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Review of Snap-EZ 4 Life
By Shawn Micheal
Ive been coping with urinary incontinence since 1994just one of many issues left behind after a massive infection to the brain and spinal cord. That was long before web searches and ecommerce, as we know it today, so for the first few years I went through a difficult time trying to find diapers that worked. I used hospital rubbish, as well as institutional and retail disposables. They all worked great as long as I changed them often, along with my trousers and underpad!
One day in the back of a disability magazine I discovered a small ad for a vendor of adult cloth diapers and plastic pants. My wife and I raised our kids using cloth diapers and were very aware of the advantages over disposablesmost important being leak containment. So, apprehensively, I bought two cloth diapers and one pair of plastic pants and for the first time since becoming disabled I slept through the night without a leak! The next day I ordered more.
Over time I discovered that adult sized cloth diapers and plastic pants have their disadvantages:A thick diaper is not good. It doesnt wash and rinse well, allowing bacteria and fungus to grow within the inner layers, causing skin irritation and rash, and a foul odor when wet. A thick diaper also requires more time to dry. Diapers are typically sewn with flannel or Birdseye, which sheds during washing and drying. Fluff remains trapped within the layers of fabric, collecting into large, uncomfortable lumps. Plus, the cloth disintegrates over time around the pinning area. Plastic pants are delicate and cant handle heat, which means lots of hand washing and plastic pants always hanging in the shower to dry. Plastic pants seem to split on heat welded seams at inopportune moments. The elastic used on some plastic pants wicks heavily, causing leaks instead of preventing them. Also, some elastic may cause an allergic reaction (I know and it really hurts).
In 2004 I needed to replace my cloth diapers once again. I did a search of the web to see if there was anything new or different since my last purchase and found nothingat least for adults. But, in the baby market there were many new and innovative diaper products available. And some of them were very close to what I thought would be the answer to some of the problems I had come up against in day-to-day cloth diapering.
What if I could talk a manufacturer into adapting their product for an adult? After careful study of the various baby diaper designs and reading numerous reviews, one manufacturer stood outSnap-EZ. I emailed the company, explaining my situation and my idea. (Admittedly, I was concerned what the company would think of my request!)
The owner, Ruth, responded immediately and a phone dialog began. Her efforts to create the best baby diapers on the market were growing her business very quickly. Ruth knew it was inevitable that the company would expand into diapers for incontinence, but she felt the timing wasnt right yet. To get an understanding of an adult product she decided to go ahead and try making custom Snap-EZ PUL Pocket Diapers for me.
Over the next two months there were numerous emails, conversations, and several test samples. Ruth worked on my project personally and made sure that the design and fit was exactly right, at which point she made me a stack of Snap-EZ PUL Pocket Diapers, along with Contour Inserts/Soakers and Night Time Inserts/Soakers, and even some Snap-EZ Fitted Diapers.
Ive been using Snap-EZ Diapers for nearly 2 years now and theyve been exceptional. And still look like new!
Here are the advantages Ive found to using Snap-EZ PUL Pocket Diapers, all of which apply to the new Snap-EZ 4 Life AIO Diaper!
The cover is made with PUL (polyurethane laminate), a polyester knit fabric laminated with a thin layer of polyurethane on the inside, creating a waterproof fabric that is both stretchy and breathable. The polyester fabric wears like iron and feels almost as comfortable as cotton where it contacts your skin. The polyurethane is also extremely robust, unlike vinyl. The biggest advantage is that this great fabric thrives in a hot dryer!
The interior of the diaper is lined with polyester Microfleece from MaldenMills.
I cant attest to the quality of MaldenMills over other brands, but I can testify for Microfleece. The fabric is similar in feel to a soft cotton flannel when brand new. Unlike flannel though, Microfleece still feels wonderfully soft after 2 years of heavy wear and tear. The other great advantage of Microfleece over cotton flannel, or any cotton fabric, is that its hydrophobicit repels moisture. The breathable and wicking fabric quickly pulls moisture away from the skin and into the soaker, while providing a tremendously comfortable barrier between your skin and the wetness of the diaper. I can't vouch for the claims of easy fabric clean up in regards to fecal incontinence,but I don't doubt the claims as most modern reusable baby diapers also use Microfleece. I can vouch though for the lack of diaper rash since using Snap-EZ Diapers.
The legs and waistband are sewn with Lastin, latex free swimwear elastic. Lastin is non-allergenic, and very durable, being impervious to urine, perspiration, oil, cosmetics, and heat. Its hidden inside the seams, so only Microfleece and PUL ever contacts your skin. The Lastin gives a soft, yet snug fit, making it very comfortable on the legs and waist.
For closure there are three rows of four snaps on each side, ensuring a snug, leakproof fit on the waist, hips and legs. These are strong, non-allergenic, polyacetal resin snaps, that wont irritate the skin, corrode, or rust like metal snaps. Like Velcro, polyacetal resin snaps can handle a hot wash and dryer, but unlike Velcro the snaps dont require special care to prevent damage to the diaper or other laundry while in the wash. Their placement allows a wide band of the cover to hold the diaper in place, keeping the diaper in place even when very, very wet.
Getting into the inner workings of a Snap-EZ diaper, this is the other key reason why I seriously prefer Snap-EZ. When Ruth and I were working out the changes required to accommodate an adult, I received her first attempt at an adult PUL Pocket Diaper along with the stuffable insert/soaker.
I emailed Ruth to let her know that the PUL Pocket Diaper fit wasn't quite right yet and I would be sending it back with notes for changes, but I refused to return the soaker period.
The soaker is amazing. A layered affair of several types of knit fabric blends of hemp and cotton, each having a very different hand and purpose. Being knit gives the soaker a soft, pliable nature, thats retained wash after wash. But its the feel that initially won me over. The top layer is a hemp/cotton French Terry, a plush, cozy fabric that has an exceptionally soft, cushy feel. Next, a layer of Burley Knit Terry (100% Cotton) boosts absorption, while retaining softness. This is backed with a layer of Hemp/Cotton jersey fabric which aids in stabilizing the materials and catching wetness from the back side. All of this allows the soaker to gently wrap and conform to the contours of your body, making for a very comfortable fit, whether laying, sitting, or standing.
For those not familiar with hemp, it is the oldest fabric known to man. Its heavily grown and used throughout the world, except in the USA where it must be imported after manufacturing because of arcane laws and government subsidies for cotton. Hemp is a wonderful fabric. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities. Its more absorbent, stronger, and lasts much longer than cotton. And unlike cotton, it breaks in instead of breaking down the more you wash it. After 2 years of wash and wear, my soakers still look and feel like new and are just as soft. The only disadvantage to hemp is that it must go through a hot wash a half dozen times to remove the natural oils that makes it resistant to moisture.
The Bottom Line
From the beginning, Ive been ecstatic over my Snap-EZ Diapers. Ruth took tremendous care by not just adapting, but actually redesigning her products for an adult. The attention to detail in the manufacturing is extreme. After the mandatory washings the diapers were put into daily use and have never failed me. Snaps stay snapped. The fit keeps the diaper on and in place, even after heavy bedtime wetting. Call me crazy, but I really enjoy the vivid colors the PUL fabric comes in, along with the contrasting Microfleece and snaps. The color is fun and personalizes my diapers, and removes them from the realm of medical garments.
Ruth put her companys reputation on the line and scored a Grand Slam on the first hit!
After two years of heavy use I am even more satisfied
with my Snap-EZ Diapers than the day they arrived!
Covers still look new and the soakers almost do, breaking in to feel like a comfortable pair of sweats, in spite of the daily use and wash. The diapers still smell fresh out of the dryer, and don't release a foul odor when wet, a problem Ive had with all my cloth diapers after a short period of use. The attention to detail is even more evident in that not a single seam has come undone or hole appeared. In the past two years Ive had only one major leak, which occurred while sleeping on my back. (Hey, Im a guy. It happens! But, it use to happen regularly.) Several times when the diaper has been very, very wet Ive experienced minor wicking into the PUL along the inside of the legs (¼"), but in all honesty, I was past needing a change. I really appreciate my Snap-EZ Diapers. The best thing though is that because of Ruth, Ive really found something that works much better!
If youre looking for a better cloth diaper that's easy to wear, easy to care for, is really reliable, and can be changed in a snap, I highly recommend trying the Snap-EZ 4 Life AIO Diaper. These are really high quality diapers from a wonderful Christian owned company. I cant praise this companys products enough.
© 2007 Snap-EZ 4 Life™