PUL or TPU: What is that about?

Waterproofing the outer covers for cloth nappies is a very important process. If we didn’t have this technology, we wouldn’t have these brilliant breathable and cute cloth nappies for our babies. It wouldn’t be so easy now.

What is the different between Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)?

PUL is a chemical bonding process of laminating the waterproofing layer on our cloth nappies. It is applied to polyester, minky or cotton as required. It is often said that PUL is stronger bonded and can last more, longer and hotter washes, than TPU.
TPU is a heat bonded process of laminating the cloth nappy. In this case, solvents or chemicals are not used to apply the polyurethane to the material.
When feeling a cloth nappy, you will feel the difference between the polyester covers. Those that are softer, like Rumparooz, use TPU. While Baby Bare use PUL and Bummis use a thicker layer of polyurethane on their covers.
Which is better for baby? With the lack of research I could find in journals or the internet, there is really none. Maybe consider the use of solvents to apply the polyurethane to the material in PUL.
If you are after natural fibres against your babys skin, then a wool cover is your best and only option. They are super easy to use and care for.
Do TPU not last as long as PUL? There is no proof to this. Grovia uses TPU, as does Rumparooz. My Rumparooz nappy has seen 2 kids through their nappy years. My PUL ones have lasted the same amount of time.
I don’t know about TPU being more environmentally friendly than PUL covers. The only real difference is how the laminate is applied. Less chemicals is great for the environment and baby, but also when these are breaking down in the ground.
So what can you take away from this article?
1) PUL uses more chemicals than TPU to bond the waterproof layer to the fabric
2) TPU is softer than PUL.
Waterproofing options were created initially in the medical field to reduce the wastage of disposable items. Products that can be sanitised and reused, is always cost effective.
So when choosing your cloth nappy, don’t get too hung up on PUL vs TPU. You have the facts now. Make a decision and move forward.
Your cloth doc

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