Cloth Diaper TerminologyAIOs, pockets, fitteds, doublers, soakers...it can get a little confusing for a cloth newbie. Let us help you sort it all out. On this page we provide definitions for all the major cloth diapering products.
AIO - All-In-One - AIOs are fitted diapers that have a waterproof outer layer. This layer usually consists of fabric that has a PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate) backing, polar fleece such as Windpro, or wool. These are the closest in similarity to disposable diapers since they are a one-piece diapering system. The absorbent soaker material is often sewn into the diaper; it may also be detachable.Read more about AIO cloth diapers here.
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 usually a second, separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the diaper. The drying time for these diapers is shorter than the traditional AIO. Read more about AI2 cloth diapers here.
Contour Diapers - Contours are hourglass shaped diapers with no elastic in the legs or back. They must be held together with a SNAPPI Diaper Fastener, pins, or a diaper cover. These diapers are not waterproof, so a cover will be needed.
Diaper Covers - Covers come in many styles and shapes, but their function is to provide a waterproof outer layer for non-waterproof diapers (all except AIOs). They are often fitted with elastic and fasten with snaps or Velcro. Some covers pull-up, like underpants. Diaper covers are usually made from polyester, Polyurethane laminates (PUL), waterproof nylon, fleece or wool.
DSQ ~ This stands for Diaper Service Quality. Diaper services use only the highest quality materials because their diapers must stand up to a lot of use and a lot of laundering. DSQ is usually used in reference to high quality pre-fold diapers.
Doublers Doublers are pad-like absorbent soakers that can be added to a diaper to increase absorbency. They are especially useful during times when you know extra protection is needed, perhaps at night time.
Flats - These one-layer diapers, generally made out of 100% cotton gauze, are the most "old-fashioned" choice. They dry quickly and fit a large range of sizes. Folding and pinning are required. Read more about flat cloth diapers here.
Fitted Diapers - Fitted diapers closely resemble disposable diapers. They are contoured and fitted with elastic around the legs and back. They fasten with Velcro or snaps, and a waterproof cover must be worn over them. They are the next step up from flat pre-fold diapers and much easier to use. Read more about fitted cloth diapers here.
Hook & Loop - These are Velcro-like closures. Since the Velcro brand is not very soft, many diaper makers use Aplix or Touchtape brand hook and loop.
Liners - Liners are thin layers of cloth or paper that are placed inside the diaper to aid in the cleaning of solid waste. In the case of paper liners, the solid waste collected on the liner can be removed from the soiled diaper and either thrown away or flushed. Cloth liners must be washed, but aid in laundering. They also help protect the actual diaper from staining.
Longies - These are also called soaker pants or sweater pants. Longies are wool soakers that have longer legs to form pants. They are great for winter time.
Pre-folds - Pre-fold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They are similar to flats, but have multiple layers with more layering in the middle. They often have 2-4 layers of absorbent material on either side and 6-8 layers in the middle. The amount of layers varies according to the size you choose, generally ranging from preemie to toddler. You may see a pre-fold described as being 4x8x4. This describes how many layers there are in the outer and inner sections: 4 layers in both outer sections and 8 layers in the inner or middle section. Pre-folds are usually the cheapest type of cloth diapers available. They must be used in conjunction with a cover. Read more about prefold cloth diapers here.
Pocket Diapers - Pocket diapers are like AIOs or AI2s. They have an outer layer of a waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay dry material, like microfleece or suedecloth. They close with Velcro or snaps. They have a pocket opening that allows for the absorbent material to be stuffed in the pocket during use and then removed for laundering. The absorbent material for stuffing can be an insert that comes with the diaper or a pre-fold or doubler. Some moms use terry wash cloths. Pocket diapers are a popular choice among cloth diapering moms because you can customize the amount of absorbent material. Read more about pocket style cloth diapers here.
Snappi - A plastic mechanism that fastens a cloth diapers. These are often used instead of diaper pins.
Soaker Pants - See Longies
Soakers - The term soaker can be applied two ways. It often refers to the absorbent middle part of the diaper that absorbs the moisture when a baby wets. Soakers may be sewn inside the diaper, partially sewn to form a flap, snapped in inside the diaper, or simply laid inside the diaper. The term soaker is also used in reference to wool diaper covers.
Wool In One (WIO) - This is a All-In-One (AIO) but made with wool outer fabric.