Cloth Diaper Terminology

Cloth Diaper Terminology
Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, once you figure out the basics, it’s actually really easy.
To start with, you need to understand that there are two primary components to any diapering system.
         1.The waterproof layer (outside)
         2. The absorbent layer (inside)
Once you have these two basic components, the rest is really just customizing the diaper types to fit your needs and preferences. Here are some of the most common terms used in modern cloth diapering:
AIO (all in one)
    All parts of the diaper are in one piece. Once wet or soiled, the entire diaper gets washed.
AI2 (all in two)
    There are 2 separate parts to the system. A waterproof cover or shell, and an absorbent layer. AI2’s are more economical because the covers get reused more than one time (usually up to 3 times) before washing is needed.
Adjustable Elastic
    Elastic in the legs and waist sections that you can change the length, shorter for smaller babies and longer for bigger kids. One of the most adjustable ways to change the size of a diaper.
    The brand of a hook and loop closure. This is similar in style to Velcro, which is another brand.
    Fiber that is soft, fairly absorbent. Used in cloth diapers. Man-made fiber, due to the process it has to go through to make the fabric.
Biodegradable Inserts
    Also known as disposable inserts, these throw-away, single use absorbent layers require a waterproof diaper cover. They are rectangular, and if (pee only) composted in your garden, are supposed to biodegrade within 6 months. When placed in the landfill, they will decompose faster than disposables, but it is unknown exactly how long this takes.
    Inserts/absorbent layers that are added to the regular absorbent layer to increase absorbency.
Booster Sets
    With Sprout Change, the booster set is a Softsleeve that is already stuffed with an inside, or prefold, and ready for extreme absorbency, and behaves very similar to a pocket diaper (stuffable) and an AI2 system in one product.
Changing Pad
    The waterproof layer between the changing surface to keep baby and surface clean.
    Fiber that is traditional to cloth diapers, typically soft, absorbent. Often available in bleached and unbleached. Bleached uses chlorine bleach, unbleached is naturally cream colored.
    A diaper cover can also be known as a shell or wrap. This is the waterproof layer on the outside of the diaper that keeps pee/poo inside and clothes dry. You will need to add the absorbent layer (prefold, diaper insert, fitted, etc. before the diaper is ready to be worn.
    Covers are most often made from PUL (poly urethane laminate, see below), nylon, wool or polyester fleece, and have some type of closure, most often snaps or Velcro-type material like Aplix or other hook and loop.
Diaper Service
    Company that rents out diapers, most often cotton prefolds, they pick them up and wash them for you.
    Inserts that are intended to be used as added absorbency to another insert, prefold or flat. They are typically smaller than the main absorbent layer.
Fitted Diaper
    A diaper with just the absorbent layer, and not waterproof layer. Has a closure on it, either hook and loop or snaps usually, occasionally closes with a snappi or pins.
    Large, square piece of single layer, thin fabric intended on being folded down several times into a rectangular shaped prefold and then closed around baby with a snappi or pins.
Front Snapping
    Wings of the diaper fold towards the front of the diaper and close like a disposable closes.
    Extra space and/or piece of fabric near the leg openings that provides an extra barrier to keep messes contained.
    Fiber used as an absorbent layer, works well for heavy wetters and overnight. Nearly twice as absorbent as cotton. Most often comprised of 55% hemp and 45% cotton.
Hybrid Diaper
    A cross between a cloth-only reusable diaper and a disposable. One part is reused, one is tossed, like the insert.
Hook and Loop
    A type of closure, looks like Velcro
    Absorbent layer, rectangular shaped, either set onto the waterproof cover or stuffed inside a pocket style diaper.
    Process in which you add lanolin (natural sheep oils) to wool to make it almost waterproof. Most commonly done before you first use the covers, and as needed after washing the covers.
    Typically the layer right next to baby’s skin. An extra layer that is meant to either keep baby extra dry (fleece) or for lifting poop off diapers without needing to rinse (flushable kind). Silk liners can reduce infections like yeast. Effective when used as a barrier to your diapers so you can use diaper cream as needed, and diapers don’t get coated in cream.
    Handmade, long wool pants used as a diaper cover
Mattress pad
    The waterproof layer that sets between baby and the mattress to keep the mattress dry if the diaper leaks or child has an accident.
    Synthetic fiber used to make textiles, using very tiny fibers. These fibers are typically very absorbent, and dry quickly after washing. Most common fiber for inserts found in pocket diapers. Due to the wicking nature of the fiber, it is not suitable for direct contact with baby’s skin, as it is known to cause rash because it wicks all moisture and oils from surfaces it touches.
    Soft polyester fabric, made of microfibers. Used next to skin or in covers of some diapers, common also in children’s clothes and blankets.
One-size diaper
    A diaper that has more than one size setting (like small, medium and large, typically fitting from near birth to potty training ages, depending on the brand.
    Container, most often a 13 gallon garbage with a lid, that holds the soiled diapers until washing.
Pail Liner
    Waterproof bag that sets inside a diaper pail to keep the mess and scent contained, and pail clean.
    Safety pins with a locking head so kids can’t undo them, fastens cloth absorbent layer around baby.
Pocket Diaper
    Diaper with a waterproof outer layer, porous inside layer and a pocket-shaped opening on one or two ends of the inside layer intended to be stuffed with an absorbent layer.
    Rectangular shaped absorbent layer. Typically folded into thirds, uses closure like pins or a snappi. Center strip of fabric typically has extra layers for increased absorbency. This is most often what is used in diaper services.
    Polyester Urethane Laminate. Waterproof layer adhered to polyester knit fabric. The waterproof layer in the majority of styles of reusable diapers.
    Not absorbing liquid. Absorbent layer does not absorb. Liquids sit on top of fabric, like beads, or run off to sides of the diaper, typically causing leaks. To test for repelling, you must first try pressing water into the fabric, like the pressure from a sink, to see if it soaks through.
    The measurement from the top of the front side of the diaper, between the legs and to the back edge of the diaper.
Side Snapping
    Diaper that closes with the front panel on the outside, and the wings underneath the front panel. Great for older children, who figure out how to take their diapers off. Typically only available in snaps.
Sized Diaper   
    Type of diaper that comes in several sizes, like small, medium and large. Frequently based on a combination of age and weight. Typically trim on small babies, because there isn’t a lot of extra fabric.
Snap Down Rise
    Sizing of the diaper is made smaller or larger by adjusting the setting of the snaps on the front of the diaper. This shortens the length of fabric in the front of the diaper, making the rise smaller, and decreasing the size.
    Diaper fastener that uses small plastic teeth to hook fabric, with a stretchy plastic band that pulls taught to keep the diaper fastened. Works great with prefolds.
Side Snapping
    Diaper that closes with the front panel on the outside, and the wings underneath the front panel. Great for older children, who figure out how to take their diapers off. Typically only available in snaps.
    Handmade shorts used as a diaper cover, and made from wool
    Plastic (can be metal) closure that is commonly used in both the covers and absorbent layers of cloth diapers.
    Washing cloth diapers in a solution of dish soap (typically Dawn brand) to remove any detergent or hard water mineral buildup, residue or other leftovers from the washing process. Stripping will also remove diaper cream residue that reduces absorbency in cloth.
    Setting cloth diaper components in direct sunlight for several hours to use the natural UV rays to break down stubborn stains and naturally bleach (without added chemicals) diapers. The UV rays from the sun can also reduce bacteria counts and reduce odors in diapers. With a bright sunny day, the process can take as few as 3 hours, on an overcast or rainy day, it can take up to 24.
    You can do this indoors, by setting the diapers in the sun next to a window as well. If you would like, you can also use a small amount of lemon juice to speed up the process, but is not required. If you do, just be sure to re-wash the sunned diapers to remove the juice.
    Training pants are used when kids are first learning how to use the potty. Typically a one-piece unit with an absorbent layer, and padding between the leg areas. Some brands have a waterproof layer that is useful overnight and for naps or car rides.
    You do not have to use trainers. Some use diapers and go straight to kids underwear. Other kids need some more time, and do well with training pants.
    The purpose of trainers is to make sure the child feels the process, and learns to recognize the feel of being wet. The absorbent layer is intended to reduce the need to change a lot of extra clothes for when the occasional accident inevitably happens. Styles that are pull-on are useful to help foster independence and make it easy for kids to pull it up.
Wet Bag
    A bag intended to carry soiled cloth diapers when you’re not at home. Frequently lined with a waterproof layer, like PUL, and fabric outside. They typically close with zippers, hook and look or drawstring.
    Fabric pulling moisture from one location to another. Can be good if the porous layer is wicking moisture to the absorbent layer, not so good when the moisture gets wicked to the outside of the diaper, and causes leaks. If there are wicking issues that create leaks, typically this is due to an improper fit, or repelling issues.
    Washable cloths that you reuse. Great combination to cloth diapers. Simple to use, can use with plain water or a wipe solution, wipe as usual and wash.
Wipe Solution
    Liquid that has been formulated for moistening cloth wipes.  
    Natural fiber from sheep hair. Frequently used as the waterproof layer in a diaper cover if the family wants to use only natural fibers and avoid plastic. It is a very breathable fiber, and is great for preventing rashes and yeast infections. Wool can go without washing for up to several weeks, unlike most covers.

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