Cloth Diaper Terminology

Like many things, the cloth diaper world tends to have its own jargon and terminology.  It can be a bit intimidating for newcomers to understand what's meant by some of these words.  This list will help you find your way around and know exactly what you're getting.

AI2: Stands for All-in-Twos. It is a type of diaper which has an absorbent insert attached to the inside of the diaper with snaps. The insert is removable for washing.

Aplix: This is a velcro closure. It is also sometimes called a Hook & Look closure.  Some say aplix is softer and more durable than regular velcro.

Cover/Diaper Cover: A diaper cover is typically made of plastic, vinyl, waterproof polyester and more recently wool. Covers are needed with pre-folds, fitted diapers and flats to keep moisture contained.

Doubling: Adding a second insert to the original insert for heavy wetter or overnight use. Often bamboo or hemp inserts are used to double.   This provides extra absorbency without adding extra bulk to the diaper.

Fitted Diaper: A diaper designed to fit baby tightly and snugly. Does not need a safety pin or special closure like a Snappi but does need a diaper cover to contain moisture. They often come in different sizes for an even better fit.

Flat: Flat diapers are just that...flat. They do not have the thicker center like the diapers we often use as burp clothes. They are about the size of a receiving blanket which allows many types of folds to provide absorbency. Flats are the most cost effective of cloth diapering and are great for situations where you have to hand wash, such as travel. They are also great to have in emergency situations (in our case a hurricane) because they can be made out of almost anything (towels, blankets, other pieces of fabric) when you run out of clean diapers. You do need a diaper cover to contain wetness. 

Gusset/Double Gusset: An extra row of elastic that stands as an extra layer of protection to help contain diaper messes. Gussets can be internal and made from the same material as the internal lining of  the diaper or external and finished like the leg elastic.

Hip Snaps: Snaps located at the baby's hip to prevent wing droop.

Insert: I rectangular shaped piece of cloth that is inserted into the pocket of pocket style diapers. Inserts can be made from a variety of materials. Each material affects absorbency and thickness. Some insert materials are safe to use against baby's skin and others are not. Inserts can be stacked to increase absorbency. Microfiber, hemp and bamboo are popular types of inserts.

Laundry Tabs: A place to secure the velcro/aplix to before laundering to prevent the velcro from sticking to other diapers. 

Microfiber: a synthetic material that inserts can be made from. Microfiber tends to be very absorbent and absorbs the quickest but should not be placed into direct contact with your baby’s skin as it could cause an irritation.

Minky: Super soft (almost like a stuffed animal) type fabric used for the outside and some inside of cloth diapers.

One-size: A diaper that adjusts to fit of variety of babies both shape, size and weight by either adjusting snaps, elastic or snaps. Used to grow with baby from about 8 lbs-35+ depending on manufacturer. Keep in mind that one-size diaper sizing from the manufacturer may not be what you find to be true.

Pail Liner/Diaper Pail Liner: A reusable cloth liner for a diaper pail that stores soiled diapers until wash day. These bags get washed along with diapers on wash day. Some have a zippered bottom to allow easy release of soiled diapers into the washing machine without having to touch them. These bags are lined with waterproof material to keep the pail clean.

Pocket: Pocket style diapers have an  opening between the outer shell and the inner layer that touches the baby's skin. This pocket is where inserts are "stuffed". 

Pre-fold: These are the diapers that you often see turned into burb clothes. They are different from flats because they have the thicker absorbent middle. These are also very cost effective. They require a pin, "snappi" or fastening system to secure them as well as a cover to keep wetness contained.  Pre-folds can also be used as an insert by folding the outer and inner layers together.

PUL: stands for polyurethane laminate which is used to waterproof diapers or diaper covers.

Reusable Wipes: Pieces of cloth typically micro-terry, hemp, bamboo or flannel. To use you moisten the wipes with solution and when soiled wash along with cloth diapers.

Snappi: A brand name diaper fastener that fastens without the use of pins.

Soaker: The middle absorbent layer of a diaper.

Stash: A collection of cloth diapers (like how many you have in your home). :)

Stripping: A way to remove build up on cloth diapers.

Suede Cloth: A polyester fabric blend that does not pill like microfleece. Since it is woven tighter than microfiber it also has less stains.

Trim: Implies the thickness of the diaper. Cloth diapers are not as slim as disposables but there are things that affect the thickness of the diaper such as insert types. This is how the term diaper "fluff" or "fluffy" bum as come into diapering vocab.

Wet Tote: A small reusable zippered bag with a waterproof compartment used to hold soiled diapers when out and about preventing wetness from wicking to other items in the diaper bag.

Wicking: The transfer of moisture from one surface to another. This is good when it goes away from your baby skin and into the insert and bad if you are wicking due to oversaturation of the insert or weak spot or exposed area to leak out. It is important to change your diaper often enough to prevent wicking as well as ensure a good fit so moisture wicks to inserts or the diaper and not to clothes, etc.

Wing Droop: Wing droop is what happens when the extra tabs on your cloth diapers are not in use and comes out through the legs or up the stomach. It is mostly seen when the diaper is on the smallest setting and does not have hip snaps. Wing Droop can lead to the diaper not fitting properly which causes leaks.