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Types of Cloth Nappies

There are a number of different types of cloth nappies; they all do the same job, but generally people find they have a preference over one or the other depending on their situation.


All-in-One (AIO)

An All-in-One nappy is exactly what it says – All-in-one.  It is the cloth nappy that is most like a disposable.  You put it on, take it off, wash it, dry it, put it on again.  There is no snapping of inserts, no stuffing of pockets.  It is the easiest nappy for Daycare Centres, Grandparents and often Dads!

These nappies have a waterproof outer layer and then all the absorbency is built in to the nappy.  They may have a flap or fold-out insert that is attached to the nappy, but not built in, to speed up the drying time. Some AIO nappies also have a pocket for adding additional absorbency if required.

AIO nappies come in a range of closure options (snaps and velcro/aplix) and fabrics.

Examples of AIO nappies – Thirsties AIO/NAIO, Tots Bots Easyfit, Smart Bottoms



All-in-Two/Snap-in nappies can be broken down into parts – the waterproof outer shell and the inserts that snap or lie inside the shell.

Washing and drying times are less than for the AIO nappy as the absorbent part of the nappy can be removed and dried separately from the shell.

The shells can also be reused if not soiled by adding clean inserts.  This can be a cost effective option for many people.

Examples of AI2/Snap-in nappies – Best Bottom, Bubblebubs Candies, Close Parent Pop-in



A Fitted nappy is much like an AI2 nappy, it has an outer shell and inserts, however the outer shell is not waterproof and the nappy requires a cover.  The whole outer shell is made of absorbent fabric therefore increasing the overall absorbency of the nappy.  The cover also acts as an additional barrier, preventing leaks

Fitted nappies are great for newborns, heavy wetters and for overnight.

Examples of Fitted nappies – Bubblebubs Bamboo Delights, Thirsties Natural Fitted, TotsBots Bamboozle, Imagine Bamboo Fitted



A Pocket nappy is made up of 2 layers – an external waterproof PUL layer with cotton or minky and an internal stay-dry layer of microfleece or suedecloth.  These 2 layers are sewn together with an opening at either the front or back of the nappy where the absorbency is inserted.

This type of nappy allows you to fully customise the absorbency by using different inserts such as bamboo, hemp and microfibre, depending on your situation.

Examples of Pocket nappies – AppleCheeks, Ecobubs, Rumparooz



A Prefold nappy is the modern version of the cloth flat.  It has been ‘prefolded’ into a rectangle with increased layers of absorbency in the middle section.  This is then folded again depending on the child/situation and placed inside an waterproof cover.

Prefold nappies are generally made of cotton.  They are an economical option, and dry quicker than some of the more absorbent fabrics such as bamboo.

Examples of Prefolds – Real Nappies, Imagine Bamboo Prefolds


Night Nappies

The night nappies available at Nappy Heaven have been chosen because of their reliability.  These nappies have superior absorbency, allowing them to last 12-14hrs or more!  They are a must for heavy wetters, often better absorbency than popular brand disposable nappies.



Covers/wraps are a separate waterproof cover that can be used with fitted and prefold nappies.  They come in PUL, wool or fleece.  PUL is the most popular choice for day and night as it is easy to care for, maintenance free and very trim.

PUL is short for polyurethane laminate - basically a polyester fabric is laminated to make it waterproof and prevent leaks.

Wool or fleece covers are better options for overnight, over a fitted nappy.  The covers are breathable, absorb moisture and prevent leaks.  Fleece is inexpensive and can just be put in the washing machine with your nappies.  Wool covers can be aired unless soiled as they have a ‘self-cleaning’ ability.  They do require lanolising to maintain their waterproofing however they have superior moisture absorption and leak prevention than fleece covers.


On the website the nappies are arranged in sections according to their type to try to make the process of choosing nappies easier for you.  When first starting out with cloth nappies it is suggested to trial the different types to establish was works best for you, your baby, your circumstances and your budget.  We have an extensive range of brands and styles available at Nappy Heaven and offer trial packs of the most popular and reliable ones.

Got your nappies?  Now how do you care for them??  It's easy, really!  Check out our care information here!

Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your cloth nappying needs - either via the website or the Facebook page.  It can be very confusing and daunting initially given all the different types and styles, and I'm only too happy to help you make a decision for your individual situation!