Being a parent has its own challenges, so struggling with how to wash your baby's clothes shouldn't be one of them. After taking special care to ensure the house is clean and the baby is well-fed and taking care of its other needs, you would feel quite dejected if your child falls ill due to unclean clothes. Hence, it is essential to learn about the best ways to wash baby clothes, which will help protect your baby from harm and keep allergies away.

Read: Choosing Suitable Clothing for Babies

A] Preparing to Wash Your Baby’s Clothes

Washing baby clothes for the first time requires preparations. So, let's start with understanding how to wash baby clothes the right way. Note, ensure to wash newly purchased baby clothes before using them to avoid any allergic reactions.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind before washing a newborn babies clothes.

  • To learn about the cloth material, check the brand label instructions. It will make washing baby clothes for the first time
  • While doing laundry for baby clothes, be cautious about the detergent you use. Utilize a non-chemical laundry soap/detergent for baby clothes, made especially for infants.
  • Do not wash baby clothes with regular clothes as the contaminants from one can transfer to the other.
  • Pre-soak the material in warm water (if allowed) to disinfect. You could also rinse clothes in warm water post-washing.
  • Drying the baby’s clothes in sunlight is recommended as sunlight is a natural disinfectant.

B] Tips for Washing Newborn Baby’s Clothes

  1. Find the best detergent for baby clothes:

    Before washing your newborn's clothes, you need to find the right detergent. While shopping, pick a fragrance-free detergent as it is safer for babies and will not irritate their skin. If the laundry detergent for baby clothes is expensive, you can make your own at home. Just ensure to use natural ingredients and keep away from toxic & harmful chemicals.
  1. Washing New Clothes:

    Any clothing item, whether new or pre-owned, needs to be washed before you dress your baby in them. All babies have delicate & sensitive skin and can develop allergic reactions if you don’t take proper precautions. Hence, make sure the clothes you put on a newborn are freshly laundered with a baby-friendly detergent.
  1. Dealing with Stains:

    On average, you need to change a baby’s clothes six to seven times a day as babies drool, spit-up and poop all day long. Most of the time if not cleaned quickly, it can leave stains on the baby’s clothes. The top three are stains from baby oil, spit and poop.
  • Baby oil: Baby oil is beneficial for the baby's skin, but it isn't great for their clothes. It can leave stains everywhere it drips, and these stains are difficult to wash out. The best method to remove such stains is to pre-treat the area with a bar of grease-busting dish soap and gently rubbing the stained area. Next, rinse them in cold water and dry them outdoors under the sunlight.
  • Poop: Poop stains will come from those unavoidable diaper blowouts or when you take off your kids diaper to change, and they decide to poop. Both of these instances can lead to stains on clothes. An easy method to get rid of these tough stains is to soak the clothing item in warm water, then pre-treat them with some lemon juice for 10-15 minutes. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the messy area. Finally, use a baby-friendly laundry detergent for washing
  • Spit: Babies spit can also leave difficult-to-remove stains on clothes. Although the episodes of spit-up subside after six months to one year, in the meantime, you need to do your best to ensure these spit stains don’t permanently damage their clothes. To clean spit-up stains, use a pre-lightening treatment with a dash of lemon juice.
  1. Combined or Baby-Only Load:

    Many parents wash their baby's clothes and other garments together. However, this can cause health issues, so it is best to stick to a baby-only load.

Here are some reasons why you should wash your baby clothes separately:

  • If your baby has super sensitive skin or eczema, you would need to wash their clothes with special detergents rather than a regular laundry detergent. This would require a baby-only load.
  • If anyone in the household works with harmful chemicals or hazardous materials, it is advisable to wash their clothing separately rather than accidentally exposing the baby to an irritant.
  • Some family members may prefer a heavily scented detergent, which may not be suitable for baby clothes.
  • Since a baby’s clothes are changed more frequently, it is much more time-efficient to do a separate baby-only load rather than combined laundry.
  1. Drying Baby’s Clothes: Most people assume that since baby clothes are tiny, they dry up faster. However, that's not true. In fact, since the surface area of the cloth is less, they take longer to dry.
  • If you are washing the baby's clothes in the washing machine, toss in a clean, dry towel to tumble with the clothes to speed up the drying process.
  • If you hand wash baby clothes, then it's best to dry them in the sun. This will not only help dry the clothes faster but also disinfect them and make white clothes whiter.

C] Handwashing vs Machine Washing Baby’s Clothes

  1. Hand Washing Baby’s Clothes

First-time parents are often recommended to hand wash their baby’s clothes as it is a much better option than machine washing and can prevent skin rash & other infections.

While handwashing baby clothes, there are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Disinfect and clean your hands thoroughly before handling baby clothes.
  • Always measure the water temperature before washing baby clothes, as extreme heat could damage the clothes.
  • Use eco-friendly, non-chemical detergent as regular detergent could irritate your baby's skin. Opt for a natural detergent to wash baby clothes to avoid allergic reactions.
  • Pre-soak the clothes in warm water before washing them to kill bacteria.
  • Sun-dry baby clothes rather than using a dryer.
  1. Machine Washing Baby’s Clothes

Hand washing your baby’s clothes can be time consuming and exhausting. So, for parents, who don't have time and energy to hand wash clothes, here are some things to keep in mind while machine washing baby clothes:

  • Opt for a baby-only load while machine washing clothes.
  • Pre-soak the clothes in warm water to remove stains (if any)
  • Utilize the rinse option twice to ensure the clothes are soap and bacteria-free.

#Things to Avoid While Washing Infant’s Clothes

Since babies have sensitive skin, you need to not only choose the right fabric but also ensure to wash their clothes with gentle care. Following is a list of things to avoid when washing baby clothes.

  • Do not use fabric softeners and avoid chemical detergents.
  • Do not use drying paper with chemicals. Instead, dry baby clothes in the sunlight.
  • Do not wash their nappies and clothes together.
  • Do not use strong fragrant detergents.

Visit your doctor if your child has any skin allergies and consult with them on special washing requirements.

Written by Ammar Lakdawala