The Ultimate Cloth Diapering Dictionary

August 12, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Cloth Diapering

Ultimate Cloth Diapering Dictionary

Believe me when I tell you, cloth diapering moms have their own lingo. If you are a newbie in this world, you have likely been flummoxed by terms such as prefold vs fitted, microsuede vs microfiber, all-in-one vs all-in-two etc. When I was starting out my CD journey, I had a hard time figuring it all out and was constantly Googling everything. So here I’m trying to make life a little simpler for fellow newbies by consolidating a list of all the terms I have come across.

Note 1: This dictionary is intentionally not organized alphabetically, but in a logical progression. If you are looking for a specific term, you can use your browser’s Search/Find feature.

Note 2: I hope to keep evolving this dictionary by adding more terms as I keep coming across them. If you come across some term that isn’t listed here, do let me know in the Comments.


Types of Diapers:

Flat – Most basic cloth diaper. Single layer square piece of cloth, usually cotton or muslin, folded into various patterns to create more absorbent layers and secured with a pin or diaper fastener (old style langot). Diaper cover can be used on top to make it waterproof.
Prefold – Square or rectangular piece of flat fabric with absorbent layers sewn in. Can be used as is with a pic / diaper fastener or folded into a cover.
Winged Prefold – Prefold with ready wings or tabs at the top for ease of use
Fitted – Shaped diaper made entirely of absorbent fabric. Usually comes with closure mechanism (snap or hook and loop). It is not waterproof and can be used under a diaper cover
Cover – Shaped diaper made completely of waterproof material to be used over any of the non-waterproof diapers listed above
Pocket – A waterproof diaper shell with a pocket opening to add absorbent fabrics (inserts). May or may not have a stay-dry lining touching baby’s skin
All-in-one (AIO) – Diaper in which the absorbent layers are sewn into the waterproof layer so diaper can be used as-is. This cloth diaper is the closest to disposables in terms of how it is to be used
All-in-two (AI2) – A waterproof diaper into which inserts can be laid or snapped on. Once inserts are wet, cover can be wiped and reused with fresh inserts
Hybrid – AI2 style diaper in which you can use either reusable or disposable inserts
Swim Diaper – Diaper designed specifically for use in the pool, usually with snugger fit and chlorine resistant outer cover
Training Pants – Diapers used during the toilet training phase. Usually pull-up style, with 1-2 layers of absorbent fabric sewn in. May or may not have waterproof covering
Soaker – Type of cover which can be worn over non-waterproof diapers such as fitted or prefold. Usually made from wool or fleece. (The term soaker is also sometimes interchangeably used with the term “insert”)



Components of a Diaper Cover (Snap Closure and H&L Closure)


Insert – Multiple layers of absorbent fabric sewn together into a rectangular pad or contoured (narrow in the middle crotch area)
Tongue / Flap – Insert which is sewn onto one side of the diaper. Can be stuffed into the pocket under the liner or laid on top of the liner. Intention is to have a single piece (AIO) but in which insert can be pulled out for quick drying
Snake / Fold Over Insert – Long insert that can be doubled over to create more absorbency at the front / back
Booster / Doubler – Similar to inserts,usually smaller in size to be used with fitted diapers




Components of a Cloth Diaper:

Shell – Outer waterproof covering of the diaper
Gusset – Elastic part of the diaper that does around the baby’s leg
Double Gusset – Second row of elastic at the leg of the diaper to contain mess better. May be inside in the lining or outside in the diaper shell
Hook and Loop (H&L) – Velcro style diaper closure
Snaps – Button style diaper closure
Crossover Snaps – Waist tabs fasten over each other for small waist setting
Snap Down Rise – Rows of snaps in the front of the diaper to allow changing the size
Laundry Tabs – Additional set of tabs provided in H&L diapers to secure the hook and loop so that they do not snag other fabrics during the wash
Back Elastic – Elastic at the back of the diaper for better fit around the waist
Tummy Leak Guard – Extra panel of waterproof material on the front inner side to prevent leaks for tummy sleepers
Lining – Inner fabric of the diaper which directly touches the baby’s skin
Liner – For diapers which do not have a stay-dry lining. Single layer of stay-dry fabric that can be added inside the diaper as a barrier between skin and diaper to keep the baby’s skin dry and reduce stain on diaper fabric. May be reusable or disposable

Components of a Cloth Diaper

Components of a Pocket Diaper


Size & Fit:

One Size (OS) – Diapers meant to fit from birth till toilet training by adjusting snap down rise, though for most babies these diapers give a good fit from 2-3 months onwards
Newborn (NB) Size – Smaller size diapers designed to give a good fit to newborn babies till they reach the stage where OS diapers fit well
OTB – On the bum. Diaper which is being worn by the baby
Placement – Refers to how the design is placed when the diaper is worn (right side up, print on the bum etc.)
Gaping – Gap between the diaper and skin, which may result in leaks


Cloth Diaper Fabric:

Thirsty – Term used to refer to the absorbency of a fabric; the ‘thirstier’ the fabric, the more absorbent it is
Stay Dry – Fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin to give baby a dry feel. Typically used for making the diaper lining and reusable liners
Wicking – Property of some fabrics to pull moisture
Natural Fibres – Cotton, bamboo, hemp
Microsuede – A kind of stay dry fabric (synthetic) used for lining
Microfleece – A kind of stay dry fabric (synthetic) used for lining
Microfiber – Absorbent fabric made of synthetic materials, used to make inserts
Charcoal Bamboo (CB) / Bamboo Charcoal – Synthetic material used for making diaper lining and inserts
Minky – Soft, plush synthetic fabric used to make diaper shell
Velour – Thick, plush fabric
PUL – Polyurethane Laminate, waterproof material used to make diaper covers and shells
Cotton Laminate – Cotton fabric made waterproof by lamination process to be used for diaper shell / cover. Usually not as reliable and durable as PUL
Wool – Used to make soakers to be used instead of synthetic fabric covers
Lanolize – Process of applying lanolin (wax-like substance derived from sheep wool) to wool fabric to make it water repellant to be used as a cover / soaker



Prepping – Preparing a new cloth diaper by washing it. Depending on the diaper fabric, it may need multiple washes to remove natural oils and make the diaper fully absorbent (especially for natural fibres)
Wash Cycle – Steps followed to wash diapers from the time they are removed off the bum till they are dried
Repelling – When the diaper fabric repels moisture instead of absorbing it, due to buildup
Beading – Liquid forming a ball / bead and rolling off the diaper instead of getting absorbed
Stripping – Specific method of washing diapers multiple times to remove buildup
Bleaching – Process of chemically disinfecting diapers that have been in contact with bacteria / yeast infection
Pilling – Balls of fabric roll up over time after repeated use and wash
Sunning – Exposing diapers to sun to naturally disinfect and remove stains
Diaper Pail – Used to store dirty diapers before wash. May be wet pail (filled with water) or dry pail
Pail Liner – Waterproof bag used to line the diaper pail to reduce stink and reduces need to wash the pail itself. May be reusable or disposable
Wet Bag – Waterproof bag that is used to hold dirty diapers when travelling away from home


Cloth Diapering Lingo:

CD – Cloth Diapers. Any form of reusable cloth diaper
MCD – Modern Cloth Diapers. Typically refers to new age cloth diapers other than flats / langots
Fluff – Another term for cloth diapers
Mama Fluff – Reusable menstrual pads
Exclusives – Print made by a diaper company to be sold specifically by a particular retailer only
ISO / DISO – In Search Of / Desperately In Search Of. Terms used on CD forums to indicate specific hard-to-find prints which the person is looking for
B/S/T – Buy / Sell / Trade
EBF – Exclusively Breastfed. Used in reference to baby’s poop which is water soluble and not solid
Pooplosion / Blowout – When the baby’s poop leaks out of the diaper, usually for EBF babies
Up-the-Back – Pooplosion / blowout upwards from the back of the diaper, usually for EBF babies
Sposies – Slang term for disposables

Related Posts: