Cloth Diaper Terminology

Cloth Diaper Dictionary

Learn the Cloth Diaper Lingo from A to Z

As a new-to-cloth-diapering mom, you may be wondering what the heck is an AIO or pocket diaper?!? You may not know your micro-terry insert from a burp cloth. So let’s discuss some of the common terms you’ll hear spoken in the cloth diapering communities.

all-in-two- cloth diapersAI2: AI2 stands for All-in-Twos. The diaper has an absorbent layer (like an insert) that attaches to the inside of the diaper with snaps. You can remove the layer for washing and then snap it back on. The closures are also adjustable.  Examples of an A12 include the GroVia, Best Bottoms, and SoftBums diapers.

AIO: AIO stands for All-in-Ones. All-in-Ones are all one piece – the outer shell is connected to the absorbent middle and then connected to an inner liner. The closures are adjustable and these diapers require no “stuffing” – everything is one piece making it super easy to use, albeit this style diaper does take longer to dry.  Some of the newer AIO diapers even come with a pocket-like opening behind or under the inserts to allow you to stuff them if you need more absorbency.  Some popular AIO diapers include the bumGenius Elementals and Freetime, Thirsties Duo AIO, GroVia AIO, Swaddlebees, ones&twos, and Tots Bots.

AP: AP stands for Attachment Parenting, a common term in the CD community.

Aplix: Aplix is similar to a Velcro closure, but it is often said to be softer and more durable. Some people refer to it as Hook & Loop closure too.

BG: BG is an abbreviation for bumGenius brand of diapers and products.

BF: BF is an abbreviation for breastfeeding.

CD: CD stands for Cloth Diapers. Many moms refer to themselves as CDing moms.

Contoured: These diapers are similar to pre-folds and flats, except they are contoured to fit baby (usually with an elastic leg casing).  Most contoured diapers require a cover.

DD, DH, DS: Commonly used abbreviations used on the internet to refer to your spouse and children.  DD (dear daughter, darling daughter, darn daughter, etc), DH (dear husband, darling husband, darn huband, etc), DS (dear son, darling son, darn son, etc).  Example: My DD slept through the night in her bumGenius 4.0.

Diaper Cover: A diaper cover is usually made of some sort of plastic, vinyl or waterproof polyester material and is needed with pre-fold, flat, and fitted diapers to keep wetness contained.  Diaper covers can come in one-size (fits most) or sized options.  Wool and fleece may also be used as diaper covers.  Thirsties and Flip diaper covers are some of the best selling covers on the market today.

Diaper Sprayer: A diaper sprayer easily attaches to most toilets and allows you to “spray” and rinse your dirty diapers over your toilet. A diaper sprayer is similar to the pull out spout you might have on your kitchen sink. Since you don’t want blobs of poop in your washing machine, you should consider getting a diaper sprayer so you can rinse off the poop over the toilet before washing.

Doubler: A doubler is another liner that can be added to the diaper and that can “double” the absorbency of the diaper. You can place it in any style diaper to add more absorbency. (Some companies refer to doublers as inserts.)

EBF: An abbreviation used to refer to a baby that is exclusively breastfed.  EBF poop is water soluble and doesn’t need to be rinsed before placing in the washing machine since it will rinse clean.

FB: An abbreviation that could refer to FuzziBunz diapers or Facebook.

Fitted: A fitted diaper is usually a cotton (or other natural fiber like hemp or bamboo) diaper that fits baby snugly and is tailored or contoured to baby’s bottom. No folding or special closures (like a safety pin) is required, however, a diaper cover is needed to contain wetness.  Fitted diapers are great for heavy wetters and/or nights and naps since they are absorbent all over the diaper instead of just in the center “wet zone” like most diapers.  Some of the newer fitted diapers even have a stay dry layer to help your baby feel drier.

Flat: Similar to pre-folds, flats are flat pieces of cloth but they don’t have the thicker middle layer.  Often referred to as “your Grandma’s diapers” because they are similar to what the old-fashioned cloth diapers looked like.  Flats are one of the most budget friendly cloth diapering option and are great for traveling (especially while camping or when you need to hand wash your diapers).  Can also be used in emergency situations (like during a natural disaster) if you run out of clean diapers.  Flats come pre-sewn in packages or can be made using found items around the home.  Anything that is absorbent can be used as a flat diaper (towels, receiving blankets, t-shirts, etc).  Flats can be folded to fit any size baby.  A diaper cover is needed to contain wetness.

Fleece: Fleece is a common fabric used inside cloth diapers. Fleece is said to allow wetness to pass through it, making it a great barrier between baby’s bottom and the diaper.  Fleece has stay-dry properties that help keep your baby feeling dry.

Fluff, Fluffy Mail, and other Fluffy terms:  Referring to cloth diapers.  Example: I’m expecting Fluffy Mail (my cloth diapers) to arrive tomorrow.

Hook & Loop: Hook and loop is the generic way of saying Velcro™.  Velcro™ is a brand name and hook and loop is a generic Velcro™-like closure.  Also referred to as aplix.

Hybrid: Hybrid diapers, popularized by gDiapers, are part cloth, part disposable. Usually the inner lining can be thrown away and the outer shell is washed between uses.  Many hybrid diapers can also be converted into a full time cloth diaper by adding a reusable insert.  Popular hybrid diapers include the Flip, GroVia, and Best Bottom systems.

Insert: An insert is a rectangular-shaped cloth that is inserted into the pocket opening of a pocket-style cloth diaper. An insert can be made of a variety of materials, including micro-terry cotton (most popular), hemp, bamboo and minky (soft, cotton-like material) fabrics.

Lanolin/Lanolized:  Lanolin is a natural wax-like material that is excreted from the sheep when wool is harvested.  Lanolin is a natural waterproofing material and can be used by nursing mothers to repair cracked or rough nipples.  It can also be use to make wool soakers (or longies/shorties) water proof so they can be used as diaper covers.

Minkee/Minky:  A synthetic material becoming more popular in the CDing community.  Minkee can refer to the super soft (almost stuffed animal like) feel of the outside of diapers; like the popular Australian brand itti bitti; or it can refer to the newer technology that is used to create inserts (similar to a microfiber only softer) like what FuzziBunz is currently using.

One-Size: One-size is a very common term in cloth diapering. It means the diaper can be adjusted to fit a variety of babies’ shapes and sizes from 7lbs to 40lbs and more – i.e., a one-size-fits-all diaper! Each one-size diaper adjusts a bit differently, some with snaps on top like bumGenius, others with adjustable elastic buttons hidden inside like FuzziBunz.

Pail Liner or Diaper Pail: Every cloth diaper nursery is made more complete with a reusable diaper pail or diaper pail liner to store soiled diapers between washings/uses. Instead of using plastic trash bags to store dirty diapers, parents use these reusable bags instead. The reusable bags get washed alongside the dirty diapers, making the process easier for parents. Some diaper pails have zippered bottoms to allow easy release of dirty (and stinky!) diapers into the washing machine without having to touch the diapers at all.  These pail liners are all lined with a water-proof material that keep the messes contained.

Pocket: The pocket diaper craze was started by FuzziBunz in 2000 when the company introduced the first modern cloth diaper of this kind. Pocket-style diapers have a pocket opening between the outer shell layer and the inner layer that touches baby’s skin. Inside the pocket opening you can stuff absorbent materials, like a wash cloth or “insert” (see definition of insert). According to the DiaperShops 2012 Annual Cloth Diaper User Pulse Survey, pocket diapers are the #1 choice style for CDing moms!

Pre-fold: Pre-fold diapers are rectangular pieces of cloth that have a thicker middle layer. They are called pre-folds because the extra padding in the middle is already “folded” or connected to the diaper. Pre-folds are quite cheap and require a plastic pant or diaper cover to keep wetness contained. Pre-folds also require some sort of pin or fastening system (such as a Snappi).

PUL: PUL stands for polyurethane laminate – it’s a water proof material used to make outer shells of many popular brands of diapers and diaper covers.

Reusable Wipes: Reusable wipes are usually made of small cuts of micro-terry, hemp, bamboo, or flannel cloth. Moms wet the wipes, wipe baby and then wash the wipes along with their diaper loads.

SAHM/SAHD: SAHM stands for Stay At Home Mom; SAHD stands for Stay At Home Dad.

Sized or Perfect-Size: Perfect sized diapers come in sizes (vs. one-sizes, which are adjustable).  Sized diapers have the ability to fit babies slightly better but will need to be replaced with larger sizes as your baby grows.  Sizes typically include XS, S, M, L and XL.  Popular sized diapers include the Thirsties Duo (available in Size 1 or Size 2) products and the FuzziBunz Perfect Sized diapers.

Snappi: Snappis are a brand name diaper fastener that can easily fasten a pre-fold or flat diaper without the use of pins.

Soaker: The term soaker is used to describe the middle, absorbent layer of a diaper. This layer is often made of a different material than the rest of the diaper.

Stash:  Referring to ones collection of cloth diapers.  Examples: I have 30 diapers in my stash.  My stash is primarily made up of pocket diapers.  I have stash-envy of Susie who has over 100 CDs!

Stripping: No, stripping isn’t what you might think at first!! In cloth diapering, stripping is a way to remove built-up residue from cloth diapers. Individuals who strip their diapers should check with their manufacturer for details on how to properly “strip” their cloth diapers.

WAHM/WAHD: WAHM stands for Work At Home Mom; WAHD stands for Work At Home Dad.

Wet Tote: A wet tote is a small reusable bag that usually has a zippered top. You can put a soiled cloth diaper in the tote and carry it around with you in your diaper bag or car until you get home and can put it into your laundry hamper.  Wet totes are great for day trips or day care settings.

Wicking: Wicking is probably one of the most confusing terms in the CDing community.  The simple definition means the transfer of moisture from one surface to another.  I’m going to refer to the easiest explanation I’ve found on the internet to help you understand wicking (the good and the bad) as it relates to cloth diapers.  Thank you Autumn Beck ( for your explanation.

Wicking is the transfer of moisture from one place to another.  It is good when moisture is wicked away from baby’s skin through a stay-dry fabric like microfleece, suede cloth, microchamois or athletic wicking material.

Wicking is a bad thing when moisture finds a weak spot or exposed area to leak out of.  For example, if your pocket insert isn’t full tucked in the diaper the wet insert will wick (transfer) to clothing or the outer fabric of the diaper.  Or if the inner fabric around baby’s legs isn’t rolled in moisture will wick to clothing, sheets, furniture…

Another very common instance of wicking occurs during oversaturation of the soaker material. This crosses over into more of a leaking issue but the same concept occurs.

At this point the moisture can transfer freely to the stitching and then outer fabric.  All of this is easily visualized when considering how the capillaries in our body work or if you have ever performed carnation and dye experiment.

How do you prevent wicking?  Make sure everything is tucked in nice and neat to the waterproof cover and change baby often.

Wool:  Diaper covers, longies (long pants), and shorties (short pants or skirts) make from wool material.  Wool is a natural fiber that is extremely breathable and considered bullet-proof by many CDing families and is commonly used for nights, naps, and for heavy wetters.  Wool covers can be hand knit or purchased.  Some popular wool brands include Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb, EcoPosh, and Kissaluvs.  Wool is typically used to cover pre-folds, flats and fitted diapers.  Wool needs to be lanolized in order for it to have that superior water proof characteristics and extreme care should be followed (check with the manufacturer) when washing to prevent shrinking your wool.

More Common Abbreviations for Brands:

  • AC: AppleCheeks
  • BB: Best Bottoms
  • BK: BabyKicks
  • RNG: Rockin’ Green Detergent
  • Sbish: Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb (a popular brand of wool diaper covers, longies, and shorties)