Washing baby clothes is an important task that should be given a little bit different attention than washing clothes for the rest of the family. After all, infants clothes are smaller and their skin is more sensitive to whatever materials they wear. Also, a baby’s sleeper or small cap can get lost in the folds of larger laundry items. Children who are new to the world deserve extra consideration when it comes to their daily wear.
Keep a laundry hamper or basket in the baby’s room to receive just the infant’s dirty clothes. Clean and deodorize the hamper weekly, taking care to remove stains and prevent odors from building up. When you take the hamper to the laundry area, sort the baby clothes from the rest of the laundry and wash them separately in one or more loads. Don’t mix the baby’s wash with other things that may rip, fade, or otherwise damage the delicate items.
Wash cloth diapers separately. They are bulky enough to justify an individual load, and this will prevent the possible transfer of bacteria from diapers to clothing. Be careful if you decide to use bleach or other chemicals, because if they are not rinsed thoroughly, they can irritate the baby’s skin when the diapers are used. If diapers are particularly soiled, rinse them before placing in the washing machine.
Use hot water in the washing machine to kill germs. Check fabric labels to be sure the item can safely make it through a regular wash cycle in hot water, as cotton items may shrink. Use the delicate wash cycle if it is indicated. Warm or cold water will work for the rinse step, so set the washing machine dials accordingly before starting the load.
Add a baby-safe laundry detergent. Follow directions on the package and use a moderate amount. Too much detergent can be harsh to a baby’s skin. Too little, on the other hand, means the clothes may not become thoroughly clean, deodorized, or sanitized. Limit or avoid using chemical additives like bleach, ammonia, or fabric softener. Use the right cycle for the type of clothing being washed to ensure proper washing.
Use a warm or high dryer setting. This will continue killing germs that may have survived the laundry wash. Be sure that clothes are completely dry when removing them, and fold promptly to avoid wrinkles that can feel uncomfortable to a baby. Put them away soon afterward so you will have everything you need for the infant when it’s needed. Though most clothes are permanent press, you may want to iron a few things before folding and putting them away.
You may have to launder some items by hand in the sink or by using a washboard. Use mild soap and rinse them thoroughly to avoid soap residue. Hang them to dry outdoors or in a low-traffic household area, like the bathroom or basement. Take care that the clothes dry completely to discourage the development of mold or mildew.
Keeping your little one’s clothes fresh and clean is an important way of providing quality care and affection.