The terms reusable diaper, cloth diaper, reusable nappy, cloth nappy or real nappy are all interchangeable and mean the same thing. They are all reusable diapers, and are made from natural fibers, man-made materials, or a combination of both. They are often made from industrial organic which may be bleached white or left the fiber’s natural color depending on the manufacturer.
Other popular natural fiber cloth materials include bamboo, unbleached hemp, and wool. Man-made materials are becoming increasingly popular due to improvements in manufacturing. Materials such as an internal absorbent layer of microfibre towelling or an external waterproof layer of polyurethane laminate (PUL) or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) may be used. Many cloth diaper brands also use polyester fabrics such as microfleece or suede-cloth inside cloth diapers as a stay-dry layer, similar to a wicking liner because of the non-absorbent properties of those synthetic fibers.
Modern cloth diapers come in many of shapes with many unique designs and technologies utilised. The industry is now a far cry from the days of only terries and flats, and most brands specialise in diapers such as preformed cloth diapers, all-in-one diapers with waterproof exteriors, fitted diapers with covers, and pocket diapers, which consist of a water-resistant outer shell sewn with an opening for insertion of absorbent material inserts which the parents can choose. These inserts can be bamboo, cotton, hemp, or microfibre, and each will serve a different purpose allowing the parent to customise the diaper to their liking. Many brands also employ artists to design unique patterns and prints for the outer layers, allowing the diaper a sense of individuality and cuteness that a disposable diaper or an early cloth diaper simply didn’t have.