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

Prefolds are one of my favorite diapers to recommend. They are made of natural fibers, easy to clean, durable, and simple to use. If they are made of the proper fabric and thickness, they are also very absorbent. All prefolds are not made alike. The design and fabric can vary from one manufacturer to the next.

Prefold definition: Rectangular diapers that have more layers in the middle and fewer layers on the sides..

You may see the prefolds labeled as 4x8x4 or 4x6x4. That pertains to the layers of fabric in the diaper.

4x8x4 = 4 on both sides, and 8 in the middle

4x6x4 = 4 on both sides, and 6 in the middle



Prefolds can be folded and laid into a trim cover, or folded and fastened on baby. Prefolds need a waterproof cover over the top.

Other uses:

·        Trifold and use as an insert

·        Grab for a burp cloth or a changing table mishap.

·        Use for cleaning cloths once they have fulfilled their purpose for diapers



Cost can vary from $1.00 – $8.00 per prefold.


How many do you need?


Newborn: 20-24 diapers (plus 7-8 covers)
6-12 months: 14-18 diapers (plus 4-5 covers)
12-24 months: 12-16 diapers (plus 3-4 covers)
Potty Learning: 4-8 diapers (plus 2 covers)


*A single Thirsties Duo Wrap or Thirsties Diaper Cover can be wiped clean and reused several times before requiring a full washing.


Prefolds come in sized versions, or duo-sized versions. Sized versions come in sizes from newborn to XL. Duo-sized versions such as the Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold come in size 1 and 2.


Different types of prefolds:

Sometimes a prefold is marked as a certain type of prefold. Those labels can mean where the prefold is made, or what the prefold is made out of, regardless of brand.


Indian Prefold

 Typically made from 100% cotton gauze. Thinner fabric and thread is used, so may be less durable than a heavier duty prefold such as a Chinese Prefold, but softer and more absorbent than a Chinese Prefold. Wash 3x before use.

CPF/Chinese Prefold

Made in China and exported. Typically made from 100% cotton twill. Comes in multiple absorbencies and sizes. Pilling may be an issue and they are not as soft as Indian Prefolds, but fabric and stitching is very durable. Wash 3x before use.

UBCPF/Unbleached Chinese Prefold

Made in China and exported. Made from 100% unbleached cotton twill. Comes in multiple absorbencies and sizes. Pilling may be an issue and they are not as soft as Indian Prefolds, but fabric and stitching is very durable. The unbleached diapers have not gone through a whitening process, and are hence softer. They come with many of the original cotton oils still in the fabric and may require extensive washing to make them absorbent. Wash 7x before use.

DSQ/Diaper Service Quality

These prefolds are considered to be the best quality, but any diaper can be called a DSQ as there is no minimum absorbency or thickness requirement to get that classification.

Stay-Dry Prefold

Cotton prefold made traditionally with more layers in the middle and less on the sides, but back side of prefold has a fleece layer.


What is the difference in the materials?


Prefold diapers can be bleached or unbleached. Unbleached fabrics will be softer and more durable than bleached.


100% cotton twill – very durable and absorbent

100% woven cotton (Birdseye; Terry/Flannel, Gauze)- durable and absorbent

Bamboo/cotton – very soft and absorbent, resistant to mold and mildew

Bamboo terry – very soft, resistant to mold and mildew

Bamboo velour – very soft, resistant to mold and mildew (not for use with a Snappi Fastener)

Hemp/cotton fleece – more durable and absorbent than cotton alone, resistant to mold and mildew

Hemp/cotton jersey – more durable and absorbent than cotton alone, resistant to mold and mildew (not for use with a Snappi Fastener)

Hemp/cotton muslin – more durable and absorbent than cotton alone, resistant to mold and mildew

Cotton/polyester (inner layers are polyester or a blend) – more durable than cotton alone, but less absorbent

Cotton/rayon (inner layers are rayon or a blend) – more durability than cotton alone, but less absorbent




All prefolds will need to be washed AT LEAST 3 times to rid them of the natural oils and waxes present in the fibers. As a guideline, wash bleached prefolds at least 3 times, and unbleached prefolds 7 times before using. Maximum absorbency should be reached after 8 washes. Prefolds will generally shrink 5-10% after washing.


Prefolds are a durable diapering option, and natural fibers are easier to clean than man-made fibers. Please follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions.




Trifold Method

Trifolding means folding the diaper into thirds. This can also be called a Newspaper Fold. You do not need to fasten the diaper on baby when using this method as the diaper is laid into the waterproof cover. When Trifolding, the cover you choose to use over the top needs to be trim and snug like our Duo Wrap.

Here is a diagram of the trifold method in the Thirsties Duo Wrap:





The prefold MUST be up against the baby’s skin. If the cover sags, the diaper will sag, and leaks could be an issue. Trifolding may be done with any kind of prefold.


Fold & Fasten Method

If you are using a generously sized cover such as our Diaper Cover, then you will want to fold and fasten the prefold on baby. A sized cover may not be trim enough to hold a trifold prefold in place. Keeping the diaper up against baby’s skin is very important!

You may also prefer to fasten the diaper if there are leak issues. There are many different ways to fold a prefold or flat diaper. The type of fold you use can depend on where you need the most absorbency, as well as how large the diaper is that you are folding.

Folding Techniques

Angel Wing Fold:

Kite Fold:

Origami Fold:

Safari Fold

Terry Square Fold:

Triangle Fold:



If you choose to fold and fasten the prefold, here are your options:

  •  Snappi

A Snappi cloth diaper fastener is a small, stretchy device used to secure a prefold, flat, or contoured cloth diaper. The Snappi’s three “claws” grab the top layer of the fabric to hold it in place.”

  • Diaper Pins

Yes, the old fashioned diaper pins are still around! You will need two pins, one for the right side and one for the left side.

How to pin a woven prefold:

  • Boingo fasteners

You will need two fasteners, one for the right side and one for the left side. “Just hook on one side of the diaper, pull, grip and you’re done. Boingo fasteners grip on the sides of the diaper which prevents uncomfortable compression on baby’s tummy and delicate areas”


So why prefolds?


Affordability: Prefolds used with covers is one of the most economical systems that are available.

Durability: Prefolds should last for multiple kids. There are no components to wear out, and cotton and hemp are very durable fabrics.

Ease of laundering: Prefolds are made from natural fibers, which make them easier to clean.

Sustainability: Since prefold diapers last a long time, you will probably not have to replace the diapers with multiple children. They are typically made from natural fibers and take less processing than a man-made fiber.

Organic options: There are organic prefolds, which tend to be more expensive, but keep many toxic chemicals out of the growing and manufacturing process.




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


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I was inspired after reading an article about how to cloth diaper for little to no cost. This article spoke about how diapering products can be made from items that are already within the household. If they are not, they may be available free from community pantries or at low cost from thrift stores. Although I can sew, and used to be quite crafty, some of these ideas had never crossed my mind. Using a tee-shirt for a diaper? What a great way to re-purpose a readily available item. We realize that not everyone can purchase ready-made diapers, and for many, this can be valuable information for providing diapers and covers for their baby. This can also be a useful resource if you already have diapers, but run out and are in a pinch. (I know this has happened to some of you!)

Homemade diapers can be made from new/used fabrics, or upcycled household items such as:

  • Tee-shirts and other clothing (natural fibers)
  • Flannel or cotton receiving blankets and burp cloths
  • Linens such as flannel or cotton sheets
  • Hand towels, kitchen towels, bath towels, washcloths

Important: Diapers and inserts must be made from absorbent materials. Fabrics made from natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo work the best. Generally, you want to stay away from loosely woven fabrics.

No-Sew Method:

No sewing, no cutting. Simply fold, and use a diaper pin or snappi to secure it.

  • Receiving blankets:

Cotton flannel receiving blankets can be folded into a diaper and secured with diaper pins or a Snappi.

Folding methods:

  • Household items: Cut into a diaper or insert shape suitable for diapering. You may need to sew or serge the edges if the material will fray after washing.

For an estimate of how large to cut a flat diaper:

Small: 27 long x 27 wide

Large: 30 long x 30 wide

Folding methods:

Sew Method: 

Homemade diaper covers can be made from new/used fabrics, or upcycled household items such as:

  • Wool or fleece clothing
  • Fleece receiving blankets
  • Fleece baby pants

Important: Covers must be made from materials that do not readily absorb liquid. Wool and polyester fleece are two materials that will work for covers.

No-Sew Method:

  • Fleece receiving blankets

Triangle fold:

  • Fleece baby pants

Simply use ready made fleece pants for a diaper cover in a pinch.

Sew Method:


For free diaper/cover patterns, and tutorials on how to sew diapering items, please check out this article from Mothering:
I hope this information will be useful. If you have any questions, please let me know!



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With the increased awareness of the environment and sustainability practices, there comes the question as to whether htcwm_pic7cold water may be used to wash cloth diaper laundry. The environmentalist in me would like to say yes, don’t waste energy on hot water. After all, many detergents are now geared toward cold water washing. I use cold water on my dark laundry, and on anything that does not need a deep cleaning. I did try to use cold water on my towels, but they had an odor afterward. Maybe it was the detergent I was using, maybe it is the amount, maybe it just needs a longer cycle with more water. But if I have to wash my laundry longer and/or use more water, would that take out the sustainable benefit achieved from not using hot water?

Cloth diapers are certainly in a different category that most other laundry. They have soil and germs that must be cleaned and rinsed away, stains that need to be lifted, and layers of fabric to clean through. An adequate amount of detergent and water must be used to achieve clean diapers. But what about hot/warm water vs cold?

My answer would be yes, but not as well. According to my findings, warm rinses and hot washes win in the diaper arena. Thirsties previously recommended a cold pre-wash, hot wash, and two cold rinses. We have adapted our care instructions to a warm prewash, hot wash, and two warm rinses. We believe that this routine will clean and rinse your diapers most effectively. Our washing instructions conform to the RDA recommendations – a trusted source by consumers and businesses alike. Take a look at why it is recommended to use warmer water temperatures for washing cloth diapers:

  • Warm Pre-wash – soil is more easily removed at the temperature it is put in at (body temperature is warm)
  • Hot Wash – many detergents are activated and/or work better at hot temperatures, powder detergents are dissolved at hotter temperatures, yeast is killed at temps over 122 Fahrenheit
  • Two Warm Rinses – residues are released more effectively, more water will release from the fabric shortening drying time

Now keep in mind, this is not to say that you cannot achieve clean diapers with cold water. If you do want or need to use cold water for your laundry, then it is recommended to add additional liquid detergent, more water, and/or additional wash time. The RDA has a great article titled Laundry Science that is very helpful in understanding the factors in washing, and how to adjust the wash routine if needed.

What is the routine that works best for you?



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Recommended start up package for the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted

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.

The Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted is part of a two piece diapering system. The Duo Fab Fitted is an absorbent diaper that is tailored to fit your baby. It has either snaps or Aplix at the waist, and snaps in the front of the diaper to adjust the fit. This diaper comes in size 1 and 2. You will need to use a cover over the diaper such as our Duo Wrap found in the charts below. You may also use the Diaper Cover over the Duo Fab Fitted. The Duo Fab Fitted is a very absorbent diaper, and is the best choice for leak protection. I often recommend these diapers, especially for nighttime.

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 soon.

Size 1:

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty needed Cost
Duo Wrap/Duo Fab Fitted Starter Package 6-18 lbs
Duo Wrap Cover 1 $12.75 8 $102.00
Duo Fab Fitted Fitted diaper 1 $17.00 24 $408.00
Hemp Insert Insert Small $9.00 2 $18.00
Doubler Insert Small $14.95 2 $29.90
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $12.25 1 $12.25
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz
8 oz
Fab Wipes Cloth Wipes 8×8 $20.00 5 $61.25
Diaper Pail Liner Diaper Pail Liner One size $7.25 2 $40.00
Diaper Duffle Diaper Bag Duffle One size $7.25 1 $7.25
Total $695.90


Size 2:

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty needed Cost
Duo Wrap/Duo Fab Fitted Starter Package 18-40 lbs
Duo Wrap Cover 2 $12.75 4 $51.00
Duo Fab Fitted Fitted diaper 2 $17.00 14 $238.00
Hemp Insert Insert Large $9.00 2 $36.00
Doubler Insert Large $14.95 2 $29.90
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $12.25 1 $12.25
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz
8 oz
Fab Wipes* Cloth Wipes 8×8 $20.00 5 $61.25
Diaper Pail Liner* Diaper Pail Liner One size $7.25 2 $40.00
Diaper Duffle* Diaper Bag Duffle One size $7.25 1 $7.25
Total $492.90

*If you buy this with your size 1s, you may not need to buy

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 don’t forget, if you have a question, please send it to . Thanks for reading!


As many of you know, Thirsties Pre-Wash and Super Wash detergents were discontinued last year. We were sorry to see it go, as we know many of our customers were. Many of you are wondering when we will have a new detergent. We are not sure if we will come out with another detergent in the future, but we do have some recommendations for detergents to wash your Thirsties products.

Before I get to the list, I would like to address why it is so important to use a cloth diaper safe detergent.

 Why do we say to use a cloth diaper safe detergent?

It is not simply to sell our own. From experience, we can see what some ingredients can do to cloth diapers, and what problems it creates for the users. Cloth diapers have unique washing needs compared to our clothing. They become heavily soiled yet need gentle care to keep them in good condition. The diapers need to stay absorbent, the elastic needs to stay stretchy, the Aplix needs to stay sticky, and the waterproofing needs to stay waterproof. Let’s take a look at standard detergents and why we don’t recommend using them:

  • Mainstream detergents can cause leaking, odors, diaper rash, and may also damage your diapering products.
  • Standard detergents can leave a residue on your diapers that will affect the absorbency. Result: Leaking, odors and/or diaper rash
  • Many contain oxygen bleach, Borax, or other harsh ingredients.  Although these ingredients do clean well, they can have ill effects on diapering items. When used on a regular basis, oxygen bleach can deteriorate certain components such as fleece, fold over elastic, PUL, or hook and loop fasteners. Borax can damage Aplix (hook and loop) fasteners.
  • Many contain chemical fragrance and dyes. Result: Possible irritation to baby’s skin
  • Brighteners are residues left intentionally on the fabric. These make the fabric appear to be brighter, but it is not actually cleaner. Result: Possible irritation to baby’s skin; possible leaking, odors, and diaper rash
  • Please keep in mind, just because a detergent says it is cloth diaper safe, it does not mean it is approved by Thirsties to use on our products. 
  • Pure soaps can cause repelling, leaking, and diaper odor. We do not recommend the use of Fels Naptha, Castille soap, or other pure soaps on your absorbent diapers.
  • Fabric softeners in detergent or added to the washer or dryer will coat the fibers of the diapers causing them to repel rather than absorb (causing leaks).
  • Important! These ingredients or additives can void your warranty: Chlorine bleach; Oxygen bleach; pure soap; washing soda as an additive; and Borax. Also, sanitize cycles in HE washing machines for anything with components.

Below is a list of detergents recommended for use on Thirsties products. They have good reviews for cleaning, and the ingredients have been screened for harsh additives. If you see a * after the detergent name, it is HE safe.

Allens Naturally Liquid*

Country Save Liquid

Ecover Laundry 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


For hard water, you may also use Calgon Water Softener as needed, along with your detergent.

For Thirsties recommendations on how to wash your diapers, please visit:

Our care and use instructions are in line with the RDA washing guidelines:


To find out how a specific detergent rates, please visit:


Helpful tips:

-It is important not to use additives along with your detergent unless otherwise suggested by Thirsties. Detergents are PH balanced, and if you add something you can throw off the PH balance of the wash water. This can cause issues with rash or odor.

-Use the specified amount of detergent for your machine type. Hard water may need a bit more, but be careful not to add too much.

-Remember to always add an extra rinse after the wash cycle.

-Use an adequate water level. Diapering items should be soaked and covered with water in the washer to ensure proper cleanliness.

We know that cloth diapering is an investment. Following the manufacturer’s care and use instructions and using a recommended detergent will help avoid potential problems and additional cost. We recommend printing the care and use instructions and keeping them by the washer for reference. We are with you on this journey! Feel free to send any questions to!



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