It can be a daunting task to figure out how to properly wash a baby’s clothes. With so many different detergents, fabric softener, and other products on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are safe for your little one’s clothes. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of washing baby clothes step-by-step. We’ll also provide some tips on how to keep your child’s clothes looking new for longer!
The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Baby Clothes
If you’re a new parent, you might be surprised to learn that there’s more to washing baby clothes than just throwing them in the washing machine. In fact, there are a whole host of dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping your little one’s clothes clean. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know to wash newborn baby clothes.
Do: Sort baby clothes by color. Just like with your own clothes, it’s best to wash baby clothes by color. This will help prevent any accidental bleeding that could occur if, say, a red shirt is washed with white clothes.
Don’t: Use too much detergent. A little detergent goes a long way when washing baby clothes. In fact, using too much detergent can actually leave behind residue that can irritate your baby’s skin.
Do: Use a gentle cycle. Most baby clothes are delicate, so it’s important to use a gentle cycle when washing them, with special washing instructions or a guide to washing. This will help prevent any damage that could occur if the clothing is washed on a harsher cycle.
Don’t: Overload the washing machine. When washing baby clothes, be sure not to overload the washing machine. This can cause the clothing to become wrinkled and could also lead to damage.
Do: Hang baby clothes to dry. Hanging baby clothes up to dry is always best, as this will help prevent shrinkage and damage that can occur from using a dryer. If you must use a dryer, be sure to use the lowest setting possible.
How Often Should You Wash Baby Clothes?
This is a question that plagues many new parents. How often should you wash your baby’s clothes? The answer, of course, depends on a few factors. For example, how many changes of clothes does your baby have? If you’ve got a ton of clothes, you can probably get away with washing them less often. But if you only have a few outfits, you’ll need to wash them more frequently.
Another factor to consider is whether or not your baby is sleeping through the night. If they are, you can probably get away with washing their clothes every other day or so. But if they’re still waking up for feedings during the night, you’ll need to wash their clothes more often to avoid any accidents.
Finally, think about how much time you have for laundry. If you’re able to do multiple loads per week, great! But if you’re only able to do one load per week, that’s totally understandable. Just make sure that you’re washing the most soiled items first and save the lightly soiled items for later in the week.
What Temperature Should You Wash Baby Clothes?
This is another common question among new parents. When it comes to washing baby clothes, always err on the side of caution and use cold water. Hot water can be too harsh on delicate fabrics and may cause colors to fade over time. Plus, it’s just not necessary to wash baby clothes in hot water unless they’re extremely soiled. Cold water will get the job done just fine.
Should You Use Bleach When Washing Baby Clothes?
This is a controversial topic among parents. Some say that bleach is a necessary evil when it comes to keeping baby clothes clean and free of germs. Others say that bleach is too harsh for delicate fabrics and skin and should be avoided at all costs. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t use bleach every time I wash my baby’s clothes, but I do use it occasionally when I feel like their clothes need an extra boost of cleanliness (usually, after they’ve been sick).
Taking Care of Baby’s Sensitive Skin
Whether your baby is 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months old, there’s always one constant: They have delicate skin. This means many of the bath and skin care products you use on your own body can cause rashes and irritation on them. But there’s a lot you can do to protect your little one from common skin problems. Here’s what to do to keep their skin soft, smooth, and safe.
Don’t bathe them every day
Two or three times a week is fine until they start to crawl. If you wash them more often, it can dry out their skin. Instead, use a wet washcloth to regularly clean their diaper area, around their mouth, and anywhere they have skin folds (think armpit and groin folds, as well as double chins and dimpled thighs). When you do give them a bath, use a fragrance-free, dye-free baby wash.
Change their diaper often
Babies should get a fresh diaper every 2 to 4 hours, or right after they poop. You don’t need fancy diaper wipes: tap water and cotton balls or a soft cloth work fine for the basic wet diaper. For poopy ones, though, you may want wipes to do a thorough cleanup. Choose those that are hypoallergenic and don’t have lanolin or alcohol. It’s also a good idea to let their little bottom air-dry every now and then, so their skin gets a break from moisture. Put them in a crib with waterproof sheets or on a large towel on the floor while they are diaper-free.
Deal with diaper rash
It’s best to prevent it in the first place. Keep their bottom as clean and dry as possible. You can also occasionally soak their diaper area with warm water between diaper changes. Put their diaper on loosely so it doesn’t chafe, and change it every 2 hours or so or after every poop. If you use cloth diapers, run an extra rinse cycle after you wash them to make sure you get rid of any detergent. You should also avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
If they do get diaper rash, use a diaper cream or ointment that has zinc oxide. This acts as a barrier between the poop and pee and their skin. Put it on thickly, like cake icing, after each change. It can also help to give them some diaper-free time every day. If the diaper rash doesn’t go away within 2 to 3 days or seems to get worse, call your doctor.
Seek the shade
If your baby is younger than 6 months, keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. You can protect them from sun exposure by dressing them in sun-protective clothing like a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and hat. If they are older than 6 months, put on a small amount of broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Look for a sunscreen that has titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which is less likely to irritate their skin and eyes than those that have ingredients such as avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.
Go easy on moisturizers
It’s normal for newborns to have areas of dry skin. They usually get better on their own. If it’s so dry that it splits, you can put petroleum jelly on the area. As they get older, you can use lotions that are free of fragrances and dyes. But read the label carefully: ”Unscented” isn’t the same as “fragrance-free” — products labeled “unscented” can still have a fragrance, which may irritate your baby’s skin.
Keep an eye out for skin conditions
When your baby is about a month old, you may see some scaling and redness on the scalp. This is called a cradle cap. It’s a common rash and will slowly go away on its own. You can help get rid of it by washing your baby’s hair several times a week with a mild baby shampoo. If your doctor says it’s OK, you can also apply an over-the counter-cortisone cream. Some parents use petroleum jelly. But baby oil isn’t helpful because it allows scales to build up on the scalp.
Another skin problem you may see as your little one gets older is eczema, a condition that makes skin itchy and inflamed. If they get it, always bathe them in lukewarm water. Gently apply a mild, fragrance-free cleanser to the rest of their skin (avoiding the areas with eczema), but don’t rub or scrub. Their bath should last only 5 to 10 minutes. As soon as you take them out, gently pat them dry, but leave some water on their skin so that it feels damp. Then, slather on their regular moisturizer, but make sure it’s in the form of a cream or ointment, not a lotion. This is one of the best treatments for eczema because it helps prevent a baby’s skin from losing water, which can make symptoms worse.
If you do decide to use bleach when washing baby clothes, always dilute it with water first and test it on a small area of fabric before using it on the entire piece of clothing. You don’t want to accidentally damage your baby’s clothing by using too much bleach!