Tips for Washing Baby Clothes
As a new mom, you are probably struggling with caring for a new born baby, adjusting to post-birth hormones and sleep deprivation. You are expected to care your baby 24/7, go to the clinic for regular checks and also do the laundry.
Don’t try to do too much and it’s understandable that laundry isn’t your highest priority. To help ease your work load, here are a few tips to take care of baby clothes:
- Wash clothes at either cold or warm temperature. Cold washes save you money.
- Do not use bleach on most baby clothing. Always read and follow the instruction on the label.
- You can wash baby clothes with the normal laundry if you’re not using specific baby laundry detergent.
- Put small items such as socks in a mesh bag.
How to treat stubborn stains
Baby clothing will inevitably get stained at some point. These are some tips to help you tackle those stains.
- Clean before they stain: Don’t let soiled garments stay out too long before you soak them in water to counteract stains from becoming too difficult to wash out.
- Baby oil: Use a stain remover and then wash the garments in very hot water. Always reference the care label for instructions.
- Urine: Dilute one tablespoon of ammonia in a cup of water and treat the stained area with the solution. Dab a little first on the clothing to make sure it won’t damage the coloring.
- Protein stains – These include formula, breast milk, spit up, food and feces. Soak the stained clothing in cold water containing an enzyme detergent. You can also spray a diluted dishwashing-soap solution on the affected area, wait for a while, then rinse.
- Fruits and vegetables – These are normally one of the toughest stains to remove. Rinse the stained garments in a mixture of 1:1 rubbing alcohol and cold water and then wash as normal. If not, you can use a stain removing solution before washing. For really stubborn stains, try laundering with a 1:1 vinegar water solution.
Characteristics of a good laundry detergent for baby’s clothes
There are three key characteristics to note when selecting a good laundry detergent for baby’s clothes and diapers. These are:
- Gentle on baby’s skin
Babies and more so infants can suffer from eczema, skin allergies and generally just have really sensitive skin. Using the wrong detergents can cause your baby’s skin to break out and become irritated. Invest in more natural detergents that have a lower risk of triggering baby’s allergies.
- Free from toxins and chemicals
Mainstream detergents usually contain a number of harsh chemicals that are less than ideal for your baby. It’s important to note that advertised special baby detergents may not be as safe as they claim to be.
The best way to select a suitable laundry detergent that is safe for baby is to check the ingredients. Avoid products that contain such ingredients as:
- Chemical fragrances (phthalates)
- Synthetic detergents
- Optical brighteners such as benzene
- Effective on baby stains
A good laundry detergent is one that is effective at removing stains because let’s face it, diaper leaks, food stuff and poop explosions are all part of a baby’s routine. You may need to pre-soak baby clothes before washing in some occasions but ultimately, a good detergent is one that reduces the need to do spot cleaning.
For cloth diapers, avoid detergents with oils that build up on the diapers as these will reduce the effectiveness of the cloth diapers to absorb baby’s excretions effectively.
How to keep clothes from staining
- Feed babies naked/semi naked
This is a great strategy that works during the summer but granted it cannot work all throughout the year. Sometimes when babies have itchy skin such as eczema, you have to put them in onesies or long sleeves to stop them from scratching themselves. Nonetheless, when you do have the occasion to do so, feed them naked or semi naked.
- Use a bib
Always use a bib when feeding your baby. Bibs minimize the stains that get on clothes and a plastic bib works even better than a cloth bib.
- Get a good stain soaker
The quickest way to prevent clothes from staining permanently is to pre-soak them with a stain soaker before washing which prevents setting of the stain. As soon as baby clothes get stained, soak them in the stain soaker and leave them for a while.
Except for delicates and fine fabrics, it is typically okay to leave the stained clothes for a few days especially if you hadn’t planned on washing them just yet.
- Boost your load
In addition to pre-soaking your stained clothes, you can also add the stain fighter with the normal detergent to the actual load to fight less noticeable stains and brighten up the clothes. The extra boost of stain soaker in the washing goes the extra mile to remove all stains.
- Use a soaking container
Soaking containers in strategic locations next to the soaking agent helps to prioritize pre-soaking. Soaking containers can either be a container, bucket or sink where you can soak a small pile of clothes before washing. Using a good soak fighter removes the stains without having to soak the clothes in bleach and you do not need to soak for long periods of time either. Note that soaking in bleach tends to break down the fiber of the garment you are soaking.
- Wash with cold water
Most loads except probably extremely dirty white loads are effectively washed in cold water. Using cold water goes a long way to cutting back the cost of power consumed in the home. You might think that, say, washing cloth diapers in hot water is the best way to do it but the high cost of the electricity bill is similar to using disposable diapers instead of cloth diapers! Washing with hot water tends to make stains to set so wash clothes with cold water.