Nappy Types 

All In One (AIO) 

This nappy system is a single nappy, with the water resistant cover and the absorbent section attached with only an optional liner needing to be added.  

These can take longer to dry as they can not be separated out. Some may also need additional absorbent pads, called "boosters" adding if your child is a "heavy wetter"

These are most often used for childcare setting as they are quite simple to use. 

If one part of the nappy fails the entire nappy needs to be replaced rather than just the part that has failed. 

All in Two (AIT) / Hybrid 

This nappy system can be used like an All in One, but the absorbent  part of the nappy can be removed from the wrap/ shell water resistant cover, giving the option to change the insert rather than the entire nappy. 

Drying time can be less as the sections of the nappy can be separated. You also have the option of purchasing more inserts which take longer to dry than the wrap/shell.

The Wrap/ shell can sometimes be also used for Two Part systems with the opportunity to mix and match brands.  


This system has a nappy wrap/ shell water resistant cover,  with an added pocket for you to "stuff" with absorbent boosters/ fabric. 

Drying time can be less as the sections of the nappy can be separated

These are very accessible nappies on multiple selling platforms. You also have the option of purchasing more inserts which take longer to dry than the wrap/shell.

You can "Stuff" the nappy pocket with any material so you can mix and match brands. You can customise the amount of absorbency for your baby' needs. 

Two Part 

This nappy system is the most recognised as a cloth nappy as is the same system as the "terry nappy". This system is most often used at nighttime due to its absorbance capacity. 

The Fitted or Flat nappy part of this system can take time to dry as they tend to be thicker. The removable water resistant wrap/shell drys very quickly. 

You do not need to change the water resistant wrap/ shell with every nappy. 

These nappies are bulky, for this reason they are also popular for parents with children who have  "clicky hips", "hip dysplasia" or similar conditions. 

Fabric options 

Micro Fiber 

This fabric is man made and so is not as environmentally friendly as plant based fabric. There is also the consideration of micoplastic shedding when washed. 

It is commonly used in nappies doe to its low price point and ability to draw moisture away quickly. 

Microfiber can draw moisture away quickly however it can not hold moisture as well as other fabrics, which can result in " compression" leaks. 

When using microfiber you may wish to use a "booster" pad made of a plant based fabric to help it hold moisture. Equally you could use a microfiber "booster" to support a plant based fabric to remove moister faster. 

This fabric has a very short drying time and is heard wearing. 

Microfiber is also very drying on the skin and so a liner will be needed to protect the babies skin.


A commonly used plant based fabric.  Cotton is a delicate plant and is often grown with the assistance of chemicals making it less environmentally friendly than other fabric options. 

Organic, un-dyed and dyed options are all available.  These do not affect the absorbency. 

Cotton is sometimes refereed to as "terry" and is a very accessible material due to its current industrial production. 

This fabric is reasonably good at absorbing and holding moisture. Cotton is also harder wearing and will cope with being tumble dried. 


Easily produced fabric making it a more environmentally friendly option to cotton.  Hemp shares many of the qualities of cotton but is currently not produced on the same scale making it more expensive than cotton.  

Hemp is very absorbent and can hold the moisture very well. this makes it a popular option for "booster" pads. 

Hemp is also very breathable as well as having anti bacterial and anti fungal properties which can help to support healthier skin. 

This is a very hard wearing material and can be a little course when new, however it will soften with frequent use. 

Currently fewer nappies are made from this fabric. 


Fast growing plant fabric making it more environmentally friendly.  It can be identified by its shiny properties.  Bamboo is currently not produced as much at cotton, making it a more expensive fabric. 

fabric made from burnt charcoal bamboo is also available but there is little research to say that it is any more absorbent. 

Bamboo can hold a high amount of liquid. It deals best with small amounts continuously and so when a child starts to learn bladder control you may need to use it in combination with other fabrics to help. 

Bamboo is very soft and so is an extremely popular choice next to babies skin. Bamboo also has a natural anti fungal and anti bacterial properties 

 It is however more delicate and will not cope with being regularly tumble dried or being placed on a heat source as well as other options. 

Due to its ability to hold liquid  bamboo takes longer to dry. 

Wrap / Water resistant covers 

Polyurethane Laminate (PUL)

PUL is a laminated fabric, the lamination is a plastic coating. Some companies are moving to using recycled plastics to make them more environmentally friendly. 

This is the most commonly used water resistant layer currently used in nappies. It is light, thin, soft, breathable, wipe able and drys very quickly. 

The fabric does not cope with high temperatures and so should not be tumble dried, dried on direct heat or even left out in the sun on very hot days. 

Over time or if not looked after the PUL can deteriorate and fail. Currently you can not re illuminate the nappies, however there are many up cycling projects  that you can donate to.


These wraps/ covers are hand knitted and so are commonly home made by  small crafting companies. Wool itself if very expensive as is the process to produce the wrap/ covers. 

This option is very breathable but is bulkier than the PUL options. Wool However avoids man made fabrics however is not vegan and so there is a debate as to the environmental impact. 

Wool is naturally water resistant especially when it has been treated with lanolin. Lanolin is naturally produced by sheep to keep themselves warm and dry however it is removed in the washing process, for this reason they need to be treated with lanolin from time to time. 

Other treatment includes "felting" which is when the wool nappy cover is washed to shrink the gaps in the fabric made as a result of being knitted.  

Due to the fabric they do take a period of time to dry. 

Fleece  (soakers ) 

Fleece is a man made fabric that is very accessible, has a low price point and similar properties to wool. 

Fleece is very breathable and very hardy but is bulkier than the PUL option. 

It is a man made fabric using plastic derivatives which can shed during the washing process.  

You do not need to pre treat or take additional considerations to the washing process. Fleece dries faster than wool but takes longer than PUL.


Plastic covers are not very commonly used with modern nappies but may be in a set of handed down nappies. 

Plastic covers are not very breathable, they are crunchy but are light weight. 

The plastic covers dry very quickly, can be wipes down but must not be dried using  heat. 

Over time the material may become brittle. 

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