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Guide to washing baby clothes

As a new parent, a lot of advice will come your way, but how to wash your little one’s clothes often isn’t part of the information onslaught. If you want your baby’s clothes to look and remain fresh, you’ll need to master the skill of doing your baby’s laundry. Read on to discover useful tips on washing baby clothes.

Choosing a detergent

Before you get started with washing your little one’s clothes, you’ll first need to find a suitable detergent. There are all sorts of brands to choose from, but it might be best to go for a fragrance-free option. Some babies are highly sensitive to scented products and are prone to skin irritation when they’re used. Another option is to make a DIY detergent. You can usually find homemade recipes online. If you’re unsure about any of the ingredients to be added in a recipe, check with your pediatrician.

Should you wash the baby’s clothes separately?

Many parents opt to wash their baby’s clothes separately from everyone elses clothing. There are plenty of reasons why you may opt to separate your baby’s clothes. Yet, there’s a simple reason not to - it means more work for you when you do baby-only loads. You can simply change the entire household to fragrance-free, baby-safe detergent, then all of the clothes can be washed together.

Your little one will inevitably come into contact with your clothing - you hold and cuddle them all the time. Therefore, washing your items together (using a mild detergent) is the more viable option.

However, there may be cases where it’s not advisable to wash your clothes with your baby’s:

  • Your little one has super sensitive skin or a skin condition like eczema. If your baby requires special detergent beyond what you normally use, baby-only loads are more ideal.
  • A member of your household works with dangerous chemicals. Some jobs require coming into contact with hazardous materials like harsh chemicals. In such cases, it may be better to stay on the safe side by separating the baby’s load rather than exposing him/her to an irritant.
  • You prefer your clothes to have a particular fragrance. If you prefer to use a heavily scented detergent or add fragrance enhancers to the wash, make sure to wash your baby’s clothes separately.
  • Your baby uses a lot of blankets and clothes throughout the day. Some babies, newborns in particular, spit up, poo, and pee a lot and go through many clothes each day, enough to do a daily load. 

Do you need to wash new clothes?

Any new clothes, regardless of whether they’re brand new or hand-me-downs, should be washed beforehand. There’s no way of determining who or what might have come into contact with the clothes before you got them. A baby’s skin is more susceptible to irritants and not washing clothes before dressing your little one in them makes them more likely to have reactions.

Removing stubborn stains

Stained items are inevitable when you have a baby. That cute, white onesie will be puked, peed, and pooped on, so be ready to deal with stubborn stains on a regular basis.

1. Dealing with poop stains

    Most of the poop stains will be as a result of diaper blowouts. Also, there might be times when you’re removing the diaper for changing, and then your baby unexpectedly poops. Poop stains are notoriously stubborn, so you’ll want to start by rinsing off the poop under running water. The next step is to pre-treat the stain with your preferred stain remover. Let it sit for a half an hour or so before tossing it in the washing machine. For any lingering stains, soak the item in color-safe bleach for at least 30 minutes. 

    2. Pee 

    Pee is an easy stain to remove as long as you don't leave it to sit for too long. Rinse the item in cold water and toss it in the washing machine as soon as possible.

    3. Removing formula stains

    Formula stains can be a bit tough to deal with if they’re left to dry, so you’ll want to act as fast as possible. If you’re unable to remove the stain immediately, blot it with a damp cloth to get rid of as much excess formula as you can. Rinse the stain under cool water. If possible, soak it for about 15 minutes. Apply detergent to the stain and gently rub it in. Toss the item in the washing machine and set to a moderate temperature - 104F (40C) should be fine unless otherwise recommended.

    4. Spit up

    Rinse the item of clothing in cold water and apply a stain remover on the affected area before tossing it into the washing machine. If it’s a big spit-up stain, you want to start by soaking it in warm water and detergent for 15 minutes.

    5. Food stains

    Baby food comes in a variety of colors, so don’t be alarmed by what the stains look like. To treat the stain, start by soaking the garment in cold water for a couple of hours (or overnight, if possible). Rub a little detergent into the stain, and then leave it for a few minutes to set in. Toss in the washing machine, taking care to follow the instructions on the label.

    Using the washing machine

    Before tossing your baby’s clothes into the washing machine, read the labels. Some items may have special washing instructions. Sleepwear, for example, is required by law to be flame resistant, and many of them have special washing instructions to maintain this quality. 

    Avoid overloading the washer as this could put extra wear on your baby’s delicate items. Another way to preserve the quality of your little one’s clothes is by using the gentle cycle. While this cycle may not be suitable for washing cloth diapers, it should work just fine on clothing and blankets. If your baby has extremely sensitive skin, you may want to run the rinse cycle twice. The extra rinsing will remove any lingering detergent in the fibers of the fabric.

    Drying your baby’s clothes

    You can dry your baby’s clothes just like you would any of your clothes. With that being said, you might want to consider drying them in the sun. Many people don't know that the sun is a natural (and free) stain remover. If you opt to sun dry your baby’s clothes, you can either hang them on a clothesline or lay them out flat in the sun. delicate baby clothes could potentially deteriorate in the sun, so use caution when drying fragile fabrics. Some colors could fade in the sun as well, so don’t leave them out for too long.

    Final thoughts

    As a first-time parent, you probably didn’t anticipate how much laundry you’ll be doing when you have a baby. Washing your little one’s clothes requires a lot of care to keep them in good condition, so always follow the instructions on the care labels. These washing suggestions are also very helpful for all your washing needs.

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