Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do all print diapers leak? The difference between Cotton Laminate and PUL.

I bet you've heard through the grapevine that you should stay away from purchasing print diapers because they leak.  We're going to de-bunk the myth for you and explain the difference between Cotton Laminate diapers and PUL diapers.

The topic of diapering materials, especially if you don't sew or have never attempted to make your own diapers, can be super confusing.

Most diapers, solid colored, are made from what is known as PULPUL is is a polyester/polyurethane knit fabric that is 100% polyester. It is then laminated to make it waterproof/leak-proof and is considered a non-breathable fabric. PUL usually comes in two thicknesses 1mil & 2 mil. While both are waterproof, the 2 mil is sometimes considered more durable, however it is also known to be harder to work with, as far as sewing diapers is concerned, and therefore not all diapers are made from 2mil.

What about print diapers?
Some print diapers are a polyester print that was sent off, usually to the same manufacturers of the solid color PUL, so that they may laminate it, rendering it waterproof, the same as the regular solid colored PUL.

Other print diapers are a cotton print. 100% Cotton prints that are laminated, known as cotton laminate, are not as effective as polyester prints that are laminated. They are known to wick and/or leak more frequently than their polyester friends. However, there are 50% poly 50% cotton knits that are laminated and in most cases to perform just as well as the 100% poly, so it seems that laminated prints should contain at a minimum 50% poly or more in order to be effective at preventing leaks/wicking.

Why do some diaper manufacturers still make diapers out of cotton laminate?
Because there are soooo many cute prints of course! The cuteness factor often reigns supreme in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it's not important to everyone to have all the cutest diapers, but try and convince someone they don't want that uber cute "ooga booga' pocket diaper they saw and you'll be fighting a losing battle.

Ultimately, just because a diaper is made from a cotton knit and not poly simply means that you're sacrificing extended wear and some reliability for the joy of being able to put a cute diaper on your babies bum for friends, for photos, or for comfort. You take the good with the bad, you put the diaper on knowing to check it more frequently, or maybe after a thoroughly soaked diaper change because you know she or he will be able to wear it a little longer.

The verdict:
Check the fabric content for the diapers you buy and keep the above information in mind.  If you have a concern ask your favorite retailer about the materials of the diaper you are interested in and they should be able to tell you what they're made of.

The Cloth Diaper Industry is constantly changing and so are the materials that the diapers are made out of so make sure to ask if you have questions or issues.


TheTreeHugginMomma said...

I know a lot of WAHMs make diapers that have the cute cotton knit on the outside and a soft fleece on the inside and then sandwiched in between the layers is the PUL.

So not all prints are going to be less durable!

nicolesspirit878 said...

I still need suppliers that sell good PUL and cotton laminate.

The Durhams said...

Joann Fabrics just started selling PUL at their stores and online. It's a decent price per yard as well:

I sew my own cloth diapers and used PUL from the following sites:

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