Master The Art Of Washing Baby Clothes With These 10 Tips
The first step to keeping those cute clothes looking good is getting them washed. Here are a few tips and tricks on washing baby clothes.
1) Want to save money?
Check & see if your local laundromat has free washers! Sometimes people leave perfectly working machines behind. I’ve found half a dozen for free this way, even an old broken one with the door missing…but it still spun!
Check Craigslist daily – there’s always someone giving away or selling their washer and dryer sets. And don’t forget to check the side of the road during trash day! People throw out perfectly fine machines all the time! Ours lasted 10 whole years before finally crapping out.
We didn’t have to buy a new washer until last year, because of our resourceful ways!
2) Wash baby clothes in cold water.
This is especially important when dealing with newborn poop – which you will be 99.9% of the time no matter how much experience you have under your belt. Warm/hot water sets stains and melting poop onto baby clothes, so washing in cold can help prevent this.
If it’s an older kid changing their diaper — feel free to use hot or warm but I still recommend using cold during rinsing cycles if possible (to avoid setting stains).
3) Try not to overfill the machine with too many things at once.
It saves energy and soap this way., it reduces wear & tears on your machine, and it prevents the clothes from getting tangled up into a huge mess.
4) Try adding a half-cup of vinegar to the wash cycle.
Vinegar is awesome for softening clothes, getting rid of soap scum in your washer drum, and it’s completely natural too. It’s also awesome for removing stains so it works great on baby clothes!
Just beware – if you have a front loader with a “sanitize” or “extra rinse” setting that automatically runs after every cycle — then don’t add vinegar because you don’t want that sanitize cycle to be sanitized (just an empty rinsing).
I’ve read you can add it instead to the fabric softener compartment which means it will still be added during the rinse cycle.
5) Speaking of vinegar…you can use it as a fabric softener too, and it’s completely natural!
You can add 1/2 cup to your rinse cycle or just throw some vinegar into the fabric softener compartment of your machine instead. It won’t work 100% as well as a store-bought fabric softener, but it does work better than nothing at all and I find it works great for flannel sleepers (where you get that nice crisp sound & feel).
If you do use vinegar in the machine – make sure to run an extra rinse cycle because no one likes smelly clothes right? And if you want to remove the smell after using vinegar in the machine – add a pillow full of baking soda to your final rinse. (I usually use vinegar instead of fabric softener anyway – because the smell makes me itchy under my arms).
6) Wash baby clothes inside out.
This is especially recommended for white onesies, sleepers, and any other clothing that has lettering or designs on them (especially if they’re black/dark colours). The reason is…when you wash regular clothes in the machine, the colour dye can rub off onto lighter colours.
It’s even worse with newborn poop! But washing inside out helps prevent this from happening so the “new” onesie doesn’t look worn & discoloured after just 1 or 2 uses.
If you have older kids who are potty-trained and using the regular bathroom (not a diaper) then I strongly recommend you add a big squirt of shampoo into the bottom of your toilet before they flush. This will help prevent staining and clogs in your pipes, not to mention it saves water too!
7) Away from latex paint
If you’ve recently painted the nursery…or if someone has – and they didn’t seal their tub or shower with polyurethane (after cleaning their paintbrushes) ….then don’t let them use that sink/tub/shower for anything for 24+ hours. If there’s any latex paint stuck on their skin – this prevents it from getting all over everything else.
8) Don’t ever wring out baby clothes after they come out of the wash…lay them flat on a towel to dry.
They’ll still take longer than normal clothes because they’re so small, but if you wring them after washing – it can stretch their necks & can tear the fabric from the babywearing them at some point in time.
9) Speaking of drying — hang those clothes to dry whenever possible.
Don’t just shove everything into the dryer right away as it’s coming out of the washer. Hanging things outside or over a railing for an hour or two helps reduce staining (especially formula spit-up stains).
It also helps prevent yellowing (from sunlight), and if any pieces need ironing then hanging them outside will help you avoid putting more creases in the fabric than necessary.
10) If you’re using a front loading washer & dryer, don’t let anyone use it while you have your baby clothes inside.
This is because the chemicals used in the machine will strip your fabrics of their softness and can decrease how absorbent they are over time. And if you don’t have anywhere else to put your baby’s stuff…then hand-wash them.
It’s not ideal but it can get them clean – even on cold/delicate settings with some detergent. Just make sure to air dry them instead of throwing them into the dryer afterwards (to avoid any shrinkage).