Monday, May 31, 2010

Cloth Diapering Terminology

If you are anything like me, sometimes the cloth diaper terminology can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed! Here's a list I made using various online resources and books to try and make understanding the terminology a little easier.

If you have a question about a term or have a suggestion for a term I might have left off the list, please leave a comment and I will add it as soon as I can.
  • PUL ~ PolyUrethane Laminate. This is a waterproof material found as a backing on manytypes of cloth diapers.
  • AIO ~ All-In-One. AIOs are fitted diapers that have a waterproof outer layer. They can be lined with microfleece, polar fleece, felt, wool or several other absorbent materials. These are the closest cloth diapers in similarity to disposable diapers since they are a one-piece diapering system. The absorbent soaker materials can be either sewn into the lining or added as a detachable piece.
  • AI2 ~ All-In-Two. AI2s are very similar to AIOs with the exception that the absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper in any way. The soaker is a separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the diaper. The drying time for these diapers is shorter than the traditional AIO because the soakers and diapers can be taken apart and dried as separate pieces. 
  • Contour Diapers ~ Contours are hourglass shaped diapers with no elastic in the legs or back. They must be held together with a diaper fastener, pins, or a diaper cover. They are not waterproof, so use of a cover is necessary.
  • Diaper Covers ~ Covers provide a waterproof outer layer for non-waterproof diapers. They usually are fitted with elastic around the legs and can fasten with snaps or Velcro or simply elastic at the waist like underwear. They are usually made of polyester, PUL, waterproof nylon, fleece or wool. They can come plain or in a variety of shades, colors and patterns.
  • DSQ ~ Diaper Service Quality. Diaper services use only the highest quality materials because their diapers must stand up to a lot of use laundering. DSQ is usually used in reference to high quality pre-fold diapers.
  • Fitted Diapers ~ Fitted diapers are fitted with elastic around the legs and back and fasten with Velcro or snaps, much like AIOs and sposies. Unlike AIOs, a waterproof cover must be worn over them. 
  • Hook & Loop ~ Similar to Velcro, but used on some diapers because Velcro is not very soft. This is a softer alternative. 
  • Liners ~ Liners are placed inside the diaper to aid in the cleaning of solid waste and to avoid staining. They can be made of cloth or paper. Paper liners are disposable, while the cloth liners will need to be washed.
  • Longies ~ Also known as soaker pants.Longies are wool soakers with long leggings to form pants.
  • Pre-Fold Diapers ~ Pre-fold diapers are rectangular in shape and must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They have extra layers of absorbent layering in the middle. The amount of layers varies according to the size and quality of the pre-folds you choose. You can tell how many layers by how the diaper is described. For example, if you see a pre-fold described as being 4x8x4 it would mean that there are 4 layers in both outer sections and 8 layers in the inner or middle section. Pre-folds are usually the cheapest option in cloth diapering. You need to use them with a diaper cover.
  • Pocket Diapers ~ Like AIOs and AI2s, pocket diapers have an outer layer of a waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay dry material. They can close with Velcro, snaps, or buckles. They have a pocket opening that allows for the absorbent material to be stuffed in the pocket during use and then removed for laundering. Many things can be used as the soaking materials, including inserts, soakers, pre-folds, and even wash cloths depending on how much absorbency you need at different times during the day. (Like adding extra padding at nap times or at night.)
  • Soakers ~ Soakers are the thickest middle part of the diaper used to absorb the moisture. Soakers can be used in several different ways. They can be sewn or partially sewn inside the diaper, stuffed into a pocket, snapped, or simply laid inside the diaper.
  • Sposies ~ A common way to refer to disposable diapers in the cloth diapering world.
  • WIO ~ Wool in One. A AIO with wool used as the outer material.

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