by Andrea Sparks
Becoming a parent involves a lot of baby care, and properly washing baby clothing is included in taking care of your baby. As tempting as it may be to just throw the baby clothes in with the rest of your laundry, baby clothes require special care while washing. Read the following tips to learn how to wash baby clothing.
Wash before wearing: New baby clothing has often been treated with various chemicals, such as antifungal and antimicrobial chemicals. The chemicals found on new baby clothing can irritate your baby's skin and even make her sick. Make sure to always wash all new baby clothes and infant clothing before putting them on your baby to wear.
Washing instructions: Always read the washing instructions on baby clothes before washing them. Different clothing items need to be washed differently, especially baby clothes, and washing instructions specific to that garment can typically be found on a tag inside. Read and follow the washing instructions on your baby and infant clothing to avoid damaging or shrinking the fabrics.
Separate: As with your own clothing, you'll want to separate your baby's clothes by color to avoid staining lighter fabrics by washing them with darks. You should also separate any clothing soiled by baby food or diaper leaks from other baby clothing items to prevent bacteria from spreading to other clothes. Wash cloth diapers separately from other baby clothing for the same reason.
Detergent: Since baby skin is so sensitive, harsh detergents can cause irritation. Wash baby garments in mild, baby-safe detergents. Look for detergents that are free of all bleaches, dyes, fragrances and soaps to avoid irritation and sickness. Do not use fabric softener on baby clothing items, as fabric softener will not rinse out of fabrics.
Temperature and rinse: Washing baby clothing in cold water can help prevent the growth of bacteria or mildew in the fabric, protecting your baby from sickness and irritation. Wash baby and infant clothing on the cold cycle in the washing machine and run the clothes through an extra rinse cycle to ensure that all detergent is completely rinsed out of the infant clothing. For soiled clothes and cloth diapers, run them through a cold rinse first, then wash them in hot water, followed by another cold rinse.
Drying: Make sure to dry your baby's clothes completely before folding them up and storing them to avoid mold or mildew growth in the fabric. You can let all baby garments air dry or dry them in your home dryer without a dryer sheet. Dryer sheets will leave residue on the fabric that can cause irritation.