What baby can't tell you: why carefully-washed clothes are a must

Carefully washed clothes are a must to avoid irritating baby's sensitive skin. Here are some helpful tips for washing clothes to keep you (and baby) happy.
Newborns can have sensitive skin, so it’s a good idea to wash all new clothes—as well as swaddling cloths, linens and bath towels—to remove any germs prior to coming into contact with baby. Jackets and outerwear items are usually fine without pre-washing. Since you may have received a lot of items to welcome baby, start this process well before baby arrives. As you do with other laundry, check the care labels first and wash items with like colors.
Washing tips

Play it safe in the first few weeks by using a gentle detergent designed just for baby.

  • Look out for any skin irritations, and if none, you can begin to introduce your regular detergent.Test a few articles of clothing first.
  • If you see any redness, dry patches or raised bumps alert your pediatrician. Unless your infant has eczema, dermatitis or another sensitive skin condition, it’s not necessary to wash baby’s clothes separately from the rest of the family. The only exception to this rule is cloth diapers.
  • Wash cloth diapers separately in hot water and detergent. Adding a quarter cup of baking soda to a diaper load can help remove odors.
  • Liquid detergents tend to rinse easier than powder detergents. Beware of harsh soaps that could strip away the flame-retardant properties in baby’s sleepwear.
  • To maintain your sanity when dealing with socks and other tiny apparel, wash in a mesh laundry bag to keep items from disappearing.
  • Avoid using manufactured fabric softeners and anti-static products. Baking soda is a natural option that not only softens clothes, it also brightens and deodorizes.

Stain removal

Milk, formula, spit-up and diaper accidents can leave behind sour, smelly stains. Your best bet is immediate action.

  • If possible, wipe or dab fresh stains with a damp cloth as they occur. Otherwise, soak the stained garment in cool water.
  • If the stain has not lifted, you’ll need to attack it with a stain remover.

Apply a pre-wash stain treatment. Use a damp cloth to gently scrub the stained area, taking care not to rub it further into the fabric. Let it sit for 10 minutes before washing.

  • You may want to add a second rinse cycle to make sure all of the chemicals from the stain remover are gone.

If the stain is still evident, skip the dryer. The heat from the dryer can further set a stubborn stain.

  • You’ll need to attack the stain with non-chlorine or oxygen bleach. Make sure any bleach is rinsed well.

Like any new parent, you want to spend your time with your newborn, not worrying about washing baby clothes. Prepare for baby’s arrival by making sure you have a place to put baby’s dirty clothes until laundry day, and stock your laundry room with the essentials to keep their clothes clean and soft.

What baby can't tell you: why carefully-washed clothes are a must
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