Useful cloth nappy terminology

When you're starting out in the land of cloth nappies all the acronyms and strange terminology can be very confusing and add to the overwhelm that new parents often feel. As with anything new, it's just a matter of researching and learning but this list is a great place to start so all that research actually makes sense!


These are the most common acronyms you'll see used on cloth nappy blogs,  forums and Facebook groups.

MCN - Modern cloth nappy

OSFM (sometimes OSFA) - One size fits most (sometimes one size fits all)

AIO  - All-in-one

AI2 - All-in-two

This blog post is a great place to learn more about the different types of nappies.

PUL - Polyurethane laminate (waterproof fabric) PUL is chemically bonded.

TPU - Thermoplastic polyurethane (waterproof fabric) TPU is heat-bonded.

WAHM - Work at home mum. Sometimes refers to the person and sometimes it is used to refer to a nappy they make by hand at home. For example: I have some great WAHMs, they're so reliable.

RAOK - Random act of kindness (usually a giveaway drawn at random)

CC - China cheapie. This is a bit of an in-depth one without a simple answer so if you'd like more information on China Cheapies, check out this episode of the Nappy Leaks podcast.

EBF - Exclusively breastfed. Usually used to refer to poo in cloth nappy forums because what baby eats greatly affects your nappies and how to clean them.

FF - Formula fed. As above it's usually about poo and cleaning.

S&S/SS - Strip and sanitise. With a good wash routine, this is something you may never need to do. To learn more see this link.

OTB - On the bum

Second-hand cloth nappy market

AC/As new - As new condition
EUC - Excellent used condition (be aware some may mean ‘extremely used condition’, this is rare but worth knowing)
VGUC - Very good used condition
GUC - Good used condition
UC - Used condition
FUC - Fair used condition
PUC - Poor used condition
ISO/DISO - In search of/desperately in search of. Usually refers to a print someone wants to buy.


Good terms to know

These are some of the terms specific to the world of cloth nappies or that have a slightly different use in this world.

Aplix - Another brand name for Velcro. The correct, unbranded name of both of these is hook and loop.
Delaminating - When PUL fabric breaks down and the laminated water-resistant layer pulls away from the polyester fabric and is no longer waterproof.
Dry Pail - A water-less way to keep your nappies until you wash them. It's best to use a basket with lots of aeration to prevent ammonia build up.
Wet pail - Soaking nappies in water often with Napisan. This is no longer recommended as it's not necessary given modern washing machines and detergents. It can pose a drowning hazard to small children and can put unnecessary wear and tear on your nappies.
Prewash - Usually referring to a short wash with detergent that is used before your main wash when washing nappies. Sometimes it can mean an initial wash before using your new nappies.
Minky - A fabric with a short-pile often used for nappy covers. Minky fabric has PUL laminated on one side to make it waterproof. Vicki made this video explaining the differences in the two materials.
Snappi  - A T-Shaped piece of stretchy plastic with teeth at each end to grip the fabric of the nappy.
Suedecloth - Like microfleece is a fabric used to keep baby's dry by drawing away moisture. It is not absorbent.


Often confused terminology

These are some terms that are often confused with each other and I thought it would be helpful to break these down from the get-go. 

Insert - Absorbent piece of fabric, usually referring to the main piece of absorbency that comes with your nappy.

Booster - Absorbent piece of fabric, usually added if your child is out-wetting their nappies.

Liner - Liners can be reusable (microfleece) or disposable. Neither of these contains absorbency. Disposable liners can be used to make poo removal easier and reusable liners usually act as a stay-dry layer.
Microfleece - Used as a liner (see above) to provide a stay-dry layer against's bub's skin. Can also make poo clean up easier and lessen staining. They look like this.
Microfibre - A highly absorbent polyester fabric used in a lot of cloth nappies. It absorbs quickly but is prone to compression leaks. Think of a sponge, you can soak up a lot but the water comes back out when you squeeze it (or baby sits down).
This is by no means an exhaustive list of cloth nappies terms if you want The Ultimate Cloth Nappy Dictionary, check out this blog post on the ANA website.


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