Babies may not be able to walk or talk very well, but if there’s one thing they definitely can do, it’s create a lot of dirty laundry. From blowouts to spit-ups to food spills, your baby can make some pretty big messes.
That’s why it’s essential to learn how to wash your baby’s laundry. Since babies have sensitive skin, their clothes may need to be treated differently than how you wash your clothing. (Plus, the stains from spit-up and other accidents also need to be treated.)
With this guide, you can learn how to wash your little one’s clothes and, hopefully, get out some of the stains.
How Should I Take Care of My Baby’s Clothes?
Baby clothes aren’t very different from our clothes, but there are ways that you can make them last longer instead of wearing them out.
First, you should follow any washing directions provided by the maker of the clothing.
For example, some types of fabric might be more likely to shrink when washed at certain temperatures, or they may wear out faster or have certain washing specifications you need to follow.
For example, sleepwear is most likely to have a lot of requirements for washing since they are supposed to be flame-resistant. Some types of detergent can negatively impact the flame-resistant aspect of the fabric.
When you first get your little one’s adorable new clothes, you should pre-wash them, as well as other fabrics that will touch your baby’s skin. Irritants can come from pretty much anywhere, so it’s important to clean your baby’s clothes first.
Putting away clean clothes right away is also a good idea, especially if you have pets. In a house with families and pets, clean things are dirt magnets.
How To Wash Baby Clothes, Step-by-Step
Sort the Clothes
The first thing you want to do (after figuring out washing instructions) is sort out your baby’s clothes. If you can, it’s best to separate them from the rest of the family’s clothes.
Protect Clothing From the Washing Machine
Next, you can also preserve your baby’s clothes by turning them inside out, buttoning up all the buttons, and zipping up the zippers, which is easy with additions like fumble-free snaps. These steps should protect any cool designs and the seams of the outfit.
Mesh bags can be helpful for containing smaller items, like socks or bibs, since these items have a habit of getting lost in the wash.
If you had any stained clothing in the load, check it to make sure the stains are gone before putting it in the dryer. If the clothes are dried with the stains, the stains will set and be pretty much impossible to get out.
There are several methods for stain removal, and the solution might depend on the type of stain. Some stains react differently to certain types of stain removers better than others. For instance, stains from oils can be removed using some types of dish soap.
With a stain, it’s best to treat them as soon as possible. The longer you let it sit, the more likely it is for the stain to become permanent. The first thing you need to do is soak the stain in cool water.
Surprisingly, water itself is often a suitable stain remover, which means you may not need to use a harsher cleaning agent. If water alone isn’t enough, try adding a little bit of soap and a brush to help get the rest of the stain out.
If your stain is particularly difficult, you might want to find a stain remover made for people with sensitive skin and without any fragrances or dyes. You can also use some of the natural alternatives listed below, like white vinegar (just don’t use it with bleach).
Whatever solution you use, you need to make sure that you thoroughly rinse the clothing out before you wash it. That should help prevent any irritation. It’s also a good idea to avoid using stain remover on items close to the skin, especially if you are using cloth diapers or wipes, since your baby’s bottom is the most sensitive to irritants.
Choose the Correct Cycle
Usually, you can use a warm cycle to clean baby clothes unless the instructions on the label or provided by the company say otherwise. If your machine has the option for two rinse cycles, you might want to consider using that since it can help ensure that your little one’s clothes don’t have any irritants from the wash.
First, we want to check the label: What the label says — goes.
Your best bet here is to use a low heat setting whenever possible. Some additions, like dryer balls, can help reduce static and make clothes feel fluffier. Some clothing, like those with delicate lace or similar materials, will probably need to be air-dried.
You did it! The last step. Fold those onesies and take a rest — you deserve it.
What Kind of Detergent Should I Use?
Picking out your baby’s laundry detergent can be tricky. If you use a harsh detergent or a fabric softener, it can irritate your little one’s skin, causing a rash. The best thing to do is to find a mild and scent-free detergent and avoid fabric softener altogether.
If that doesn’t work, your pediatrician might be able to advise you on what kind of detergent might work best (or test for potential allergies if skin troubles persist).
Stain remover might be more difficult. It’s best to start with more natural and less harsh removers before moving on to the stronger ones.
If you’re looking to use more natural cleaners when washing your little one’s clothes, check out these three suggestions:
Washing soda, aka sodium carbonate, is effective at getting rid of grease and cleaning in general.
Another more well-known alternative is baking soda, which also has fabric softening qualities without a high potential of being irritating. When added to a mild soap, it works as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and water-softening cleaner that also whitens clothes.
Other alternatives include white vinegar and sodium probate, a natural alternative to bleach. Once again, it’s important to do your research before mixing any types of cleaners.
How To Wash Vintage Baby Clothes
If you have baby clothing that has been passed down for generations, or you love thrifting for vintage clothes, you’ll need to be extra careful about how you wash it. Before you even attempt to wash it, you’ll want to evaluate its condition.
If the clothes have a musty smell or smell of mildew, it probably means they won’t withstand washing or even being immersed in water. If that’s the case, head to a local professional cleaner for assistance.
One way to wash vintage clothes is to lay them on a nylon net, which helps support the fibers of the fabric. Next, the clothes should be immersed in cool water with a mild soap. (It’s best not to worry about small stains on delicate fabric.)
Sturdier fabrics might be able to withstand color-safe bleach. This method can lighten yellow age stains and brighten whites — just remember to rinse it thoroughly.
A dryer is too rough for a vintage garment, so it’s best to let it air-dry.
What Are Some Things I Can Do To Make Washing Clothes More Earth-Friendly?
If you’re concerned about making your home eco-friendly, like we are at Tabeeze, you know that some fabrics can damage the environment through a seemingly harmless wash cycle.
The root of this damage lies in microplastic. In the washing machine, synthetic materials shed small fibers (less than 5 millimeters long), resulting in 35% of all microplastic in the environment.
However, there are some things we can do to limit the impact. Our Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit is 100% organic. Thanks to our GOTS Certification, families know that our organic, ring-spun cotton jersey is not only super soft but also kind to the skin and the planet.
Cleaning Up After Your Little One
There’s no avoiding it. With a baby, you’ll be cleaning up many messes, and there will be a lot of laundry in your future. However, cleaning your little one’s laundry can be super simple if you follow all the steps.
There are so many options for laundry care, which might seem overwhelming. It’s just a matter of finding out what works for you and your baby.