The Complete Cloth Diaper Glossary

Hi everyone! I felt that it would be helpful to have a list of common terms, phrases, and abbreviations used in cloth diapering for the new cloth diaper moms. If you have anything you want to contribute, please leave a comment! *If you're new to cloth, this can be very overwhelming. I suggest reading it in bits and pieces. Do not hesitate to ask any question! If I don't know the answer, I'll find somebody who does.*

All-In-One (AIOs): These diapers have all the layers of absorbency sewn right to the diaper, and work exactly like disposables! There is a waterproof layer (usually either PUL or TPU) that can either be hidden or be on the outside. They have an inner layer that's stay-dry so that your baby's skin feels dry even when wet. Blissful Booty, Bumkins, and bumGenius all make AIO diapers.

All-In-Two (AI2): AI2 diapers work like AIO diapers when the absorbent layers are in the diaper. With this system though, the soaker layers can come out and be washed but the shell can be re-used simply by either snapping in inserts or soakers or laying them in. This is a popular option for moms going on trips.

Aplix: Like velcro, Aplix is a hook-and-loop material used as a closure on diapers. Aplix is softer material that's durable, but will wear out over time.

Bamboo: See OBV.

CD: Shorthand for cloth diaper or cloth diapers.

Casing: If you see that a diaper has a casing, this means that there is some type of stitching on both sides of the elastic. This helps prevent leaks because this helps the diaper fit a little better on the leg of the child.

Contour Diapers: Contour diapers are hourglass shaped in the middle for a more natural fit, but otherwise resemble flat diapers. They need Snappis or pins to close and require covers. Imse Vimse (pronounced EMM-zee VIM-zee) makes a version of contour diapers with elastic in the legs but most don't have this.

Covers (diaper covers): Covers are required for diapers that are not waterproof, such as flats, pre-folds, fitteds, and contours. Diaper covers prevent leaks, and are made from a variety of materials, including PUL, TPU, or wool. Wool is a breathable option and is a good cover option when babies have a rash. Great cover companies include Bummis, Zookies covers, Kawaii, and Gen-Y.

Crossover Tabs: Crossover tabs are excellent when a baby needs a tighter fit around the waist. These tabs have a piece of hook-and-loop material on the top of one of the closure tabs that allows the other tab to adhere to it. Thirsties hook-and-loop diapers have crossover tabs.

Diaper Sprayer: These are sprayers that hook to the water supply of your toilet. They are usually high pressure

Doublers: An additional layer (or layers) of absorbency that can be placed inside a diaper to increase the absorbency of the diaper overall. These are often used for children that are heavy wetters and night diapering.

Diaper Service Quality (DSQ): DSQ pre-folds and diaper products are usually a little larger, thicker, and overall higher quality than other types.

Fitted Diaper: A fitted diaper is a type of diaper that doesn't have any waterproof layering on or in the diaper. Therefore, these are generally not waterproof and will require a diaper cover (see cover above). Otherwise, they look the same as pocket diapers and AIOs. Some can require pins to close. Popular fitted diapers are Goodmama, Kissaluvs, Dream-Eze, and others (most brands make a fitted diaper).

Flat Diaper (flats): A flat diaper is basically one large piece of cloth, that is the same thickness throughout, that can be folded in several ways and placed on your baby. They are the type your grandmother probably used, and can be used as burp clothes as well because they are literally just a piece of cloth. These are great for smaller babies! They aren't waterproof, but skip the plastic pants your grandmother also used with these and grab a cute modern cover! Nicole Cantrell (<- her name is clicky) makes a really great flat diaper for the parent that's using them for the first time.

Fluff/Fluffy: A common nickname for cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories. Popular uses of the term fluff include fluffy mail, which means receiving a diaper in the mail that you ordered/won.  Fluffy laundry means cloth diaper laundry day. I know a lot of moms that look forward to both, mail and fluff right out of the dryer/off the line. Fluff Stash is an iPhone app that's great for fellow cloth lovers (see my review on the blog). Lastly a fluffy butt/bum refers to the fact that a baby wearing a cloth diaper usually has a larger appearing butt than a baby in disposables (don't worry, there are clothes that fit over fluffy bums).

FSOT: FSOT means for sale or trade. This is commonly used on trading sites and forums, like Diaper Swappers and Hyena Cart. Cloth diapers, like Goodmamas, get traded a lot between moms.

Gussets: Gussets are little extra pieces of material used to make the leg openings in a diaper. Gussets are said to provide additional protection from leaks because they add an additional barrier. Gussets are often found in covers because of the lack of leg protection in flat and pre-fold diapers (and fitteds to a certain extent). Rump*a*Roos brand diapers have leg gussets, as well as many covers including Kissaluvs, Mother-ease Rikki Wrap, and many Thirsties products.

Hemp: Hemp is another popular material used for making diapers and inserts. Hemp possesses natural anti-microbial properties, is breathable (promotes airflow), is usually natural in color and unbleached, and is said to contain less pesticides than cotton. Hemp can be used as inserts because it's super absorbent. Kissaluvs, Swaddlebees, and Tiny Tush make hemp diapers. **Please note: Hemp is a natural fiber and needs to be prepped with only other natural fibers (cotton, bamboo) to avoid getting oils from the plant onto the other cloth diapers.**

Hook-and-Loop (H&L): This is a term used to describe the closure type on diapers. Velcro, Aplix, and Touchtape are popular hook-and-loop closure materials. Hook-and-loop closure methods can be found on several diaper brands, including bumGenius, Thirsties, and many others.

IDSO: In desperate search of. This term is used on trade boards and forums to refer to a brand, size, type, or print that they have been trying to get their hands on and can't.

Inserts: Inserts are the main absorbent layers in pocket diapers, but can also be laid into AI2s. You stuff these into the pockets, making sure they're laying flat, and remove them before putting them in the wash (some of them agitate out on their own). Inserts can be made of microfiber, microfiber/terry, cotton, hemp, bamboo, and other materials.

Lanolin: The waxy substance that makes wool waterproof. Wool needs to be re-lanolized every now and then. Nifty Nappy makes an excellent wool potion.

Laundry Chains: Also known as diaper chains. When washing diapers with hook-and-loop closures together, the hook end of one of the wings attaches to another diaper's loop wing. When a bunch of them string together, you get a laundry chain. This can be rough on the hook-and-loop closure over time.

Laundry Tabs: To prevent the laundry chain, many diaper brand with hook-and-loop closures have tabs that either come with the diaper or are built into the diaper that you attach to the closure to prevent other diapers from being able to stick to the diaper. Thirsties laundry tabs are built into the diaper.

Liners (diaper liners): Liners are thin but versatile sheets of material that lay inside of any type of diaper. Liners come in flushable, disposable, and washable types and can help with the elimination of solid waste, act as barriers for diaper rash creams from getting on the diaper directly, and fleece liners can be used as a stay dry layer. Fleece allows liquid through to the absorbent layers, but dries quickly so the baby's skin stays drier. Liners are a popular option for families that are traveling. Some people question whether or not the use of disposable and flushable liners undermine the green aspect of a cloth diaper.

Microfiber: Microfiber is a synthetic material used to make a lot of inserts due to its high absorbency. During the prepping phase of natural fibers, microfiber cannot be included in the wash due to build-up issues resulting from the natural oils of the natural fibers depositing onto the microfiber.

Nappy: Other places in the world (basically everyone except Americans, but mostly Europeans and Australians) use the term nappy to refer to cloth diapers.

OBF: Organic bamboo fleece. Typically used as a material for the inside (and sometimes outside) of diapers. Rosebud Diaper Boutique uses this.

OBV: Organic bamboo velour. Typically used as a material on the inside (and sometimes outside) of diapers. Bamboo is quite absorbent and does possess some antibacterial properties and is an effective diaper material. Rosebud Diaper Boutique, Goodmama Diapers, and a bunch of others use this.

OHF: Organic hemp fleece. Typically used as a material for the inside (and sometimes outside) of diapers. Rosebud Diaper Boutique uses this.

One-Size (OS): One size diapers have either a series of snaps on the front of the diaper to adjust the size to fit the baby, or elastic that is adjusted. These diapers fit from children that are around 6 pounds all the way up to about 30-40 pounds, depending on the build of the baby. Fuzzibunz, Thirsties, AppleCheeks, bumGenius, Happy Heiny's, and a ton of other companies make one-size diapers. Fuzzibunz, Sprout Change, and Charlie Banana all utilize the button-hole elastic size changing method. Softbums uses elastic sliders (Slide 2 Size) to size their diapers.

Pail Liners: A pail liner is a large, waterproof (usually via PUL) bag that sits inside diaper pails. Most have either elastic around the top or close with a drawstring, and can be washed right along with your diapers on laundry day. They come in many varieties, colors, and sizes. Thirsties, Rump*a*Rooz, and WAHMies all make great pail liners.

Pins (diaper pins): Pins are what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to secure diapers. They are still around though and have a great place in modern stashes. These are a popular closure choice for flats, pre-folds, fitteds that don't have H&L or snap closures, and contour diapers. They allow for customized fit across the waist and are especially popular for skinny babies.

Pocket Diapers (Pockets): Pocket diapers have a slot, usually at the back but can also be found in the front, of a diaper that opens into a pocket. You can customize the absorbency of these diapers by putting your own layers in the pocket. You use thicker/more inserts in a heavy wetter's diaper, and fewer in a light wetter. Oh Katy diapers have a front pocket opening, while GoGreen Pocket Diapers and Lovely Pocket Diapers have back openings. AppleCheeks has a slot that opens in the middle so the insert can agitate out in the wash.

Polyurethane Laminate (PUL): PUL refers to fabric that has been coated or backed in polyurethane laminate. This is a material that makes the fabric waterproof. Many companies say that PUL is waterproof, but I remain skeptical just because it's basically plastic, and plastic isn't breathable. However, it is an effective leak barrier. Layers of PUL can either be hidden in the diaper, which means it's waterproof but you don't see the PUL layer, or it can be on the outer layer.

Pre-folds: Pre-fold diapers are diapers that are already folded into the shape of your baby. These usually have thicker absorbent layers in the middle section of the diaper. These will require a Snappi or pin to close, aren't waterproof, and will need a cover. Newborn pre-folds that are tri-folded can be used as inserts for AI2 systems or simply placed inside a cover. Pre-folds come in a variety of materials, sizes, colors, etc.

Repelling: When your diapers have issues absorbing, and the fluid just sits on the surface, it's said to be repelling. This most often occurs due to the application of a non-diaper safe rash cream, or detergent build-up. To test for build-up, take your cloth diaper and drop some water on it. If after a few seconds the water beads up and rolls off instead of sinking in, you have repelling issues. The remedy is stripping.

Seconds: Seconds quality diapers typically have a cosmetic flaw preventing the maker from being able to sell that diaper at full price. These are usually discounted greatly, and their function is not compromised at all.

Snappi: Snappis (<- clicky!) are plastic diaper fasteners that are used as an alternate closure to pins (therefore they are used on diapers that lack hook-and-loop and snap closures). Snappis come in two sizes, one for smaller babies and one for toddlers.

Snaps: Snaps are a popular alternate closure type to hook-and-loop, pins, and snappis. Many moms switch to snaps when their children figure out hook-and-loop, and they are said to last longer as well. The snaps on the front of the one-size diapers are used to adjust the size of the diaper.

Soaker: A soaker can either refer to the middle, absorbent layers of a diaper, or a wool cover that is used over diapers.

'Sposies: A term used by CDers to refer to disposables.

Stash (diaper stash): Many CD moms refer to their diapers as a whole their stash. Diapers that are currently in their stash and stash shots (pictures of their entire stash) are quite topics that come up a lot online.

Strip/Stripping: It's not what it sounds like. Stripping diapers involves using a de-greaser (like blue Dawn), or sometimes just plain hot water, to remove build up on diapers and resolve repelling issues. You scrub the diapers with blue Dawn (or simply soak them), then rinse repeatedly (usually on hot, but this depends on your washer, water type, etc.

TPU: TPU is Thermoplastic Polyurethane. It is used as an alternate to PUL in certain diaper brands. Oh Katy diapers use TPU.

Unbleached: Unbleached usually refers to whether or not a pre-fold or flat diaper has been pre-bleached or not, making it white in appearance. Unbleached diaper products have a natural, yellow-brownish color tinting.

WAHM: A WAHM is a work-at-home mom. These moms can make everything from diapers, to covers, pail liners, wet bags, and all kinds of other products and accessories.

Wet/Dry Bag: A wet bag or a wet/dry bag is a waterproof bag, usually with drawstring or zipper closure, that can be used while going out and about with cloth diapers. These are designed to hold dirty diapers and some have a pocket for clean ones as well. They range in sizes from small (can hold 1-2 diapers), to large enough to hold a full day of diapers. Many families choose to get large hanging wet bags and use them in place of diaper pails and pail liners. These can also be washed with the diapers.

Wicking: When the absorbent material in the diaper is full, it can leak by being contact with other materials, usually the clothing or blankets. This can occur due to a repelling problem.

Wool: Wool is a natural, breathable material that is used as a cloth diaper cover when lanolized (see lanolin). Wool covers come in a variety of forms. Soakers are smaller and are more the size of a diaper themselves (Nifty Nappy makes these). Shorties are a little longer than soakers (think about shorts for babies). Longies are basically wool pants. Sustainablebabyish makes shorties and longies.

Wool Wash: Wool needs to be taken care of properly in order to ensure its longevity. Wash made specifically for wool doesn't strip it of its lanolin like detergents do, and condition the fabric to make sure it stays nice and soft. Wool needs to be washed on a gentle cycle or by hand (it's really not that intimidating, I promise!) and laid flat to dry. Eucalan is excellent for taking care of wool.