How To Wash Baby Clothes: Simple Guide

If you’re preparing for a new baby, you’ve probably gotten a lot of clothes, bibs, and blankets. You’ve bought clothes, your partner has bought clothes, and you’ve probably gotten clothing as gifts from a baby shower, right alongside your breast pump and boxes of diapers.

Plus, you’ve probably also learned and read about how messy babies can be. They spit up; their diapers can overflow, and when they start eating solids, well, that’s just another way that your little one can make a mess. 

Now that you think about it, that pile of laundry that you’ll need to do is getting bigger, but you’re not sure how to wash baby clothes

Is there something special you need to do for baby clothes? Do you need baby detergent? How should you get rid of stains?

We’ve been there. Taking care of a baby, especially if it’s your first time, can be tough. 

There are so many things that you need to learn and do to make sure your little one is happy and healthy. Fortunately, doing the laundry can be pretty easy.

With this simple guide, you can find an answer to all these questions. 

Why Is Washing Baby Clothes So Important?

Doing laundry is one of the facts of life. We wear clothes all the time. We wear them when we’re sweating when we’re outside cleaning the yard, and when we’re cooking. Because our clothes can see some wear, we need to wash our clothes to clean all the grime and dirt off.

Even though babies don’t usually do a lot of sweating or cleaning the yard, their clothes can still get dirty. Babies also tend to have sensitive skin, so it’s important that their clothes don’t have traces of dirt or other things that might cause irritation, like chemicals.

It’s also always a good idea to wash any new clothes before your little one wears them because there can be traces of chemicals and other irritants that can bother your little one. However, after the first wash, your baby can wear outfits a couple of times before you need to wash them again — as long as they’re clean.

After a diaper blowout or a tumble during playtime outside, of course, the clothes will need to be washed before your baby can wear them. You may also want to try to soak or use a stain remover to prevent permanent stains.

That way, the adorable clothes that you have for your little one will smell and look clean.

Do I Need To Use Baby Detergent?

Baby detergent is made specifically to cater to a baby’s sensitive skin. It’s free from harsh chemicals and fragrances but still cleans your little one’s clothes thoroughly.

But don’t stockpile baby detergent just yet. Although many products made specifically for babies work much better than products for adults, baby detergent isn’t necessarily one of them.

Baby detergent is excellent for babies that have very sensitive skin, but liquid detergents that are fragrance and color-free can work too in many cases. If you use detergents without fragrances or colors, you can wash your little one’s clothes with the rest of your laundry, as long as it isn’t super dirty. 

Liquid detergents are best since powder detergents tend to be more difficult to rinse out than the liquid variations.

If you notice that your little one has an allergic reaction to the normal detergent, like a rash or hives, you should probably try some baby detergents to see if that helps.

What Are Some Baby Detergent Alternatives?

Many products can function as detergents for your baby’s clothing if you would rather avoid using liquid detergents from your local stores or if you can’t find one that works for your family. One way to find a suitable detergent is to consult with your family’s pediatrician.

You can also make your own laundry soap with just a few ingredients. Products like baking soda or washing soda combined with soap can be great ways to clean laundry.

If you’re looking to make your little one’s clothes softer, distilled white vinegar works just as well as a fabric softener without chemicals that may irritate your little one’s skin. Hydrogen peroxide is also a fine alternative to bleach if you need to whiten clothing.

What About Stain Removers?

Stains are a common problem when it comes to babies. There are so many things that can stain their clothes, like spit-up, diaper leakage, and baby food. Even drool can leave marks on light-colored clothing.

However, many stain removers have harsher chemicals than laundry detergents since getting stains out requires some hard work. So how can you get rid of stains without bothering your little one’s skin?

The first key is to treat it as soon as possible. By putting your chosen stain remover on the discoloration as soon as possible after any spillage, it’s much more likely to come out. You can also soak the clothes in cold water since many baby-related stains will come out in cold water with a bit of scrubbing.

There are also some natural alternatives to stain removers, like lemon juice. Liquid detergent can be used as a stain remover as long as you treat the stain soon after it is made. All you need to do is pour some detergent on and rub it into the clothing until it’s sudsy. 

How To Wash Baby Clothes: Three Simple Steps

Since washing machines have many different settings so that different types of clothes can be cleaned properly, the actual washing process is pretty simple. All you need to do is start the wash.

Even still, ensuring that your little one’s clothes are cleaned properly takes a bit more effort. We want our baby’s clothes to last as long as possible, so it’s important to know what your little one’s clothes requirements are.

Usually, the washing instructions for clothing can be found on the tags, and it’s important to follow them so that your little one’s clothes don’t get more wear and tear than they need to. Some clothes will do better being washed in cold water, while others can be washed with warm water.

Keep in mind that other articles of baby clothing might need to be hand-washed or washed with the delicates. If you have a belly band, then you’ll likely wash these clothes the same way you wash your band.

1. Prepare

The first thing that you need to do is get everything ready. Generally, it’s a bright idea to sort out your little one's clothes into whites and colors. If you have enough clothes, you may also want to separate light colors from dark colors. This prevents colors from accidentally running together.

It’s also wise to button up or zip up any clothing that’s already open. You can flip clothing inside out, which can help the seams last longer and prevent potential damage to any designs on the outside. 

Washing baby clothes before washing the rest of your laundry can prevent bacteria from spreading to your little one’s clothing from other clothes that may be dirtier.

Of course, this is also the time to put stain remover on any last-minute stains.

2. Start the Wash

Next, all you need to do is put the clothes in the washing machine. Depending on what type of machine you have, there might be a drawer in which you can put the detergent in, or you can pour it directly into the washing machine.

If the clothes need to be whitened, you should be able to add hydrogen peroxide to clothing beforehand. If you need to make sure your little one’s clothes are soft, you can add vinegar directly to the wash, as long as you aren’t using baking soda at the same time.

You’ll want to find the best setting for the clothing. It is generally a good idea to rinse them twice, just to make sure all the soap is rinsed out. Whether it’s with hot or cold water will depend on the type of clothing.

3. Dry

The final step is to dry your little one’s clothes. You can prevent mildew and other growth by putting your baby’s clothes in the dryer or hanging them out to dry a few minutes after the wash is done. Plus, dry clothes feel much better than wet ones.

Line drying can be great for baby clothes, especially since sunlight is a natural disinfectant. However, the dryer also works. You just need to make sure you put it on the right setting.

After your baby’s clothes are dry, you can also iron them since ironing can disinfect clothing as well as get rid of any wrinkles. You can keep baby clothes wrinkle-free by folding them and putting them away. Then, follow our five easy methods for folding clothes.

Clean Clothes for Your Little Mess Maker

Doing laundry is a fairly easy task these days. All you need to do is put the clothes and soap in, pick the right setting, push a button, and voila, you have clean clothing. Baby clothes aren’t very different. However, they do have some of their own requirements.

Since babies have sensitive skin, check that their clothes are clean and free from any harsh chemicals and substances that might irritate your little one’s skin. 

That’s one of the reasons why baby-safe detergents are so popular. These products are usually fragrance-free and color-free so that they won’t irritate your little one’s skin.

Preserving clothes is also important, but fortunately, washing instructions can usually be found on clothing tags. They can let you know if cold or warm water is better and what temperature setting to use for the dryer.

All-in-all, baby clothes are pretty easy to clean up, and even stains can be prevented with the right care and products. Babies might be messy, but at least cleaning the clothes can be easy. 

With our constantly-updating research and line-up of gear, you’ll have that extra support all families need. 


Laundering Your Baby's Clothes (for Parents) | Nemours KidsHealth

Non-Toxic Laundry Tips For Baby & You | Women's Voices for the Earth

How to Wash Baby Clothes | Verywell Family