The Cloth Diaper Dictionary is your guide to understanding the different terms being used in today's cloth diapering world. The first step to choosing the right cloth diaper for you and your baby is to understand the differences between the many types of diapers out there today. This handy guide to help you figure out all the terms of cloth diapering.
All In One (AIO) - An AIO is a one step diapering system. These diapers are the most like disposables, making them a wonderful transition into cloth diapering. AIO's consist of an outer waterproof shell with several absorbent layers already sewn in and have either aplix or snap closures. There is no need to use inserts or covers with these. You simply fasten it on and go.
All In Two (AI2) - An AI2 is very similar to the AIO. The difference is, the absorbent body is not sewn in, it either lays in or is snapped in. Aplix - Aplix® is a self-gripping fastener that is often used on cloth diapers. It is also described as a "hook and loop" fastening system. Other hook and loop fasteners are Velcro® and Touch Tape® brands.
Bullet-proof - This is a term often used to describe a diaper or a diapering system that does not leak.
Cloth Wipes - Cloth wipes are a nice complement to your cloth diapering system. Made from either flannel, velour, sherpa or bamboo, they can be used with water or a soap solution instead of disposable wipes.
Contour - A contour diaper is an hourglass shaped diaper that forms to fit baby's shape. It does not use elastic leg and back gatherings and requires a cover. A contour is fastened with either a Snappi® or aplix.
Coverless - Going coverless is when you do not put any kind of cover over a diaper that normally requires a cover. Many moms are now going coverless in warm weather and at home. It keeps baby feeling cooler and gives a better idea of when the diaper needs to be changed, which means less skin irritation for baby.
Diaper Cover - Diaper covers are designed to provide a waterproof shell for your non-waterproof diapers. They are generally made with PUL, polyester, ultrex or nylon, but can also be made with fleece or wool. They have aplix or snap closures and can also be quite decorative.
Diaper Pail - A container in which you store your dirty diapers. Diaper pails can be as simple as a lided trash can from your local store or you can purchase a diaper service quality pail from many online cloth diaper stores. They can be lined with a wet bag to make laundering easier and pail deodorizers can be used to help eliminate odors.
Diaper Sprayer - Also known as a mini shower. The diaper sprayer is designed to attach to your toilet so you can rinse soiled diapers off instead of dunking. They are usually easy to install and easy to use. You can also use a mini shower for a variety of other uses such as a hand held bidet or feminine hygiene.
Doublers - A diaper doubler is very similar to a pocket insert. It consists of several thirsty layers of material sewn together to create an absorbent pad. They are often made of hemp, microfiber or even bamboo and are sometimes topped with fleece to help keep baby's skin dry. Most often they are used for overnights or nap, and heavy wetters.
Fitted - Fitted diapers are one step up from prefolds and flats. They are contoured to fit baby's like a glove, using elastic gathering in the legs and back to help keep messes in. Fitteds often come in a variety of absorbent materials and adorable prints. They have aplix or snap closures and require a diaper cover.
Flats - A flat is typically a 27" x 27" square and single ply of absorbent material that can be folded in a variety of ways and sizes. These "old school" diapers have gained popularity recently with wahm's making them out of hemp and bamboo, and moms using colorful receiving blankets as flats. Flats can be fastened with either pins or a Snappi and require a cover.
Hook & Loop - A self gripping fastening system such as Aplix® or Touch Tape® used as closures for cloth diapers.
Inserts - Inserts are specifically designed to be used with pocket diapers. Made to be stuffed into the pocket opening, these multi layered pads can be very absorbent. Inserts are often made with microfiber, but can also be made with hemp or bamboo.
Lanolizing - Lanolin is a natural water repellent in wool - it is what keeps a sheep dry in the rain. Lanolizing is when you use a lanolin and water mixture to coat your wool products giving it extra water-resistant abilities. The process is quite simple and effective enough to last up to a couple of months.
Liners - Liners are a thin layer of material which are used to create a barrier between baby's bottom and the inside of the diaper. They are used to help protect the diaper from getting soiled, making for easier cleaning and less staining. Often liners are a single use, flushable and biodegradable product, but you can also purchase reusable cloth liners.
Longies - Longies are pull-on wool pants that also double as a cover. They work well in the fall and winter. They are worn over fitteds, prefolds, prefitteds and flats.
One Size - When you hear the term "one size" it means the diaper is designed to fit a baby from birth through potty training. It adjusts the rise either by snapping or folding the diaper to fit the size of your baby. Size ranges can go from extra small to extra large, depending on the bran of diaper. Often times, a one size pocket diaper will include a one size insert - an insert that snaps or folds to accommodate the different sizes of the diaper.
Pocket - A pocket diaper is one of the easiest and most convenient type of cloth diapers, next to AIO's. They usually consist of an outer waterproof shell, an inner lining to help keep moisture from baby's skin, and an opening in which you stuff an absorbent insert. Most outer shells are made with PUL, but some are made with fleece, which is not waterproof. Most inner linings are made with either microfleece or suedecloth, but some companies are starting to give the option of cotton velour or bamboo velour as well. These diapers can come with either aplix or snap closures and require no cover.
Prefitted - A prefitted is basically a prefold that is cut into the shape of a diaper and uses elastic gathering in the legs and back. It is a cross between a prefold and a fitted diaper - as the name suggests. Generally a prefitted is fastened with either pins or a Snappi®, but you can have snaps or aplix added.
Prefold - A prefold diaper is a rectangular shaped diaper made of several layers of absorbent material. It is divided into three sections: the two outer panels usually being 2 - 4 layers thick and the middle panel being 4 - 8 layers thick. The middle panel is the main "soaker" part of the diaper, and the side panels are used to fold around the baby. Prefolds are fastened with either pins or a Snappi®.
PUL - Or Polyurethane Laminate, is any fabric that has been laminated with a polyurethane on one side to make it waterproof. It is more breathable than plastic, very durable and can withstand high temperatures, making it a popular choice for pocket diapers and covers.
Repelling - Repelling is when your diapers will no longer absorb wetness. This usually occurs from heavy detergent build-up or fabric softener sheets are mixed in with your diapers.
Shorties - Shorties are pull-on wool shorts that also double as a cover. They are worn over fitteds, prefolds, prefitteds and flats.
Snappi® - The Snappi® was invented to replace the diaper pin. It is made from a stretchy, non-toxic material that is T-shaped with grips on each end to catch the fabric of the diaper.
Soaker - A soaker is a pull-on wool or fleece diaper cover. It is a more natural and breathable alternative to the PUL diaper cover. The absorbant layers of a diaper can also be referred to as a soaker.
Stripping - Stripping is the process of removing detergent build up from your cloth diapers. Occasionally you will find that too much detergent or the accidental use of fabric softener sheets can cause excessive odor or repelling. There are many different ways to strip diapers, usually consisting of multiple hot washes. Stripping can also be done to wool products to get all of the lanolin out.
Trifold - A trifold is a flat, square or rectangular shaped insert that is folded three times before use.
Wet Bag- A wet bag is an alternative to the diaper pail. It is with PUL and will contain odor and wetness. They come in a variety of different sizes - small for keeping in your diaper bag and larger sizes for around the house or long trips. Some have zipper or velcro closures and some have draw strings. A wet bag can also be used as a liner for your diaper pail. Many wet bags have cotton prints on the outside for decorative purposes.
Wet Pail - A wet pail is a diaper pail filled with water and other additives such as odor and stain removers, baking soda, vinegar or essential oils. The purpose of a wet pail is to reduce staining and help eliminate odors.
Wicking - Wicking is a term that is used when wetness or moisture is being pulled away. It can be used to describe wetness being pulled away from the inside of the diaper, causing leaks, or it can be used to describe moisture being pulled away from babys skin, keeping it dry.Wool In One (WIO) - A wool in one is actually a two piece cloth diaper. It consists of an outer cover made of wool and a snap-in soaker. The wool outer may be reused even after the soaker has been soiled, because of wools water repellent and anti-bacterial properties. X