Cloth Diaper Terms & Definitions

Cloth Diaper Slang

Learn to Speak Cloth Diaper Slang:

  • AIO:  all-in-one, a style of cloth diaper where all of the pieces are connected and go on easy like a disposable diaper.
  • AI2: all-in-two, a style of cloth diaper that consists of a diaper cover and insert.  The insert typically snaps in place or lays inside the cover.
  • Aplix: a variety of hook and loop closure, much like Velcro
  • Ammonia: yes, pee stinks!  Disposable diapers mask and cover up the smell of ammonia.  With cloth diapers urine can have a strong ammonia odor and it becomes stronger over time (this is why you want to wash regularly) and can be worse in some fabric types.
  • Bamboo: in cloth diapering most bamboo is a bamboo rayon blend.  Bamboo is a very trim fabric and is often used in inserts.  Bamboo is very absorbent making it a great option for heavy wetters (or at night and nap time).
  • CD: a common abbreviation for ‘cloth diaper’
  • Cotton: a natural fabric that some manufacturers use for inserts and layers in pockets, typically organic cotton.  Organic cotton is very absorbent and preferred by parents who are concerned with the environmental impacts of diapering.
  • Cover: a diaper cover is required over flats, prefolds, and fitted diapers.  The cover is what makes these diaper styles waterproof to keep your babies clothing and bedding dry.  Some covers may be wiped clean and reused several times before washing, while others need to be washed after every use.  (see also Diaper Cover)
  • Closure: how a diaper attaches to your baby.  Closure types include tie on, hook & loop (or Velcro/Aplix), and snap.
  • Diaper Cover: a diaper cover is required over flats, prefolds, and fitted diapers.  The cover is what makes these diaper styles waterproof to keep your babies clothing and bedding dry.  Some covers may be wiped clean and reused several times before washing, while others need to be washed after every use.  (see also cover)
  • Diaper Pail: a pail used to store dirty diapers before they are laundered.  Diaper pails commonly look like trash cans with lids to keep the odors trapped inside.  Diaper pail liners are often added to keep the pail clean and dry.
  • Diaper Sprayer: a hose that attaches to your toilets water supply with a spray attachment that allows you to spray solids off of  the diapers and into the toilet.
  • Doubler: an insert that can be added to your diaper to increase the absorbency for nights, naps, and heavy wetters.  Available in an assorted variety of fabric types. (also referred to as insert or soaker)
  • Elastic: most modern diapers use elastic in the legs to get a secure fit on your baby.  Some brands have elastic in the back and/or front of the diaper as well.
  • Envelope: a type of pocket diaper where the pocket opening is in the center of the diaper instead of at the front or back.  Example: AppleCheeks diapers
  • Fitted: a type of diaper that is absorbent over 100% of the diaper and not just in the middle.  Fitted diapers require a diaper cover to make them waterproof.  Fitted diapers are excellent for overnight and heavy wetters since they are absorbent over the entire diaper.
  • Flat: a large piece of fabric (usually cotton) that can be folded in a variety of ways and used as the absorbent part of a diaper.  Flats are economical, simple, and easy to hand wash.  Flats are excellent for traveling and when laundry facilities are not always available due to their quick drying nature.  Any absorbent fabric can be used as a flat including receiving blankets, sheets, towels, and clothing.
  • Fleece:  a soft synthetic fabric (usually polyester blend) that many companies use on the inside of pocket diapers that keep your babies bum dry.
  • Fluffy Butt:  the adorable and cute padded butt of a baby in cloth diapers.
  • Fluffy Mail: cloth diapers that arrive in the mail from your favorite online retailers.
  • Gussets: in the legs of some cloth diapers, an extra barrier of protection that helps prevent pee and poo from escaping from the diaper.
  • Hard Water:  a water quality measurement that determines the amount of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are present in your water.  While having hard water is not a concern for drinking water, it can cause challenges in washing cloth diapers.  To determine if you have hard water you should contact your local water supply company and request a copy of the water quality report.  Hard water is usually measured in mg/L (moderately hard: 61-120mg/L, hard: 121-180mg/L, extremely hard: over 180mg/L). For additional information on hard water you can visit Wikipedia and for a quick reference map of water quality in the US visit Rockin’ Green Soap.
  • Hemp: a natural fabric that is used for making some brands of cloth diaper inserts.  Hemp is a very absorbent and trim fabric with anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Hook & Loop:  a generic description of Velcro™ like closures on cloth diapers.
  • Hybrid: a convertible style diaper that can be used like a cloth diaper or like a disposable diaper.  When used as a disposable diaper there is a disposable insert that is placed inside of a reusable cover.  Can be convenient to use while traveling or when healing from a sickness or infection.
  • Insert: the absorbent material that is placed inside a diaper cover, pocket, or diaper shell.  Inserts can be synthetic or natural fibers and can be multiple layers of material sewn together, pre-fold, or flat fabric. (also referred to as soaker pads or doublers)
  • Microfiber:  an economical, synthetic material (usually a polyester blend) that is used in cloth diapers for the absorbent material (insert, soakers, or doublers).  Also referred to as microfleece or microterry depending on the finish of the material.
  • Minkee/Minky:  a luxury, ultra soft material that can be found on the outer shell of a cloth diaper for a decorative finish.  Minkee/minky is often compared to the soft material that is used on some stuffed toys or blankets.  A polyester (synthetic) blend fabric.  Recently some diaper brands have begun using a minkee/minky blend fabric for the inserts of their cloth diapers because it resembles the absorbency of microfiber.
  • Newborn:  some cloth diaper brands come in special newborn size that will fit your baby over the first few weeks after birth.
  • One-sized:  a diaper that will fit from birth through potty training.  Most one-sized (OS) diapers begin fitting babies after the first few weeks (around 10lbs); however some brands will actually fit as early as 7-8lb newborns.
  • Pail liner:  a water-proof bag that stores dirty diapers in a diaper pail.  Most fit inside a kitchen sized trash can.
  • Pocket Style:  a popular diaper style that allows the user to stuff the insert(s) into a pocket type opening between a soft piece of fabric and the water-proof shell/cover.  The pocket opening can be in the front, back or center of the diaper depending on the brand.
  • Poop-plosion:  what happens when a baby has a massive bowel movement that can explode out the sides and back of a disposable diaper.  Very uncommon with a cloth diapered baby because of their ability to contain these explosions.
  • Pre-fold: the old-school (and still very popular) style of cloth diaper.  A very economical diapering option that is commonly made of a natural cotton fabric.  Comprised of several layers of fabric with more layers in the middle third of the diaper where the diaper is most absorbent.  Can be folded a variety of ways to fit a baby and is often covered with a water-proof diaper cover, wool or fleece.
  • PUL:polyurethane laminate – the material that forms the water-proof barrier on the diaper cover/shell.  For a more detailed description of PUL please visit this post by Dirty Diaper Laundry.
  • Rise: the measurement from the waistline to the crotch.  Most one-size diapers come with adjustable rise covers/shells to fit a baby from newborn to potty training.  Rise adjustments can be snaps on the outside of the diaper or can have an internal rise adjustment system.
  • SIO: abbreviation for ‘snap-in-one’ diaper style.  This diaper style has an insert that snaps into the diaper cover or shell.
  • Sleeve:  similar to a pocket diaper with an opening at both the front and back of the diaper to stuff your insert.
  • Soft Water:  a water quality measurement that measures the absence of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are found in hard water.  Soft water commonly creates large amounts of soap bubbles in the wash.
  • Sized:  a diaper that comes in different sizes to fit a specific weight range.  Different brands of diapers have different sizing options (size 1, size 2, XS, S, M, L, XL, etc).  Sized diapers can fit babies better than a one-sized diaper but only fit for a limited time.
  • Snap:  snaps are used in cloth diapers for closures, rise adjustments, and to size inserts.  Snaps are usually harder for babies to remove and last longer than Velcro (hook & loop, or Aplix) closure.
  • Stay dry:  a layer of fabric that is placed next to the babies skin to wick moisture away from the baby and lock it inside an insert.  Most stay dry materials are polyester fabrics.
  • Stuff:  to place an insert inside a pocket/tongue/sleeve style diaper.
  • Suedecloth:  a synthetic fabric that is ultra soft and smooth.  Suedecloth is commonly used as the stay dry material in cloth diapers and inserts to keep your babies bum dry.
  • TPU:  thermoplastic urethane – similar to PUL, the material that forms the water-proof barrier on the diaper cover/shell.  TPU is described as a more environmentally friendly method for bonding the laminate to the diaper cover using heat instead of chemical solvents.  For a more detailed description of TPU please visit this post by Dirty Diaper Laundry.
  • Tongue style AIO – an all-in-one diaper where the inserts are attached at one end only to allow them to wash more efficiently and dry quicker than regular AIO diapers.
  • Velcro:  a name brand for hook & loop closures commonly found on cloth diapers.  (see also hook & loop and Aplix)
  • WAHM:  Work-at-home-mom.  (Similar WAHD – dad)  There are a lot of moms who make and sell their own personal label of cloth diapers.  Many sell them on sites like Etsy or Hyena Cart.  These personal label diapers are typically referred to as WAHM diapers.
  • Wet bag:  a water-proof bag that is used to store dirty, soiled, or wet diapers.  Most wet bags are PUL and have either zipper or drawstring closure.  Wet bags come in a variety of sizes, brands, and colors.
  • Wicking:  to borrow a definition from another blog (Everything Birth), the transfer of moisture from one area to another.  Wicking is the process that helps keep your babies bum dry as the stay dry material pulls moisture into the inserts.  Wicking is also the reason why diapers can sometimes leak.  Click over to Everything Birth for a great description of the good and bad sides of wicking.
  • Wing:  the side tabs of the diaper that wrap around the waist of the diaper.
  • Wing droop:  when the side tabs of the diaper hang out of the leg (or droop) instead of laying flat against the babies waist.  Wing droop can happen when a diaper is not put on the baby correctly or when the side tabs are really long on a smaller waisted baby.  Some diapers have special snaps to prevent wing droop.
  • Wipes:  small pieces of fabric that are used to wipe your babies bottom.  Reusable cloth wipes can be made from flannel, velour, hemp, cotton, or a variety of other fabrics.
  • Wipes solution:  a solution or mixture of water and other ingredients that are use with cloth wipes to clean your babies bottom.  You can buy pre-made wipes solution or make you own with just a few ingredients found around the home.  For a simple recipe visit my wipes/solutions post Going All the Way With Cloth Wipes.
  • Wipes warmer:  a commercially available unit that heats wet cloth wipes to keep them warm for diaper changes.  Most wipes warmers come with an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial insert that will prevent mold and bacteria from growing on your wipes.
  • Wool:  a natural fabric that can be used as a water-proof cover for diapers.  Great for nighttime or heavy wetting babies.

Is there a definition or term that you’ve heard that you don’t know the meaning for?  Leave it in the comments below and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.  

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6 Responses to Cloth Diaper Terms & Definitions

  1. Calley says:

    Thank you for letting me know.
    Calley recently posted..Green Smoothie RecipesMy Profile

  2. Veronica Morales says:

    Good Afternoon im new to cloth diapering but i was wondering can i cloth diaper but i dont have a washing machine at home can i just go wash in a local laundromat or no ? that has been a question that has been troubling me from the start can i please have an answer thank you (:

    • Calley says:

      Hi Veronica – Yes you can wash in a laundromat with no problem. You may want to run a load of regular laundry through the machine first to clean it free from detergents that may clog your diapers. It can be done!

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  4. Pingback: An Expectant Mom's Guide to Cloth Diapers |

  5. Pingback: An Expectant Mom's Guide to Cloth Diapers | Tampa Bay Moms Blog

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