The Illustrated Post of Cloth Diaper Terminology (Updated Frequently)

Maybe you saw a child at your daycare running around in them. Maybe you were browsing the internet for disposable diapers and these popped up in the search too. Maybe you have a psycho friend trying to shove used, but sanitized ones, on you and you just don’t know what to think!

What am I talking about?

Cloth Diapers of course!

Before you start scouting missions for your local retailer and pouring over YouTube videos, it can help to know the lingo.

I am a super super visual learner and I thought it would be cool to give you a guide to the most used terminology and a picture to match (for the most part) I hope this helps you on your journey to understanding Cloth! (If you are unsure about cloth diapering, check out my post on why I cloth diaper.)


A GroVia AI2

AI2: an All In 2 diaper is a diaper with a waterproof outer shell that you can snap inside an absorbent insert (you can increase it decrease the absorbency that way). You can separate these two pieces when washing. Once dry, you can snap the inserts back in. It’s All in 2 because it has two pieces and you wash it after every use.


AIO: all in one diapers are just like disposable diapers except you nock out the solid waste and wash. There are no inserts (although some do offer a snap on for overnight extra protection) to make this diaper work. It’s all included, a waterproof shell, an absorbent lining, and no need to attach or keep track of parts.


Aplix: sometimes called a Hook & Loop closure is a Velcro type closure that is very soft (thus good for babies). This closure is used on many cloth diapers and many companies offer this as a closure choice instead of snaps.


Bamboo: a super absorbent natural material for inserts. Bamboo must be prepped before first use. Very very absorbent and soft too.



Contoured: very close to the diapers of old, these diapers are an absorbent, has many layers or is made of a thick fabric, but shaped in a less bulky fashion. As you can see it’s cut to match regular diapers but need pins or snappis to fasten them and a water resistant over pant or shell to keep clothes etc. dry.


Dipes: a slang abbreviation of Diapers, usually in relation to Cloth Diapering.


Diaper Cover: a outer cover for a pre-fold, flat, fitted or contoured diapers. The shell or cover is usually made of a water resistant fabric like polyester, vinyl, or a fabric may be coated with a thin plastic layer. If you are more into natural fabrics, fleece and wool are great fabrics but there is a process (wool needs to be Lanolized to become water resistant once more) you must do to keep them waterproof. The cover keeps in any moisture the baby may produce, within reason.

(This is a homemade diaper sprayer. Much cheaper to make your own!)


Diaper Pail: a container to keep your used diapers in for washing. Usually a good rule of thumb is, the more ventilated a pail is, the less it smells. A pail liner can also be used to keep the pail clean (highly recommended).

Diaper Sprayer: a diaper sprayer is basically a hose with a strong streamed head. Like that hide in your kitchen sink. Using a splitter you can connect this hose into the clean water pipe for your toilet. Using the sprayer you can spray off any solids from your baby’s diaper and wash it down the toilet (instead of rinsing it out in the bowl by hand). It’s a useful prep tool to be sure!


strong>Doubler: a doubler (insert) is an extra liner you can put into any diaper to up it’s absorbency!




Fitted Diaper: An absorbent cloth, usually layered, that has been shaped into a diaper shape. Fitted diapers do not need pins or snappi type closures because it has snaps or hook and loop closures built in. Fitted diapers need a diaper cover to keep the moisture in.


Flats: are the diapers of old! One huge pice if fabric that is folded many times to a diaper like shape and pinned closed with pins or snappi like devices. Like your parents parents needed, you will also need a diaper cover to keep the moisture from this diaper from getting out. It is literally just a piece of cloth (and arguably the cheapest way to diaper).


fleece: as in Mary’s lamb’s fleece was white as snow, and what Mary didn’t tell you is fleece is a great moisture wicker! Fleece against baby’s bum is soft and as I said draws moisture away from the booty on to another source keeping his booty dryer longer, Naturally!


Fluff: a fantastic word meaning cloth diaper! “I bought more fluff today!”


Fluff Mail: New or new to you cloth diapers you ordered through the internet and is being delivered to your home! “I can’t go out at 2PM I am expecting some fluff mail!”




Hook & Loop: another term for Aplix or similar (copyrighted) materials. Many people say Hook & Loop to not infringe on anyone’s copyright. It’s just a soft closure used on many diapers in place of snaps.


Hybrid Diapers: or just Hybrid, are diapers that are cloth (the shell or cover) but have a disposable insert. This way the shell is washed and the rest is tossed or some are safe to flush away (but check first!!). I believe it’s possible to many diaper types into a hybrid, by just adding a disposable insert. However, as seen in the picture, some diapers are exclusively that way and are therefore hybrids forever!



Inserts: or doublers are shaped cloths that are put into diapers to make them more absorbent. I should mention, doublers and inserts come in a variety of materials: Hemp, Bamboo, disposable materials, microfiber (my personal favorite), and Minky (which I want to try! It’s said be be very soft!)





Lanolin: is a natural waterproofing made by sheep to keep their wool dry. While it has reparative properties for Breastfeeding mothers, it can be used to waterproof wool diaper covers in a process called Lanolization or a diaper has been Lanolized.


Microfiber: is a synthetic material used only for cloth diaper inserts. These inserts must be prepped before their first use. Very soft and absorbs quickly. Does not hold as much moisture as natural fiber inserts.


Minky: a synthetic material that is super duper soft (think stuffed animal). There is also a process of making Cloth Inserts called Minky but I am unsure how that is done. (a wordpress user’s tutorial on how to make your own Minky Diaper)



20140714-070720-25640002.jpg and

One- sized: many pre-made diapers are one- sized nowadays. A one- sized diaper has a series of snaps or snaps and hook & loops to adjust the rise and waist of the diaper. The general pounds they adjust to and from are 7lbs to 35lbs. One- size diapers can be warn the ought the child’s diaper phase until they are ready to potty train. (If your baby falls outside of these pounds, some diapers are made in sizes (called sized or Perfect- Sized) like regular clothing. Some diaper brands offer a premie size as well.)



Pail Liner: a bag made of polyester or some synthetic fabric lined with a water resistant layer to keep the moisture from your diapers in. A usual item to have for keeping your diapers in prior to washing. You can toss the liner in to wash with your diapers. Many pail liners can be hung on a door instead of being put in a pail, to save space.


Pocket Diaper: a cloth diaper type where a outer waterproof shell is combined with a fleece inside, for moisture wicking purposes, and an area like a pocket is left open at the waistband to insert a doubler or insert for absorbency. Without the insert, a pocket diaper can double as a swim diaper. All if the absorbency of the diaper comes from the inserts.


Pre- fold: Pre- folds are like flats except that Pre- folds have a built into the cloth layer in the middle for absorbency sake. So unlike flats which you have to fold many times to make them absorbent, pre- folds are already absorbent where you need them to be. Pre- folds are closed with pins or snappi devices and need a outer water resistant shell to hold in the moisture.


Prepping: almost all cloth diapers need to be preppedto have any synthetic chemicals from the fabric’s original production removed. Prepping makes your diapers absorbent. Many people will prep their diapers by washing them straight out of the box 3 or four times in a washing machine. Many diapers have prepping instructions on the box/ original packaging. If not, Google! Without prepping, your diaper will almost resist fluids and, it’s a mess.

Pul: a type if fabric that pre- made diapers outer shells are made with, wet bags are made with, and reusable swim diapers are made with. The material has a plastic like coating in one side that is resistant to moisture.



20140714-073540-27340426.jpg (our cloth wipes/ reusable wipes we use)

Reusable wipes: flannel or cotton square or rectangular cloths for cleaning off a baby’s bum. Can be used with just water or with a homemade wipe solution or you can purchase solutions pre-made online. You can easily make your own, buy some from a crafty person, or some cloth brands make some to use with their diapers.



Sized or Perfect Sized Diapers: cloth diapers that are sized like regular clothing would be. Each is sized by babies’ weight and because they are not a catch all like one size diapers, they will fit your baby better. There is however, more cost to buying sized diapers.


Snappi: a new and helpful way to close diapers (like flats) without the sharp diaper pins of old. Think of the closure of your Ace bandage, the one you wrap around a sprained ankle and you need that stretchy, hook device to keep the bandage on. Snappis are like that but they move with baby keeping the diaper on and messes in!

Soaker: this one is hard to picture but a soaker is the middle area of the diaper layer. This material is more absorbent than the rest if the diaper and is made of a different material.


Stalking: refreshing a diaper website page multiple times in hopes of your diaper being restocked.

Stocking: when a cloth diaper website is scheduled to add a new diaper type or brand to a website.

20140716-014949-6589638.jpgthe other half of my stash is in the wash!

Stash: your or another person’s collection if Cloth diapers. People often talk about “selling their stash” once they no longer have babies to diaper (though some hold on, u can’t blame them!), “adding to their stash” by buying more diapers, or “trading some of my stash” and swapping gently used diapers with another mom. It is an apt name, most CD mums are addicted, to buying diapers!

Stripping: much like the idea that you can strip varnish off of wood, diapers can also be stripped. If a diaper no longer absorbs moisture like it is supposed to because of amount of use or improper use a person can strip off this build up of bad things. Once you do, your diaper is as good as new! It is best to check the diaper’s producer for how to strip it but, if you cannot there are plenty of YouTube, blog, and forums that can help you with this process!






Wool: a material diaper covers can be made of. Wool is breathe able and once Lanolized, it is water resistant. Wool covers are generally used overnight because they are so good at locking in moisture and are a comfortable way to keep baby’s clothing dry.




Information used in this dictionary came from word of mouth from very passionate mothers I have met through the BabyBump app by alt12 as well as the local retailer Sugarplum Moms and the YouTube blogger NaturallyThriftyMom. I also obtained information from articles I read while pregnant and researching, but I no longer know what those articles were (I take notes, what can I say?). I thank everyone for reading!

Is there a term I missed! Comment below and I will add it in!

Last Updated July 16, 2014 @ 2:04AM



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