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Thirsties Therapy Help

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

You will need to strip your diapers if you have residue or diaper odor. Residue can be caused by hard water, diapers than are not cleaned or rinsed thoroughly, detergents, or from greasy products such as diaper creams or fabric softeners. You could also have soap scum if you use a non-approved soap or detergent.

Following are the instructions for diaper stripping. Strip only as needed, as it can be harsh on your diapering products.


Standard machines:

Maximum load size is 24 XS/S or 18 M/L diapers.

Starting with clean diapers:

  1. Fill machine with Hot water on the highest water level, using a heavy cycle.
  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of Dawn Classic dish soap to the wash water and agitate for about 10 seconds.
  3. Add diapers and run wash cycle, adding two extra warm rinses.
  4. If the rinse water is slimy or has any bubbles during the last rinse, you should add another rinse.

HE machines:

Dawn dish soap is NOT low sudsing. Please do not use dish soap in a High Efficiency machine, as this will most likely void the warranty on your machine. You will need to use a top loading machine or the bathtub to strip with Dawn dish soap.

If you need to strip your diapers in an HE machine, you can use RLR. This can be found online.

Maximum load size is 15 XS/S or 12 M/L diapers.

Start with clean diapers, and follow instructions on the RLR package.

*RLR can be harsh on components, especially Aplix fasteners. Please use only when needed.


If you have residue on your diapers, you will want to strip the diapers but also take care of what is causing the problem. First make sure you are using the correct wash instructions.

If you are not using a recommended detergent, you will want to strip your diapers and change to a cloth diaper safe detergent.

Make sure that if you use a diaper cream that it is cloth diaper safe. You may want to use a liner when using diaper creams.

For hard water, you will need to use a water softener such as Calgon Water Softener or 1/4 cup baking soda to your wash load.

Please send any questions to


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If you live in an apartment or other dwelling that does not have laundry facilities on site, you will know that it is a little more challenging to cloth diaper. If you cannot or do not want to use a Laundromat or a friend’s/family’s machine, you will need to know how to hand wash.

There are different ways that you can hand wash your cloth diapers. You can use a bathtub and your hands; you can use a bucket and a plunger; or you can use a washbasin and a washing board. There are also portable tabletop machines, but we are going to focus on the ways to wash by hand.

  • The bathtub/hands method takes the most water and time, but no extra tools, and is convenient. Just follow the steps and use your hands. You can also use a plunger if desired.
  • The bucket/plunger method conserves water, but you can only wash about 6 diapers at a time.
  • The washbasin/washing board method is old school, but works if you have the space. You could also use this method outside is desired.

I have made up some instructions for hand washing your diapers and accessories that could help in a pinch, or even on a routine basis if needed. I like to have personal experience with anything that I write about, so I took the hand washing challenge. I no longer have children in diapers, so I enlisted the help of Jessica who has a 3 month old. Washing the diapers in the tub took longer than I thought it would, but it was kind of fun, and surprisingly therapeutic! I am also happy to report that the diapers were very clean!

What you will need:

  • Cloth diaper safe detergent
  • Hot/warm water
  • Soft scrub brush
  • Stain soap that is safe for cloth diapers (optional)
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Clothes line or drying rack

Bathtub/hands method add:

  • Bathtub

Bucket/plunger method add:

Washbasin/washboard method add:

  • Washbasin
  • Washboard


  • We recommend the use of rubber gloves if using your hands in the water.
  • You will want to change into clothes that you will not mind getting dirty or wet.
  • If using a plunger, we recommend buying a new one for this purpose.
  • If you are using a bucket or basin, you can use more than one; one for the wash water, and one for the rinse water to speed up the process.

Instructions for washing cloth diapers by hand:

  1. Presoak soiled diapers. Use warm water along with a pinch of detergent. Soak prefolds, flats, fitteds, inserts, and wipes for half hour, and laminated items for the last 10 minutes.
  2. Prewash: Fill your basin/bucket/tub 1/3 to ½ full of warm water. There should be enough water to saturate and cover the diapering items. Add ¼ the amount of detergent that you use in the wash load for a bathtub – adjust for a bucket or basin.
  3. Add diapering items and agitate with your hands, or use a plunging action with a plunger for several minutes. You may want to rub the fabric against itself on the inside of the diapers. You may also use a washboard. Let soak for 10 minutes if you think necessary.
    Tip: You may add oxygen bleach powder to the soak once a month if your diapers need a deep clean or extra whitening.
  4. Drain the water.
  5. Squeeze the excess water out of each item. Toss into the diaper pail, or push to the back of the bathtub. Do not ring out diapering items, as this can stretch the fabric/components out of shape).
  6. Check items for staining, and use stain soap or detergent and a soft bristle brush to gently scrub. Add to the other diapering items.
  7. Add hot water to your basin/bucket/tub. Add detergent and mix. The amount of detergent you use depends on the amount of diapering items and level of water. If using 3 gallons of water in a bucket, you would use ¼ the amount of detergent that you would use in a washer. If you are using the bathtub and it is half full, that is about 12 gallons – the typical large load size of a standard washing machine.
  8. Add diapers, and swish around in the water. Make sure there is enough room for the diapers/inserts to move freely. Knead/agitate the diapering items, or use a plunger for several minutes.
  9. Drain the water.
  10. Squeeze the excess water out of the items.
  11. Fill tub/bucket/basin again with warm water.
  12. Agitate by hand for several minutes, lifting the items and squeezing out the water. You may use the plunger for this step as well.
  13. Drain the water.
  14. Repeat steps 11-13. If there are any bubbles (as in the photo above), or the water is slimy, repeat again.
  15. Squeeze the water out of your diapers/inserts and put back into your diaper pail or liner.

    Tip: To remove excess water, roll the diapers up in a towel like a jelly roll and push down.
  16. Hang to dry. Drying in the sun will help to remove stains, help to sanitize, and add fresh air to your diapers!
  17. Wash the tub/bucket/basin with a disinfectant cleaner such as pine oil cleaner or vinegar.


Q: What if you only have cold water?
A: You will want to make sure to use a cold water detergent that is safe for cloth diapers. You may need to extend your soaking/prewash/wash/rinse times.

Q: Why use a plunger?
A: It is not necessary, but the use of a plunger will help the water to travel through the fabric of the diapers, and thus aids in the washing process. Buying one new and drilling holes will aid in the process, or use a Rapid Washer (made especially for hand cleaning clothing).

Q: How can I soften my line dried diapers?
A: Diapers can become stiff when hung to dry, but over the counter fabric softeners will coat the fibers of your diaper, which will leave your diapers unable to absorb properly.  The following are ways to help soften the diapers safely:
-Add ¼ cup of baking soda to the last rinse (for Thirsties items).
-For prefolds, flats, wipes, and inserts, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to the last rinse.
-Beating the diapers or tossing them back and forth can help to fluff up the fibers. This could be a fun game between you and a toddler!

There are many websites with instructions and videos on how to hand wash cloth diapers or clothing. Feel free to view some of these to see how others do the job. But please keep in mind that diapers need more thorough washing than clothing, and as always, use a cloth diaper safe detergent.

Please send any questions to!


A prefold is a flat diaper that is usually quilted and can be trifolded or fastened under a diaper cover. They are the workhorse of the cloth diapering world, and very affordable and versatile. Thirsties has strived to overcome many of the cons of prefolds in the design of the Duo Hemp Prefold:

  • We have the same amount of layers throughout, accept at the top which you can fold down
  • Patent-pending design is easy to clean, quick to dry, and grows with your baby
  • Made from buttery soft custom hemp jersey knitted in the USA (55% Hemp, 45% Cotton)
  • 25% more absorbent and much more durable than pure cotton
  • Maintains a trim and comfortable fit
  • Naturally antimicrobial

Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds are designed for free-flow of air and washing water. Each panel is only 2 layers thick, permitting thorough cleansing with little effort and quick drying times.

Our custom hemp jersey is as soft as your favorite t-shirt and it’s knitted with love right here in the USA. Hemp is an ideal diaper fabric as it displays antimicrobial properties, is many times more durable, and is more absorbent than cotton. In fact, our hemp jersey is 25% more absorbent than a prefold of the same weight made from cotton alone! This translates into a very trim and effective cloth diaper with a hefty amount of absorbing power.

Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds are best trifolded into a trim cover, such as the Duo Wrap.

Here is an illustration of the Trifold:

Note: Sharp diaper pins and Snappi fasteners are made for woven fabrics, and thus can damage a knit fabric such as our Duo Hemp Prefold.

Prefolds are very absorbent and versatile diapers. If you are looking for a reliable and affordable diapering option, prefolds may be your best bet!

You can find our Duo Hemp Prefold at retailers around the globe:

If you have any questions, please send them to me at  🙂


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 Diaper is a pocket, or sleeve diaper. A two-piece insert comes with the diaper, which you stuff into the sleeve, and it will agitate out in the washer. You may add a Hemp Insert into the sleeve 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:
Duo Diaper Starter Package 6-18 lbs

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty Needed Cost
Duo Diaper Pocket diaper 1 $18.50 20 $370.00
Hemp Insert Insert Small $9.00 2 $18.00
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $14.95 1 $14.95
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz
8 oz
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 $528.70


Size 2:
Duo Diaper Starter Package 18-40 lbs

Product System Sizing Price Each Qty Needed Cost
Duo Diaper Pocket diaper 2 $18.50 14 $259.00
Hemp Insert Insert Large $9.00 2 $18.00
Booty Love Diaper Ointment 2 oz $14.95 1 $14.95
Booty Luster Wipes Spray 4 oz
8 oz
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 BagDuffle One Size $7.25 1 $7.25
Total $417.70

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 email me at if you have any questions!


First, what is an AIO diaper?

An AIO or All in One diaper means that the diaper is complete, or all in one. The absorbency will be sewn into a waterproof cover.
To use: slide the diaper under baby, and fasten. Voila!
These kinds of diapers are especially preferred by caregivers and new cloth diapering parents for their ease of use. These cloth diapers are the closest to disposables in convenience. Simply wash, put on baby, and repeat.

So why would you choose an AIO diaper over another type of diaper?

  1. Convenience
  2. Quick diaper changes
  3. No extra parts to worry about
  4. Ease of use

You may ask why we make different types of diapers if there are AIO diapers. AIO diapers work for many people, but that does not mean that it is the best option for you. They may also be a daytime option only, like our Duo AIO. Thirsties and other manufacturers carry different kinds of cloth diapers for the many different needs and desires of parents and their babies. Some may prefer convenience over cost, and some may prefer cost over convenience. Some may prefer natural fibers over man-made fibers, and vice-versa. You get where I am going here… You will ultimately have to decide what is right for you.

What are the main complaints when using AIO diapers?

  1. Cleaning may be more difficult
  2. Long dry times (turning inside out may help)

As always, we recommend trying out a diaper before buying a whole stash. Diaper trials may be a great option to see what works for you and your baby.
Mammas, we love to hear from you. Please post your comments with any feedback!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at