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Guide to Washing Baby Clothes
– Useful Tips and Precautions

How to make your daily washing tasks easier,
more effective and not overwhelming

Baby clothes folded, little pink shoes on top of the pile
Getting a new baby is an amazing experience, which involves many
responsibilities, including regularly washing baby's clothes.

Welcoming a new family member is such an amazing experience. However, there are so many items on a young parents' to-do list that they can easily become overwhelmed by it all. Learning along the way and researching some baby care tips proved to be the best way to get into a routine. Washing baby clothes is also one of the tasks parents need to tackle almost every day, so let's take a look at some useful tips and precautions they should know about.

Washing your baby's clothes for the first time

Newborns have weak immunity, so it is extremely important that everything around them is germ-free and disinfected. Obviously, you will have to carefully wash each and every baby garment before you put it on your baby for the first time. Even though nicely folded and sometimes even scented clothes from the store might seem clean, you should remember that they have been touched way too many times in the production line, during packing, transport, and finally in the store.

Baby sleeping
Your baby's skin is very sensitive and deserves special care,
which is why washing your baby's clothes should be done right.

Which detergent to choose?

Picking detergent for newborn's garments can be a hard task for a new parent. There are many detergents for washing baby clothes on the market, but not all of them are good for your little one's skin. Some contain way too many chemicals and perfumes that can irritate your baby's skin, cause rashes, and even allergies.

To make sure you make the right choice when shopping for baby laundry detergent, opt for products that are free of chemicals and eco-friendly. They are least likely to harm your baby.

Extra tip: You can consult your baby's pediatrician or a dermatologist when unsure which detergent to get.

Baby clothes laundry process

Here are the steps you should take to properly wash your baby clothes:

  • remove excess dirt and treat stains; 
  • soak them in warm water - not hot since it might damage the fabric and make PJs, onesies, socks and all those cute baby items even smaller; 
  • hand wash or use a washing machine; 
  • rinse twice for extra safety when washing baby clothes; 
  • dry in sunlight or use a dryer. 

Extra tip: Iron your baby's clothes to kill any remaining bacteria and make it neat.

Stain removal

Pre-treating stains will help you get better washing results. It is important to remove some major dirt first. Stains on baby clothes are usually protein-based and as such, they are sources of dangerous bacteria. Breast milk, formula, fruits, and vegetables can leave marks on burp clothes, bibs, onesies, and other items, but using an all-purpose stain remover should suffice. If you'd rather use a natural disinfectant, you can try adding some white vinegar to the water you will use for soaking the clothes, which is the following step of the baby clothes washing process.

By the way, if you have a stain-removing product that works every single time, maybe it can be a part of the baby gift basket you will take to a friend or a relative expecting a newborn. They will appreciate practical gifts such as this one.

Soaking in water

The second step of your baby clothes washing routine should be soaking it in soapy water for about half an hour. That will help remove a lot of bacteria and germs. After that, you can decide whether you will go for hand wash or toss it all into a washing machine.

Hand wash or machine washing?

Washing sensitive baby clothes is better done by hands, but for busy parents that is not always an option. The good news is that, unless your baby is really allergic to something or has irritable skin, you can rely on your machine to do the dirty work for you and leave you some more time to relax during baby naps and sleeping time.

Washing instructions label for washing baby clothes
Each piece of baby's clothing will have washing and care instructions
that will help you to take proper care of the garment.

Don't forget to check the washing instructions on the label of any garment you want clean. Some items are not meant to be put in a washer/dryer.

When hand washing, make sure that the water is not too hot to burn you or to damage the clothes' fibers. Also, it is very important that you rinse everything thoroughly. Hand washing lasts shorter than any machine cycle, so there is a chance some stains will remain.

Modern washing machines have many cycles to choose from. It is a common misconception that clothes for little ones should be washed at the highest temperatures. Those cute little cotton socks, bibs, leggings, and onesies can actually get damaged like that. The best washing programs are those that use lower temperature water and include additional washing out cycle.

Extra tip: Put small items such as socks, mittens, and bibs inside a mesh bag when machine washing. That will prevent them from getting lost or stuck somewhere where they can even cause your washer to break.

Rinsing twice

Detergent remaining in your baby clothes after improper washing is as harmful as bacteria left in it. That is why extra rinsing is important whether you washed the garments by hand or with the help of a washing machine.

Extra tip: Opt for liquid detergents, they are easier to rinse than powdery ones.

Drying your baby's garments

If the weather conditions allow it, you should dry your baby clothes in sunlight. That will kill the remaining bacteria and germs if any are left on the fabric. However, if the air outside is too polluted or there are too many allergens (pollen or dust) in it, you should consider drying the clothes inside your home.

A graphic showing clothes line with baby clothes hanging

Drying your baby's clothes in sunlight and fresh air is very important;
as the sun rays kill various bacteria and outdoor air makes it fresh.

A dryer can be a good time-saver, but not all items can be put in it. Follow the instructions from the labels on the clothes since some parts of clothes (buttons, buckles, etc.) can get ruined by the dryer.

Avoid using fabric softeners

Using those wonderfully smelling fabric softeners can be inviting when machine washing baby playsuits and onesies made of natural fabrics, but try to resist the urge. The softeners are infused in the clothes during the last rinsing cycle, so they basically remain on your baby clothes and can cause all the previously mentioned skin complications.


Baby skin is somewhat thinner than ours, so it requires more care and special treatment. Since their clothes are the ones directly touching it, they should be washed properly and rinsed thoroughly to avoid skin irritations and allergic reactions. Follow our guide to washing baby clothes and enjoy precious moments with your little one.

Images by Pixabay

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