Let's face it, babies can be really messy. Learn how to keep them looking and smelling fresh with our in-depth guide on how to wash baby clothes.
A Guide for Parents: How To Wash a Baby’s Clothes
Babies may be small, but they often come with a lot of mess! To help you out, we’re going to try and reduce some of the stress of laundry time by explaining how to wash your baby’s clothes.
Top tips for washing baby clothes
- Check the care label: As you would with your own clothes, always check the garment’s care labels to see if it has any special washing instructions before you put a load of washing on. Some items might need to be hand-washed or washed in cold water. This can be a little time-consuming so it's best to consider looking at the care labels when buying baby clothes. If you are hand-washing, wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands.
- Inside out: Baby clothes are often decorated with designs and prints. It's best to wash them inside out so that they stay bright and colourful for longer!
- Dry naturally if you can: You should try to hang your baby’s clothes (and your own) outside to dry if the weather allows it! Sunlight helps to remove stains and air drying is much better for the environment than using a tumble dryer.
- Lights and darks: Just as you do with your own clothes, it’s a good idea to separate your baby's clothes into whites and colours. Also, remove any heavy soiling – like food spills, spit-up or poo – before they go in the washing machine.
- Keep bacteria at bay: If anyone in your house has been feeling under the weather, you should wash your baby’s clothes and bedding separate from anything that could be infected with bacteria. This can linger even during washing.
- Stay safe: Laundry detergents are dangerous so it’s a good idea to baby-proof your laundry area and keep all cleaning products out of your baby’s reach.
Washing newborn clothes before use
It’s a good idea to wash your baby’s clothes and anything that will touch their skin (like bedding, blankets, towels, and soft toys) before they’re worn or used, whether they’ve been bought brand-new, as a gift, or second-hand. This is because clothes can easily pick up germs, dust and dirt that could irritate your baby’s delicate skin on their way to your home.
To bio or not to bio?
This choice is down to your personal preference! All good-quality brand detergents are tested thoroughly and safe to use when washing baby clothes.
Some parents may have concerns about biological detergents because they contain stain-removing enzymes that could be irritating to skin. If this is the case, you can choose to use a non-biological detergent.
If your baby has eczema or another skin condition that causes irritation and sensitivity, it can help to choose a detergent that's hypoallergenic and free from dyes and fragrances.
At what temperature should I wash baby clothes?
As we’ve said previously, you should always check the care label on your baby’s clothes to know what temperature to wash them at. That said, most baby clothes (aside from dirty fabric nappies) can be washed at 30°C/86°F or 40°C/104°F.
This temperature range is hot enough to remove any lingering dust or dirt and is also more eco-friendly than higher temperature settings.
Wash fabric nappies separately
Reusable nappies should be washed separately from other items at a higher temperature (around 60°C or 140°F). This is to make sure that all bacteria and germs are removed.
When washing reusable nappies, it’s best to use gentle non-bio detergent and avoid fabric softener. This can affect the absorbency of your nappies, and nobody wants that!