A Whatcha Callit?
Vocabulary, Terms, Glossary, Definitions, Shorthand, Etc. of the Cloth Diaper World
All In One (AIO): A convenient cloth diaper with an inner absorbent layer sewn in to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable velcro or snap closures. These are just like disposable diapers that you wash!
All In Two (AI2): Absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper. The soaker is usually a second separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the diaper. The drying time for these diapers is shorter than traditional AIO diapers. No separate cover required. These are sometimes referred to as Hybrid Diapers
Aplix: A hook and loop closure system very similar to Velcro.
Bamboo: A new fabric for the diapering world, bamboo has a silky soft texture, antibacterial properties, is very breathable and is more absorbent than cotton. Bamboo is typically an Organic fabric. It's also environmentally friendly!
Birdseye Fabric: A gauzy material. Can be used for the inner material of all diaper sorts and for making prefolds.
Burley Knit Terry: A long looped terry cloth that is extremely popular for use in soaker pads and doublers.
Chinese Prefold Diaper: A flat diaper that comes in multiple levels of absorbency and sizes. This diaper is the foundation of an economical cloth diapering system. Chinese Prefold Diapers come in two colors, white and unbleached. The unbleached diapers have not gone through a whitening process. They come with many of the original cotton oils still in the fabric and may require extensive washing to make them absorbent. Once these diapers have become absorbent, they are known for being softer than the white diapers.
Contour Diapers: A contoured diaper does not have elastic at the legs or waist. The wings need to be fastened with pins or a Snappi or the diaper should be used in conjunction with a hook and loop style diaper cover. Contoured diapers require a diaper cover of some type.
Cotton Fleece: This fabric is super soft and comparable to polyester variety, but is made from 100% cotton. Hemp fleece is another popular variety.
Diaper Inserts & Doublers: Both diaper inserts or diaper doublers add extra absorbency to any type of cloth diaper. The difference between a diaper insert & doubler is the size and thickness. Diaper inserts are typically 3"x11". Diaper doublers are typically 4"x14" and usually are used for older babies.
Doublers: Doublers are pad-like absorbent soakers that can be added to a diaper to increase absorbency. They are especially useful during times when you know extra protection is needed, perhaps at night time.
Diaper Service: A company that launders your cloth diapers for you. They pick them up, wash them, and deliver them back to your home. I recommend a Google search of Diaper Service in your area.
Diaper Service Quality (DSQ): Diaper services use only the highest quality materials because their diapers must stand up to a lot of use and a lot of laundering. DSQ is usually used in reference to high quality pre-fold diapers.
Flannel: A soft, loosely woven twill weave with a slightly napped surface. Fibers tend to be cotton or wool.
Flat Diapers (Flats): These one-layer diapers, generally made out of 100% cotton gauze, are the most "old-fashioned" choice. They dry quickly and fit a large range of sizes. Folding and pinning are required.
Fleece Liners: Fleece pulls the wetness away from baby keeping baby feeling dry. Also can help with clean-up. They do not add extra absorbency.
Fitted Diapers: A fitted diaper has elastic at the legs and usually, at the waist. It also has some type of closure to hold the diaper on the baby. This closure can be hook and look or snaps. A fitted diaper requires a cover. The absorbency of fitted cloth diapers varies based on the materials used in the construction of the diaper.
Hemp: Hemp is a course fiber made from the inner bark of the hemp plant. It is becoming increasingly popular for use in diapers because of its durability, absorbency, and natural anti-microbial properties.
Hemp French Terry: Made with absorbent hemp which has the feel of soft terry cloth.
Hook & Loop: These are Velcro-like closures. Since the Velcro brand is not very soft, many diaper makers use Aplix or Touchtape brand hook and loop.
Hybrid Diapers (AI2): Absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper. The soaker is usually a second separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the diaper. The drying time for these diapers is shorter than traditional AIO diapers. No separate cover required.
Indian Pre-fold: Soft, absorbent cotton prefold diapers made in India or Pakistan. These are wildly popular and either Chinese or Indian prefolds are in most cloth diaper stashes even if they are only used as a backup.
Lanolin or Lanolize: Wool diaper covers require conditioning with lanolin, the natural oily substance produced by sheep to keep their wool dry. Wool covers that are properly lanolized make great breathable daiper covers. Lanolin reacts with the ammonia in urine to neutralize odors. Lanolin is also a great skin conditioner and is used in many skin care products.
Liners: Diaper liners are used to protect the diaper from diaper rash creams or stains. Diapers are easier to clean if they have a liner that can be removed and cleaned on its own. Not a necessary item for most cloth diaper systems, but they are useful for prefolds or fitted diapers. Liners may be disposable or washable. Silk liners are used to treat diaper rash. Fleece liners provide a stay dry feeling and can help prevent diaper rash. Typical liners are made with flannel.
Longies: Long pants used instead of a diaper cover. Usually hand-knit or crocheted from wool. Vegans or those with an allergy to wool tend to prefer acrylic yarns. Longies are perfect in cooler climates because they only require one layer rather than two. Use over a fitted or well secured prefold.
Merino: A type of wool that originates from pure-bread Merino sheep.
Microfleece: A lightweight, double-sided micro-fiber fleece noted for its outstanding low pill velour face, stretch, and chamois-like softness. it is commonly used for the interior portion of diapers because of its softness.
Nappy: Nappy is the European word for diaper.
One Size Cloth Diaper (OS): A one size diaper usually fits a child from birth up until about 30 or 35 pounds. This sizing is typically achieved by a row of snaps on the front of the front of the diaper. This allows for the front of the diaper to be folded over and to create a smaller size. As the baby grows, several snap settings allow for waist and leg growth.
Plastic Pants: Plastic pants were commonly used when I was a baby. They are made of vinyl, a material that releases dioxins when warmed. We do not recommend using plastic pants! Plastic pants do not allow air to circulate and help to create the perfect environment for yeast to grow causing severe diaper rash.
Pocket Diapers: A diaper cover that has an opening for a folded cloth Chinese prefold diaper or specially designed inserts to be "stuffed" into. This is a two part cloth diapering system that dries faster than All In Ones, gives a very trim fit, and is most like the AIO diaper.
Polar Fleece: A polyester fleece that is commonly used for the outer layer of pocket diapers or as a waterproof diaper cover. The most popular brands are made by Malden Mills. Malden fleece is sought after because it is the most reliable anti-pill fleece and it is also the most water resistant. Fleeces differ widely, even from one manufacturer so some fleeces are more water resistant than others. Polar fleece is also used for blankets, outdoor gear and winter wear.
Polyester: A manufactured fiber known for crease resistance, quick drying, shape retention in garments, high strength, abrasion resistance and minimum care. Polyester is a fiber easily blended with other fibers. In diapers, it can be blended with another material (like cotton) to add more durability.
Polyurethane Laminate (PUL): A fabric with a waterproof laminate applied to the back. This makes for an extremely thin, soft fabric that is waterproof and easy to care for (safe to put in the washing machine, dryer is not recommended with PUL).
Pre-folds: Prefold diapers are rectangular shaped flat cloth diapers with an absorbent pad already sewn in. Comes in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Chinese prefold diapers need to be folded to fit in a waterproof diaper cover.
Sherpa: A heavier weight Stretch Knit Terry with one side brushed to be very soft and fleece like.
Snap-to-Fit Diapers: Snap to fit diapers are fitted diapers with added snaps to provide a flexible fit for babies and toddlers. The snaps are located just below the fasteners with tops and bottoms lined up vertically. This allows you to adjust the size of a diaper as the baby grows. This feature of fitted diapers allows you to purchase fewer sizes than the regular fitted diapers. While the regulars may come in 4 different sizes, Snap-to-fits come in two. You will only have to buy half as many diapers.
Snappi®: A plastic mechanism that fastens a cloth diapers. These are often used instead of diaper pins.
Soaker Pants: See Longies.
Soakers: The term soaker can be applied two ways. It often refers to the absorbent middle part of the diaper that absorbs the moisture when a baby wets. Soakers may be sewn inside the diaper, partially sewn to form a flap, snapped in inside the diaper, or simply laid inside the diaper. The term soaker is also used in reference to wool diaper covers.
Sposies: Disposable diapers.
Square Diapers: See Flat Diapers.
Stretch Knit Terry: A stretchy terry material that is often used for the inner layer of diapers - very absorbent and soft.
Suedecloth: Has the appearance of regular suede but is much easier to care for. It does not easily stain and washes beautifully. Suedecloth is commonly used for the interior of diapers due to its ease of care and wickability.
Terry Cloth: A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using two sets of warp yarns. One set or warp is under very little tension, and when the filling yarns are packing into place, these loose yearns are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, forming loops. Typical uses include towels and robes.
Touch tape: A brand of hook and loop fasteners - A self gripping fastening system like Velcro.
UBCPF: Common abbreviation for an unbleached Chinese Prefold Diaper.
Velour: A medium-weight, closely-woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain weave or a satin weave construction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower cut pile.
Windpro: A polar fleece designed to repel wind and water yet retain breathability. It is commonly used to create All-in-One diapers or diaper covers because of its waterproof capabilities. 200 wt. and 300wt. fleece are also used for these purposes.
Wool: Probably the oldest of the natural fibers. Most often comes from a variety of sheep, but can also include camel, angora, alpaca, and vicuna. it is spun into a very large variety of weights and fabrics. Its water repelling properties and breathability are what make it popular for use as a diaper cover. It is often lanolized to increase its water repellent properties.
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.
Wool Soaker: A wool soaker is basically a diaper cover made exclusively of wool. Due to its high lanolin content, wool works very well as a cloth diaper cover. It can hold up to 40% of its weight in moisture.
Wool Wash: A special soap made just for wool. Wool is a natural fiber and requires gentler treatment than cotton. Wool washes cleanse the wool without stripping it. Many wool washes contain lanolin to help condition the wool and maintain its water resistant tendencies.