Reusable Nappy Jargon Buster!

Reusable nappies come with all kinds of jargon and acronyms so to help make the process clearer we have created this jargon buster! This list isn't exhaustive and there is always something new to add. If you think we have missed anything please let us know and we will add to this list!



A

All In One (AIO)

All in one nappies are nappies where the absorbent part is attached to the outer cover creating one single nappy. They are the most similar to disposable nappies. 

All In Two (AI2)

All in two nappies have an absorbent layer that snaps in and out. This means that you can just change the inner layer of the nappy if you are changing due to wetness, and you can separate the two parts for washing and drying. 

Aplix

A brand of hook and loop fastening commonly used in reusable cloth nappies. 

B

Bamboo

A common fabric used in reusable nappies. It is very absorbent making it ideal for nappies and boosters. 

Birth to Potty (BTP)

Also known as one size, one size fits most, one size fits all. 
These nappies are one size that are adjustable from a small size fitting a young baby (often from around 8lbs in weight) up to a toddler at potty training (often around 35lbs). 

Boosters

A booster is a piece of absorbent fabric that can be added to a nappy to increase the absorbency. 

C

Charcoal

A material sometimes used in boosters and inserts. It is generally used to filter smells and has anti bacterial properties.

Cotton

Cotton is a natural and breathable fabric that is often used in reusable cloth nappies. Many companies have either moved to, or are trying to move to organic cotton sources as cotton crops can be such an environmental pollutant. 

Cover

These are waterproof layers that are used with a variety of inserts. They go over the top of the absorbent parts of the nappy and are sometimes called a wrap. They are usually made of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL). 

D

Delaminating

When the PUL breaks down and the laminated, water-resistant layer pulls away from the polyester fabric and is no longer waterproof.

Double Gusset

A double panel of elastic around the legs of a nappy or cover which can help with containment. 

Dry Pailing

This is the most common method of storing nappies ready for washing. This is where you store your nappies in a wet bag or a nappy bucket prior to washing. 

E

Elimination Communication (EC)

A method of using a baby's signals and early communication to address their need to go to the toilet. It involves a combination of timing, signals and communication to identify when a baby needs to go to the toilet. 

F

Fitted nappy

A fitted nappy is made from absorbent fabric and you use a cover over the top. It is shaped with elastic at the legs and the whole nappy will get wet in this system. The waterproof cover keeps the wetness in and people often use a stay dry liner to wick the moisture away from the skin. These are the most common night nappy options. 

Flats

Flat nappies are traditional terry squares or pre-fold nappies. They need folding and a cover placing over the top of the nappy. 

Fleece

Fleece is often used as a liner as it acts as a stay dry layer. This means that it allows the liquid to pass through it but remains dry to the touch. 

Flooding

This is a term used when a child wees less frequently and in larger volume. This means that there is so much fluid going into the nappy quickly that it cannot be absorbed quickly enough and sometimes you experience leaks. It often happens with toddlers when they are getting ready for potty training. This is different to if the nappy was saturated and simply could not absorb any more liquid. 

G

Gusset

The central section of the nappy that sits between baby's legs. 

H

Hemp

Hemp is popular in a cloth nappy because it is incredibly absorbent making it ideal for night time. Hemp also has natural anti-microbial properties.

Hook and Loop

The generic word for a fastening made up of a hook and a loop tab. The most recognisable brand of hook and loop fastening is Velcro. 

I

Insert

Inserts are rectangular strips of fabric that are put inside pocket nappies to provide absorbency. 

J

K

L

Laundry tab

This piece of material is common on hook and loop fastening nappies. It is an additional piece of material that keeps the nappy open and prevents the hook fastening from catching on and damaging other nappies in the wash. 

Liner­

Liners are a thin material used to catch poo or wick moisture away from your little one. You can get reusable or disposable liners and it depends what you need and prefer. Reusable liners are usually made from microfleece and can act as a stay dry layer whereas disposable liners help to catch the poo and make removing poo easy as you just have to take the whole liner and pop it in a bag.

M

Maintenance wash

A wash cycle run each month to ensure your washing machine stays clean. It involves wiping the drawer, drum, door and seal before running a hot wash through the machine. 

Mesh bag

Mesh bags are often use to line a nappy bucket. The whole bag can be placed inside the washing machine with the drawstring left open. You can use smaller mesh bags to keep smaller items together during your wash cycle, e.g. liners, socks, breast pads.

Microfibre 

Microfiber is a super absorbent fibre that is often found in pocket nappies. It can absorb liquid very quickly and is very soft. However, it should not be used directly next to the skin as the small fibres can cause irritation. 

Microfleece

This material can be used next to the skin and provides a stay dry layer. It is often used as a liner. 

N

Nappi-Nippa

A brand name of a nappy fastener. 

Nappy Bucket

A nappy bucket is a storage solution for dirty nappies. They are often used with a mesh bag and are an easy way to store dirty nappies before washing. 

Nappy Cream

Nappy creams should be used with caution as traditional nappy creams can coat reusable cloth nappies making them liquid repellent! 

Nappy Fastener 

A nappy fastener that holds flat nappies in place. It is a plastic gripper that uses little teeth to grab the fabric and is considered a safer alternative to pins. 

Newborn

Newborn cloth nappies fit from around 5lbs to around 12lbs (some go as high as 15-20lbs!). These smaller fit nappies ensure a comfortable fit for your newborn from day one! 

O

One Size Nappy (OS Nappy)

Also known as birth to potty, one size fits most, one size fits all. 
They are designed to fit from around 8lbs to 35lbs (most commonly) and have rise poppers that allow you to adjust the size of the nappy as your baby grows. 

Organic

Organic fibre means that the plant the fibre comes from was grown without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.  

P

Pocket Nappy

This type of reusable nappy has a waterproof outer with a stay dry inner layer attached. This creates a pocket between the two layers which you can place absorbent inserts into. This enables you to choose how much absorbency you require. 

Pod

A nappy pod is a shaped 'bag' perfect for storing clean nappies for nursery, childcare or when going out for the day or away for the weekend. Most can fit between 6-10 nappies and are an easy way to keep your nappies organised. They can also be used to store dirty nappies, spare clothes or anything else you can think of! 

Popper

A plastic snap fastening found around the waist, or on the front rise of reusable nappies. Also called snaps. 

Prefold

Prefold nappies are traditional terry squares or flat nappies. They need folding and a cover placing over the top of the nappy. 

Pre-wash

This can either refer to a short wash with detergent before the main wash when cleaning your nappies or an initial wash before using your new nappies to build up the absorbency.

PUL

PUL is Polyurethane Laminate. It is a type of water resistant material that is laminated using a heat solvent process. It is used in many reusable cloth nappies and wraps.

Q

R

Reusable Nappy Week (RNW)

Reusable Nappy Week happens each year in April and is usually the week around Earth Day. During this week you will see increased nappy information/events and often discounts and offers also! 

Rinse

It is important to rinse all the suds out of nappies to prevent a build up of detergent.

Rise

This refers to the front of a nappy. Many nappies (often one size nappies) come with poppers along the front so you can make the nappy smaller or larger depending on the size of your little one

Rolled elastics

Some reusable nappies have rolled elastics on the legs. These are usually gentler on the legs and leave no sock marks but you must check that they are rolled inwards and no material is sticking out. 

S

Saturated

This is when a nappy is totally full of wee and either you need to change more regularly or increase the absorbency with a booster. 

Shell

These are waterproof layers that are used with a variety of inserts. They go over the top of the absorbent parts of the nappy and are sometimes called a wrap or a cover. They are usually made of PUL. 

 

 

Snaps

A plastic snap fastening often found on nappies to fasten them around the waist, or on the front rise on One Size Nappies. Also known as 'poppers'. 

sock marks

These are the gentle red marks you may find around your little ones legs after wearing a nappy. They fade quickly and do not cause any pain or discomfort to little one. 

Strip wash

A strong wash intended to "strip" them of any washing powder or ammonia smell. This is something you may never need to do with a good wash routine. 

T

Terry Nappy or Terry Squares

This is the traditional reusable nappy previous generations will remember using. It is a square piece of terry cotton, or sometimes bamboo, that is folded and fixed with pins or a nappy fastener. You then put a wrap over the top. They are quick to dry. 

Training Pants

These are thicker and more absorbent than regular pants and are ideal during the transition from nappies to potty training. 

Two part system 

A two part system is a nappy with a cover and an unattached absorbent inner nappy. Terry squares and a wrap are an example of a two part system. 

U

V

Velcro

This is a brand name of a hook and loop attachment. 

Vest extender

You can buy small pieces of fabric attached with poppers to extend the bottom of your little ones vest. If you find that their vest is too tight but they are not ready to move into the next size these can be a good option for you. 

W

Wet Bag

A wet bag is used to store your dirty nappies in. You can get smaller ones for when you are out and about or larger ones for at home. There are lots of uses for wet bags not just storing dirty nappies! 

Wet Pailing

This is no longer recommended due to modern washing machines and detergents but it was where nappies would be soaked prior to washing in water. 

Wicking

Wicking is the process of moving moisture through layers. So when this happens correctly, the moisture is wicked through the microfleece liner and into the absorbent parts of the nappy. This creates a dry layer next to babies skin. However, sometimes you will hear the word wicking used to talk about when moisture is wicked from the edges of the nappy onto clothing - usually if little one's vest is too small/tight or the wrap isn't fitted correctly.

Wrap

These are waterproof layers that are used with a variety of inserts. They go over the top of the absorbent parts of the nappy and are sometimes called a cover. They are usually made of PUL. 

X

Y

Z

Zero Waste Week (ZWW)

Zero Waste Week is a week in September when there is increased focus on the amount of waste we produce. Reusable nappies are often discussed in Zero Waste Week and you'll find discounts and offers in this time. 

Back to blog
  • What is an all in two reusable cloth nappy?

    What is an all in two reusable cloth nappy?

    What is an all in two reusable cloth nappy? All in two nappies generally are two pieces, an absorbent shell and a waterproof outer. These pieces tend to attach together...

    What is an all in two reusable cloth nappy?

    What is an all in two reusable cloth nappy? All in two nappies generally are two pieces, an absorbent shell and a waterproof outer. These pieces tend to attach together...

  • What is an all in one nappy?

    What is an all in one nappy?

    What is an all in one reusable cloth nappy? Generally, an all in one nappy is all attached as one piece - so the nappy goes on and off like...

    What is an all in one nappy?

    What is an all in one reusable cloth nappy? Generally, an all in one nappy is all attached as one piece - so the nappy goes on and off like...

  • Brand Focus: All About Close

    Brand Focus: All About Close

    Close started in 2004 and is a UK based brand who specialise in reusable nappies and baby wearing. They make products that are inspired by the world around us, sensitively...

    Brand Focus: All About Close

    Close started in 2004 and is a UK based brand who specialise in reusable nappies and baby wearing. They make products that are inspired by the world around us, sensitively...

  • Do cloth nappies hinder movement?

    Do cloth nappies hinder movement?

    A common concern among parents who either use reusable cloth nappies or are considering using them, is if cloth nappies will hinder a little one's movement or development. There have...

    Do cloth nappies hinder movement?

    A common concern among parents who either use reusable cloth nappies or are considering using them, is if cloth nappies will hinder a little one's movement or development. There have...

1 of 4

Get in touch for personalised advice and support with reusable cloth nappies

Reusable Cloth Nappies at imogen ruby

1 of 4