How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide
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How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

We’ll walk you through the process of washing baby clothes step by step. We’ll also share some laundry advice for babies with you so you can stop worrying about wash day.

Ensuring your baby’s clothes are clean can often feel like an uphill battle that might leave you wondering, “What is the best way to wash my baby’s clothes?”

Always wash new clothing before giving it to the baby and pre-treat tough stains like poop, spit-up, and baby oil. Detergents made at home are another option if your baby has sensitive skin.

Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about washing baby clothes.

How to Wash Baby Clothes in the Washing Machine?

Even though babies don’t spend their entire day outside playing in the mud, they can still cause quite a mess. Following are detailed instructions for cleaning baby clothing.

Check for Residue

Wipe the clothing down with a paper towel if there is a build-up of residue (spit-up, breastmilk, formula, or poop). This can remove any extra gunk.

Set Your Rinse Cycle to a Cool Water Temperature

The majority of the stains on your baby’s clothes, many of which are made of 100% cotton, should come out with the help of cool water, but it won’t cause the fabric to shrink as hotter temperatures will.

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

However, there are a few exceptions: if the stain is waxy, such as greasy baby oil or chocolate, you might need to use a hot rinse setting, which is harsher than a cool rinse but more effective at removing stains. In this case, the hot water can help “melt” stains.

Toss the Baby’s Clothing into the Machine With Other Dirty Laundry

You don’t need to wash baby clothes separately from the rest of the family’s clothes unless your child requires a different detergent.

Even though the majority of contemporary clothing is made with fairly color-fast dyes, it’s still possible for the colors to bleed together and stain your white clothing. Therefore, be sure to keep the colors separate from the whites.

Add About 2 Tablespoons of Detergent

It’s crucial to avoid using too much detergent. If you overdo it, the wash cycle might not completely rinse the detergent out, leaving behind a sticky residue that might irritate your baby’s skin.

Check for Stains before Drying Clothes

Check the clothing after the load has been finished to see if the stain has been removed. The majority of stains should have been removed thanks to the combination of water, laundry detergent, and washer agitation (all that churning and tossing the machine does).

If not, throw it back for another wash — do not put it in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can “set” the stain, making it harder to come out.

Hang the Clothes Up to Dry

Instead of putting clothing in the dryer, it’s a good idea to hang dry it, especially since 100% cotton clothing is prone to shrinking. If you would rather use the dryer, set the temperature to a lower setting and make an effort to remove the clothing as soon as it is finished.

One time when it’s actually good to throw your baby clothes in the dryer: when the house is infected with the stomach flu. Germs may be eliminated with the aid of the intense heat.

How to Hand-Wash Baby Clothes?

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

Maybe you need to wash some of your most priceless or delicate baby clothes by hand. When washing baby clothes by hand, keep the following in mind.

Wash Your Hands

That’s correct; prior to washing your hands, you must wash them first. There is no need to contaminate the clothes with more dirt and bacteria.

Use Lukewarm Water

Water that is too hot will scald your hands even if the baby’s clothes can withstand it. (You can soak clothes in hot water for 30 minutes before washing them for added germ-fighting strength.)

Add Detergent

Dreft is a great option for machine washing baby clothes, but it also performs admirably in hand washing. Try Dreft Pure Gentleness, our hypoallergenic detergent that’s free from dyes, fragrances, chlorine, phosphates, and brighteners—plus, it’s 75% plant-based

Channel Your Inner Washing Machine

It’s time to agitate the clothes in the washtub just like the machine would once you’ve added the detergent, water, and clothes. After vigorously swishing the clothing, allow them to soak in the soapy water for 30 minutes. After washing the clothes, press them against the side of the tub or sink to wring out the excess water.

Dry Au Naturel

Hand-washed baby clothes should be dried outside in the sunlight. (Really, it’s a fantastic method for drying any type of clothing!)

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

How to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes?

A little forethought goes a long way when it comes to washing baby clothes, even if you’re not one to make a big deal out of doing laundry.

  1. First, remove any price tags and packaging from new clothing. Arrange the items in color order. Next, fasten any other closures, such as zippers, buttons, snaps, etc. Last but not least, reverse the clothing.
  2. You will wash baby clothes using the same cycle and detergent that you will use to wash the rest of your laundry. (For the majority of people, this will be cold water, gentle cycle, and Dreft Stage 1.)

Why Should You Pre-Wash Your Baby’s Clothes?

Even brand-new clothing contains germs and dirt because it had to be stored and shipped to the retailer, and warehouses and shipping containers aren’t exactly known for being spotless. Aside from that, baby clothes occasionally receive a formaldehyde treatment to keep them looking good while being shipped, despite how absurd that sounds.

While passed-down baby clothes were frequently handled with care while being worn, they may have been kept in storage for months or even years, accumulating dust or even mold.

No matter how they appear when you receive them, baby clothes can contain a lot of germs and allergens. Because of this, it’s crucial to pre-wash all of your baby’s new clothes in a mild detergent that pediatricians recommend (that’s Dreft!).

Dealing With Stubborn Stains

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

Your baby will frequently and alarmingly expel different liquids from both ends, resulting in stains. Most of those liquids will smell bad and leave stains.

A baby is more likely to throw up when wearing a clean, white onesie. Poop, spit-up, and baby oil are the main stains you will encounter when you have a newborn.

Poop Stains

Poop stains will mostly be caused by those inevitable diaper blowouts. Additionally, there may be instances when your baby decides to poop right after you change their diaper. In either case, it is a sizable, offensive mess that causes stains.

You must first soak the item of clothing in warm water to remove those difficult poop stains. Then, pre-treat it with lemon juice or another favorite pre-treater before putting it in the washer.

Scrub the area with an old toothbrush after letting the juice sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, you can wash normally using your preferred detergent for baby clothes.

Spit-up Stains

All babies spit up. It’s a normal process that usually subsides between 6 months and 1 year of age. It can, however, leave a lot of unpleasant, yellow-looking stains on your baby’s clothes. The stains left by the formula will be more difficult to get rid of than those from breast milk if your baby consumes it.

Applying a little lemon juice as a pre-treatment for breastmilk stains ought to work. However, the procedure will be a little bit more difficult for formula stains.

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

Removing Formula Stains

Soak the affected clothing in lukewarm water as the first step in formula stain removal. Then you should sprinkle baking soda over the area. Club soda should then be added, and baking soda should be scrubbed with a toothbrush.

You can wash the clothes as usual after letting the soda mixture soak for 5 to 10 minutes. This should prevent the spit-up from leaving a yellow stain.

Baby Oil Stains

Baby oil is excellent for your baby’s skin, but it isn’t always the best for clothes. Anywhere it drips, it could leave stains that are hard to wash out and are colored.

The best way to get rid of baby oil stains is to pre-treat the area with a dish soap that cuts through grease, like Dawn, before laundering. To make sure the dish soap gets into the fabric fibers and lifts the oil, you might want to scrub the area with a toothbrush.


Some medications contain dyes that are easily absorbed by the fabric. Prescription vitamins are reportedly particularly problematic, according to parents. The best way to get rid of these stains is to soak the clothing in warm water first, then apply white vinegar to the stain before washing.

How Much Laundry Detergent Do I Use?

How to Wash Baby Clothes? Step-By-Step Guide

The quantity of laundry detergent you should use per load when washing your baby’s clothes will vary depending on a number of variables, including the water’s hardness, the detergent’s concentration, the kind of washing machine you’re using, and the load size.

The clothes on your baby won’t get any cleaner if you use too much detergent. The opposite might even be true. If you want to know whether you are using too much detergent, look for these signs in your baby clothes:

  • Do they have a stiff, scratchy feeling to them?
  • Do your baby’s clothes still have detergent residue on them?
  • Is the laundry sticky or soapy to the touch?
  • Do your baby’s colored and white clothing appear drab and gray, respectively?
  • Is the smell coming from your high-efficiency washer musty or bad?

What Temperature Should I Wash My Baby Clothes?

Washing your baby’s clothes at the highest temperature recommended on the baby care label is always very alluring. This shouldn’t happen because your baby’s clothing might shrink. For best results, wash your baby’s outfit at a temperature of 30 to 40 degrees.

However, if we are talking about reusable diapers that are extremely soiled, the high temperatures might be ideal as they will help ensure that all of the bacteria have been removed from the stain during the cleaning process.

You can still use the hottest temperature that the garment care label instructions recommend, despite the fact that hot water is not advised for washing baby clothes because it makes the fabric pill and is not the best option for all fabrics.

Be sure to carefully read each item’s label and ensure you understand the meaning of the laundry symbols if you choose to follow the care instructions for the clothing. Use a detergent that is effective against baby stains even in cold water if you choose to wash your baby’s clothes in cold water.

Conclusion: Wash Baby Clothes

When you have a baby, a lot of things change in your life, not the least of which is how you do laundry. For this reason, it’s crucial to treat your child’s clothing with extra care in order to safeguard their tender, sensitive skin.

Your newborn may be a pea-sized nut, but you’d be surprised at how many outfits they can go through in a single day. Since a newborn’s skin is much more delicate than yours, it is best to be aware of the proper washing and handling techniques for their clothing.


Can You Dry Baby Clothes in the Dryer?

Most baby clothes will hold up just fine in the dryer, so if you have one and want to use it, tumble on!

Do Baby Clothes Need to Be Washed Separately?

No need to clean your baby’s clothes separately. And most people don’t need to invest in a special “baby” detergent. Their clothing can typically be thrown in with the rest of the family’s belongings.

When Should I Start Washing My Newborn Clothes?

In order for the freshly washed clothes to feel good when your baby wears them, you should wait as close to your due date as possible. It’s best to wash your baby’s clothes about 2-3 weeks before the due date, though, because an early birth is a possibility.

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