Cloth Nappy Jargon Buster: Acronyms, Language & Abbreviations Explained
If you’re feeling confused about any cloth nappy lingo you’ve heard, you're in the right place. Refer back to this jargon buster guide and feel free to send us suggestions if you have come across anything we've missed!
Let’s bust that jargon:
- All-in-one nappy – a type of nappy where the insert is sewn on to the water-resistant cover. A win for convenience but not so great for drying time and treating stains. Conversely, with all-in-two nappies, the covers dry much faster and can be circulated back into your nappy stash much quicker than the inserts.
- All-in-two nappy – cloth nappies that come in two parts. NappyLuxe Snap & Go nappies have an outer cover and snap in inserts, so are classified as an all-in-two cloth nappy.
- Bamboo squares – similar to a terry square nappy, but made of bamboo. These can hold more absorbency than cotton.
- Bamboo Terry – this fabric is the perfect balance between being highly absorbent, fast drying, and offering low shrinkage, so it will retain it’s size and shape well.
- Bamboo Velour – this looks and feels similar to velvet and is silky soft against your baby ‘s bottom.
- Biodegradable nappy – a single use nappy that is thrown in the bin after use and goes to landfill. The nappy takes less time to decompose compared to a standard disposable nappy, but it still contributes to landfill.
- Booster – another word for a nappy insert. Usually used to describe a smaller additional insert that can be combined with another insert to add more absorbency.
- Cloth nappy – modern cloth nappies are often abbreviated to just cloth nappies.
- Cloth wipes – rather than using disposable baby wipes, cloth wipes can be washed and reused for everything from nappy changes, to cleaning hands at mealtime, to messy play clean ups. Simply follow our recommended wash routine to wash with your nappies.
- Cover – The outer shell of the nappy. This is the water-resistant layer that provides a barrier between the wet inserts and your baby’s clothes.
- Diaper – an American word for a nappy.
- Disposable nappy – a single use plastic nappy that is thrown in the bin after use and goes to landfill. These take up to 500 years to decompose.
- Dry Pail – a wire or plastic basket where dirty nappies are placed to store before they are washed. This is how we recommend storing cloth nappies instead of using a sealed nappy bin or soaking in water/washing solution.
- Fitted – this is a nappy whereby the whole nappy is absorbent, including the sides. Usually made from cotton, bamboo and/or stay-dry microfleece.
- Flanette Squares – similar to a terry square nappy, but made of flanette cotton material which is a smooth and little more trim.
- Gussets – this refers to an extra row of elastics either on the inside of the nappy or the leg area. They help to contain poo and urine in the nappy to prevent leaks. NappyLuxe have double leg gussets, which are otherwise known as double leg elastics. Shop double gusset cloth nappies
- Inserts – this is the absorbent part of the nappy that draws in and holds wetness. Shop cloth nappy inserts.
- Liners – a very thin piece of material that can be added to your nappy against your baby’s skin. The benefits are that they are stay-dry, and can make the clean up of poo easier. NappyLuxe nappies have built in stay dry layers and therefore you do not need to buy extra liners to keep your baby feeling dry. However if you prefer the addition of liners to make the clean up easier, you can shop disposable bamboo cloth nappy liners here.
- Main wash – this is the second wash that your nappies need to go through, all nappies should go through 2 washes..
- MCN – this stands for modern cloth nappy, which is sometimes called a cloth nappy, a reusable nappy, or a washable nappy.
- Minky – a soft, fleece-like fabric often used combined with PUL to create a water-resistant but luxuriously soft nappy cover.
- Modern cloth nappy – sometimes abbreviated to mcn, this is otherwise called a reusable nappy.
- Nappy bag - a dedicated bag used by parents to contain nappies and other essentials needed for baby while out of the home. Learn more about what to pack in nappy bag - tips for new parents.
- Newborn nappies - dedicated smaller sized reusable nappies to fit babies in their first few weeks/months of life, before progressing to one-size-fits-most reusable nappies. Learn about new parenthood: how many nappies a day newborn babies need.
- OSFM – this stands for One Size Fits Most. It means that the nappies should fit roughly from new-born to toilet training age.
- OTB – on the bum.
- Pocket nappy – a type of cloth nappy with a pocket opening, inserts can be stuffed inside the pocket.
- Pre-folds – similar to a terry square nappy, however with a built in thicker layer in the centre to aid absorbency.
- Prewash – this is the first wash that your nappies go through. All nappies should go through a prewash followed by a main wash.
- PUL – stands for Polyurethane Laminate. This is what the water-resistant outer cover of the nappy is made of as it's breathable so is perfect for nappies. NappyLuxe nappies use two layers of PUL for double the leak prevention.
- Reusable nappy – another word for a cloth nappy.
- S&S – strip and sanitise, this is a way to do a deep clean of your nappies. You may need to do a deep clean if your wash routine has slipped, if your nappies are stained or smelly, or if you’ve purchased second-hand nappies.
- Shell – another word for the nappy cover.
- Snap in nappies (Snap & Go) – another way to describe some all-in-two nappies such as NappyLuxe nappies. The inserts snap onto the nappy cover to secure them in place.
- Snaps – these are the plastic poppers that fasten the nappy onto your baby, they simply snap on and off. You will also see them on the front of the nappy, these are the rise snaps and allow you to adjust the sizing.
- Soaker – another word for a nappy insert.
- Strip clean – another way to describe a strip and sanitise.
- Strucket – this describes a plastic basket with holes in, contained inside another sealed plastic basket. It allows people to soak, separate and drain water from washing.
- Stuff – a term meaning to insert the absorbent inserts into a pocket nappy.
- Swim nappies - specific nappies for babies and toddlers to wear while swimming in the pool or sea. Learn more about how do swim nappies work for your little one.
- Terries / Terry flats / Terry square nappies – a square piece of cotton terry towel that can be used to fold into a nappy shape.
- Travel Change Mat – a portable change mat to use for nappy changes whilst on the go. Shop baby travel changing mats.
- Trifolds - a larger square or rectangular cloth insert which is folded into three layers for extra absorbency during day or night time. Shop trifold inserts.
- Wet bag – this is a reusable bag made from PUL which allows you to contain any dirty nappies whilst out and about, until you get home to be able to dry pail them. Shop cloth nappy wet bags.
- Wool cover - these are worn over the top a cloth nappy at night to stop leaks. They are popular with heavy wetters.
So there you have it, all the cloth nappy lingo you’ll ever need to get started on your cloth journey.
Meet the Author
Natalie, Founder of NappyLuxe, is an eco-conscious mother and entrepreneur who discovered the benefits of cloth nappies for her family and the environment. With a mission to create the ultimate cloth nappy, she spent years researching and testing various designs before launching NappyLuxe - a range of high-quality, easy-to-use, and ultra-absorbent cloth nappies. Natalie is passionate about sharing her experience and expertise, helping parents make informed decisions and embark on their own sustainable parenting journey.