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How to Wash Baby & Toddler Clothes (Complete Guide)

Wondering how to wash your baby and toddler clothes properly? We are here to help. This guide includes our detailed steps for washing your baby and toddler clothes

How to Wash Baby & Toddler Clothes (Complete Guide)

Kids can be really messy sometimes as they play and discover their surroundings. While it’s happy to watch them learn about the world, you might not be so happy about the laundry you are left with. But don’t worry, washing your kids' clothes can be a fast and efficient task if you do it right. Here are some tips to make your washing experience less painful.

Step 1: Always Check Laundry Tags

On any piece of clothing, both children’s and adult clothing, there is a label that explains how the item should be washed, ironed, and dried.

Most of the pieces can be washed by the washer nowadays, but some labels may require “hand wash only”, which indicates that the item can be either washed by hand or taken to dry cleaners.

There might also be specific instructions like “wash with like colors” or ‘turn inside out before washing”. It’s important to follow these instructions if you want to help your baby’s clothes look new for a longer period of time. Apart from the washing method, you will also be able to learn about the material and how it reacts to a specific wash.

Step 2: Sort Clothes for Laundry Success

To keep your clothes from bleeding on each other in the wash, you must sort them by colors before washing them: 

  • All the white items, like underwear and undershirt, can be washed together.
  • Similar colors such as navy blue and black can also be washed together.
  • You can wash the items with pastel colors that will not bleed onto other colors together
  • Denim and Jeans should be washed alone as they tend to bleed onto other items

Step 3: Pre-treat Any Stains You Find

Kids have a tendency to stain their clothes. In this case, you will most likely need to pre-treat the strains to make sure they actually come out of the clothing after wash. Different strains require different methods to pre-treat, for example:

Use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood 

If your kid has blood on their clothes, hydrogen peroxide will be your best friend before washing. Here is what you need to do:

  • Pour some hydrogen peroxide into a small cup or the lid of the peroxide container. 
  • Get a cotton swab and dip it into the peroxide. 
  • Use the cotton swab to rub the peroxide into the bloodstain.

Doing this will help to release the blood from the fabric before it is put into the main wash.

Use A Detergent Rub to Get Rid Of Mud, Dirt, Grass, or Juice Stains

These kinds of stains are the most common stains that you will find on your baby’s clothing. However, they are quite easy to get rid off:

  • Pour a little liquid detergent directly onto the strain.
  • Gently rub the fabric together, or use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help work the detergent into the garment's fibers in a circular motion.
  • Rub in and let it sit for 45 - 60 minutes before putting the item into the main wash.

You might also buy a stain stick from stores, which is used the same way.

Oily, Greasy Stains

Oil stains can be really hard to spot as they normally leave a slightly darkened area on your clothes. It's a good idea to remove any oil stains on their clothes before putting them into your washing machine. 

To remove oil stains, you'll need hot water and detergent:

  • Soak the stained area before washing in the hottest water
  • Rub liquid laundry detergent or liquid dish soap onto the stained area.

Also read: How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothing

Step 4: Pre-Soak Your Baby/Toddler Clothes Before Wash

Bacteria can build up before a wash and stay hidden inside the clothes. To ensure you kill most bacteria, soak their clothes in hot or warm water for 30 - 60 minutes before wash.

Step 5: Determine What Temperature of Water You Will Use 

Most washing machines these days have three or four water temperature settings: Hot, warm, cool, and cold. Each setting will be suitable for a specific type of clothes: 

  • White and off-white clothing can be washed in a hot setting. This hot setting helps remove germs from your baby's clothing.
  • The warm setting is great for dark and permanent press clothing. It helps reduce color bleeding in the wash.
  • Try to use the cold water setting for delicate items.

Keep in mind that cool and cold water can be used in the rinse cycle for almost every load of laundry.

Step 6: Choose The Right Detergent

There are some detergents that are made exclusively for young children. These detergents clean your baby’s clothes while avoiding irritating their sensitive skin. In case you are on a limited budget, go for a detergent that works well for your child’s skin and other family members’ clothes such as Tide Free & Gentle.

In addition, many children (and adults) have allergies and are not able to use anything that has a scent, so make sure to get the right scented or unscented detergents to fit your family's needs. 

Step 7: Use The Rinse Option Twice

Running the rinse cycle twice will help you ensure the soap is fully removed from the fabric and the bacteria is washed off. You should try this with soap in your washing machine and then with no soap or detergent. The second spin and rinse cycle should only be with water.

Keep in mind that it’s always helpful to ask your family doctor how to wash your kid’s clothes in the washing machine for more references and guidelines.

Step 8: Figure Out How You Should Dry Clothes

Take a look at your child clothes' tags again to see which is the best way to dry certain articles of clothing

  • Most baby clothing tags often say that you can tumble dry clothes on low or medium heat. These items can be easily dried in the dryer.
  • A tag may also say that you can use an air dryer or line dryer for their clothes. This means that the clothes have to be put somewhere so that they can dry without having extra heat added to them.
  • You can also line dry your baby’s clothes to prevent them from shrinking in the dryer. 

Step 9: Add Dryer Sheets 

Dryer sheets can remove some of the static electricity that builds up when the fabrics rub together in the dryer. So if you are putting clothing into the dryer, adding dry sheets will be a good idea. However, you should make sure that your child’s skin won’t react badly to the dryer sheet. If your child doesn’t have allergies or extremely sensitive skin, you should be fine adding dryer sheets to your laundry.

Kids try clothes on in a shop

After you have successfully washed your child’s clothes, you can fold them or hang them up. If they are fancy clothes that you would like to keep from getting wrinkled, plan to hang these items.

Tips On How to Wash Baby Clothes

If your baby is a newborn, then there are some things you need to look out for when it comes to washing their clothes. With that in mind, we are here to help. 

  • Remember To Wash New Items

Any new clothing items ( no matter they are purchased or hand-me-downs) should be washed before dressing your baby in them. You have no way of knowing what might have come into contact with these items before you got them. Therefore, it’s better to wash all the new clothes to protect your baby’s skin from getting irritated or developing rashes.

  • Wash Your Baby’s Clothes Separately

If your baby has eczema or extremely sensitive skin, it’s not a good idea to wash your baby’s clothes together with other family members’ items. The same thing could be said if you can’t get a detergent that is suitable for all family members. In fact, many mothers find baby-only laundry loads more convenient as babies mess up their clothes more than anyone else and they have to go through a ton of clothing each day.

  • How To Deal With Poop Stains

You can use the methods we provided to get rid of most of the popular stains on children’s clothing. However, poop is one of the biggest stain-causing problems that you will have to face with a newborn. To get those smelly stubborn poop stains out:

  • Soak the clothing item in warm water.
  • Pre-treat it with lemon juice or your favorite pre-treater
  • After letting the juice soak in for 10 to 15 minutes, use an old toothbrush to scrub the area. 
  • Finally, you can wash as usual with your favorite baby laundry detergent
  • How To Deal With Spit-up Stains

All babies spit up in their first year. This action is also one of the biggest stain-causing problems on newborn’s clothing. It can leave a lot of yellow-looking stains on your baby’s clothes. 

If you are breastfeeding your baby, pre-treating the stains with a little lemon juice should do the trick for you. But if your baby is formula-fed, a few extra steps may be needed to get rid of these stains:

  • Soak the clothing piece in lukewarm water
  • Sprinkle the staining area with baking soda 
  • Pour some club soda over the baking soda, and scrub with a toothbrush
  • After letting the soda mixture soak for 5 to 10 minutes, you can wash the clothing as usual
  • How To Wash Your Baby Cloth Diapers

To ensure that your baby is comfortable all the time, you should take care of your baby’s cloth diapers every 2-3 days. These items should be kept and washed separately from other laundry loads. Here is how to wash your baby’s cloth diapers

  1. Remove poop
  2. Prewash using a small amount of detergent
  3. Wash in hot water, rinsing each load twice. 
  4. Line-dry the diapers or put them in the dryer.
  5. Fold your diapers for the next use.