Clothssary "cloth glossary"

The term “Clothssary” was originally coined by Instagram’s @clothandclem who started this epic list. Some additions and modifications made.

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Adding additional inserts to a nappy (commonly they come with an insert or two) to increase its overall absorbency. Term commonly used as baby grows or overnight.


Nappies which are made from a widespread basic pattern and mass produced in China. They are often sold in bulk on sites like AliExpress and have no additional features. They got their name from being cheaply made with poor materials in poor working conditions.

CCN (Clean Cloth Nappies)

A website dedicated to helping people understand how to wash cloth correctly. They look at your machine, detergent etc and have done the calculations! Very useful information. Clean Cloth Nappies Website


Additional female (inner snaps) on one of your wings which allow the wings to be crossed over and snapped to each other instead of the front of the nappy. Used on the smallest setting if needed.


Process of the laminate separating off the external polyester fabric layer. Usually means the nappy is no longer water resistant. Occurs through excessive heat (washing too hot, drying for too long in the sun or by the fire), excessive chemical use, or due to age (a nappy is usually tested for 300 washes which is approximately 1 year).


Can refer to an internal or external additional barrier of elastic+fabric to allow the nappy to be stuffed with more absorbency. It is a myth that they create an extra barrier for poop, although they are commonly still called this.

An internal double gusset is sewn into the lining of the nappy (commonly a pocket nappy) and looks like two rows of leg elastics close together. An external double gusset is sewn above the regular the leg elastic (so it looks like two lots of leg elastics). 

Note: an internal double gusset can be over stuffed and leak more easily than a well stuffed single elastic. When used properly they can provide additional poop catching.


When a baby or toddler pees so quickly inserts cannot absorb fast enough and liquid spills out the sides. Common as baby grows and learns to hold onto pee for longer periods of time. Often combatted by using a fast absorbing fabric directly against baby's skin i.e. bamboo terry wipe or cotton, or adding a microfibre insert on top of a slower absorbing hemp or bamboo cotton. Note: if using microfibre this must go inside a pocket as it cannot be directly against baby's skin.


Extra snaps on the wings which can be used to prevent the wings from riding up or down (wing droop). They can be just at the top, just at the bottom or both. They are extra to the one or two used to secure the nappy.


Inserts are absorbent layers of fabric that go inside a pocket or are snapped onto a nappy shell/cover to soak up liquid. They can be made of many different fabrics depending on what you need.


The process of mixing lanolin (fat from sheep’s wool) with detergent and soaking your woollies/wool covers. This helps the wool to form a water-resistant layer on the fabric to keep moisture in the nappy.


Refers to the elastic around the leg of the nappy and how it sits against baby’s skin i.e. no gaps, but not so tight it leaves indenting that doesn’t go away after 1hr.


Are thin pieces of reusable fabric or disposable paper (never flushable) that sit between the nappy/insert and baby’s skin which some use to make poo clean up easier.


This refers to your washing machine when doing a long wash. It means comfortably filling to the top when adding items so the load looks about 2/3rds full when wet (30min into your cycle). It allows all items to agitate and rub against each other properly to get the cleaning done. Loading is not important for your short pre-wash.


Helps locate the centre of the nappy and can be used for securing inserts (if they also have snaps). Useful for knowing how many snaps outward you attach the wings.


Microfibre can’t go against baby’s skin as it rapidly draws moisture out, including natural protective skin oils. Feels grippy to the touch/slightly rough (think cleaning cloths).

Microfleece can go against baby’s skin and is a common liner fabric. Feels like polar fleece, soft, fluffy.


A nappy shell that has a soft outer fluffy fabric like a baby blanket. Some may have a hidden water resistant PUL layer, some may not so always double check.


One size fits most is a nappy that fits a range of sizes, generally from approx. 3.5kg – 16kg. Also known as birth to potty (BTP). These nappies can be resized using a series of snaps on the front of the nappy. Commonly found in pocket, AI2 and covers. You may also see LOSFM which is a large fitting one-size nappy. They have rise snaps to adjust sizes like a OSFM but will start at a higher weight range i.e. 12kg  23kg.


On The Bum/Butt. An acronym commonly used when talking about what nappy your baby is currently wearing e.g. what’s OTB this morning?


Term used to describe solids poop when it is firm enough to roll back and forth on the nappy into a ball and plop into the toilet. Easier with some internal fabrics than others. Some toddlers never get to this stage and may always have softer poop.


The term used to describe when poop escapes the nappy, disperses onto all available fabrics, objects, people, and looks something like the aftermath of a lava overflow!

PUL (Polyurethane Laminate)

Is the shiny plastic layer on the inside of a shell that gives the polyester outer fabric its waterproofing. It can be solvent bonded to the fabric (usually called PUR) or heat bonded (called TPU). The combination of the plastic laminate bonded to the outside polyester (the pretty print side) is PUL regardless of which laminate you are using.


Found on OSFM nappies, are the rows of snaps down the front of the nappy that allow you to make the nappy smaller or bigger. The top row are male snaps (stick out) and snap onto the 2-4 rows of female snaps below (inward shape).


Found on OSFM nappies and using the rise snaps, they allow you to shorten the length of the nappy and expand as baby grows. Aim is to get a good leg seal at each weight so you don’t need a new nappy each time baby outgrows a setting.


Used when purchasing second hand nappies or if your wash routine hasn’t gone to plan. Involves very high heat or bleach to kill bacteria that may be trapped inside the nappy. Instructions can be found on Clean Cloth Nappies website.

SNAPPI (brand)

A fastening device for flat nappies or prefolds. The little teeth on each end of the Y-shape grip onto the fabric keeping the nappy in place without safety pins.


Used when purchasing second hand nappies or if your wash routine hasn’t gone to plan. Involves a process of neutralising ammonia (if incorrect wash routine used) using diluted bleach solution. Also has the added benefit of sanitizing shells. Also see SANITIZE WASH.


Pinching the crotch of the nappy as you bring it up between the thighs to get the elastic into the underwear line.


Attachment that can be purchased for older style toilets that look like a hose/bidet attachment. Used to spray excess poop off your nappy before dry pailing.

TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane)

Is a type of PUL but instead of being solvent bonded onto the external polyester fabric, heat is used. Can be considered the more environmentally friendly option (due to lack of chemicals used in the bonding process) but if done incorrectly/poorly, is easier to delaminate. Almost all nappies use TPU nowadays.


The strip of fabric at the top of the nappy where the wings snap onto. It sits closest to baby and may have 1 or 2 rows of snaps, or a strip of velcro. On the inside, it may have a strip of PUL water resistant fabric touching baby's skin to help prevent wicking of moisture onto baby's clothes.


The crease between the top of the thigh and the outer labia majora lips (girls) or scrotum (boys) where the leg elastic of your nappy should sit.

WAHM (Work At Home Mum)

Usually refers to nappies that are handmade in smaller quantities and are more of a speciality item.


The double (or less commonly single) row of snaps across the top front of the nappy.


Area where the inserts are the wettest. Often towards the front for boys and more central for girls, but it can also be dependent on the way your baby sleeps.


When moisture or liquid seeps from the nappy onto clothes. It usually happens at the tummy, the back at the waist, or the legs. It's common when baby's are in body suits, in car seats, or a carrier as pressure on the full inserts mean they squish like a sponge. Can also occur if baby floods their nappy quickly with pee and the inserts cannot keep up.


When the front of the nappy closest to baby’s skin (the tummy panel) rides up or down past the wings (think extra fabric sticking out).

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