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Nappy A-Z glossary

Welcome to the world of cloth nappies. Lots of new parents want to start using reusable diapers on their babies but it can be a confusing world full of products that are hard to understand. We thought a dictionary of the most common items would be helpful.


Here is our A-Z guide of cloth nappy terms and their definitions - 

  • Airy Storage - vented storage is thought to be the current best practice to store used nappies, to allow air flow and stop the build up of smells and ammonia. use net bags, mesh baskets, open nappy buckets, open nappy pails.
  • All-In-One / AIO - just like a disposable, easy to use but harder to boost and takes longer to dry, complete unit nappy
  • All-In-Two / AI2 - like AIO cloth diaper but have removable inserts, makes drying quicker
  • Acidic wee - can be caused by teething, urine can burn skin, leaving rashes and sometimes blisters, may mark nappies
  • Ammonia build up - incorrectly storing nappies when taken off or short / infrequent wash routine, can cause baby to have red, sore, blistered skin or nappy rash and can degrade fabrics quickly, will smell like a litter tray or hair dye, common in disposables too due to fast absorbency
  • Applix - hook and loop closure, velcro
  • Barrier Protection / cream - emollient spread thinly to prevent skin becoming wet or to protect if sensitive, check it is safe for cloth nappies, like coconut oil
  • Bamboo Nappies - usually made of bamboo viscose, super stretchy, soft and absorbent. Keeps nappies thinner than cotton but more likely to wear out
  • Biodegradable - materials that can be naturally broken down by organisms causing no pollution
  • Boosters - fabric added layers to nappies to 'boost' absorbency to prevent leaks, good overnight, could be cotton, hemp, bamboo
  • BTP / birth to potty / B2P - wraps and nappies that 'grow' with baby, using a poppers to adjust the rise and extended wings
  • CCN - Clean Cloth Nappies -  strict washing instructions developed by chemists to keep nappies in perfect clean condition, Australian group of cloth nappy washing experts
  • Cheeky wipes - with fresh boxes and bags for unused wipes kept damp ready for use, and mucky boxes and bags to store used wipes until washing with essential oils, the original one wipe wonder cloth wipes system will take you from birth to potty training


  • Cloth Nappies - reusable washable nappies made from fabric used to catch urine and faeces
  • Cloth nappy library - UK Nappy Network (UKNN) -  run by volunteers hiring out cloth nappies and accessories to families for a small fee
  • Cloth wipes - square fabric washable reusable baby wipes ready to wet, use then washed and used again, size fits hand well
  • Contours - shaped liners or boosters like an hour glass to fit gusset area securely
  • Cover -  wool, fleece or PUL / TPU water resistant overlay for absorbent nappies to prevent leaks
  • Double gusset - ridge sewn into the gusset along the leg rounds to better contain faeces 
  • Dry Pail - instead of soaking in water (wet pailing) before washing, store dirty diapers dry, this prevents degradation of material
  • Fitted nappy - shaped absorbent nappy, needs a waterproof wrap over the top to prevent leaks
  • Fleece - manmade polyester fabric allows fluid to pass through under pressure to be absorbed by boosters underneath
  • Folds - ways of gathering flats, terry squares or muslins, and securing with a nappy nippa or safety pins
  • Gusset -  pleats sewn with elastic into leg rounds to create a groove for catching poop and pee, might be single or double
  • Heavy wetter - bladder holding toddlers and big drinking babies who pee lots especially at night time, saturating diapers
  • Hemp - extra absorbent even though thin, can harden over time,this fabric is super sustainable
  • Hook and loop - (applix or velcro) one side has small hooks and the other loops to catch to them. Helps get a tighter bespoke fit, can lose grip overtime and gather fluff and dirt, can cause pulls by snagging other clothing in the machine
  • Hybrid - reusable shell that can hold reusable or disposable inserts
  • Inserts - stitched rectangular layers of cloth to insert in pocket nappies
  • lanolin - fat from wool normally sheeps so not suitable for vegans, keep wool items waterproof (lanolised) and can be used as a barrier cream or on sore nipples
  • laundry tabs - a patch of looped velcro next to the wings of applix nappies for the hooked wing to secure to during washing to stop damage to other clothes or the diaper itself.
  • Liners - strips to lay next to the skin inside nappies to keep baby dry and to catch most of the poo making clean up easier, also protects the nappy from staining. Reusable fleece is better at keeping baby dry but they can also be single use paper or bamboo liners
  • Mesh bag - a net storage bag for damp items before and during washing - available in a range of sizes to hold baby wipes, make up wipes, nappies, reusable period products. Airy storage prevents the build up of odours
  • Microfibre / microfiber - fast absorbing material used as inserts in pocket nappies, can be drying and scratchy as it absorbs so quickly it so not good against babies skin . Great as a first layer behind a fleece liner or inside a pocket. Acts like a sponge so benefits from a bamboo or cotton layer underneath to absorb squeezed out fluid.
  • Microfleece - different to microfibre, is a stay dry layer next to baby, a layer of man made fleece
  • Modern Cloth Nappy - shaped cloth with elastic, poppers or velcro to mould to baby in the same way as disposable nappies
  • Nappy Buckets - bucket to store used cloth diapers in
  • Nappy Fasteners devices to secure nappies -  snaps / nappy nippas / safety pins / poppers /velcro 
  • Nappy free time - no nappy time to allow air to get to the skin between changes while baby plays
  • Nappy Nippas - modern child safe nappy pin, using solid plastic hooks and stretchy arms to hold the wings and grip the crotch of fitted diapers / prefolds / muslin to hold it closed, shaped like a T
  • Nappy pins - safety pins to secure unshaped flats and prefolds together
  • Newborn nappy - tiny nappies made for preemies and newborns, good to have a few, have good preloved value
  • Night nappy - thicker absorbency nappies for use overnight, usually a fitted needing a wrap,  made from bamboo / hemp / cotton, worth having a few dependent on your washing and drying times
  • OSFM / OSFA - One size fits most / One size fits all - as with B2P, these have poppered rise and extended poppered or velcro waist and wings, designed to grow with baby
  • On the bum - slang for the nappy baby is wearing currently
  • Organic - made using natural farming methods with no chemical fertilisers or pesticides, might be a little more expensive
  • Outer - leakproof water resistant outer layers of nappies 
  • Pail Liner - PUL or mesh bag for inside a bucket or nappy pail, can be used on their own too for airy storage
  • Pocket  / pocket Nappies - stay dry (fleece) inner and waterproof outer shell with with a ruched pocket between the two that can be stuffed with inserts, can be velcro or poppered
  • Poppers - found on the waist, hip, and rise to alter the fit of nappies, can make a nappy fit from newborn to toddler
  • Preloved - nappies bought and sold second hand through pre-loved sites on social media
  • Prewash - a quick rinse cycle to get rid of most of the waste before a longer wash
  • PUL - polyurethane laminate is a thin stretch of polythene bonded chemically to fabric - can be cotton or plush, it is the thickness of cling film leaving it waterproof yet breathable
  • Pull-Up - nappy that can be pulled up and down the legs for potty training but still undone like a nappy if needed
  • Rise - folds on the front of one size fits most nappies and wraps to shrink or enlarge as baby grows using poppers to adjust size from newborn to older baby
  • Shaped nappy -  absorbent cloth layers without waterproof outer sewn into a diaper with elasticated leg rounds, can be poppers or velcro,  evolution of terry squares or prefolds
  • Snaps - male to female press studs, also known as poppers
  • Soaker - wool or fleece bottoms to go over cloth nappies that aren't waterproof, suit overnight as more breathable and comfortable than wraps
  • Soaking Solution - water based solution used to presoak nappies before washing, should be kept short, and store nappies 'dry' before washing. You can add stain removers, tea tree oil, a small amount of detergent etc
  • Starch stains - caused by medicines especially calpol and some foods leaving black marks
  • Stripping / strip washing - a long, hot wash to sanitise nappies, use if they are second hand, if there has been illness or tummy bugs in the family or for ammonia build up


  • Strucket - strainer and bucket in one for soaking / draining washing /  soiled bedding / cloth nappies / sports equipment / football boots / reusable period items
  • Swim nappy -  waterproof cover or neoprene outer layer for use in water, none absorbent parts or there is a drowning risk as baby will become heavy, old worn out wraps can be used as swim nappies but not newer ones as prolonged exposure to chlorine might cause damage
  • Tabs - side panels on the waist to secure wings of velcro nappies
  • Tea tree oil - great as a mucky wipes solution as it is a powerful antiseptic, fungicidal, anti-bactericidal essential oil, not for use on babies skin
  • Terry - towelling like weave of fabric that creates loops to hold more liquid 
  • TPU - thermoplastic polyurethane, layer like cling film bonded using heat to fabric like plush or cotton, very thin means it is waterproof yet breathable
  • Training pants - potty training pants for older babies who are potty training or have small accidents
  • Two-Part Nappy / Two parter - combination of an absorbent reusable cloth nappy and waterproof outer layer
  • Unbleached -  less processing, without bleaches or dyes, leading to a more natural fabric, often organic too
  • WAHM - Work At Home Mums - makes reusable baby care items at home around raising children
  • Wet Bag -  lined storage bags for used wipes, nappies, soiled clothes, sanitary items with a PUL or TPU interior and patterned fabric outer, can be single or double pockets with zipped closing, in a range of sizes
  • Wet Pailing - method of storing dirty nappies and cloth baby items while they wait to be washed to soak them, in a nappy bucket or strucket, current thought is that dry pailing prolongs fabric life and leads to less smells so is preferable
  • Wicking - leaks seeping round the legs or waistband of the nappy and wetting clothing and bedding; also absorbent fabric behind fleece soaking up moisture to 'wick' it away from babies skin
  • Wipes - reusable cloth baby wipes, like disposable wipes but washable, great for babies skin, the environment and much cheaper than single use wipes long term
  • Wool -  lanolised wool naturally evaporates urine to form a leakproof, breathable layer over cloth nappies, perfect for nights, only requires washing once in a while and re-lanolising 
  • Wraps - PUL or TPU waterproof nappy cover with poppers or velcro to cover absorbent nappies, often one size fits most

"Doodoo nappies and wipes = game changer! I love this company and such a fan of their products. I use the cheeky wipes and doodoo nappies for my baby.

The wipes are much better than disposable wipes as I can clean my baby using just one wipe whereas disposable water wipes I would use perhaps 3 or 4. I also find that my baby’s skin has improved. The nappies fit really well on my baby.

Are not bulky and I think my baby can more freely when compared to other brands I have tried such as little love bum and bambino mio and they do not leak. I was initially worried that I have to put the cloth nappy on and then the wrap rather than just one nappy like the other brands but it doesn’t effect me at all and the nappy is a much better fit.

The longest I had the nappy on was for an over night of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep and there was no leaking! The customer service is amazing, I have used both the live chat and email when I had some queries before I made my purchase with the nappies.

I now wouldn’t shop anywhere else for my reusables now and 100% recommended this company." Kirsty, Jan '24 Trustpilot 

If you found this blog helpful you might like to read - 

The different types of reusable nappies

Pocket nappies: Everything you need to know

How to stop reusable nappies leaking






If you would like more information, please email the team or find us on the website chat function. We all use the products ourselves and LOVE to chat pee poo and periods. Nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences.

About the Author: Kirstin on our customer services team loves spending her days helping customers with their reusable period product needs and advising cloth nappy using families. Kirstin lives with her three teenagers and loves walking and sea swimming year round in our beautiful bay.