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Thread: (apologies - rant ahead) what's it with this $%&# smooth pvc/plastic? (grrmbl)

  1. #1

    Default (apologies - rant ahead) what's it with this $%&# smooth pvc/plastic? (grrmbl)

    Why, why, WHY, WHY??
    is it becoming impossible to find plastic pants that have this anti-cling-to-the-skin textured surface?
    Every plastic waterproof that I've had from birth to about a year ago was like that. The surface was embossed with a pattern of tiny square ridges, so that it resembled a woven material like linen.
    This is purely functional: because of the surface irregularities, the plastic does not tend to cling to your skin. Smooth plastic, on the other hand, will do so.
    It's the same principle as why a suction cup will hold on a smooth surface like glass, but not on a rough surface: the air is able to get underneath it.

    The good ones were from a very gentle, supple pvc quality that had been treated with lanolin to further improve the comfort (this makes the surface even less prone to "stick").

    Over the years, the quality of the pvc used for plastic pants has deteriorated. There is one brand here in the Netherlands, SGA, that used to make quite good plastic pants (apart from the much too narrow elastics). But the last pair I got were really a joke. The seams fell apart when I barely looked at them, and the pvc is just sad. It has a very unpleasant smell, too. I really wonder how they manage to produce something so appallingly bad. You cannot just do this by accident, it seems .. it takes a dedicated effort.

    So I have been looking at foreign brands. The first one everyone mentions is Suprima, by our German neighbours. And sure, as the stereotype will have it, they are of decent quality. But, my oh my, the material. What can I say about it .. it's waterproof. I'll hand that to them.
    These were the first pants that I had that were made of smooth pvc. I tried them. Wherever the plastic touches the skin - at the sides, or above the diaper, or near the leg elastics - wherever it can cling, it WILL cling. You notice this as soon as you change position - by discomfort.
    By skin irritation over time. Chafing. I got at one point so fed up that I threw them away.

    But with our national brand going to the dogs, I will have to find something else. So in the past year I have looked everywhere, all over the internet. I wasted my money on shipping costs for pants that were apparently just meant as ornaments, or designed by clowns.
    I found a few decent ones, apart from that they are always and ever made from this horrible smooth plastic.

    Yuck.

    So what is the matter? Why is the world apparently no longer able to produce a decent pair of waterproof plastic pants? Is it a High Magical Art that has sadly been lost in the mists of time?

    Or is it that because many IC folk don't use plastic pants with the coming of ever more absorbent disposables, that the market for plastic pants has been taken over by those who cater to the fetish market only?
    What I have seen of this, fetishists seem to have a marked interest in shiny, rubbery, latexy things. I've no idea why. I only know that this seems to be the opposite of "comfort". Shiny things are not comfortable. They make tickle some people's fancy, but they are NOT comfortable.

    I did find one internet shop in France who sold really good pants. I was actually delighted to have found that. But guess what? The second pant that I got from them, was made of much inferior pvc. I mailed the owner, and he confirmed that the original supplier of the good PVC had gone bankrupt. He was worry but could not do anything about it.



    Hi - sorry but I'm really annoyed about this issue. And it's slowly turning into sadness and being utterly flabbergasted, aghast, dub-struck, confounded and bewildered.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara View Post
    Why, why, WHY, WHY??
    is it becoming impossible to find plastic pants that have this anti-cling-to-the-skin textured surface?
    Every plastic waterproof that I've had from birth to about a year ago was like that. The surface was embossed with a pattern of tiny square ridges, so that it resembled a woven material like linen.
    This is purely functional: because of the surface irregularities, the plastic does not tend to cling to your skin. Smooth plastic, on the other hand, will do so.
    It's the same principle as why a suction cup will hold on a smooth surface like glass, but not on a rough surface: the air is able to get underneath it.

    Understand. Don’t know if they’re available in your area, but have you tried “Duralite Waterproof Pants”?

  3. #3

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    Thank you. No, I've never seen those. But I'm not sure if these will be as waterproof as plastic pants; they're nylon which is a fabric. I've had other nylon pants some years ago and though they were water repellent, they weren't 100% waterproof: on very wet nights it would sort of weep through the pores.
    But if they're available here I might give them a try.

    Still, I'm also very interested in opinions / ideas about why the textured vinyl is disappearing.

    Someone on another forum said that she'd heard someone state that "the textured vinyl in not hygienic because it's hard to clean". That's nonsense. If you can clean cloth diapers, you can CERTAINLY clean a plastic pantie. I've done that every morning in the past 20 years or so - I think I would've noticed
    Sure, maybe there is a bit of difference if used for fecal IC (and then running around with it for 4 hours straight - sorry, the association is too obvious to let go :p ) - but still. If you can clean cotton, you sure can clean PVC.

  4. #4

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    It may be that if you spoke to manufacturers they would tell you that all kinds of research and legislation considerations affect the way they configure their products - it may be that some kinds of embossed plastic are no longer manufactured. Another consideration may be that the plastic pant market is a shrinking one - I think the availablity and improving efficiency of disposable diapers means that very few are used in institutional settings or where people are cared for at home. This may mean that some manufacturers are looking to the fetish market, but this is likely to be highly competitive and often results in pants that are designed more for the "look of the thing" than for usefulness.

    Having said all this I think the textured pants are still available - but in the same way as infants "baby pants" are now very hard to come by, instead of being in every corner store in the days of cloth nappies being universally used -I think adult plastic pants will become a niche market item with fewer options and higher prices.

  5. #5

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    Still, I've read at several places that many IC people are looking into cloth diapers / plastic pants as an environmentally friendly and comfortable alternative. It may very well have a future.
    I find plastic pants very useful. Maybe we should just speak up more.

    If anyone has any ideas as to what manufacturers I could talk, I'd gladly give it a try.

    @dayannight - would you know where I could possibly look to find those textured pants?

  6. #6

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    I wonder if you have looked at pants made of PUL - there are adverts for these on ebay and this material is increasingly being used for washable baby diapers. I think PUL stands for polyurethane laminated fabric which is waterproof and can have a textured feel to it.

  7. #7

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    Well, Baby-Pants.com has one type of textured plastic pants. They only come in pastel-pink and are textured with tiny stars. Unfortunately, their website says that their manufacturer as discontinued this type of plastic. Therefore they only have a few left, and from what I could see they are all 3XL and larger. A link to their site is below if you want to check it out anyway. I ordered from them a couple of months ago, and didn't have any issues.

    Plastic Pants For Adults

  8. #8

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    hi BabyJessi - I actually saw that site, and I read that notice as well. Unfortunately, 3XL is way too large for me. But I appreciate you mentioning it, for I could have missed it.

    @ dayannight - I'm sorry .. I missed your reply until now. I am unsure about that PUL, but I am going to try one of those from a french manufacturer. I have tried something similar before but that wasn't a huge success because the material sort of weeped a bit. It wasn't 100% waterproof - maybe 99%, but that's still an annoying little difference. The problem with any "breathable" material is that anything that allows air to pass, will eventually also allow fluid to pass if there's enough of it around.

    I really feel a bit frustrated about all this ... especially because I just can't understand why a perfectly good solution is being made impossible in a very high tempo. It almost feels like a planned destruction of knowledge built up in decades. Comparing some pants that I used to have with what's available now I might just as well put a trashbag on to bed, or a pant made from duct tape (with the glue inside) *yuck*

  9. #9

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    Kara - Have you tried any of the Gary pants made here in the states? For years they have made both solid and pastel colored pants with tiny taffetta embossing on one side. You can google Gary manufacturing or go to plastic-pants.com, which is one of the many distributors of their pants. I actually used to wear VIP pants, because they were exactly like the Gerber baby pants from my childhood. Alas, they are no longer in business. I have to agree with you about the quality of the plastic. It seems to be getting worse among manufacturers. However, Gary pants are pretty good and I know some of them are not smooth on one side. Hope that helps.

  10. #10

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    Hey thanks! I will have a look at that!

    I have one old pant from a French manufacturer that is made of this really good pvc. Unfortunately, it's much to big for me: I didn't understand the french size system when I ordered it. It's also of a rather strange design: far too little room for the diaper. Therefore, it's practically unusable. The cut is basically that of a normal pair of knickers.
    I made a picture of the texture, here it is:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (click image for a larger version)

    Another good thing about this pvc is that it's treated with lanolin, which makes even more gentle on the skin.
    Last edited by Kara; 19-Jul-2011 at 21:20. Reason: added picture of pvc (and a line)

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