Cloth nappies terminology
Confused by all the lingo? Here are some of the common cloth nappies terminology used:
Booster: multi-layered pads that can be used to increase the absorbency of your nappy. Recommended for heavy wetters or night time use. Our Real Nappies boosters are made with 10 layers of cotton. Two layers of knitted terry cotton, 2 layers of cotton flannel and 6 layers of cotton twill. So they are super absorbent.
Cover (or shell): the most outer, waterproof or water resistant part of your nappy system. This can be made of synthetic material like PUL or fleece; or natural material like wool. Wool covers require a bit more skill to maintain as they need to be re-lanolised after every wash. PUL is the only waterproof cover (but liquid will pass through eventually), where the other two are water resistant and let liquid through much quicker. At Real Nappies we like to keep it simple so our Snug Wraps are PUL which are long lasting and easy to wash and dry.
Diaper: American term for a nappy.
Double gusset: A double panel of elastic around the legs of a nappy or nappy cover. These can help with containment with other nappy brands but we have found them to be unnecessary, our Real Nappies perform perfectly without them!
Dry pailing: most common method of storing cloth nappies ready for washing. It is the opposite of soaking nappies and involves putting the dirty nappies inside a dry airy basket. A hanging airy mesh bag can also be used when camping for example.
Hook and loop: Another word for the velcro fastenings on nappies like on our Real Nappies.
Insert: the absorbent part of the nappy system and can be made of a variety of fabric types and blends. There might only be one insert or several can be put inside a nappy cover to add more absorbency. Take care when looking at different nappies and comparing them as cheaper nappies usually come with synthetic inserts which might have enough absorbency for newborns but your nappies will soon start leaking as they are not absorbent enough as babies grow. Our Real Nappies have soft and natural cotton prefolds against baby's skin. Oeko Tex Standard 100 Certified.
Laundry Tabs or Washing Tabs: On velcro fastening nappies, this refers to an extra place on the nappy where you can stick the "hooks" whilst washing the nappies to prevent them catching on other items in the wash. We have them on our Real Nappies, they prolong the life of your velcro tabs.
Liners: Liners are a thin material used between the nappy and the baby bottom and have two useful purposes: to keep poo away from the nappy to aid cleaning and to provide a 'stay dry' layer next to baby's skin. Liners can be single use biodegradable, or washable and reusable. Liners are an optional cloth nappy accessory and not essential. At Real Nappies, our liners are made from cornstarch, they can be washed and reused a couple of times before the breakdown process starts.
MCN: stands for modern cloth nappies, so called because they are the modern version of reusable nappies, instead of the types of nappies your parents and grandparents might have used.
Nappy fastener: An alternative method of holding flat or prefold nappies in place. Instead of the traditional nappy pins, an alternative nappy fastener is a plastic gripper that uses little teeth to grab the fabric. It is considered a safer alternative to safety pins. Check out our Snappi nappy fasteners.
Organic: Organic textile fibre has come from a plant that was grown without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Organic material usually comes at a higher price than regular material. Our Real Nappies Organic Prefolds are certified organic.
Poppers or Snaps: A plastic snap fastening often found on nappies to fasten them around the waist, or on the front rise on One Size nappies. We use velcro on our Real Nappies as that keeps the fitting easier and more intuitive for first time users. Daycares love them too so they don't need to remember which snap they are supposed to use when putting a nappy on a child.
PUL: Short for Polyurethane Laminate, a material which is applied to fabric to make it water resistant. Many Nappy Covers are made with PUL, and Pocket Nappy and AIO systems incorporate it to make them waterproof.
Stripping: a way of cleaning your nappies to remove build up of detergent or ammonia. If you are washing your nappies correctly, then you shouldn’t need to do this often, if at all.
WAHM: work at home mum, many cloth nappy companies (including Real Nappies) are run by parents who work from home. More generally this refers to nappies that are sewn and hand made by parents who work from home.
For terminology used with different types of nappy systems, find out more on our page Types of Cloth Nappies.