RANT: retailers, please be clear about the type of backing on diapers!


Est. Contributor
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Here we are, 2 decades into the mainstream availability of cloth-like adult diapers and descriptions are still unreliable, non-updated and plainly beat around the bush as if we are all stupid. In the old days, you could easily tell the outer backing of a diaper by looking for the prescence of the term "cloth-like". Nowadays, cloth-like can be used to describe the inner "facing" (absorbent side). I wonder if most retailers care that their descriptions are old (the product has since gotten rid of the plastic backing in favor of cloth) or that the marketing terms are creative enough that you can't actually tell what kind of backing the diapers have. The descriptions might as well use phrases that say, "you buy this product, you like very much" because that's about the quality of the manufacturers vanilla descriptions. Saying a product is waterproof conveys absolutely no information as the product wouldn't be useful for any sort of incontinence if it wasn't waterproof to some degree. Along with disclaimers that the picture might not reflect the product or that the product may be substituted for another equivalent product illustrates that just about every case purchased is a gamble. Things would be different if adult diapers didn't change much, but in my experience, I'd find it odd if I didn't notice a difference between two cases of the same brand in the same year! Sadly, this is the way its always been...

I wonder if retailers realize if they gave real descriptions, rather than marketing hype provided by the product manufacturers (or better yet, the product manufacturers themselves writing better and *current* descriptions), this might result in a sales increase? This would also help those in the general public avoid plastic-backing if they so choose and those with the now common IBS, might cause those in the general public to seek 100% plastic backing because odor control is more important than an easy-to-hide crinkle.

Assuming the description is current (which is uncommon too and why things like Amazon reviews are even more important because real people know how to describe a product in real words), many times, the absorbent side facing the skin is talked about as "breathable" even if the backing is plastic. Molicare or hybrid briefs anyone? Waterproof backing can mean either. Breathable can still mean plastic backed, but with cloth-like on the sides or cloth-like all over. The term "Poly" (because marketers are generally afraid to use the term "plastic") is technically a misnomer as polyethylene film is what we associate with plastic backing however polypropylene (spun cloth-like fibers) is what they use in breathable covers. When you see "Poly", it loosely translates to "plastic backing" based on industry use of the term but its still imprecise. I've noticed better descriptive terms "plastic feel" for "security and odor control", but its still not used a frequently as it should. In the UK, I've noticed the term "Foil" which seems to mean "plastic backing" but not sure if this is now outdated or not. Back in the mid-90s, our friends at Kimberly Clark used "underwear type feel" (not to mention "more underwear-like color") in describing the ability of plastic Depend diapers to be pulled down to your knees, because it was technically possible, even though you lost the good fit without re-doing the tapes afterwards.

Whether you want plastic backing or want to avoid it at all costs, don't manufacturers and retailers realize that the backing of an adult diaper to be the first primary concern of consumers? Based on the market trends, you can gather many non-AB/DL people want to avoid diaper (or the plastic crinkle) unless they can't help it, so they would appreciate the concrete terms that tell them what kind of plastic backing is on a particular product. It's just frustrating that trying a new brand or an existing brand you haven't ordered in 6 months always (for me) turns into a large research project to see if the backing has changed. Wouldn't you think the two most important factors of an incontinence product would be absorbency and discretion (with discretion loosley translating to the type of cover used) and you are better off being descriptive (truthful) with people rather than burning them with a product they have to donate so they might never try a particular brand again?

This rant is mostly targetted towards medical diapers as ABDL diapers and outlets like Northshore are great about describing the outer cover of a diaper as one of the most important distinguishing features.
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