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Laminated cotton is just one of the many fabrics included in the synthetic or petroleum-based fabric family. Laminated cotton is safe for children which is why Rain Baby Gear it for our blankets and our kid aprons.
Each type has different and distinct chemical makeup, properties, and practical uses. These fabrics are frequently mixed up, or even called the wrong name. We hope these details clear up some of the confusion out there.
Laminated cotton is a 100% cotton fabric that has a thin layer of polyurethane or polyethylene film attached to the patterned (called the right side) of the fabric which allows water to bead quickly and roll right off. It is phthalate-free, BPA-free, lead-free and CPSIA-compliant. The plasticized surface makes it easy to clean with a damp cloth. It is soft and scrunchable, and not stiff like oil cloth.
Oil cloth is a thick layer of polyvinyl chloride (or PVC) on top of a mesh. It is very shiny, very durable, but very stiff. As a PVC product, oil cloth contains phthalates. It is lead-free. It is not CPSIA compliant and is not intended for use for products for infants or children under 12. Oil cloth is often used for grocery bags/sacks, table cloths, placemats, coin purses etc.
PUL is polyester/ polyurethane laminated fabric. It is typically a 100% polyester knit fabric laminated on the back (called the wrong side) with a thin film. The combination makes it very stretchy and durable. It can withstand high temperatures, such as washing in hot water. PUL is breathable, and completely waterproof. PUL is frequently used for diapers covers, bed-wetter sheets, and mattress pads.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl is another type of plastic fabric that is known for being very durable. They typically contain phthalates, a chemical that makes this type of plastic softer and more flexible. PVC fabrics are used for adult clothing and upholstery, and they have many other uses in the construction industry.
Nylon is a synthetic fabric made from polyamides. It was touted as "a miracle fabric" when it was invented and became an alternative to silk. Nylon is known for being lightweight and durable. Nylon is used to make everything from stockings, parachutes, tents, ropes, to bullet proof vests.
Acrylic-coated cotton is a fabric that is heat-treated with a powdered acrylic to give the cotton fibers water and stain resistant properties. Acrylic is not a PVC-based plastic, like oil cloth. It is machine washable and can wipe clean. Acrylic-coated cotton is BPA-free and CPSIA compliant. Acrylic coated cotton is frequently used for table cloths and children's apparel. It is a little waxy to the touch as well as stiffer than laminated cotton.