Originally published in 2009. Updated 10/5/2020
How do I determine which type of Washable (reusable) Adult Bib is right for my situation?
There are many styles of washable adult bibs or clothing protectors to choose from. The industry standard adult bib measures 18” wide x 30” high. The bibs vary based on cost, size, material being used and neck closure style.
Cost – Surfing from website to website you will see a wide range of prices for adult bibs. Look for wholesale sources that sell their adult bibs and provide volume discounts. Buying directly from the importer and not from the middle man will save you money. If you want to buy pallet quantities call the company and see if they will deal on price. Most should be willing to cut you a deal on pallet size orders. Most of the adult bibs we sell are designed and imported by us exclusively.
Size – The industry standard is 18” x 30”. The benefit of a long bib is that it covers the lap. The longer and wider the bib the less food and liquids will get on your clothes.
- 100% Cotton Terry Cloth – Most popular adult bib sold. This bib will shrink a bit but it is the most popular choice. It will also not last as long as a blended washable adult bib. Generally the lowest cost bib.
- Blended Poly/Cotton – This bib will not shrink as much as 100% cotton. It will also wash more times than 100% cotton. The polyester is a man made material and adds longevity to the cloth.
- Vinyl Back Waterproof Barrier (many styles) – Some bibs have a Vinyl waterproof back barrier sewn on them. The benefit to this style of adult bib is it will not allow liquids to soak through the material and get you wet. Try taking a bath towel and placing it on your lap and spilling a cup of water on the towel. It will leak through and get you wet. The Vinyl in adult bibs normally can be laundered and dried at high temperatures without melting together.
- 100% Polyester – Man made material. It will last longer in the wash. On the bibs we have seen it is usually not as absorbent as the cotton alternatives, but it is a nice attractive clothing protector.
- Flannel (several styles) – These adult bibs generally look nicer than the traditional terry cloth bibs. They add a little style to the bib and it is not as institutional looking. Depending on the style purchased they may have a blended material or be 100% cotton. Most are sewn to a Vinyl back waterproof barrier. As an example, see our Blue Yellow Flannel bib and Flannel bib with crumb catcher.
- Designer Styles – These bibs may have a flower prints or some sort of added design to make the bibs seem more like a fashion statement. Most people do not like to wear an adult bib. Some of the patterns can make wearing a bib a good conversation piece. See our quilted assorted design bibs.
- Vinyl Only Wipe Down Bib - This bib is a popular alternative. It is made of vinyl only and can simply be wiped clean. Many people choose this style because it does not have to be laundered.
- Poly/Cotton Broadcloth Printed - These bibs are often made of a blended broadcloth material and they are sewn on a vinyl back barrier. They do not absorb liquid as well as a thicker bib like terry cloth. However, they are much lighter and take less time to dry in the laundry. The pattern on the bibs also hides stains.
Neck Closure Style – VELCRO® BRAND/Hook and Loop, Snap, Knot Button or Self Tie?
- Hook & Loop Closure or VELCRO® Brand – This is the most popular closure style sold. It is easy to open and close. People with limited mobility in their hands can close the bibs. Make sure you close the Hook and Loop Closure (stick it together) when washing. Why? If you do not close the fasteners it will stick to other clothes or the bib itself and make pulls on the bib (terry cloth will pull). After time the closure may not work as well because the ability for Hook & Loop Closure to close after being laundered hundreds of times diminishes. Hook & Loop Closure is a generic to VELCRO® BRAND.
- Knot Button Closure - Our knot button closure bibs last longer then VELCRO® Brand or Hook & Loop Closure Bibs. The knot does not wear out as quickly. There are 2 knot holes on the bib to allow for neck adjustment. Simply slide the knot through the hole to clasp the neck closure. The main benefit they should last longer in the wash. We sell very few bibs with this closure.
- Snaps – Snap closure adult bibs require the dexterity necessary to close a snap. As some people age their ability to use their hands diminishes due to arthritis, Parkinson disease, or other mobility limiting diseases. Snaps will not pull on items being laundered like Velcro closures do. Snaps should last longer then Velcro.
- Terry Cloth Self-Tie – This closure is simply a bib that ties behind the neck. These bibs are hard for people with limited mobility to tie themselves. The bibs laundered well because they have nothing to catch on in the wash. These are the least popular closure style on adult bibs that we sell. The benefit of this type of bib closure is the caregiver can put their finger under the tie, lift up, and easily undo the tie. However, the person wearing the bib will not be able to pull the bib down and remove the bib.
Import vs. Domestic Adult Bibs
- Some companies choose to have their bibs manufactured completely overseas. These bibs are totally foreign made and labeled as Imported. Other companies may import their material from overseas already cut into the shape of a bib and then it is sewn together in the USA. These bibs are sewn in the USA and are referred to as "crafted in the USA." Some companies do buy their material domestically and manufacture their bibs here. Our point here is even if a bib says crafted in the USA it might be only the finished sewing, not the material, the cutting, etc…We have looked at thousands upon thousands of adult bibs and many imported adult bibs are better quality then the domestic equivalents.