought on their own website.
Abby & Finn Fragrance-Free Diaper Review
Abby and Finn is a newer diaper brand, and it is similar to Honest Diapers in terms of style and manufacturing. The diapers from Abby & Finn are totally chlorine-free (most diaper brands are only elemental chlorine-free) and come in adorable prints, just like Honest diapers.
Diaper-wise, the diapers from Abby and Finn are soft and absorbent and we didn’t experience any leaks. But, we could clearly tell the difference in quality between Abby and Finn’s diapers and other (and better) diapers (like Honest). While the stretchy band in the back kept the diaper (semi) secure, it felt kind of flimsy, and the quality isn’t anywhere near Huggies or Pampers, in our opinion. We also missed the double grip strips found on Huggies diapers, which keep the diaper in place and prevent your baby from ripping off the diaper.
Ultimately, we like that the diapers are free of fragrance, dyes, and lotion and are totally chlorine-free. We also really like that the company donates 30 diapers to families in need with every bundle sold. That’s pretty cool. However, in our experience, the diapers just don’t stack up to the quality of Huggies, Pampers, or Honest diapers.