When you are getting ready for a baby in the home, you need to master some new skills. Some of them include changing diapers, swaddling, sleepwalking, and feeding in extreme conditions. But it also means changing some of your old habits. For example, laundry. How to wash baby clothes?
You probably haven’t changed your laundry routine since the first time you did your own laundry. Yet, as new mothers quickly find out, a baby changes everything. And that means your routine for washing clothes.
Today, we will talk about everything you need to know about how to wash baby clothes.
Do I Need To Pre-Wash Baby Clothes?
If you have read any parenting and pregnancy books, you will see that they suggest you pre-wash newborn baby clothes before they even wear them.
There is a solid explanation and reason for it. All of that new clothing had a life before your little one. And even if they are brand new clothes, they have probably sat in warehouses and on store shelves. Some might have been treated with chemicals during the manufacturing process.
It is best that you pre-wash new baby clothing. It has an unknown history. And while your skin might be able to withstand contaminated clothing, your baby’s skin is sensitive and delicate. They might have an allergic reaction or get skin irritation.
What Do You Need To Wash Baby Clothes?
You do not need much. A washer and a dryer will do it. That means you either have your own washer and dryer or have access to them.
Besides those appliances, you need a gentle detergent formulated for sensitive skin. It is not necessary to purchase a formula that is for babies.
Yet, you should always look for one that is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and dye-free.
We also suggest using a basic laundry pre-treat on hand for some stains. More on the homemade stains removal products later on.
How To Choose A Suitable Detergent?
Before we can talk about how to wash baby clothes, we have to talk about what a suitable laundry detergent is. There are many brands on the market. And we do not suggest which brand to choose.
But whichever the brand, make sure the detergent is fragrance-free. Most babies are sensitive to scented products. The goal here is to clean your baby’s clothes, not irritate its skin.
We touched on this before, but wash any new clothes before your baby wears them. Infants can develop a rash after wearing unwashed new clothes.
Some parents also choose to make their own laundry detergent. This is cheaper than purchasing one. But if you choose to do it, check with a pediatrician regarding the ingredients. That applies especially to essential oils.
Avoid tea tree oil and lavender oil due to their potential estrogenic effects. Anyway, you can find many recipes online, and most of them contain only a few ingredients.
Should You Do Baby-only Loads Or Combined?
This is something you can choose for yourself. Some parents wash their baby’s clothes separately from the rest of the household’s clothing. There are pros and cons in both ways.
For starters, if you isolate the baby’s clothes, that is more work for you, and more electricity is spent. Now, regarding your clothing. Your baby is 100% guaranteed to come into contact with your clothing. After all, you do hold your baby and cuddle it, right? Which means their skin touches your clothes anyhow.
So, washing clothes together using a mild detergent is a viable option.
Reasons For Baby-only Loads
With that in mind, here are some reasons why you should do baby-only loads.
- Your baby might have eczema or super sensitive skin. Their skin needs special detergents, and your regular detergent might be too extravagant
- If someone in your household works with dangerous chemicals. Some jobs require the worker to come into contact with harsh chemicals and hazardous materials. If that is the case, err on the side of caution and wash clothes separately. You do not want your baby to come into contact with an irritant
- If you prefer a heavily scented detergent, it is an option that is not suitable for your baby. Some people prefer their clothes to smell strong after washing. Some even add fragrance enhancers to the wash. And this is too strong for your baby
- Your baby uses a lot of clothes and blankets throughout the day. If you have enough for a daily load, there is no reason to combine clothes
How To Wash Baby Clothes?
Step 1 – Pre-treat Stains
If newborn clothes get stained with something like baby food, spit-up, or poop, you need to rinse the stain and then put clothes in the washing machine. We will talk about some ways to naturally remove stains later on.
Step 2 – Separate Clothes And Prepare The Laundry
We said there are a lot of reasons to do baby-only loads. If you have time and energy, separate the laundry from the rest of the family. Then, separate baby clothes by color, just as you would adult clothes. Cloth diapers are a load of all their own.
Step 3 – Review Instructions On Garments
The best way to extend the life of your newborn baby’s clothing is to follow the washing instructions on the label. But generally speaking, your baby will surely outgrow the clothes faster than you can ruin them in the washing machine.
If you have the energy, do it. But you do not get much if you maximize the usefulness of a onesie your baby will surely outgrow in a few months.
Step 4 – Add Detergent And Select A Cycle
As we said before, you should use a gentle and unscented baby detergent. You can use warm water on a normal or gentle wash cycle. It depends on the fabric of your clothes. Some materials, for example, cotton, can be better maintained with cooler water temperatures.
Step 5 – Skip Any Additives
We have to stress this out. Babies have delicate skin. So besides detergent, skip adding any other additives.
Step 6 – Wash And Sry
Once you are done with the previous steps, we can do the final one. Start the washing machine, and then put them in the drier. But none of this applies to cloth diapers which have their own separate washing process. Use a low heat setting in the dryer for your baby’s clothes.
Dealing With Stubborn Stains
Let’s be honest. Messes do happen. Your baby will probably poop, pee, spit, or anything in between. There will be stains on the clothes. So, you need to find a way to get rid of a stubborn stain.
The best homemade solution is a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Yet, tough stains may require time for the treatment to work. Apply this solution to the stain, and allow it to sit and work its magic for several minutes before washing.
Now, let’s talk about poop stains. This might surprise you, but they do happen. And usually, because of the inevitable diaper blowouts. And sometimes, your baby might decide to poop right after you remove the diaper for changing.
Either way, you need to take care of the smelly mess and the stain. Soak the clothing item in warm water first, and then throw it in the washer. But pre-treat it with lemon juice on the stain. Soak it in lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub the area.
For formula stains, soak the clothing item in lukewarm water, and then sprinkle the affected area with baking soda. Pour some club soda over the baking soda, and use an old toothbrush to scrub the area.
Let the mixture soak for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wash it as usual.
Baby oil is probably the toughest stain to remove. It can leave discolored stains anywhere it drips.
The best way to remove is to treat the area with grease-busting dish soap. Scrub the area to ensure the soap penetrates the cloth fibers and lifts the oil. Then, put it in the washer.
Can You Put Baby Clothes In The Dryer?
Yes, most baby clothes can be put in a drier. But it is important to check each item’s label before doing the laundry. Some fabrics require air drying.
Folding vs. Hanging
Now that we know how to wash baby clothes, let’s talk for a second about folding. Because of their small size, baby clothes can be tricky to fold. How you store them after the laundry is your personal choice and preference.
You either fold them or hang them using baby-sized hangers. It is your choice.