Washing your baby's clothes

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Washing your newborns's clothes

Parents and friends may recommend a variety of ways to wash your baby’s clothes, but there is no one right way to clean those dirty threads. Definitely make sure to clean all of her clothes before she wears them, because newborns have sensitive skin. Place all smaller items in a laundry bag to prevent loss and destruction. Read all directions and labels before you wash anything.

Do I need a special detergent?

While many parents purchase a baby detergent for infant belongings, most health experts agree that this is not necessary so long as your baby does not have allergies or sensitive skin. Liquid detergents are preferable to powders, which can leave itchy flakes on your baby’s skin. Avoid fabric softeners and other odorized laundry products, and keep an eye out for allergic reactions. Cloth diapers should be washed separately and frequently.

What about tough stains?

Stain clean-up is probably the toughest part of doing your baby’s laundry (even though she couldn’t care less about a little stray milk). Oily and greasy stains like baby oil are best taken on using cornstarch or talcum powder, followed by a combination solvent. To get rid of fruit and vegetable stains, flush with cool water and soak in a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water then wash as usual. Protein stains such as poop, breast milk and spit up can be fixed using a plain water soak and an enzyme cleaner. Urine stains need an ammonia soak, but be sure not to mix this with chlorine bleach as this is toxic.

The bottom line

Some newborns have extra-sensitive skin, and if your little one turns out to be one of them, you may need to experiment with different types of extra-sensitive detergent. For most babies’ clothes, though, it’s perfectly fine to use the same detergent the rest on the family uses.

  • “Cleaning Baby Clothes.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “What you’ll need for your baby.” NHS Choices. Gov.UK, April 15 2015. Web.

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