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Thursday, December 4, 2008

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The Whisperer Answers: What is "PUL"?

Have you ever asked yourself- "What in the world is PUL?" PUL is one of those "diaper lingo" terms which stands for Polyurethane Laminate. It is a type of coating that is applied to different fabrics to make them waterproof. PUL is primarily used in pocket type diapers (example: Fuzzi Bunz or Happy Heiny's). PUL is primarily used on polyester knit fabrics. If PUL is used on cotton there is a tendency for the fabric to wick moisture. PUL fabrics are 100% waterproof and able to withstand washing in hot water and a medium heat setting.

Here are some types of PUL (note- wording in italics is taken directly from Neptune Fabrics website):

1) Regular PUL is a single layer of soft polyester knit with a thin film of non-breathable polyurethane laminate (PUL) applied to one side. It is lightweight and drapes well, yet is waterproof and extremely durable.

There are 2 thicknesses: (1 mil and 2 mil)

A mil is one-thousandth of an inch. Both 1 mil and 2 mil laminates are equally waterproof, but in general the 1 mil has a more elegant drape and softer feel, and the 2 mil has a thicker, more durable feel. The 1 mil laminate is ideal as the waterproof layer for all-in-one and pocket-style cloth diapers, reusable menstrual pads and bibs. The 2 mil laminate is well suited for waterproof items requiring greater durability, such as lightweight jackets, diaper pail liners, pocket-style cloth diapers, diaper covers, wet bags and changing pads.

2) Breathable PUL is same soft polyester knit used in regular PUL, but laminated with a 1 mil layer of waterproof, breathable co-polyester film. The micro porous coating allows for dispersal of moisture vapors, which helps keep the body cool. This fabric is excellent in waterproof mattress pads, sleeping bags and all styles of waterproof cloth diapers, diaper covers, and reusable menstrual pads.

3) Sandwich PUL is formed when a 1 mil or 2 mil layer of non-breathable polyurethane laminate (PUL) is sandwiched between two layers of polyester knit fabric. Both sides of the fabric have the soft feel of the knit, but the resulting fabric is waterproof.
This is the durable variety of PUL. Perfect for diaper covers.

The major source of PUL comes from a company called Fabrite. Many manufacturer's use this company to laminate their diaper fabric. Fabrite does require a minimum of 50 yards to be laminated so a consumer is unable to buy the laminated fabric direct from Fabrite. There are many online cloth diaper fabric resources. (I will be doing a post soon on "Making your own cloth diapers" so stay tuned.)

Whether you use pocket or all in one diapers most likely your baby is staying dry thanks to the PUL!


JGRUMET said...

Are fuzzibunz breathable PUL?

Kelly Wels said...

No, fuzzi bunz are not breathable pul. Not many pocket diapers are made with pul.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the great info on PUL. I would one day like to make my own diapers of some sort and love to hear what specific materials are being used today.

Denise said...

We've made some of our own fitted diapers. I'm eager to read your post about making diapers. Thanks for the great info about the PUL. We have some Jamtots that are a minky PUL & I would LOVE to be able to buy that to use in making my own diapers.

Anonymous said...


Is there any way to tell if a piece of PUL fabric is breathable? There are so many online fabric stores selling PUL fabric and some just generalize PULs as breathable fabrics but I see here that there are actually different makes.