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Any posts regarding the care, wash, use, stripping, trouble-shooting problems in relation to cloth diapering.

High Efficiency, or HE machines, can be top loading or front loading washing machines. Top-loading models look like standard machines from the outside, but like their front-loading cousin, they use different maymvwb750ywtypes of washing action to get clothes clean using less water and energy. Front-loading models are similar to machines used in Laundromats, which lift and drop clothing into the water instead of rubbing clothes around an agitator.

Many HE machines have sensors to monitor incoming water temperature and the weight of the load. They also rinse clothes with repeated high-pressure spraying instead of soaking them in a full tub of water.

Both top-loading and front-loading ENERGY STAR certified washers save resources such as gas, electricity, and water. They utilize faster spin cycles to extract more water out of the laundry, reducing dryer time and energy use.

HE Facts


Traditional machines generally require enough water to cover all the clothes in the drum, while a high efficiency washer needs only about a 20-66% of that amount.

Wash Time

Wash cycle times are generally longer with a high efficiency washing machine, but dryer times are decreased.


Cleaning the machine

Since water use is low, there’s a tendency for soap and soil residue to build. This requires you to run a monthly cleaning cycle.

Laundry Detergent

High efficiency machines cannot use the same detergent you buy for a traditional machine. High efficiency detergents do the same great job of cleaning but are formulated to work better in a low water environment.


Since there’s either no agitator or a smaller agitator in high efficiency washing machines, you can also generally do larger, and hence fewer, loads than in traditional machines.


Energy Star

Washers with the ENERGY STAR rating use about 35 percent less water and about 20 percent less energy than standard washing machines (15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons).

Benefits of HE machines

  1. Performance: Great at getting clothing clean. HE machines usually have more customized settings which can provide for better cleaning.  Many newer models of HE washers have sensors, enabling the machines to detect the weight of a load and the type of fabric, so they can run at optimal temperature and water levels.
  2. Less Wear and Tear: Unlike washers with agitators, which actually scrub the soil out of fabric, high-efficiency models toss and tumble through a stream of water to clean the laundry.
  3. Greater Capacity: Due to the removal of the agitator, front-loading washers save space inside allowing for larger loads. Front load machines  can also be stacked with a dryer to save space.
  4. Resource Preservation: Energy Star-rated machines are required to use 30 percent less energy than traditional models, and most high-efficiency washers use 20-66 percent less water.
  5. Shorter Dry Times: Although the wash cycle is longer, the spin cycle removes more water from fabric. This may not be an issue for those line drying in arid climates, but can help for those using the dryer or with more humid climates.
  6. Cost Savings: Although HE machines can cost quite a bit more upfront, they can save money on resources such as energy and water. Keep in mind if using the sanitize cycle on clothing or linens, that this super-hot cycle increases energy use significantly.

Drawbacks of HE machines

  1. Initial Cost and Maintenance Costs: HE machines can come with a hefty price tag. The machines will also have higher maintenance costs, due to the high tech features and cost of specialized parts.
  2. Noise: The spin cycle on HE machines may be a bit noisy. Placing a thick mat under the machine may help.
  3. Mold and Mildew on front loaders: Due to the rubber seal utilized to keep the water in, mold and mildew can grow around the inside seal and in the washer. Cleaning the machine on a routine basis should help, as well as keeping the door open in between uses (make sure small children do not have access to the machine when the door is open). Also make sure to remove laundry promptly after the wash cycle is finished.
  4. Difficulty Cleaning Cloth Diapers: Due to the amount and nature of the soil in cloth diapers, HE machines may not clean cloth diapers thoroughly. This can depend on the amount of water that the machine uses, wash routine, and the make and model of machine.

Common Questions

I need to strip my diapers. Does Dawn or other dish soap void the warranty?

Maytag says yes. Since dish soap is not low sudsing, it will most likely void the warrany on any HE machine.

How hot is a sanitize cycle? Can I use it on my cloth diapers?

160 + degrees Fahrenheit

We do not recommend using the sanitize cycle, or any cycle that is higher than 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit on our products, as it can damage the fibers and components.

What detergent should I use?

Here are our recommended detergents which are HE compatible:


Allens Naturally Liquid

Ecover Liquid

Ecover Powder

Mountain Green Free and Clear Baby

Mountain Green Ultra Baby

Nature Clean Powder

Planet Delicate Laundry Wash

Planet 2X Ultra Laundry Detergent HE



What brand of machine should I purchase?

We cannot recommend a specific brand or machine, but if you have an HE machine, please feel free to leave a comment for others to read.


As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions!



Sources include:

Maytag Customer Service


Written by Sonya Choron 7/23/13

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We have a list of recommended laundry detergents, but sometimes those detergents are not available to all consumers. These detergents will be free from brighteners, dyes, chemical fragrance, bleach, and fabric Fabric softenersofteners; as well as harsh ingredients. We wanted to give you another list of detergents that are CD safe, which you should be able to find at local grocery or discount stores. Of course, if you are close to a cloth diaper store, I would see what they carry first!

One of these should be available locally:


Bi-O-Kleen All Temperature, Liquid 

Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Liquid


ECOS Free & Clear 

ECOS Laundry Liquid

Dropps Liquid Laundry Pacs Dye and Scent Free

Tide Free (contains Brighteners)


The above detergents will be safe to use on cloth diapers, as will our list of recommended laundry detergents:


Allens Naturally Liquid*

Country Save Liquid

Ecover Liquid*

Ecover Powder*

Mountain Green Free and Clear Baby*

Mountain Green Ultra Baby*

Nature Clean Laundry Liquid

Nature Clean Powder*

Planet Delicate Laundry Wash*

Planet 2X Ultra Laundry Detergent HE

Planet Ultra Powdered Laundry Detergent



*HE safe


Finding the right detergent and using a good wash routine helps to ensure cloth diapering success. You can find our washing instructions here:


Happy Cloth Diapering!



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thirsties-number-one-reason-they-chose-cloth-843x403We know that new and expecting parents have an overwhelming amount of decisions to make when it comes to the well-being of their babies. Choosing whether to use reusable cloth diapers or disposable diapers is just one of the decisions that needs to be made. We understand that the abundance of information on cloth diapering combined with the variety of styles and brands can be confusing and intimidating for an expecting family. We hope that the information provided below will help simplify cloth diapering and enable you to make the best diapering decision for your baby and your family.


Based on 8,000 diaper changes from birth to potty training you can expect to spend between $2,300 to $2,800 on disposable diapers and wipes. In contrast, cloth diapering your baby can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. Using these figures, you can save up to $2,500 by choosing to use cloth diapers and wipes. Proper care and use will extend the life of your cloth diapers and allow for further savings by using them on additional babies.

The #1 reason our customers chose to use cloth diapers was for the financial savings. (Based on Thirsties’ 2012 Customer Survey of 720 cloth diapering families)

Use our Savings Calculator to see how much you can save by using Thirsties cloth diapers.

Healthy for your baby’s skin

Disposable diapers contain various toxins such as Tributyltin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and trace amounts of Dioxin. Your baby’s delicate skin functions as a sponge and what we put on it goes in it.

Thirsties uses low impact reactive dyes and processes that are eco-friendly. No heavy metals, toxic substances, or environmentally destructive practices are used in dying our fabrics. All Thirsties products are PVC (vinyl), phthalate, and lead free.

The second most important reason our customers chose to use cloth diapers was because they are healthier against their baby’s delicate skin. (Based on Thirsties’ 2012 Customer Survey of 720 cloth diapering families)

Environmental Impact

Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials than reusable diapers. Disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to our landfills and will remain intact for 500 years.


With the available variety of styles, colors, and prints you can customize a diaper stash that fits your baby’s personality and your budget. Thirsties offers over a dozen fun colors and several adorable prints to fashionably compliment your baby’s style.


With cloth diapers, there are no late-night trips to the grocery store for more diapers, no emptying your diaper pail into your already full trash bin, no pins and no rubber pants. With sturdy and easy-to-use closures cloth diapers go on your baby just as disposables do but with oodles more cuteness and style.

98% of our customers think that using cloth diapers is easier than they thought or about what they expected. (Based on Thirsties’ 2012 Customer Survey of 720 cloth diapering families)

Fewer blowouts

Cloth diapers contain blowouts far better than disposables. You can sleep soundly knowing you won’t be up during the night changing outfits, bedding, or bathing your baby.

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How to Disinfect Your Diapering Products

Picture courtesy:

Picture courtesy:

Simply washing your diapering items on hot with a good detergent will routinely help to wash away bacteria. If you are able to put your laundry in the sun to dry, that will also help to kill most germs.

However, if your baby has an infection in the diaper area, your diapering items (diapers, covers, wipes, inserts, and liners) will need to be disinfected each time you use them until about a week after the symptoms disappear. Below are some remedies that may help. Please keep in mind that we are not scientists or doctors, and cannot diagnose or offer treatment for any medical condition. This is simply information that has been researched and compiled from various sources. Also, please be sure to check with manufacturer’s washing instructions and warranty information before starting any disinfecting routine.


Remedy chart for disinfecting cloth diapers


Remedy Grapefruit Seed Extract  Distilled white vinegar Tea Tree Oil Oxygen Bleach Powder Hydrogen Peroxide Hot Water High heat in the dryer Sunshine
20 drops in final rinse cycle 1 cup in final rinse cycle 20 drops in wash water. At least 5% cineole 35-40% Terpenin-4-ol Use hot water. Soak for 2 hrs 1 cup in final rinse. 3% Solution Killed after 25 minutes at water temps of 25 minutes Hang until dry
Bacteria: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 140+ Yes Yes
E Coli Yes Yes 160+ Yes Yes
Influenza Yes Yes 167+ Yes Yes
Mold Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mold Spores Yes Yes Yes No
Norovirus Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rotovirus Yes Yes No Yes
Salmonella Yes Yes Yes
Staph infections: Yes Yes Yes 160+ Yes Yes
Strep Yes
Urinary Tract Infections Yes Yes Yes
Yeast Yes Yes Yes Yes 122+ Yes No
Yeast Spores Yes No No No No No
EPA registered? No No No No Yes No No No
Colorfast Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Cautions Do not pour directly on laundry. Do not pour directly on laundry. Do only as needed. Do not pour directly on laundry. Do not pour directly on laundry. Use with caution – we do not recommend temps over 140 F for any items with Aplix, elastic, laminates, or snaps, as it will void your warranty. Do only as needed, as high heat will wear out the diapers more quickly. Bring in when dry. Covers should not be dried in direct sunlight.

The most common disinfectant used in laundry is Chlorine Bleach, which kills 99.9% of germs. We have not included Chlorine Bleach on our chart as it can be harsh on the materials used in our diapers.

Sources include:


As always, let me know if you have any questions!




~Written by Sonya Choron 5/17/13



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I have put together some packages that will show you what you will need to start cloth diapering – including the accessories. When you are first starting off, it is difficult to know what you will need. The diapers in the packages are enough to last two days between washings.

Thirsties Duo AIO is an All-In-One diaper. This means that the waterproof layer and absorbency are sewn together. There is a tunnel inside the diaper, in which you may add a Hemp Insert if additional absorbency is needed.

I have made two charts. One for size 1 and one for size 2. You will not buy both at the same time. The warranty for your diapers starts from the day of purchase, so only purchase the diapers that your baby can wear now.

Size 1:

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty needed Cost
Duo AIO Starter Package 6-18 lbs
Duo AIO All in One diaper 1 $15.75 20 $315.00
Hemp Insert Insert Small $9.00 5 $45.00
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $14.95 1 $14.95
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz8 oz $6.25$11.00 11 $17.25
Fab Wipes Cloth Wipes 8×8 $12.25 5 $61.25
Diaper Pail Liner Diaper Pail Liner One size $20.00 2 $40.00
Diaper Duffle Diaper Bag Duffle One size $7.25 1 $7.25
Total $500.70


Size 2:

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty needed Cost
Duo AIO Starter Package 18-40 lbs
Duo AIO All in One diaper 2 $15.75 14 $220.50
Hemp Insert Insert Large $9.00 7 $63.00
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $14.95 1 $14.95
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz8 oz $6.25$11.00 11 $17.25
Fab Wipes Cloth Wipes 8×8 $12.25 5 $61.25
Diaper Pail Liner Diaper Pail Liner One size $20.00 2 $40.00
Diaper Duffle Diaper Bag Duffle One size $7.25 1 $7.25
Total $424.20

Please choose from the two charts depending on what size your baby is. Weight and age recommendations are general, so please take a look at our sizing chart for your baby’s measurements.

Please send me an email at if you have any questions!

(*This post originally posted in July 2012.)


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