Having a baby changes your life in the most unexpected of ways, including how you do your laundry. Not only does your newborn have a LOT of clothes that need to be washed (spoiler alert: the washing machine will quickly become your new BFF), you’ll also want to use the best detergent and softener to protect their delicate skin.
The good news is you don’t need to tackle the ever-growing laundry pile on your own. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to washing baby clothes, answering some of the most-asked questions by new parents.
From what temperature should you wash baby clothes at and whether you should use fabric softener through to how to tackle stubborn stains (including explosive poonamis!), this is your laundry 101.
And if that wasn’t enough, our Netmums community has also shared the laundry hacks that really work.
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How to wash your baby's clothes
It's as simple as 1, 2, 3!
- Get your baby's clothes ready. Sort the lights from the darks, so you can wash them separately to keep your baby's whites sparkling. Also separate out any cloth nappies, or clothes that have been in contact with poo or sick, so you can wash them at a higher temperature. Finally, split out anything with a 'flame resistant' label, so you can wash it without fabric softener. It's well worth investing in a mesh bag to keep little socks and mittens together, too!
- Choose a detergent. We love Fairy Non Bio PODS®; so simple to just pop in the wash with no measuring!
- Get your wash on. For the best clean, always follow the instructions on the fabric care label of the clothes, plus the tips on the detergent. A warm wash is usually enough for a regular clean (more on this below). Dry in the sun for brilliant whites, or in a tumble drier; whatever's easiest!
Should you wash baby clothes before use?
Here’s a quick fact: your newborn’s skin is an incredible 50% thinner than yours. With such delicate skin to protect, it’s important to make sure everything your baby wears is as soft and clean as possible.
That’s why you should wash all your baby’s clothes before they wear them. Even if they are brand new, they could have dust or tiny particles of dirt on them that could irritate your newborn’s skin.
Wondering how long you need to wash baby clothes for? Simply follow the instructions on the care label and use a gentle non bio detergent like Fairy Non Bio PODS® to get the clothes baby-ready.
What’s the best detergent for washing baby clothes?
You want your family’s laundry to be as quick and easy as possible. So you’ll be pleased to know you don’t need specialist products to wash your newborn’s clothes. Simply choose a non bio detergent and softener that is gentle on sensitive skin like Fairy’s Sensitive Skin Dream Team: Fairy Non Bio PODS® and Fairy Fabric Softener.
Fairy Non Bio has been voted the number one laundry brand for sensitive skin* and the Pods give your baby’s clothes a gentle clean. The clever multi-compartment Pods contain gentle ingredients and mild perfume. Simply pop one in your washing machine drum before loading the clothes on top.
To give you added peace of mind, the Fairy Non Bio range has been awarded the Skin Health Alliance seal of approval, making it ideal for the most delicate of skin.
*Online panel of 3,433 women among which Fairy Non Bio detergent/softener was voted most often as the #1 detergent and fabric softener for sensitive skin.
What is the best washing powder for babies?
Prefer using washing powder to gels and liquids? Add a scoop of Fairy Non Bio Washing Powder to your washing machine drawer for a gentle clean.
It works even at 30 degrees and is ideal for the most sensitive of skin.
What temperature should you wash baby clothes at?
You don’t need to wash your baby’s clothes at really high temperatures. A 30 degree or 40 degree cycle is just fine, and with the right detergent will get your little one’s clothes clean.
However if their outfits have poo or baby sick on them, the NHS recommends removing the mess and flushing it down the loo before washing the clothes at 60 degrees. You should also wash reusable nappies at this higher temperature too.
Should you use fabric softener on baby clothes?
You spend a lot of time cuddling your baby. So for extra snuggly softness, why not add a slosh of fabric softener to your family wash.
Read the care labels on the clothes first though. Some baby clothes are treated with flame-resistant chemicals to keep your little one safe. Fabric softener can make this less effective, so always check before you add any to your wash.
How can you remove stubborn stains?
For such a tiny person, your baby creates a lot of mess. From leaking nappies to baby weaning (two words: carrot puree), you’ll be faced with different spills as they grow.
Fairy is your one-stop laundry solution and works even at 30 degrees. Got babygrows or teeny-tiny outfits with super stubborn stains? Then pop a Fairy Platinum POD in your machine for even more softness** and extra stain removal.***
Alternatively, use Fairy Non Bio Stain Remover Powder before washing your baby’s clothes as normal. Easy peasy.
**Fairy PODS® vs other Fairy laundry forms
*** Fairy Platinum PODS® vs Fairy PODS®
Should you wash baby clothes separately?
It can be tempting to throw all your washing into one load, especially when you have a million other jobs to do.
But while you can wash your family’s clothes together, it’s important to separate out any underwear, towels or bedding. These can all carry germs and need to be washed at a higher temperature of 60 degrees.
To keep your babygrows bright, you’ll also need to separate your lights and darks before popping in the washing machine.
Is it better to tumble dry or air dry your baby's clothes?
It's entirely up to you. You'll use less energy if you air dry your laundry, which means you'll also save money. (And we ALL love money-saving hacks.)
But if you need dry clothes, fast, even popping your baby's outfits in the tumble dryer for a short amount of time can be a huge help. Always check the care label on the clothes first to make sure they won't shrink.
Washing baby clothes: the laundry hacksyou NEED to know
If you're looking for tips from parents just like you then you're in luck. We’ve scoured our Netmums forum for the best advice and shortcuts from mums and dads to make your family laundry a breeze.
Start your washing BEFORE you have your baby
‘I started washing my baby’s clothes yesterday! I'm 35+3. I wanted to do it weeks ago but the hubby pointed out I would want to do it again closer to time so I did them on the first day of maternity leave!! It was lovely to see them hanging on the line in the sunshine.’
Don't skip washes
‘I didn't wash my new baby's clothes and she had a rash all over her chest. The midwife pointed out that the rash followed the shape of her vest and said it was from not washing new clothes. I now wash the new clothes and Anna hasn't had a rash since.’
Tumble dry for 15 minutes
‘I found putting the clothes through the tumble dryer after washing, even if just for 15 minutes, really softens them up. In fact I would highly recommend you do this for your muslins as even after washing they can still be a bit rough.’
Pick your laundry time (and forget about ironing!)
‘I pop a load of laundry on before bed so it’s finished when I get up and I have time to pop a second on before I head to work. I love ironing but it was abandoned when I gave birth.’
Looking for more top laundry tips? Check out our articles below, or swap ideas with other parents in our forum.
13 ways you're washing your clothes wrong
CHAT: How do you manage the laundry?
Simple laundry hacks to save time and money
2. Washing baby clothes before use: is it necessary? The short answer to this is yes: it's always best to give new clothes a wash before your little one starts wearing them. Baby clothes can easily pick up dust, dirt, and other irritants between the warehouse and your home.What should I wash before my baby is born? ›
Wash baby clothes, burp cloths, washcloths, towels, hats and blankets. Stock diapers and wipes. If you will not be breastfeeding, purchase formula and sterilize baby bottles.Can you put baby clothes in dryer? ›
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!Is 32 weeks too early to wash baby clothes? ›
It's recommended that you wash the clothes no earlier than 4-6 weeks before the baby's arrival. Anything between that and the baby's birth is also fine.When should you start washing new baby clothes? ›
Do this around 4-6 weeks before the baby is due. This is close enough to the date so that the clothes aren't sitting for months on end collecting dust.When should I prepare my baby's clothes? ›
Your labour could start at any time, so it's best to get all your essentials together by the time you're about 36 weeks. Pack all the things you'll need for labour and for after the birth, such as your birth plan, nappies and a change of clothes, and put the bag by your front door.Why do people wash baby clothes before they are born? ›
It is definitely recommended by dermatologists that you wash new baby clothes before you put them on your baby. So, our advice would be to wash all of your baby's clothes before you give birth, just in case your baby has an allergic reaction to the material etc.Can I wash newborn baby clothes in washing machine? ›
Yes, you can wash most baby clothes in your washing machine. Be sure to always consult clothing care labels before washing them in a machine as some fabric's care tags may recommend handwashing.Should you wash baby socks before wearing? ›
All of your baby's clothes should be washed before you use them. Babies, especially newborns, usually have sensitive skin, and washing removes residues and other irritants. Make sure to read the garment's care label when washing something for the first time.Is it OK to use fabric softener on newborn clothes? ›
Yes, you can use fabric softener on your baby's clothes, bedding and towels, even if they have sensitive skin. Better yet, it will make baby clothes extra snuggly soft. The NHS says there's no evidence that using fabric conditioners will irritate your baby's skin.
Tide Free & Gentle
Dermatologist recommended and free of dyes, perfumes and phosphates, this hypoallergenic detergent from Tide is one of the most popular picks for cloth-diapering families. It doesn't lack in stain-fighting capabilities and is a safe choice for baby's sensitive new skin.
The loosely woven fabric of baby clothes is more likely to shrink if tossed in a dryer. Therefore, it is recommended to air-dry such garments and keep them on a flat surface for drying.Do you have to wash everything before baby wears it? ›
Washing baby clothes before use: is it necessary? The short answer to this is yes: it's always best to give new clothes a wash before your little one starts wearing them. Baby clothes can easily pick up dust, dirt, and other irritants between the warehouse and your home.When should you pack your hospital bag? ›
You should have your hospital bag ready to go between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy, in case your baby comes a bit earlier than expected. A good time to start the packing process is around the 28 week mark, or at the start of your 3rd trimester.How often should babies be bathed? ›
There's no need to give your newborn baby a bath every day. Three times a week might be enough until your baby becomes more mobile. Bathing your baby too much can dry out your baby's skin.Is Dreft safe for newborns? ›
What is the safest baby laundry detergent? Dreft Newborn Detergent is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand. Trusted by mothers for over 80 years, Dreft's unique hypoallergenic formula is tough on stubborn stains while being easy on your baby's sensitive skin.Should you wash Swaddles before use? ›
Your baby wraps need a fair bit of washing. It's important that this starts right before you use them on the baby to get rid of whatever chemicals they may have. You'll find some swaddles that come ready-to-wear right out of the box, but it's a good idea to wash any type of wrap before its first use.Should newborn clothes be washed separately? ›
It is a common recommendation that baby clothes should be washed separately, using special “baby” detergents that supposedly leave fewer residues and are therefore less likely to cause skin irritation.What should newborn wear to sleep? ›
When dressing your newborn for bed, follow this rule of thumb: dress the infant in one additional layer than what you'd be comfortable wearing at night in that room. Consider a onesie, sleep sack, or lightweight swaddle in warmer months. In colder months, opt for a long-sleeved onesie or a heavier sleepsack or swaddle.How long will a 7lb baby be in newborn clothes? ›
|Label / Size||Weight (pounds)||Height / Length (inches)|
|P (Preemie)||Up to 6 lbs||Up to 18”|
|N (Newborn)||6 – 9 lbs||18 – 21.5”|
|0 – 3 months||3-6 months||21.5 – 24”|
|3 – 6 months||6-9 months||24 – 27”|
Every parent has their own preference for when their baby should stop wearing onesies. Some use them until their child starts walking (which can, of course, range from 8 - 18 mos), while others use them only for added warmth at night. I always keep my babies in onesies as long as they are wearing diapers.Why are babies not bathed after birth? ›
It limits the risk of infection.
Common bacterial infections for newborns include Group B Strep and E. Coli which can lead to pneumonia and meningitis. By delaying the first bath, you are allowing the vernix to continue working as a safety net for your little one's immune system.
Since newborn hair doesn't get very dirty, you don't need to wash your baby's hair very often. Washing the hair every day or two can actually strip the baby's scalp of protective oils. Plan on washing your newborn's hair once or twice a week.What temperature should I wash my newborn clothes? ›
What temperature is right? While it might be tempting to wash newborn baby clothes at the highest temperature on the garment care label, 30 or 40 degrees is absolutely fine to remove any lingering dust or dirt.Can you use dryer sheets with baby clothes? ›
No, it is not safe to use dryer sheets on baby clothes. Here are reasons why: Dryer sheets can contain harsh chemicals that can irritate baby's delicate skin, cause asthma and other respiratory issues. The fragrances in dryer sheets can cause allergic reactions in babies.What is best to wash newborn clothes? ›
We tend to recommend using a non-biological detergent when washing newborn's clothes, this is down to baby's having very delicate skin. Biological detergents contain strong stain-busting enzymes that could irritate baby's skin, whereas non-biological detergents are still highly effective but are gentler on skin.Can you wash newborn clothes with Dawn? ›
While baby oil is great for your baby's body, it isn't always so great on the clothes (7). It can leave discolored stains anywhere it drips, which can be difficult to wash out. Before laundering, the best way to remove the baby oil stain is to pre-treat the area with a grease-busting dish soap, like Dawn.Should babies always sleep with socks on? ›
Simple is safest. Put your baby in a base layer like a one-piece sleeper, and skip the socks, hats or other accessories. Instead of a blanket, use a sleep sack or swaddle. She'll be warm enough — but not too warm.Should babies wear socks or shoes? ›
For now, barefoot is still best for your baby's foot development. A pair of socks or booties with non-skid soles is also fine for chilly toes.Do babies need special laundry detergent? ›
Many parents think they need to use baby detergent to clean their little one's clothes. And when a newborn's skin is sensitive, this can be true. But if baby detergent isn't getting rid of stains and odors as well as you'd like, it might be time to switch to a regular liquid detergent.
Tumble drying our kids' clothes causes them to shrink, weakens the fabric, makes them fade faster, costs money and is not that great for the environment either.What fabrics should newborns avoid? ›
If your little one has extremely sensitive skin, it is best to go with soft, natural materials such as cotton, organic cotton, or muslin for baby clothes and blankets. If your home always runs hot, you will want to avoid heavier fabrics such as fleece or polyester.Do you need to use Dreft for baby clothes? ›
The scent of Dreft may invoke the image of cuddly newborns wrapped in fluffy blankies, but the truth is, “baby detergent” isn't necessary. “Parents and caregivers can absolutely use regular detergent, including generic and store brands, for baby clothes,” DeLeon says.How many newborn diapers do I need? ›
How many newborn diapers do you need per month? Babies can go through up to ten diapers a day, though yours might need more or less. To be on the safe side, plan for up to 70 diapers per week, which is 280 newborn diapers in your baby's first month.Can I hang newborn clothes outside? ›
Drying your baby's clothes and bedding is easy in the summer – hang them outside in the sunshine and job done.Can you wash all baby clothes together? ›
Can I Wash My Baby's Clothes With Other Clothing? If your baby is using a different laundry detergent from the rest of the family, then you can wash her clothes separately from those of the rest. But if you change the entire household to the baby-safe detergent, all the clothes can be washed together.What happens if air is too dry for baby? ›
Dry air, for instance, can irritate throats and sinuses, and since babies are more susceptible to congestion, the dry air can make them more likely to get sick. Low humidity can also irritate the baby's sensitive skin, exacerbating the effects of eczema and causing redness and chapped, cracked lips.How many burp cloths do I need? ›
You're probably wondering, “How many burp cloths do I really need?” It depends how often your little one spits up and how often you want to do laundry, but anywhere from eight to 14 burp cloths is a good basic range to aim for. But really, the more the better!What temperature should bath water be for a baby? ›
Keep the room warm so your baby does not get cold. Bathe your baby quickly to avoid chilling. Keep water around 100° Fahrenheit (F) or 37.8° Celsius (C). Test the water with a bath thermometer, your elbow, or your wrist (Picture 1).Do you wear a bra during labor? ›
A lot of mothers want breast coverage while they deliver, which is completely understandable, and you can keep your bra on during labor if you want. However, we recommend wearing a simple bra that is comfortable and easy to remove.
- Too much clothing for you or the baby. ...
- Valuables. ...
- A bunch of cash (rely on your partner, coach or relatives with you in the hospital to pay for food, drinks and snacks).
- Lots of diapers, since the hospital will provide enough for the time you're there.
In previous years, traditional childbirth recommended hair removal on the pubic area before delivery. However, modern childbirth finds that it's not necessary to shave your pubic hair before delivery. Clinical research shows that shaving or not shaving pubic hair doesn't necessarily affect birth.Can babies smell mother? ›
Although all the sensory systems start developing in utero; but the development of the sense of smell predominates in early fetal life. Babies recognize their mother's scent even before they are born. Your baby is biologically and genetically programmed to connect to you through your unique smell.At what age do you start bathing a baby everyday? ›
6 to 12 months
Once baby becomes mobile and starts eating solids, you may decide you need to begin bathing them more frequently. While they still only really need one to two soapy baths per week, you can either give them a sponge bath or put them in the tub to soak and rinse off more frequently as messes arise.
When your little one is about a month old, their nails will have started to harden a little. This will make it easier to trim them using special baby nail scissors, which have rounded tips, baby nail clippers, or an emery board, though you'll still need to do this carefully.Do you need to wash new baby clothes before use? ›
2. Washing baby clothes before use: is it necessary? The short answer to this is yes: it's always best to give new clothes a wash before your little one starts wearing them. Baby clothes can easily pick up dust, dirt, and other irritants between the warehouse and your home.Do baby clothes need to be washed separately? ›
It is a common recommendation that baby clothes should be washed separately, using special “baby” detergents that supposedly leave fewer residues and are therefore less likely to cause skin irritation.What is the best laundry detergent for babies? ›
- Best for newborns: Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent.
- Best for stubborn stains: Amway Home SA8 Liquid Laundry Detergent.
- Best fragrance-free: Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent.
- Best for sensitive skin: Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent.
- Best eco-friendly and organic: Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent.
Can I Wash My Baby's Clothes With Other Clothing? If your baby is using a different laundry detergent from the rest of the family, then you can wash her clothes separately from those of the rest. But if you change the entire household to the baby-safe detergent, all the clothes can be washed together.Can you use dryer sheets on baby clothes? ›
No, it is not safe to use dryer sheets on baby clothes. Here are reasons why: Dryer sheets can contain harsh chemicals that can irritate baby's delicate skin, cause asthma and other respiratory issues. The fragrances in dryer sheets can cause allergic reactions in babies.
Newborn baby clothes should be washed separately from other clothes and household laundry for the first 100 days, while baby's skin is still delicate and sensitive. Thereafter, it is safe to wash baby clothes with your clothes and other household laundry in the machine, using a mild and gentle detergent.What's the point of baby detergent? ›
If your baby has allergies, eczema, or you're simply worried that regular detergent may cause problems, use it to wash one or two baby items and then check their skin for irritation after they wear them. If they do have a reaction, baby detergent could be a good investment.Can I use regular dish soap for baby bottles? ›
Fill A Bowl with Hot Soapy Water. Apply a squirt of Dawn® to a bowl of hot water. Dawn® works great for cleaning baby items because it does not leave a soapy residue on bottles when rinsed appropriately. 4.