Is It Safe To Wash Baby’s Clothes With Normal Detergent?

With the arrival of a little angel in your home, your worries are doubled as now, you have to take care of even smallest of things that you ignored before. Detergent is one of these little things. Surely, you did not pay much attention to which detergent you were using but now you think whether washing baby clothes with an ordinary detergent is safe for her or not.

Now, the situation becomes tricky when different parents are asked about the detergent they use because everyone has his own different choice. Some of them are comfortable with their old detergent which they used before the baby was born while others use different baby detergents available in the market. So, what you have to do is to find out the answer to the question :

Does Your Baby Need A Separate Detergent For Her Clothes?

Some babies, mostly newborns (facing the harsh atmosphere for the first time), have sensitive skin and some of them have skin allergies too. Regarding this matter, it is potentially unsafe to use your regular detergent for washing your baby’s clothes without knowing her skin condition. You don’t have to worry about this. Just observe how your baby reacts to soaps and lotions because babies sensitive to these things also have a sensitivity towards detergents. If her skin becomes itchy, uncomfortable and red, she is susceptible to detergents too. If you are still not sure, wash one or two cloth items in your detergent and then, see if your baby shows any signs of allergy or eczema (itching, red, scaly, dry patches of skin especially on the face and in the bends of elbows and knees) after wearing them.

If any of allergy symptoms do appear, then immediately switch to a safe and natural detergent. It is better to use the same detergent for the whole family because if you use same old one for yourself, it won’t do any good to your baby as she interacts with you almost all the time. Buy a family detergent safe for both your baby and the whole family. Some parents wash baby’s clothes separately which is nothing but to add to the burden of the work you have to do. Separately washing whites and colored clothes is a wise thing but washing all the baby’s clothes individually is not a necessity.

The next question arises that, ‘how to select a safe laundry detergent for babies’ clothes? The first thing that you have to look for is that it is dye and fragrance-free. Also, liquid detergents are better because powder leaves flakes in the fabric which can make the skin itchy (especially if the water is “hard”), while the liquid is easy to rinse. Here are some more qualities a safe detergent must have:

Qualities of A Good Detergent:

A good detergent should be the one which is best in removing the stains and does not contain harmful chemicals. Thus, check out the list of ingredients before buying a detergent. If it contains any chemical that will be dangerous for your baby, don’t buy it. Moreover, it should also have following properties:

Made From Natural Ingredients:

There are a lot of detergents available that will promise you the safety by labels such as “No Chemicals”, “Clinically Proven” and “100% Natural Extracts” etc but it is not as true as it seems. These labels are put just for selling the products and you will find certain chemicals added in them to ensure the stain removal.

Some of the famous detergents were found to be unsafe when tested by many parents as they caused allergic sensation in their children.Thus, make sure to read the list of contents before buying a new detergent and if it contains plant-based products, you can safely use this one for washing baby’s clothes. Otherwise, don’t even think about buying such products. In addition to the safety of your child, naturally extracted, plant-based products also promise to be environment-friendly.

baby cloth detergent


The term “Hypoallergenic” is used for the products which are less likely to cause allergy than any other products not labeled as such. Baby detergents should be labeled like this otherwise don’t bother to add them to your cart because this is the whole purpose of buying a new detergent.

No Fragrance:

Sensitive children are also allergic to fragrances. Therefore, prefer a fragrance-free detergent. Some detergents are “unscented”, but you should buy the one that is fragrance-free. Unscented means that the fragrance is masked but fragrance-free detergents do not contain any scents. If your baby does not have a problem with scents you can use light-scented detergents.

No Fabric Softeners:

Fabric softeners and brighteners are added in detergents to enhance the quality of fabric so that clothes appear brighter. They have nothing to do with their cleaning ability. You must choose a detergent free of such accommodations because they are likely to reduce the flame retarding quality (baby sleepwear are flame retardant) of your baby’s clothes.

Mild For Baby Skin:

Allergy or no allergy, babies have a delicate skin which will be damaged if any of detergent residues are left in the clothes. Infants, already dealing with a discomforting environment, can suffer from several issues which can result in itching, irritation, and crying leaving you distressed and anxious. So, take the detergent that is gentle for your baby’s skin.

Remove Stains:

Some baby detergents are safe and gentle for your baby but they are also gentle to stains. That’s right, they don’t remove stains. No matter how natural and safe your detergent is, if it doesn’t remove stains, it is useless because clothes stained by babies are much more difficult to clean than the ones by adults.

Cloth Diaper Safe:

Purpose of cloth diapers is to absorb as much as possible. When you wash these cloth diapers with a detergent containing softeners or other oily ingredients, it will build up a waxy layer on it to make it water repellent instead of absorbent. So, choose the detergents which are oil free and diaper friendly.

Tips For Washing Baby Clothes:

The arrival of your baby makes your work double and your laundry too as these little mischievous monkeys are not so clean. If you are a new mom, you will need certain tips to manage all the work while taking care of your child as well. Some of these tips might be useful for you to wash your kid’s clothes:

Remove Stains Before Washing Clothes:

Always do a prewash to remove stains from clothes before adding them to the washer. Babies are filthy and create a lot of mess when they eat, so usually, their clothes are full of stains. It is advised to remove the stains right away or they will become tough with time.

Remove Stains Before Washing Clothes

Protein Stains:

Most of the stains are of protein type as children take proteins mainly in their initial years. Stains of formula, breast milk, spit up, feces and food etc are protein stains. Soak the area in cool water and apply a pre-treater (containing enzymes mostly) or remove the stains by an all-purpose stain remover.

Fruits and Vegetable Stains:

Kids generally do not eat much fruits or vegetables but when they do, their clothes enjoy them more than their tummy. Such types of stains can be removed by applying a pre-treater or 1:1 white vinegar solution.

baby eating fruits

Urine Stains:

Urine stains can be easily removed by soaking the clothes in a dilute solution of one tablespoon of Ammonia and one cup of water. First, you have to test if the cloth is colorfast by dipping a small part in the solution. Then, remove the stain by rubbing the area in the solution and add it to the washer.

Baby Oil Stains:

Oil stains are removed by washing the cloth in hot water. Check the label on clothes before soaking them in the water. Remove stain with a stain remover and rinse in hot water.

Baby Oil Stains

“Remember not to mix bleach with vinegar or ammonia as it produces toxic fumes harmful for health if inhaled”.

Washing The Cloth Diaper:

When you remove the cloth diaper, immediately wash it as the stain may become tougher with time. Still, if you don’t have time to wash it, be sure to remove the poop with cool water and then store it in an airtight diaper pail. When it is time to wash it, give a prewash by soaking the diaper overnight, applying stain remover or washing it in a solution of ¼-½ cup of bleach, a few spoonfuls of detergent and water in a tub. After that, give it a machine wash. Do not store the soiled diapers for more than a day as they will become useless because of stains.

Dealing With Stains On A Trip:

Buy an instant stain removing pen or disposable wipes soaked in pre-washer for traveling with your baby. You can also use the homemade pre-treater. Mix 1 part of detergent in 3 parts of water in a spray bottle and pack your ready-to-use travel stain remover in the luggage. Spray it a little on the stain, rub it and add the cloth to your laundry bag for washing it when you get back home.

Prepare Clothes Before Baby Arrives:

Wash all the new clothes bought before your baby arrives. This is necessary as you know that newborns have a delicate skin. New clothes are sprayed with formaldehyde to keep them neat and new and this chemical can harm your baby’s sensitive skin. Not only clothes but other accessories like blankets, bedding and even new clothes of mom and dad are also to be washed before wearing.

Read the safety labels before putting clothes in the machine and follow the instructions provided there. Fasten all the hooks and loops to prevent them from damage and it is better to separate all of the smaller items like socks etc in a mesh bag during washing and drying. Remember not to use the bleach on sleepwear as it can reduce their flame retardant quality and also ruin the fabrics.

Prepare Clothes Before Baby Arrives

Store The Old Clothes:

When your baby outgrows her clothes, you may think of giving them away or storing for the next baby. Either way, you have to wash them, just like you did before using them the first time. Wash these clothes with a safe baby detergent with no fabric softener or brightener in it.

If you choose to store them, pack the special and delicate clothes (like the ones bought for homecoming or other special occasions) carefully in separate boxes. Other clothes can be packed ordinarily in a same large suitcase or carton, but don’t forget to store all the clothes in a “dry place” to prevent them from getting damp in the rainy season.

Was it helpful in any way? If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to share with us in the comments below.

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