Washing Baby’s Clothes
Read the care labels on clothes before buying and washing them. A "hand wash only" garment may look darling on your newborn, but how many sleep-deprived moms have time to wash little outfits in the sink? And be sure to check for special washing instructions on pajamas in particular, since sleepwear often has specific laundering needs to retain the fabric's flame resistant properties.
Unless your baby has eczema, allergies, or other conditions causing sensitive skin, you likely don't need special "baby detergents." Washing your little one's clothes using a regular detergent without color or fragrance is likely to work just as well. (Try testing one of baby's outfits first in the wash to see if your child's skin becomes irritated.) Let's face it—life is easier when everybody's dirty clothes go into the same wash cycle.
Are you diapering with cloth? Today's cloth diapers are designed to be easy to use and care for. Check washing instructions that come with your baby's cloth diapers or try these steps recommended by Bareware Baby & Maternity:
- Put wet diapers directly into your diaper pail.
- Rinse soiled diapers in the toilet before putting them in the pail.
- If you've been soaking your diapers in the pail, drain the excess solution into the toilet and dump the diapers into the washer.
- You may choose to pre-rinse the diapers or do a cold soak cycle. Then wash your diapers in a full cycle using hot water and a mild soap or detergent with no phosphates and a minimum of additives. Rinse the diapers in cold water. Do not use bleach (which isn't good for a baby's skin and can damage the fibers in cloth diapers) or fabric softeners (which can reduce the diapers' absorbency).
- If rashes are a problem, double rinse the diapers or add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. The vinegar will help eliminate detergent and/or soap residue and brighten diapers.
- Dry diapers on normal heat for about an hour. To make diapers dry faster, add a dry towel to the dryer. Drying in the dryer helps sterilize the diapers, as does drying in direct sunlight.