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Image of laundry basket on bed filled with Thirsties cloth diapers

Print a copy of our care instructions. Hang a copy next to your washing machine to encourage the whole family to help with the laundering!

Before Wearing

Wash all diapers at least one time before use, using a cloth diaper safe detergent.

Thirsties hemp products can be used after 3 wash/dry cycles, and will reach maximum absorbency after 8 wash/dry cycles.

Diapering Changing Station

Shake solids into toilet after each diaper change. Store your soiled Thirsties Cloth Diapers in a DRY diaper pail. A standard 52-quart garbage pail with a lid works great and can be purchased at your local department store. Be sure to line your pail with a Thirsties Simple Pail Liner to avoid having to clean your pail on every laundry day.

Stow your stash of Thirsties Organic Cotton Wipes in an accessible location to your changing table. Toss soiled wipes into your pail along with your diapers.

Pre Wash

*Soaking is not recommended for Thirsties Cloth Diapers. This will void your warranty.

For optimum cleanliness, limit the size of your load to no more than 18 one size diapers or 24 newborn diapers and wash every other day (plus inserts and wipes). Set your washer to an adequate water level for the amount of diapers. The diapers should have enough room to move around during the wash cycle to allow them to agitate again each other. A stew consistency is a good visual for the ratio of water to diapers. Use cold or warm water for the pre-wash cycle to help pre-clean your diapers. If you do not have a pre-wash cycle on your washer, a short or quick wash cycle will work just as well. You may  add a small amount of detergent to the pre-wash cycle if desired.
For HE machines, we suggest a load of 12-15 diapers. Diapers need a good amount of water to clean them properly, and HE machines use less water. Here are some tricks to adding water to your HE diaper load:

  • Use cycles such as heavy duty or bedding, or the "extra water"/"deep fill" option to get enough water in your machine.

  • Select the Soak option to fill the washer with water, and then spin the water out. This will wet the diapers, making them heavier. In turn, that will trick the washer to use more water.

  • Spray the diapers with a diaper sprayer before putting into the diaper pail. This will wet the diapers, making them heavier. In turn, that will trick the washer to use more water.


Choose a HEAVY cycle and wash on HOT for the main wash, using an adequate water level. Please be sure not to use temperatures over 130 degrees for any item with components. Use the recommended amount of cloth diaper safe detergent per load.

Please avoid soaps as well as additives such as bleach, fabric softeners, brighteners, and dyes. These can not only harm your diapers, but your baby's sensitive skin as well.

As a general rule, please avoid using:

  • Borax

  • Bleach (oxygen or chlorine)

  • Fabric Softeners

  • Laundry Boosters

  • Pure Soap

  • Sanitize cycles or other high heat cycles in HE machines

These practices and/or additives can void the warranty of your Thirsties products when used routinely. 


Rinse on warm, adding an extra rinse.


Hang your cloth diapers to dry or dry in dryer on low. Inserts, flats, and prefolds may be dried on medium settings.

*Routine drying in the dryer can shorten the life of your diapering product - especially on diapers or covers with components such as hook and loop fasteners and elastic.

Add a dry towel or wool dryer balls to the dryer to speed the drying process.

A hot, 15 minute dryer cycle once a month is beneficial to lamination.

Drying in direct sunlight is the very best method for drying and helps aid in the removal of stains. However, take care not to leave diapers out longer than necessary, as UV rays and high temperatures can also have an ill effect on diapering products. Cotton and hemp diapers will be somewhat stiff when hung to dry. One option to soften sun-dried textiles made from natural fibers is to use the dryer while still slightly damp.


You will need to strip your diapers if you have residue, buildup, or diaper odor. These issues can be caused by hard water, diapers that are not cleaned or rinsed thoroughly, detergents, or from greasy products such as diaper creams or fabric softeners.

Strip only as needed, as it can be harsh on your diapering products and routine use of bleach does void our warranty. 

How to strip

To strip diapers, we recommend to start with clean diapers. Divide clean diapers into piles of 12, along with any extra inserts or wet bags. Each set of 12 diapers plus accessories will need it's own wash cycle of hot water and 1/3 cup Clorox bleach and add an extra rinse cycle.  After washing, dry on low to medium heat. Repeat wash cycles with each set of 12 diapers until completed. *Please note, you may smell a faint odor of bleach when removing diapers from the dryer, and this is normal, but no pungent or fecal odors should be present.*

After stripping the diapers, you will need to adjust your washing routine, or the stink issues will most likely be re-occurring. If you have any questions about how to tweak your routine, please email us at


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 above.

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

If using a diaper cream, be sure it's cloth diaper safe. You may want to use a liner when using diaper creams.

For hard water, you will need to add a water softener such as Calgon Water Softener or washing soda to your wash load.

Please Note:

Dawn dish soap is NOT low sudsing. Please do not use dish soap in your washing machine, as this will most likely void the warranty on your machine. If you need to remove creams or ointments with Dawn, please use a bathtub or utility sink.

Recommended Detergents

Most mainstream detergents are safe for cloth, however, you will want to avoid any detergent that contains a fabric softener as that can lead to repelling and result in stinky diapers. We also recommend avoiding detergents containing oxygen bleaches.

The following can void your warranty: Additives, chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, pure soap, Borax, high heat in the dryer, and sanitize/high heat cycles on HE machines. 

Here is a list of detergents recommended for use on Thirsties products:

  • Allens Naturally Liquid
  • Bio-O-Kleen
  • Country Save
  • Eco Sprout
  • Ecover
  • Nature Clean 
  • Persil
  • Planet Ultra Powdered Laundry Detergent
  • Seventh Generation
  • Tide or Tide Gentle and Free


A solid washing routine with a good detergent will keep your diapers clean and bacteria free! However, diapers will need to be treated after a yeast or bacterial infection. We do recommend to discontinue cloth diapering during an infection, as yeast can live in the fabric and diapers would need to be bleached after each use which could be damaging to the fabrics. 

To disinfect, we recommend to wash all the diapering products in a hot wash with detergent and the recommended amount of chlorine bleach for the wash load, generally around 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup. The amount of bleach you use will correspond to the water level so it's best to check the machine and the instructions on the bleach bottle for the correct amount. Allow the diapers to agitate in the hot wash for at least 20 minutes, then rinse and spin as usual. You can then dry all the diapers on High for 25 minutes, removing any covers or pocket shells after that time and allow them to cool before use, then dry on Low for the remaining dry time.
If you have Grapefruit Seed Extract, you can also add about 20 drops to the initial rinse to help combat the yeast, as well.
*Natural Fitted diapers CANNOT be treated with chlorine bleach as rayon is sensitive and can be destroyed in a bleach wash. For disinfecting a stash of Natural Fitted diapers, please use an oxygen bleach instead*