Cloth Diapering Dictionary

Elmarie RobsonCloth 101, Cloth diaperingLeave a Comment

Cloth Diapering can be overwhelming at first, especially with all the cloth lingo that gets bandied about. Here is a list of some of the most used terms in cloth diapering:

Cloth Diaper Types
Cloth Diaper Additions
Cloth Diaper Parts
Cloth Diaper Accessories
Cloth Diaper Fabrics
Commonly Used Terms & Abbreviations

Cloth Diaper Types

  • All-in-one – a one step type diaper where absorbent layers and outer waterproofing is all sewn together and the diaper can be used as is.
  • All-in-two – a two step system that usually consists of a cover and inserts to be snapped or laid inside the cover.
  • Contour – a shaped cloth diaper type made entirely of absorbent material. It needs a separate fastener type to be fastened (pin, snappi, boingo), and requires a cover. Contour diapers can be made with or without leg and back elastics.
  • Cover – a shaped diaper made of waterproof material to be worn over diaper styles that need waterproofing.
  • Fitted – a shaped cloth diaper type made entirely of absorbent material with a hook and loop or snap closure. Needs to be worn with a cover.
  • Flat – a large square of absorbent material that can be folded in various ways to fit onto baby. Fastens with a separate diaper fastener (pins, snappi, boingo), and is worn with a cover.
  • Fleece Soaker – a cover made of polyester fleece which can be used instead of a waterproof cover to keep diapers dry as polyester fleece repels moisture.
  • Hybrid – a diaper type where you have the option of using both disposable or washable inserts.
  • Pocket Diaper – a two step diaper system that consists of a waterproof shell with a pocket opening for placing absorbent inserts into, and separate inserts. Most pocket diapers have a stay dry fabric lining while some have natural fibers inside.
  • Prefold – a rectangular shaped diaper with extra absorbent layers sewn in the centre. It needs some form of folding to put on a baby and fastens with a separate diaper fastener (pins, snappi, boingo). Some modern styles of prefolds come with wings to make folding easier. Needs to be worn with a cover.
  • Swim Diaper – a cloth diaper designed especially for swimming.
  • Trainer – undergarment for toddlers who are potty training. Some can be pulled up like regular underwear and others are made with snaps. Some are waterproof while others have a bit of extra absorbency sewn in.
  • Wool Soaker – a cover made from lanolized wool that can be used to keep the outside of diapers dry instead of a waterproof cover.

Cloth Diaper Additions

  • Booster – multiple layers of absorbent fabric sewn together. Boosters are smaller than inserts and are used to boost absorbency inside diapers like fitteds, prefolds and contours.
  • Insert – multiple layers of absorbent fabric sewn together. Inserts are usually used inside pocket diapers or covers as the absorbent part of the diaper.
  • Liner – a single layer of fabric used inside a diaper with the purpose of keeping the skin dry, protecting diaper fabric from staining and bum cream, and easier cleaning. Liners can be made from reusable synthetic stay dry fabric or disposable fabrics.
  • Snake Insert – a very long insert that can be folded over to create more absorbency in the back or front of a diaper.
  • Soaker – layers of absorbent fabric sewn or snapped into a diaper. The word soaker can also be used interchangeably with the word insert.
  • Trifold – rectangular shaped absorbent material which can be folded in three to about the size of an insert and used for the same purpose as an insert. Because it folds open it is quicker to dry than a regular insert and often provides more layers of absorbent fabric.

Cloth Diaper Parts

  • FOE (Fold Over Elastic) – a type of elastic sometimes used to bind the edges of covers and some other cloth diaper types.
  • Gusset – the elasticated part of the diaper that goes around the legs. Some covers are made with extra gussets to contain messes better.
  • Hook and Loop – a method of closure on some cloth diapers. Some brands include velcro and aplix.
  • Laundry Tabs – used on diapers with hook and loop closure, a tab to secure the hook and loop and prevent it from snagging other fabrics is the wash.
  • Snaps – buttons on cloth diapers that snap open and closed. They are generally used as a closure type and for adjusting the size of one-size diapers.

Cloth Diaper Accessories

  • Boingo® – a brand of cloth diaper fastener, used to fasten contours, prefolds and flats
  • Cloth wipes – fabric wipes that can be washed and reused in place of disposable wipes.
  • Diaper Sprayer – a sprayer attachment, also known as a trigger spray or ‘poop sprayer’, for toilets that are useful for spraying solids off soiled diapers.
  • Dry Bucket/Pail – a bucket or pail that used cloth diapers are kept in until they get washed.
  • Pail Liner – a fabric bag to line a dry bucket/pail. These are generally made of mesh of waterproof material.
  • Snappi® – a brand of cloth diaper fastener, used to fasten contours, prefolds and flats.
  • Wet bag – a waterproof bag to keep used diapers in, especially useful when traveling.

Cloth Diaper Fabrics

  • Bamboo – a soft natural fibre that is very absorbent and often used as a lining inside diapers and in inserts, boosters and trifolds.
  • Cotton – a natural and absorbent fibre, often used in prefolds.
  • Fleece – polyester and microfleece are used in cloth diapers wherever dryness is needed. This includes fleece liners and soakers. Cotton fleece is used as absorbent layers in cloth diapers.
  • Hemp – a durable and absorbent natural fibre used wherever absorbent layers are required in cloth diapers. Hemp is most often blended with cotton to give the fabric a softer feel.
  • Microfibre – synthetic absorbent fabric commonly used in inserts.
  • Minky – a very soft, synthetic fabric used in inserts.
  • PUL – polyurethane laminate. Most commonly a polyester fabric chemically bonded to a polyurethane layer to make it waterproof.
  • Suedecloth – a commonly used synthetic fabric which gives a feeling of dryness.
  • Terry – also known as towelling, an absorbent fabric traditionally used in flats.
  • TPU – thermoplastic polyurethane, most commonly a polyester fabric heat bonded to a polyurethane layer to make it waterproof.
  • Velour – a plush and thick fabric which can be made of either synthetic or natural fibres, commonly used in cloth diapers.

Commonly Used Cloth Diaper Terms and Abbreviations

  • Blowout – when a baby’s poop escapes a diaper.
  • Delaminating – when the waterproof polyurethane film separates from the fabric. Can be caused by aggressive laundering and high heat.
  • EBF – exclusively breastfed. EBF poop is water soluble so does not need to be rinsed off the diaper prior to machine washing.
  • Fluff – a word referring to cloth diapers.
  • Lanolin – a fatty substance derived from sheep’s wool used to coat wool soakers which gives them water repellant qualities. Also useful for applying to cracked and sensitive skin.
  • Lanolize – the process of re-coating a wool soaker with lanolin to make it water repellant.
  • Mama Cloth – reusable cloth menstrual pads.
  • Nappy – another word for diaper.
  • NB – newborn, newborn diapers are cut to fit newborn babies while one-size-fits-most diapers may be too big.
  • OSFM – one size fits most, diapers that are adjustable in size and can fit a wide weight range of babies.
  • OTB – on the bum, referring to what cloth diaper is being worn.
  • Pad Fold – folding a flat diaper into a rectangular shape, similar to an insert, to create an absorbent centre.
  • Prepping – the process of washing a new cloth diaper repeatedly before use. Some natural fibres require prepping to remove natural oils from the fibres that can prevent the fabrics from being fully absorbent.
  • Repelling – when a fabric repels moisture instead of absorbing it due to detergent or oil build up, which can cause leaks.
  • Snap Down Rise – snaps on the front of the diaper that allow you to adjust the size.
  • Sposies – another word for disposable diapers.
  • Stripping – a method of washing diapers to remove buildup or disinfect cloth diapers.
  • Stuffing – putting inserts into a pocket diaper.
  • WAHM – work at home mom, a mom that makes and sells cloth diapers from home as a small business.
  • Wicking – the ability of a fabric to pull moisture away from one location to another. For example a liner pulling moisture away from a baby’s bum into the absorbent layers.
  • Wrap – another word for a cover.

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